Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Colorado Springs, CO, USA
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    113

    Default Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board

    Sad news today as we lost our hive. Im trying to figure out what happened, but all the bees were dead on the bottom board. They had plenty of stores throughout the hive, no brood what so ever in the hive.

    There were a few small groups of bees on some of the frames in the upper boxes, heads in the cells. I did not find the queen, but guess if present she was in the mass of bees on the bottom board.

    We had treated the hive for mites back in August with Apivar and thought we had gotten the mites under control. They were alive as recently as two weeks ago, we did have a cold snap between the time I last checked them.
    Last edited by JeffM17; 01-19-2017 at 04:28 PM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Lebanon Pa
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    Default Re: Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board

    Moisture or mites
    Did you have a top entrance
    Did you check for mites after your treatment
    Friend tells me take time to stop and smell the roses I say "I do then I take 10 steps quicker to make up for lost time"

  4. #3
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    Jul 2013
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    Colorado Springs, CO, USA
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    Default Re: Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbeejohn View Post
    Moisture or mites
    Did you have a top entrance
    Did you check for mites after your treatment
    We had a bottom and top entrance with a quilt box on top, so I dont think moisture. We did check mite levels after treatment and I canot recall how low we got down to, we did not get to zero but got it low vs what we were seeing in August during treatment. I want to say we got it under 10 drops per day over 3 days.

    Some other observations, it appears a comb had broken open and honey had dripped down into the bottom board. This happened before the bees died in my setup I have a screen on the bottom board to catch mites with a solid board closing up the bottom of the hive. So the honey had dripped through the screen onto the removable lower bottom board, then the bees all died and covered the screen.

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

    Default Re: Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board

    how big of a cluster was it in terms of number of frames they covered?

  6. #5
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    Mar 2013
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    Seattle WA
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    1,247

    Default Re: Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board

    I go with what John said. Every time I have seen that scenario, it was mites. Grab a half cup of the dead bees and do a wash test for mites. I will bet you find lots. No need for alcohol, water will work. I know a lot of beekeepers still use Apivar and are sure it works fine but I used it a few years back and all my hives died that year from mites. I did not verify at the time that it worked by doing an alcohol wash and that was my fault. I have been better prepared since that year.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,942

    Default Re: Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board

    Look for Varroa on the bottom board. Look for Varroa feces in the brood. I sounds like pretty typical loss due to Varroa if you find evidence of a lot of Varroa.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    Lake Forest Park, WA
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    627

    Default Re: Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board

    In mid August last year I did a round OAV treatment which did not go very well. Two weeks after the last vaporization (9/15), 48h natural mite drops in my three hives were 17, 11, 3. Three weeks later (9/22) they were 36, 17, 5, and 4 weeks later (9/29), they became 72, 26, 16. It was amazing how quickly varroa population can recoverů..

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Colorado Springs, CO, USA
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    113

    Default Re: Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board

    Im going to send a sample of bees off to Beltsville, figure it will only cost me postage. I grabbed a scoop full of bees for their sample and did see single mite when I poured out my sample onto a paper.... So mits might be it...

    As far as the size, they covered the entire bottom board See photo: IMG_2670.jpg

  10. #9
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    Jun 2008
    Location
    Yuba County, California, USA
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    6,598

    Default Re: Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board

    Here in my area, if I treat on August first, then I'll have to treat again in October and again in December. The fall mite build-up is relentless. If i don't treat that way, like just doing the August treatment alone like you did, then it turns out bad by this time of year. The hives that are not dead yet will be so small that they are not worth mentioning. I've noticed this with Apivar and with OAD treatments both. I don't think it's what's used for treatment as much as the slowing of bee brooding and the increasing varroa mite loads as a percentage of brood in the hive. I still say different areas have different levels of varroa loads in beehives. Area plays a part in a person's management of varroa, it's not just genetics of the bees, even though that does play a very large, or largest part in the equation.

    Last year I did not treat after July/August time frame, and right now a third of the hives are very questionable if they'll make it yet, a third of the hives will probably make it but not be worth mentioning, and a third of the hives are acceptable but could/should be better.

    For the two previous winters, I treated throughout the fall and had 100% survivals with much better looking hives come this time of year, late winter and early spring.

