Lost all 3 hives
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    Worcester, MA
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    11

    Default Lost all 3 hives

    Went out to check on the hives, and all 3 are dead. Had inverted sugar patties on top and they barely touched them; hives 1 and 2 did not appear to have anywhere near the population necessary, and hive 3 had the population but it looked like they had difficulty moving around and got trapped. Plenty of honey in the hives (they were all quite heavy). Winter up here has been very mild thus far; it's only been cold for the past week or two.

    At this point, I've lost 3 hives now in the past two years from the winter. Not really looking forward to spending $350 for new packages, so I'm going to start looking into local beekeepers who might be willing to do a split with me. A colleague of mine also lost both his hives, so I know it's not just me.

    Anyone else in the northeast have a similar/different story?

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Mite counts?
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Worcester, MA
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    11

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Didn't have too much time to check yesterday, was fuming around the yard haha. I'm having the state inspector come out and chat with me about what he's seeing locally and we'll definitely check the count then.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    5,486

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Did you treat for mites?

  6. #5

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Beentown View Post
    we'll definitely check the count then.
    You didn't do any counts or treatments? I have a pretty good idea what the state inspector is likely to say.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Pottstown, Pennyslvania, USA
    Posts
    724

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Not trying to give you anymore grief, but when they are dead it is way too late to be checking for mites. Beginning of August at the very latest is what's needed.
    Dan Boylan, When in doubt "It's mites".

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
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    5,400

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by DPBsbees View Post
    Not trying to give you anymore grief, but when they are dead it is way too late to be checking for mites. Beginning of August at the very latest is what's needed.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Green Bay, Wisconsin
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    My condolences for your losses. We invest so much time and money into our bees, it's difficult to see harm come to them. I would echo the others in wondering what your mite situation was like in late summer/fall. I would also suggest looking for local overwintered nucs to replace these, you may experience more success with those provided mites were not a key factor in these losses.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Worcester, MA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    Did you treat for mites?
    No. I've been up or down on varroa treatment, but I think this year I'll begin treating with OAV. Need to do something different, at least, to try to find the right combination.

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    You didn't do any counts or treatments? I have a pretty good idea what the state inspector is likely to say.
    I'm sure he'll point to varroa.

    Quote Originally Posted by DPBsbees View Post
    Not trying to give you anymore grief, but when they are dead it is way too late to be checking for mites. Beginning of August at the very latest is what's needed.
    Obviously at this point it'll be a post-mortem inspection but at least it'll give us clues as to what caused it. As I mentioned above, I think OAV treatment will find its way into my regimen this year.

    Quote Originally Posted by ashark8me View Post
    My condolences for your losses. We invest so much time and money into our bees, it's difficult to see harm come to them. I would echo the others in wondering what your mite situation was like in late summer/fall. I would also suggest looking for local overwintered nucs to replace these, you may experience more success with those provided mites were not a key factor in these losses.
    I'm hoping there's local availability of splits or nucs, although the cost with nucs is again high. We'll see how things shape up towards the beginning of spring; I've heard packages are sold out through June.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
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    2,822

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    they are not dead until they are "warm and dead", according to Michael Bush. Had a nuc that I thought was belly up. Found the queen, brought her inside. Held her in my hand for 30 minutes and she started walking around. Caged her and went outside and brought the nuc in. Sure enough. Warmed up and started crawling around.

    If you have a heated garage, you might give it a try if the weather is supposed to be mild in the next week. You can't coop them up for too long, but I think we sometimes give up on cold bees too quickly.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Green Bay, Wisconsin
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    In my area nucs are about 40 dollars more than a package. I figure if I get a bum queen in a package and have to requeen after a short time, at $35 per bug I might as well have spent the extra money in the beginning and avoided it. Plus the bonus for me being in the north is I am dealing with bees that are overwintered not packages that are made down south which may be unsuitable for my climate. When I first started all I could afford was a package so that is what I got, I understand the draw, I was just offering a suggestion. I do hope your bees this year do better. I suspect if you begin to pay more attention to mite counts, they will. Happier times ahead!

  13. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    5,486

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    I'm not saying it was aliens.... but it was mites...

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Granby, MO
    Posts
    126

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Don't feel too bad, took me a while to decide to start treating, too. I also decided OAV was the way to go. Good luck this year, and I hope you do find a deal on packages!

  15. #14

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    If you choose oav as your primary mite treatment...proceed carefully. A single oav treatment while your bees are making brood will not do the job. Waiting until they're broodless in midwinter...as you've already discovered may be too late.
    Good luck.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    6,034

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by ruthiesbees View Post
    they are not dead until they are "warm and dead", according to Michael Bush. Had a nuc that I thought was belly up. Found the queen, brought her inside. Held her in my hand for 30 minutes and she started walking around. Caged her and went outside and brought the nuc in. Sure enough. Warmed up and started crawling around.

