Photos of my dead hive
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Casey, KY, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Photos of my dead hive

    I am trying to get to the bottom of what happened to my hive over the winter. They were thriving what seemed like a few days before I noticed they were dead. I figured they starved due to my own stupidity of not knowing that I could have fed them in the bitter cold. So I decided to disassemble and take some photos today.

    There were definitely a few beetles present. Although it didn't seem like an infestation. Also. You can see in the photos that the bees filled one box. But only built two small combs in the bottom. But that didn't happen until very late in the summer. So I feel short there as well by not encouraging them to move down. I presume if I had, maybe this would have kept the growing beetle problem at bay? I am no expert. I am also interesting in understanding why the comb looks the way it does in certain spots.

    I would appreciate it if someone would take a look at give me insight to help me improve this year's trial. I would also like to know if I should reuse this comb. And if so, what should I do to prepare for the coming package?

    Almost forgot. While I was taking these photos, a big honey bee showed up and crawled around on a comb then left.

    I am on a slow connection. So here is a link to all photos on a single page.

    https://imgur.com/a/C91SZ

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
    Posts
    5,203

    Default Re: Photos of my dead hive

    Appears to be a combination of starvation and mites.......... both of which you can control. Yes, you can and should reuse the comb.
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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    10,070

    Default Re: Photos of my dead hive

    Agreed. No honey, but no sign of robbing either, so starvation.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Covington County, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,525

    Default Re: Photos of my dead hive

    Sorry joem789. That stinks but it happens to every one of us. I agree with snl and Oldtimer. I think your concern about beetles is misplaced. I don't think they had anything to do with your dead out. As far as encouraging bees to move down in winter -- when you get that figured out, please tell the rest of us. I would eliminate those two trains of thought from your mind. I did notice in the third picture that there appears to be a lot of mite frass (quinine) in the tops of the empty cells. That is an indication of a mite infestation. Can't say if it was mites or starvation or both, but those are the two areas I would focus on for next year. Don't give up. This happens to everyone. Good luck getting them restarted next year. There should be nothing wrong with the comb and that will be a precious commodity come spring time.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Casey, KY, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Photos of my dead hive

    Thanks very much for the help. We had a few freezes. So I suppose that helped. I cleaned up the hive somewhat and left a single box full of the comb. Was this a mistake? I ask this because today has been a rare warm winter day. Well over 70. And the bugs are having a ball. Will those scavengers be a threat to an empty hive full of comb? I mentioned that during today's inspection, a live honey bee came in and walked the hive for a few seconds. Then flew away. Could it be a sign? Lol. I rubbed some lemongrass oil inside. Would it be possible the hive will attract a swarm before I have the chance to install a new package? If so, I suppose I better build a second one. I realize I am better off with a second anyway.

    Additionally. I know combs don't always look perfect. But I am curious as to what causes such deformaties. As shown in the photos, there was a hole in there. And they seemed to build a few U shaped areas.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    654

    Default Re: Photos of my dead hive

    That's a small cluster. When they dwindle down, they can't survive the cold because they don't have enough bees to stay in contact with the honey. The main question is what caused the cluster to be so small?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    10,070

    Default Re: Photos of my dead hive

    The hole in the comb is what bees do in natural comb, it is called a communication hole and is to allow bees to easily move around the hive and to different combs.

    Starvation, mites, small cluster, and cold, are all interlaced. Ultimately what killed your bees, was cold. But a healthy,well populated and fed hive, would not have succumbed to cold. Cold killed your bees because there were too few of them to keep warm plus they had no food to enable them to produce warmth.

    But what caused the bees to be so few in number? There are 2 factors. As pointed out by others there are signs of varroa mites in the combs. But the other factor was shortage of food. Many bee breeds going into winter do a kind of stocktake. If there is little food and they know they cannot sustain a big population through winter, they reduce the population size in a desperate attempt to spin out the food supplies.

    In my view your hive suffered a double whammy. Low food reserves and varroa mites, either or both of which reduced the population below survival level. The bees just had no options left.

    So next time around, ensure your bees go into winter with near zero numbers of mites, and plenty of food.

    Re the bugs on your combs, yes, there are things that will damage your combs. But sounds like you are thinking of leaving it out in the hope of getting a swarm? If so, put a mousegaurd across the entrance to allow bees in but keep larger comb destroying creatures like mice out. Then, take 1/2 the combs out and spread the remaining ones out evenly. Weird as it may sound, wax moths do not like spaced out combs and spreading them out can reduce damage a lot, especially if there is good ventilation.

    If a swarm does move in, of course you immediately re postion the combs to the correct gap.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    1,298

    Default Re: Photos of my dead hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post

    Re the bugs on your combs, yes, there are things that will damage your combs. But sounds like you are thinking of leaving it out in the hope of getting a swarm? If so, put a mousegaurd across the entrance to allow bees in but keep larger comb destroying creatures like mice out. Then, take 1/2 the combs out and spread the remaining ones out evenly. Weird as it may sound, wax moths do not like spaced out combs and spreading them out can reduce damage a lot, especially if there is good ventilation.

    If a swarm does move in, of course you immediately re postion the combs to the correct gap.

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