Lost 100% of my hives in Western NC this month- Christmas Tree Spraying?
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  1. #1
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    Jun 2016
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    Wilmington, NC
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    Default Lost 100% of my hives in Western NC this month- Christmas Tree Spraying?

    Well my 3 hives in Western NC mountains were doing beautifully this fall. Strong, good queens, putting up food as hard as they could go. I went to check them last week and sometime in the last 3 weeks since I had been up there they disappeared. Each hive had about 100 bees in it, one hive still had the queen. Zero brood, eggs, completely empty frames except for the honey in the top box. This happened at the same time the local christmas tree farms started spraying trees before harvest.

    Several locals told me that the spraying is what did them it. Would this be CCD due to pesticides potentially? They appear to have just absconded, no evidence of them dying in the hive, etc.

    This is very discouraging as I had plans for a large apiary up there on my farm but if this is the norm, I cant justify trying them up there again.

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  3. #2
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    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Lost 100% of my hives in Western NC this month- Christmas Tree Spraying?

    Did you treat for mites? I wouldn't expect the bees to be hanging around any Christmas trees and get sprayed. Also, if it's pesticides you will generally find dead bees in and around the hives. Was there any capped brood left? Take a picture.

  4. #3
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    May 2011
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    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Lost 100% of my hives in Western NC this month- Christmas Tree Spraying?

    If the spray had killed them there would be dead bees and brood in the combs. Looks like the bees flew away to die and brood rearing ceased.

    Collapse due to mites could be the cause. What is your program for monitoring?
    Frank

  5. #4
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    Aug 2011
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    KC, MO, USA
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    Default Re: Lost 100% of my hives in Western NC this month- Christmas Tree Spraying?

    Do they spray Christmas trees in the fall? What do they spray? How far away are your bees?

    I don't know how common or how deadly Christmas trees spray is. Pesticide kills are rare but do happen they usually are accompanied by piles of dead bees. But mites are very common and very deadly, if you did not treat than that is more than likely the problem. This is the time of the year hives crash from mites. If you don't want to treat then start with TF bees other wise they will die every time.

    As JRG said take a picture of your brood, even if it's empty, mites often leave signs.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    Wilmington, NC
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    6

    Default Re: Lost 100% of my hives in Western NC this month- Christmas Tree Spraying?

    The attached photo is one frame in one hive. Everything else mostly either appeared empty or full of honey. IMAG0383.jpg

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Clinton, Michigan, USA
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    452

    Default Re: Lost 100% of my hives in Western NC this month- Christmas Tree Spraying?

    Quote Originally Posted by nclandman View Post
    Well my 3 hives in Western NC mountains were doing beautifully this fall. Strong, good queens, putting up food as hard as they could go. I went to check them last week and sometime in the last 3 weeks since I had been up there they disappeared. Each hive had about 100 bees in it, one hive still had the queen. Zero brood, eggs, completely empty frames except for the honey in the top box. This happened at the same time the local christmas tree farms started spraying trees before harvest.

    Several locals told me that the spraying is what did them it. Would this be CCD due to pesticides potentially? They appear to have just absconded, no evidence of them dying in the hive, etc.

    This is very discouraging as I had plans for a large apiary up there on my farm but if this is the norm, I cant justify trying them up there again.
    I've had some of my worst spray damage due to christmas tree spraying. however, it normally happens here in mid summer (June/July) and for it to happen there needs to be some type of flower out between the trees to attract bees. would there be anything in bloom in the middle of the christmas tree farms that corresponds with the time frame when the colonies suddenly disappeared?

    often with spray damage you find dead bees on the ground in front of the hives. that is sorta a classic example of spray damage. however, in recent years, that isnt always the case with some poisonings. often times the bees never make it home and you end up with a diminished colony.

    Or maybe they werent sprayed but you had a bad tracheal or varroa infestation and everyone simply left the hive.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Lost 100% of my hives in Western NC this month- Christmas Tree Spraying?

    Did the op ever answer the questions regarding mite management?
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Warren County, NJ, USA
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    555

    Default Re: Lost 100% of my hives in Western NC this month- Christmas Tree Spraying?

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Did the op ever answer the questions regarding mite management?
    no, but we do see foundationless frames...

    never would have thought of christmas tree sprays being a big killer. interesting. there is a few of those farms in my area, right in between the apple orchards. i will see a marked increase of dead bees on the ground in front of my hives when they are harvesting corn and soybeans by me. nothing alarming though, but there is evidence. when a hive of mine crashes due to mites they will all be in the hive if its too cold to fly or all be gone and i will have noted heavy mite infestation weeks prior.

  10. #9
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    Santa Fe, NM
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    Default Re: Lost 100% of my hives in Western NC this month- Christmas Tree Spraying?

