Booming to dead in 5 weeks
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Keene, NH, USA
    Posts
    254

    Default Booming to dead in 5 weeks

    I went into winter with 4 hives and 2 nucs (all Langstroth style). Some of you may recall, I did a lot of posting about OAV and the great results I was having last fall. My last treatment was during a warm spell in late Nov/early Dec. All colonies had plenty of honey and moisture boards on top of inner covers entering winter. I absolutely believe my mite loads were low entering winter tho' I did not do a count after the last treatment due to falling temps.

    Since our winter has been brutal, I added "winter patties" to each hive on a warm day in January. I then checked on them about 5 weeks ago(temps in the mid 30s) and added more patties purchased from a very reputable supply company. All of the hives were booming when I added the patties and had bees covering the entire tops of the frames in the uppermost super. I was VERY pleased.

    About 2 weeks ago I went out to check on a 50ish degree day and found both nucs dead, 1 hive dead, 1 hive almost dead (since died), another hive at about 50% of the quantity of bees from before and 1 hive still booming. Today, tho' I did not open them, The 50% hive is still alive but there was no sound from the hive that was booming 2 weeks ago. Let me define booming...By this I mean bees covering the entire surface of the bars on the uppermost super.

    Only thing I did was add patties from a new batch I had just purchased. They hives are looking a bit poopy but only on the outside of the hives. There have been very few flight days this winter. Yes, I am calling our state inspector. My question is this; has anyone else lost healthy hives after feeding "winter patties". Many of the supply houses list them this way. I purchased mine from a company I completely believe in and will not mention at this time. I am simply wondering if anyone else has had a similar occurrence so I can better understand what went wrong by eliminating possibilities.

    Many thanks.

    John
    11 yrs, TF 6 yrs, moved to OAV in 2014, MAQS 2016. 6 hives and 5 nucs Zone 4B
    www.nhbees.wordpress.com

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Booming to dead in 5 weeks

    When did you do your first OAV treatment?
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Keene, NH, USA
    Posts
    254

    Default Re: Booming to dead in 5 weeks

    Late Sept. I did 3 of them with the 4th in late Nov or early Dec.
    Last edited by Eyeshooter; 03-22-2015 at 12:12 PM. Reason: accurate information
    11 yrs, TF 6 yrs, moved to OAV in 2014, MAQS 2016. 6 hives and 5 nucs Zone 4B
    www.nhbees.wordpress.com

  5. #4

    Default Re: Booming to dead in 5 weeks

    I'm not saying this was it....I have no idea of when your winter brood cycles begin but an earlier post of mine
    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Let us not forget timing. If I knocked down 99.99% of the mites on the first of October it wouldn't do me a stitch of good. Most of the winter bees here would already have been produced and would not be winter durable.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Marshall county, AL
    Posts
    3,404

    Default Re: Booming to dead in 5 weeks

    Was there any honey left in the hives?
    The more I learn about bees, the less I know.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    international falls, Mn
    Posts
    699

    Default Re: Booming to dead in 5 weeks

    Did they have stores?
    If the population was more than in past years, maybe they boomed their way through all the stores....Just a thought.....More info needed....

    ==McBee7==

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    4,323

    Default Re: Booming to dead in 5 weeks

    Stores or lack thereof is what I need to know.
    Most starve in March.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Keene, NH, USA
    Posts
    254

    Default Re: Booming to dead in 5 weeks

    Bees were dead standing on the patties. Most of the honey was gone. Will be doing a more thorough check soon when it is a bit warmer. Many of the bees looked like they were in suspended animation, just looked healthy and standing there. In one of the nucs (if I remember correctly) the bees looked "crusty". Hard to explain but was what struck me.
    11 yrs, TF 6 yrs, moved to OAV in 2014, MAQS 2016. 6 hives and 5 nucs Zone 4B
    www.nhbees.wordpress.com

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    international falls, Mn
    Posts
    699

    Default Re: Booming to dead in 5 weeks

    Healthy bees = high populations of very hungry bees, especially the italians who will brood all winter, and make you very proud by giving you lots of babies and high populations--but at a cost--the cost is lots of stores...They will live for months on sugar alone, but not on pollen alone,,,,I speak from a record of lots of healthy dead bees that starved because of my negligence/ignorance...Maybe this isn't it, but a very likely culpret, and a huge disapointment especially after making it this far through winter...

