Dead Hive....
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Thread: Dead Hive....

  1. #1
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    Default Dead Hive....

    Opened up the hive today to find that there no more bees left. However no dead bodies either so assuming they left. Why would they have done this? Also what should I do with the hive now? Should i harvest the left over honey or save it, there's probably around 2 supers worth of honey. We have another hive as well. Should we feed it?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Dead Hive....

    Did you manage your mites in August?

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Dead Hive....

    Take pictures of the comb and any capped brood left and post them for review. This is a real common problem this year and mites are the number one reason, especially if you treated late summer. I've lost two already and its not even winter yet. Strangely enough, our State Apiarist here in Virginia says he is also seeing a lot of nosema c.

    Freeze and store the frames of honey for now. Make sure it was mites before you feed the honey to another hive.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Dead Hive....

    Unfortunately, the CCD phenomenon is still on. From time to time it
    will pop up somewhere in someone's apiary. Nobody knows why they left the
    hive. CCD is still a mystery. Perhaps they want to find a better winter
    shelter. After an inspection by the experienced beekeeper if nothing wrong with
    the honey then you can feed them back to your hive. If not you should discard them if they have the bee disease.

    To be safe, let's wait until early Spring time expansion again to feed the honey back to the split hives. This way your existing hive will not be affected in case the dead out is diseased somehow. Unknown status of honey I would use it for the split hives. It is always better to be safe when dealing with a dead out.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  6. #5

    Default Re: Dead Hive....

    Quote Originally Posted by beepro View Post
    Perhaps they want to find a better winter
    shelter.
    Can you please give evidence that bees express such a suicide behavior in late fall?

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Dead Hive....

    Right now is the Fall. I cannot give evidence because I don't know when was the
    last time for the hive check. Only the OP know this or maybe not. I don't know how
    active or passive on the beekeeping there. Or how much food is remaining inside the hive speaking
    of pollen stores also other than honey. I can only speculate that they need better winter shelter because the current
    bee environment no longer suit their need. One year a member here posted that 6 hives had left for no apparent reason. He took good care of them he said. I also suspect CCD for this member. Because a starving hive will leave for greener pasture on the other side of the Mountain. ** Maybe the last hive check was done back in August? After that the bees are gone? Who knows. I can only guess without the OP's further input on this issue. But I know that CCD is still around.

    ** To see your evidence go to you tube vid for a search on the African queen bee. Upon the summer dearth, she took her journey with the rest of her colony to the other side of the green pasture over the mountain. It is quite a distance away! A very good documentation of how smart the bees (queen) are. On their way they also met an elephant heard that was no match to the bees stings on their journey for a greener pasture. Because bees can travel far far away for better bee environment than the present in order to survive, summer or Fall does not matter as long as there is food--pollen and nectar included. Also don't forget that the hive still have the mites to deal with also. Heavy mite load can also make them leave but the OP said no dead bees bodies either that may also exclude the cap dead bees as well. So the mites situation did not apply on my reasoning. If there are mites then after the bees had left there still remain some dead cap broods also. Every year on the summer dearth here, I started feeding them home made patty subs and honey water. This is also my strategy to prevent them from leaving for another greener pasture. Some beekeepers will not feed at all.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  8. #7

    Default Re: Dead Hive....

    If the bees would have left in summer there would be no honey left, it would have been taken by the neighbor hive, and wax moths or other critters would have destroyed comb.
    But yes, the op did not give much information.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Dead Hive....

    Quote Originally Posted by gabeb View Post
    Opened up the hive today to find that there no more bees left. However no dead bodies either so assuming they left. Why would they have done this? Also what should I do with the hive now? Should i harvest the left over honey or save it, there's probably around 2 supers worth of honey. We have another hive as well. Should we feed it?
    Sick bees will fly out of the hive to die. Did you do anything about the mites ? Mites are the vectors for viruses that killed your bees. If you don't do anything about the mites in the other hive chances are it to will die.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Dead Hive....

    Sorry for the late response. I will attach some pics. No recent hive inspections. I did not see any mites, but I did see I would say around 3 beetle looking things that you can see in one of the pics; however I really don't know my bugs so it is possible it is a mite, but once again I only found lile 3 of them. Some of these are taken with flash on. Finally, there was an ant trail when the hive was taken apart but not sure if this was before or after the death.IMG_1231.jpgFullSizeRender.jpgIMG_1235.jpgIMG_1241.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Dead Hive....

    Final pic of honey.IMG_1243.jpg

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Dead Hive....

    Yup classic case of pms the hive died of mite infestation. The bees get sick then fly out to die then you get emerging brood that's to weak coming out of the cell in pic 5 then dies. Time to learn about mites and how to kill them

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Dead Hive....

    CCD hasn't been seen around here in several years. My thought for those blaming CCD now is that they are looking for an excuse, and have poor diagnosing skills. Rusty Burlew on her Blog recently reported observed late season absconds.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Dead Hive....

    For the OP - put your detective hat on. There are two primary questions you need to ask - what caused the bees in the hive to die/leave? And two) were any medications used that prevent the honey from being consumed by humans?

    If it was mites, then the comb and honey can be used with other colonies. If you can store it in a freezer until you want to use it, that will keep pests out.

    The 2nd question is a binary one - the honey is ok for humans or it isn't. If disease free, it will make good bee feed regardless.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Dead Hive....

    Quote Originally Posted by gabeb View Post
    Well, there's your evidence. Nope BeePro. Not CCD. And please, no more BS about late season "absconds". If a colony of bees actually did abscond late in the season, it would be a very rare event. And yet, every report of a colony demise, that "was booming two weeks ago and now is empty", claims late season absconding. BS, reported over and over and over again, until it becomes fact.