    Telltale signs of pesticide poisoning are almost always visible. Foragers return to the colony and many die there. They are then dragged out by workers and visible in front of the entrance. Sick bees on the other hand leave the hive and don't return. Pathogens and viruses vectored by mites will eventually cause the hives demise. In short no mite management plan, no bees.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  11. #10
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    Sep 2016
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    DuPage Illinois
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    33

    Default Re: Lost 100% of my hives in Western NC this month- Christmas Tree Spraying?

    I don't know what they spray Christmas trees with or why they would spray before harvest but judging from the comments here and elsewhere I think beekeepers need to change their ideas on pesticide kills. If bees get into neonics like neonic injected Linden they will drop right at the tree (just an example, I know Linden would not be in bloom now.). Never get back to the hive. So not all pesticide kills result in piles of dead bees by the hive. Not saying what happened here because as I say. I don't know anything about Christmas tree spraying. I hope OP or someone else can fill us in on Christmas tree spraying.

  12. #11
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Lost 100% of my hives in Western NC this month- Christmas Tree Spraying?

    Yeah, but if the the foragers die outside the hive due to pesticides that is better than bringing it back. Also does not explain losing all the bees in each hive. This is sounding like more head in the sand about mites and grasping for straws on why 3 hives are decimated in fall

  13. #12
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    Landing, NJ, USA
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    Default Re: Lost 100% of my hives in Western NC this month- Christmas Tree Spraying?

    There are surely market pressures that press Christmas tree growers to spray so that a tree doesn't produce bug hatchlings upon being brought into a warm house. There may be government pressure also, to prevent spread of hemlock wooly adelgid for example. I would expect much of this spraying to be done now, just before or during harvest.

    Just speculation.
    Bill

  14. #13
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    Dec 2012
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    Default Re: Lost 100% of my hives in Western NC this month- Christmas Tree Spraying?

    Not CCD because the remaining queen is still there just no
    more foragers. Fewer young bees are left inside afterward.
    A typical case of CCD the hive is almost empty with
    the queen gone too. So yes most likely the tree spray that got them. With
    100s and thousands of trees they won't be doing it one by one at a time. Looks like
    an aerial spray to me killing them that fast and broad. Reminds me of the mosquito spray during the
    summer time here. Within 2 weeks max the entire hive can be dead depending on how much
    poison on them along with its residual. There are the smart bees and the dumb bees. The smart
    ones will packed up and just leave if they can in time. The dumb ones just stay there loyal to
    the hive and finally died. The smart ones can sense the environmental danger
    and decided to go risking it. Forget about this location when every year it is the
    same tree spraying issue. Better to relocate to a spray free zone!
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    wnc
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    Default Re: Lost 100% of my hives in Western NC this month- Christmas Tree Spraying?

    I live in wnc, not too close to tree farmers but I know a few. There is no aerial spraying of anything here in the mountains. Cant do it, mountains get in the way. Not sure what else tree farmers might use, but I doubt it might be the cause of your problems. Even if the trees were sprayed with pesticides, why would your bees go there? Nothing on pine trees they need, Just feel you might want to continue looking for a cause. Call the bee inspector. They want to know about any possible pesticide problems. North Carolina has several, http://www.ncagr.gov/plantindustry/P.../apiarymp.html If they think it is pesticides they will have it tested so you will know exactly what happened.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Lost 100% of my hives in Western NC this month- Christmas Tree Spraying?

    With less than 100 bees left how can he send them to the
    bee lab for testing? Now they will be all dead!
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  17. #16
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    NE PA
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    111

    Default Re: Lost 100% of my hives in Western NC this month- Christmas Tree Spraying?

    The trees are usualy spray / fogged with tractor mounted sprayers, fungus is a much biger problem than inscects with the trees , that said a visit to the tree farms could yeald a great deal of information and open the door to cooperation, ie notification of sprayin
    A visit from your local bee inspector should identify the cause
    On a personal note, i too am curious about your mite treatments & testing <

  18. #17
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    Aug 2011
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    KC, MO, USA
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    Default Re: Lost 100% of my hives in Western NC this month- Christmas Tree Spraying?

    The picture that was provided is mostly pollen can't tell much from a pollen frame.

    The one cell that is there is capped and by itself, the remaining open cells if they had brood would depict a very spotty brood pattern. The one cell that is there looks like it's a drone cell (hard to tell), open it see if it's a drone brood; could be a laying worker with spotty brood.

    Pesticide won't empty the brood nest, but a hive could have little to no brood this time of the year.

    More picture may bring more to light. Even the empty brood comb. Mites often leave feces in the top inside of empty brood cells. Seeing that these hive are untouched by robbers I think it will be very easy to see.

  19. #18
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    Apr 2009
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    Stilwell, KS
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    3,112

    Default Re: Lost 100% of my hives in Western NC this month- Christmas Tree Spraying?

    Here is a place to start if you want to learn about pesticide spraying of Christmas trees in NC.

    http://ipm.ncsu.edu/wildlife/christm..._wildlife.html
    Honey Badger Don't Care ಠ_ಠ ~=[,,_,,]:3

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