  11. #10
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    Feb 2012
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    Colorado Springs, CO United States
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    1,468

    Default Re: Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffM17 View Post
    I grabbed a scoop full of bees for their sample and did see single mite when I poured out my sample onto a paper.... So mits might be it...
    Only a single mite? Or? Are you sure the comb didn't break while the bees were in cluster and "soak" them? I am always amazed of reading treated bees dieing of a varroa crash, if that is this case
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Rutherford Co. NC
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    549

    Default Re: Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board

    Apivar needs two strips per deep. These are to be left in for a min of 42 days and as long as 59. They should be moved of the cluster moves as this product works by contact and not fumigation. If the bees move away the benifit is reduced because they are not walking in the strips and spreading the active ingredients. The duration of treatment is important as it insures multiple generations of mites will be exposed and killed off.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Pepperell, MA.
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    6,176

    Default Re: Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board

    Quote Originally Posted by rolftonbees View Post
    Apivar needs two strips per deep. These are to be left in for a min of 42 days and as long as 59. They should be moved of the cluster moves as this product works by contact and not fumigation. If the bees move away the benifit is reduced because they are not walking in the strips and spreading the active ingredients. The duration of treatment is important as it insures multiple generations of mites will be exposed and killed off.
    This is very true. I know a LOT of beekeepers who use Apivar and I don't think I've every heard anyone tell me that their treatment protocol followed the cluster. I think that is important.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  14. #13
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    Jul 2013
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    Colorado Springs, CO, USA
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    Default Re: Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board

    What I still don't understand if why did we go from no / few dead bees on the bottom board to the entire hive all at once? The bees were still soft and squishy, so the die off was recent.

    Any what does the lack of brood mean, it appears they filled every available spot in the hive except one side of two combs with nectar / honey. So the queen would have nowhere to lay come spring.
    Last edited by JeffM17; 01-20-2017 at 06:58 AM.

  15. #14
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    Feb 2012
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    Default Re: Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffM17 View Post
    What I still don't understand if why did we go from no / few dead bees on the bottom board to the entire hive all at once? Any what does the lack of brood mean, it appears they filled every available spot in the hive except one side of two combs with nectar / honey. So the queen would have nowhere to lay come spring.
    Lack of brood, or minimal is "normal" around this time. She would have had room to lay because eating the honey throughout winter opens cells. It probably was not all at once unless it was a moisture/dripping honey from the broken comb problem. Was there brood during the last Fall inspection?
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  16. #15
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    Colorado Springs, CO, USA
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    Default Re: Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board

    Quote Originally Posted by fieldsofnaturalhoney View Post
    Lack of brood, or minimal is "normal" around this time. She would have had room to lay because eating the honey throughout winter opens cells. It probably was not all at once unless it was a moisture/dripping honey from the broken comb problem. Was there brood during the last Fall inspection?
    Yes last fall inspection there was brood, this queen had a really good brood laying pattern all summer.

  17. #16
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    lafargeville ny usa
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    Default Re: Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board

    all the dead bees on the bottom and stuffed into the bottom corners also? you may have had the other mites, tracheal. send a sample to beltsville md. with the varroa/virus mess the bees are more likely to fly out to die.

  18. #17
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    Jul 2013
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    Colorado Springs, CO, USA
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    Default Re: Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board

    So BRL came back with the following:

    Diagnosis:
    Varroa Mite (Varroa destructor)
    There were approximately 1.6 varroa per 100 bees
    Sample was examined for Varroa Mites and nosema disease; only varroa was found.

    Should I ask them about AFB / EFB or do they only test for that in larva?

  19. #18
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    Sep 2016
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    Chattanooga, TN
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    480

    Default Re: Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffM17 View Post
    So BRL came back with the following:

    Diagnosis:
    Varroa Mite (Varroa destructor)
    There were approximately 1.6 varroa per 100 bees
    Based on Bee Informed article, that would equate a 3.2% colony infestation. The colony was lost given this projected rate - isn't that on the low side?
    Zone 7a - 1650ft

  20. #19
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    Feb 2012
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    Colorado Springs, CO United States
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    Default Re: Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board

    I think they are just reporting what they found. They are not reporting that the hive died because of mites are they Guess that you did get the mites under control with Apivar
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Concord, VT,USA
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    143

    Default Re: Lost hive, all the bees were on the bottom board

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffM17 View Post
    The bees were still soft and squishy...
    It leaps out at me that the dead bees are so uniformly located across the entire bottom board and that they were squishy... When I clean out the entrances during the winter to keep them free from dead bees they seem desiccated not squishy. They also tend to be concentrated in one area.
    Last edited by Beerz; 02-02-2017 at 03:37 PM.
    7 years; 3 colonies.

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