    How many of you have actually seen a colony abscond? Managing as many nucleus colonies as I do, I've seen many. Too many. They don't fly around the apiary in a cloud all day and then disappear...as reported in a recent blog. That was most likely a robbing event. They boil out of the hive, just like a swarm, and fly away. I've never seen them cluster on a branch or whatever. And, there is always live brood when they leave. And bees...any bees out foraging return to the hive, and form a cluster. Also, emerging bees are there, adding to the small cluster. Yes bees in the hive, but way too much brood to have been raised by that small cluster. And, there will be emergency cells, not swarm cells, constructed by the remaining bees.

    The bees didn't abscond, they perished from varroa/virus.

  16. #15

    Default Re: Dead Hive....

    Quote Originally Posted by gabeb View Post
    I did not see any mites
    Always a sure indication that it was mites.
    You may want to do some research on mite testing. Randy Oliver's website scientificbeekeeping.com is a good place to start.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Dead Hive....

    It was mites. If you want proof, get an exacto knife and tweezers. Cut open a few of the capped cells and remove the pupae or larvae. Chances are very good you will find mites attached to them.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Dead Hive....

    Quote Originally Posted by gabeb View Post
    We have another hive as well. Should we feed it?
    I would suggest the first thing you do is treat the other hive for mites immediately, before it's too late. MAQS would probably be your best bet right now. It will get the mites under cappings too.
    To everything there is a season....

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Dead Hive....

    https://youtu.be/wj-h5VJqaoI

    yes, it is an ad, but an educational one.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Dead Hive....

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Well, there's your evidence. Nope BeePro. Not CCD. And please, no more BS about late season "absconds". If a colony of bees actually did abscond late in the season, it would be a very rare event. And yet, every report of a colony demise, that "was booming two weeks ago and now is empty", claims late season absconding. BS, reported over and over and over again, until it becomes fact.
    This emphasizes one of the things we discussed in Kamloops at the BCHPA semi-annual last spring. Some of these things get repeated over and over online, with no basis, and eventually they seem to become 'given' as facts, when indeed, they are just outright wrong. Bees do not abscond after the colony has prepared a winter configuration in the hive. If they are gone, it's because they died. The comb photo you quoted is a classic example of a colony that dwindled quickly due to a mite collapse.

    Quote Originally Posted by gabeb View Post
    Final pic of honey.IMG_1243.jpg
    This photo is also telling, and tells us a lot about the hive next door. With this much unguarded honey 'right next door', a healthy hive would have it robbed out in a matter of just a couple hours. Thru some very bad beekeeping mistakes, I was able to take a measurement on exactly this a couple years ago. We brought a sick hive home from an outyard late one evening, left it in the home yard after dark, intending to get going on 'fixing' it the next morning. I woke up the next morning and sitting at the computer with the wake up coffe, noticed that our scale hive had gone up in weight by almost 25lb in the last hour. When I went out to the yard a few minutes later to see what was going on, huge robbing frenzy happening at the sick hive, the other 9 colonies in the yard were finishing it off. By the time I popped the lid to look, it was a total loss, fully robbed out and very few bees left, and this was only 2 hours after sunup. Our mistakes on that situation were numerous. First we had a colony in an awkward to get to place, so it didn't get tended as much as it should have, turned into a mite problem. Second, we brought it home thinking it was 'fixable', and that just accomplished moving the mite problem from one sick colony, into all the healthy ones in the home yard. On the bright side, it was late August, so, feeding requirements for the healthy ones went down significantly that morning, they all got a bump from the honey in the hive dwindling from mites.

    So looking at that photo of a reasonably good honey frame sitting 'right next door' to the other colony, totally unguarded, leads me to believe the second hive is in no better shape. If it was healthy, that frame would be long robbed empty. I would posit that the hive next door is likely already dead, but, possibly hasn't realized it yet.

    The issue with a mite crash, most folks dont really understand the bee biology that brings it on so quickly. Thru the summer, mites will prefer drone brood, so the workers escape the worst of the mite attack as the bees are raising drones. During the August timeframe (in my climate) the bees stop raising drones and are backfilling drone comb with honey, so the now large mite population is forced into worker cells. The hive looks robust, but the round of brood currently in progress is almost totally infested with mites. When those bees start emerging, they are unhealthy, so you have a population of foragers that are relatively healthy and a population of house bees that are unhealthy. 3 weeks later those healthy foragers are dieing off from age, but the round of house bees that _should_ be graduating to foragers start to die off as well. At the same time, the brood emerging is worse off than the round before them, so the colony is hit with a triple whammy of bee deaths. Foragers dieing off of age the way it's expected, graduating house bees dieing off because they dont fly well and start crawling away, along with emerging bees that are coming out of the cells to sick to do anything. It's the perfect storm of bee deaths, and a colony goes from one that looks strong, to one with hardly any bees left, and it takes only two weeks for this collapse to run it's course.

    As far as dealing with mites goes, we hear lots of folks saying 'do it in August', but, in reality it depends entirely on your climate. If you want a healthy hive full of healthy winter bees, you have to be using a mite strategy that ensures mites are NOT entering worker cells when the bees stop raising drones. If the mite population is not in check at that time, then you cant set the clock and expect the mite crash to become apparent 6 weeks (two brood rounds) later. Trying to deal with it when it becomes apparent is a fruitless exercise, the damage is already done, and unless you are in a climate where the bees do not stop brooding for winter, it's to late.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Dead Hive....

    Thanks Grozzie2
    for the very well-written description and time line of what goes on
    in a bee colony that is collapsing from varroa mite infestation.
    Live real time bee chat, most evenings...
    https://www.rumbletalk.com/client/chat.php?4%40HY_hmJ

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