    ==McBee7==

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Keene, NH, USA
    Posts
    254

    Default Re: Booming to dead in 5 weeks

    Winter patties are advertised as winter food, supposedly very low in pollen and high in nutrients so not to induce brood rearing. They are supposed to be used as emergency stores. These were very northern raised mutt bees. Mostly Carnies but who knows what else was around...

    Here are 2 pics I was able to take before the camera died. One is dead bees on patties, the other "crusty" bees

    dead bees on patty.jpgCrusty bees.jpg
    11 yrs, TF 6 yrs, moved to OAV in 2014, MAQS 2016. 6 hives and 5 nucs Zone 4B
    www.nhbees.wordpress.com

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Murray County, Georgia
    Posts
    349

    Default Re: Booming to dead in 5 weeks

    You mentioned pollen patties....was there syrup or honey? Otherwise, I'd suspect nosema.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    4,953

    Default Re: Booming to dead in 5 weeks

    Hi John. I've often fed crystallized honey on the top bars (no other ingredients). Sometimes it seems that the increased metabolism leads to excess moisture, and sometimes dead wet bees. ..maybe the position of the patties (above the cluster,loose and not stores in comb, up against the top cover) can lead to a cluster that is over stimulated to consume even when other conditions make that consumption harmful.
    Sometimes the lights all shining on me
    Other times I can barely see. -The Grateful Dead

  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    4,323

    Default Re: Booming to dead in 5 weeks

    The "crusty" bees were wet for a short period of time before they froze. Looks as if the others starved.
    Hard to tell from the pics, but that's my guess from the limited pics.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Bells, Texas
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: Booming to dead in 5 weeks

    I would agree with those who have mentioned stores. If the bees didn't have any honey to eat, pollen patties would not have done it. I had a few hives I was concerned about in January so I put some dry sugar on them. They made it through fine. Sorry for you losses. Hang in there and keep learning.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: Booming to dead in 5 weeks

    I, too, have used OAV last fall and I've placed some low-protein, no pollen "winter patty" (mine is from Betterbee) on the hives of friends this winter, with no apparent problem, at least so far.

    You might consider doing an alcohol (or ether) roll with a couple of (separate) half-cup samples of the dead bees to assess the mite level. I've read that it's posible to capture mites off dead bees and it could give yu some useful info.

    When you did the first treatment (presumably a 3-dose regiemen?) how many days between vaporizations?

    Did you get good mite fall from all of them, including the late-season one? Even without a screen bottom board, it may be useful to stick in a sticky board (without any sticky on it) to see what can be seen after treatment. If height is an issue, then a sheet of freezer paper cut to size would also work.

    You might want to call and talk to the people who sold you the winter patty. If there is a problem I'm sure they would want to know about it. I am very sorry about your bees. I hope you can figure out what went wrong and I wish you better luck next year. So frustrating to get this far, and still loose them!

    Enj.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Pottstown, Pennyslvania, USA
    Posts
    724

    Default Re: Booming to dead in 5 weeks

    I have been using the Dadant winter patties for years with excellent results. The description at Betterbee makes them seem to be the same as the Dadant patties. This year I tried some from Mann Lake as well and they seem fine. I seriously doubt the winter patties are your issue. Maybe they just didn't get the food soon enough. I keep emergency feed on top of my hives from the time I say goodbye in the early winter until the beginnings of a flow in early spring as cheap insurance.
    Dan Boylan, When in doubt "It's mites".

  18. #17

    Default Re: Booming to dead in 5 weeks

    The op is a New Hampshire beekeeper with 7 years experience. Wouldn't you think he would recognize the classic symptoms of starvation? I doubt if they starved.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Pottstown, Pennyslvania, USA
    Posts
    724

    Default Re: Booming to dead in 5 weeks

    Viruses due to late in the season mite treatments? Only a couple of them show any visible signs.
    Dan Boylan, When in doubt "It's mites".

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ga,Madison county
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: Booming to dead in 5 weeks

    Beemandan; when do you suggest doing mite treatments in Ga with oa

  21. #20
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    4,323

    Default Re: Booming to dead in 5 weeks

    Well.... beemandan, he did mention "Most of the honey was gone." Most bees that starve do so in March when there is no foraging/nectar to be had.
    A cold snap... clustered up... couldn't get to the little honey that was left. Seems starvation is not that far out of the relm of reality.

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