    If you have a heated garage, you might give it a try if the weather is supposed to be mild in the next week. You can't coop them up for too long, but I think we sometimes give up on cold bees too quickly.
    What's the rest of the story? Did those bees make it? The queen?

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
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    912

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by ashark8me View Post
    Plus the bonus for me being in the north is I am dealing with bees that are overwintered not packages that are made down south
    Don't always figure on this unless you know it for certain. Overwintered nucs here are *very* hard to find and way more than a $40 premium. Nucs purchased here are very often brought up from the south either as nucs already that were made up from hives that wintered in the south. The other case is that they're magically available about 3-4 weeks after everyone's packages arrive, indicating that they're more than likely packages that were simply hived in the nuc and then 3-4 weeks later sold as a nuc. Most people doing either of these things are honest folks and will certainly tell you the origins of it, but I'd say never to assume that just because you're buying a nuc in a northern state that means you're getting overwintered bees. Like your area, nucs here are about $40 more than a package, but for a truly locally overwintered nuc I wouldn't be surprised to see them at nearly $100 more than a package.
    License not replace eyes, ears, and brain.
    - Mr. Miyagi

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Milw, WI
    Posts
    276

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    UNfortunately had the same thing happen, was late on treating for mites. Lost 6 hives. Treat for mites. Then TEST for mites.

    Treatment without testing is just shooting in the dark hoping you hit something.

    Testing without treatment is just a good way to know what is gonna kill your bees.
    Technology is great.....when it works.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    4,646

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Sounds like mites killed your bees.

    If you want proof you can send a sample in for testing;
    They will also test bees for nosema.

    http://www.ars.usda.gov/Main/docs.htm?docid=7472

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
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    2,822

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    What's the rest of the story? Did those bees make it? The queen?
    My story, and not the OP?

    Nuc was lite on food going into the snow storm. I had added a sugar brick 2 weeks ago and in this area, they fly most every week during the winter. Had a cold spell right before the snow so they wouldn't go get the sugar. Guess the girls ran out of energy to keep things warm. On Sunday looked like a typical dead out. non moving bees but they didn't have their tongues hanging out like most dead bees. I was bored so I figured "what do I have to lose"? Found the queen in the pile (on the comb) and brought her inside. Once she started moving around a lot, she went back in a roller cage with workers. The nuc was warming in the garage but I brought it in the house since it's warmer in there. Within 2 hours I had bees sticking their tongues out of the mesh that was blocking their entrance. Knew they needed more food (I had removed the sugar block to another alive nuc) and it was supposed to be 54 today, so last night at 6pm, I carried the nuc back outside along with the queen cage. (after dark) It wasn't supposed to freeze last night, but things didn't go as forecasted. This morning, I go peak through the window and no moving bees. I suit up to find the queen, who found her way to the cluster for the night, and she wasn't moving either.

    Brought her back inside. Went back for the nuc. Had it all taped up but slipped from the icy shoes once I got inside and bees, nuc and comb went everywhere, inside the house. (good thing kids had a 2 hr delay and I was going in late anyway). Dumped the bees and comb back in the nuc and closed it up and left it in the bathroom. Took the queen out and she resurrected within 5 min. instead of the 30 min it took last time. (how many times can you freeze a bee and they come back to life?) She stayed in a roller cage with mostly dead workers and queen candy. I went off to work. Once I get home tonight, I'll try and give more of an update.

    Bottom line, if someone is checking their hive daily (through a window) and they see non-moving bees after a cold spell, I think it might be possible to warm them back up. Don't know how long they can be in torpor without finally dying, but this will be something I try and answer as the years go on.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Green Bay, Wisconsin
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Lost all 3 hives

    Quote Originally Posted by libhart View Post
    Don't always figure on this unless you know it for certain. Overwintered nucs here are *very* hard to find and way more than a $40 premium. Nucs purchased here are very often brought up from the south either as nucs already that were made up from hives that wintered in the south. The other case is that they're magically available about 3-4 weeks after everyone's packages arrive, indicating that they're more than likely packages that were simply hived in the nuc and then 3-4 weeks later sold as a nuc. Most people doing either of these things are honest folks and will certainly tell you the origins of it, but I'd say never to assume that just because you're buying a nuc in a northern state that means you're getting overwintered bees. Like your area, nucs here are about $40 more than a package, but for a truly locally overwintered nuc I wouldn't be surprised to see them at nearly $100 more than a package.
    There is truth in this, but I know the guy I am getting my nucs from and I know how he prepares them. The ones I am getting are definitely overwintered, local nucs. I guess I'm getting a really good deal then because he doesn't charge any more than the type of nucs you're talking about, which I likely wouldn't bother much with.

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