Need urgent help--how much trouble is my colony in?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Burnet County, TX, USA
    Posts
    22

    Default Need urgent help--how much trouble is my colony in?

    I am a first year beekeeper with my first 10 frame hive and I need urgent help. I got my colony from a nuc in April. They seemed to be doing great despite a few small hive beetles here and there.

    Well, a couple of weeks ago I made a horrible rookie mistake with my top feeder. I took out the rafts in my Dadant hive-top feeder because the beetles were hiding under it when the sugar syrup ran out. So instead of the rafts I floated corks in the troughs but they did not work. I opened up the top and found several hundred bees drowned in there. It was awful. I saw a couple of long larvae squirming among them which I assume were SHB larvae.

    So I cleaned them out and left the feeder empty for a few days for the bees to clean out, which they did. The hive appeared to be ok about a week later. But yesterday I did an inspection and there is no brood, either capped or uncapped. I DID see the queen though, and also one supercedure cell in the middle of a frame. There is plenty of capped honey and lots of pollen. I could not see any eggs or larvae at all, even though the queen was there--I did not even see diseased or damaged larvae. I have a million questions, namely:

    1) Could the stress of losing several hundred workers cause a pause in egg-laying or brood rearing from the other workers? Or did the beetles wipe them out?

    2) Should I let the supercedure take place or remove the cell? I am not interested in harvesting honey this year if it's not gonna happen, I just want the colony to survive.

    3) I have two bare frames and one side of two other frames that the bees are not drawing out with comb. Should I add on a super now, or will that just provide more room for beetles to hide?

    4) Any other advice on what I should I do?

    Thank you all for sharing your expertise!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Taylor County, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    718

    Default Re: Need urgent help--how much trouble is my colony in?

    Could the stress of losing several hundred workers cause a pause in egg-laying or brood rearing from the other workers?
    Very unlikely.

    Or did the beetles wipe them out?
    No. SHB damage is much more obvious, and disgusting.


    Should I let the supercedure take place or remove the cell?
    I think I would let them supersede. It could be that the timing was just coincidental about the dead bees and your queen shutting down. She could just be a low quality queen that quit much sooner than she should have.

    Should I add on a super now
    ,

    No. Your hive is not growing right now. They will not use it.

    or will that just provide more room for beetles to hide?
    Yes.


    Any other advice on what I should I do?
    Yes. Install traps if you have a significant amount of beetles. Keep feeding if their stores are light. Other than that, leave them alone.
    Try it. What could happen?

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Need urgent help--how much trouble is my colony in?

    I agree with JStinson with extra heavy emphasis on his last sentence.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Ka'u Hawaii
    Posts
    287

    Default Re: Need urgent help--how much trouble is my colony in?

    Were they mine, I would add a frame of brood and eggs. And this is the kind of difficulty that is inevitable when you have only 1 hive. Perhaps another local beekeeper can help in this regard.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Sydney, AU
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Need urgent help--how much trouble is my colony in?

    I have been speaking to a research scientist who has be working in a government funded research centre who has advised that they are looking at the correlation of GMC (genetically modified crops ) to bee mites and their increase potency to killing Bee's.

    Have you heard of this been mentioned before.
    As i feel that this could have some credibility as since the introduction of GMC the proliferation of diseases and mites infecting bee colonies with deadly consequences

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,944

    Thumbs Up Re: Need urgent help--how much trouble is my colony in?

    Ryan, I'm an hour south of you near Cleburne. Three or four of my hives are shut down from the heat. Queens stop laying when it is as hot as its been this August (14 days 100* F or above with lows about 80* F).

    In my view, and over the Internet, you seem to have two issues going on at the same time, three if they are superseding the queen. First, the SHB, second the heat with the added possibility of supersedure. Leave the queen cell(s) alone. Smash every beetle/larva you can see and use traps. Feed sugar water, (do not feed pollen patties with a SHB infestation). I don't know how foolish it is, but I go after those beetles and larva on the bottom of the hive or anywhere I find them. Be careful with the frame(s) having the queen cells, they are delicate after they are capped for a period of about three or four days.

    Its going to cool down this week and the queen might start up again....If she doesn't lay in 7-10 days after the WX cooling down, you might want to order a new queen rather than wait for the supersedure to play out, which will be three to four weeks from seeing the capped queen cell. HTH
    Last edited by Lburou; 08-13-2013 at 05:54 PM.
    ...We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are...

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    2,108

    Default Re: Need urgent help--how much trouble is my colony in?

    I agree with Lee. My queens are laying, all 2 of them, but yours does not seem to be.

    If you are having shb problems in North Texas, usually a shade tree or nearby woods contribute. Hot though it is, moving your bees to full sun can help. Mine get shade after 5 or 6 pm, have SBBs and only bottom entrances and they do not get too hot. my wood frames are foundationless and do not collapse.

    However right now is probably a really BAD time to move your bees, you have had enough losses. When you get ready to move the hives, read up on it first.
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.

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