Lost a hive today
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  1. #1
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    May 2016
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    Cariboo, Bc canada
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    Default Lost a hive today

    I have two hives, one started from a nuc last year that is going strong, the other hive overwinteredlast year and gave me one medium full of honey last year..

    I am in central British Columbia at 3500 ft.. so I left plenty of honey for the winter, the lost hive had 5 mediums of capped honey and a good population of bees, I also treated a couple of times last summer including MAQS in the fall...

    Both hives had cleansing flights over the winter whenever it was warm and we are in the middle of a warm spell right now and I had plenty of activity at both hives three days ago..

    Today it was about +10 Celsius and I figured it would be safe to pop the cover and give them some fondant (I put a block in each hive about a month ago for insurance),

    What was the stronger of the two hives in the fall is completely dead! The food I gave them a month ago has not been touched and the top box has dead bees buried head first in most of the cells, the next box down has about half the honey remaining, the one below it is almost full and the bottom one is empty but few cells with dead bees...

    I also noted a unpleasant smell rather than the typical pleasant smell of a healthy hive..

    I have 2 queens on order and this was supposed to be my source for bees/brood to expand my little apiary 🙁

    Any thoughts on what might have been the cause? Should I worry about my other hive?

    Thanks
    Rod
    100 Mile House, BC

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: Lost a hive today

    We need pictures of the frames. Also, you need to describe the smell. Musty, like dead bees or rotten smelling? How many frames of dead bees? Fairly certain that the bees from THAT hive were not the ones you saw three days ago unless the bees got cold and wet just recently. Also, they shouldn't be smelling yet. A three day old dead out still smells like a normal hive unless there is a disease like one of the foul broods and it is the wrong time of the year for those. Grab your camera.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
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    May 2016
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    Cariboo, Bc canada
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    Default Re: Lost a hive today

    I’ll get some pictures tomorrow, as for numbers I have a couple of gallons of dead bees in the snow around the hive that I shook out of the supers and rattled out of the cells...

    Two weeks ago when I lifted the covers to slip in some fondant the two hives looked the same with bees all over the frames ... yesterday there were bees flying from this one although not in big numbers ...

    As for smell, I guess I would describe it as mildly sour smell

  5. #4
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    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: Lost a hive today

    The link below will take you to a pdf file " Wintering Bees in Cold Climates" published by Cornell University that includes a section on diagnosing Spring deadouts. Take a look.


    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...o6qAF4yIOnLn6X
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Monkton, MD
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    122

    Default

    Hard to say without more info, but I would guess the bees you saw three days ago were robbing the hive which was already dead.

    From the head in presentation, it kind of sounds like starvation if the bees didnít go down to get the honey below. I have had some clutters that will move down for food, and some that donít. I donít know what the difference is.

    Was there any brood? Did you see the queen after the MAQS treatment in the fall? Do you know if you had a queen going into winter? These facts might help narrow it down more decisively.

    Sorry for your loss. At least you still have one hive!

  7. #6

    Default Re: Lost a hive today

    Quote Originally Posted by Rlahaise View Post
    MAQS in the fall...
    When in the fall?
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  8. #7
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    May 2016
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    Cariboo, Bc canada
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    Default Re: Lost a hive today

    Early October, flow was over and on warm days bees were still flying ..

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    Rib Lake WI
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    1,715

    Default Re: Lost a hive today

    Quote Originally Posted by Rlahaise View Post
    Early October, flow was over and on warm days bees were still flying ..
    By October its to late you need strong healthy bees for the long winter you need to get the mites down early in August to give them time to raise the winter bees that are disease free.

  10. #9
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    May 2016
    Location
    Colorado
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    Default Re: Lost a hive today

    October is pretty late. Your winter bees were already born at that point. You want to get your levels knocked down a brood cycle or two before your winter bees are born so their virus loads are not so high.

  11. #10
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    May 2016
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    Cariboo, Bc canada
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    Default Re: Lost a hive today

    I’m sorry I wasn’t totally clear, my last treatment was October but they were also treated with apivar strips in August, that’s when I took off a little honey..

    When I removed the MAQS I also did a alcohol wash that showed no mites... I was a little concerned that I did something wrong with NO mites showing but at the same time I think if I had a problem I would have seen something... a wash in June did show about 20 mites...

    My gut tells me this wasn’t caused by mites (not that a newbie gut feeling means much).. the smell is what concerns me the most, I noticed this when I fed them a month ago but I didn’t really think it was a problem because I had lots of flying bees and they were all over the frames I could see when I lifted the cover..

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Lost a hive today

    Now we are getting somewhere. EFB just became candidate. Did you download the doc and compare pictures yet?
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  13. #12
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    Jun 2015
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    Default Re: Lost a hive today

    Do not put any bees in that dead out I when through AFB last year and had to burn most of my hives. Get some pics of EFB and AFB and compare. Good luck and I hope it's not AFB.

  14. #13

    Default Re: Lost a hive today

    Quote Originally Posted by Rlahaise View Post
    I also noted a unpleasant smell rather than the typical pleasant smell of a healthy hive..
    Dead bees decay. Decaying bees stink.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  15. #14
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    Cariboo, Bc canada
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    Default Re: Lost a hive today

    562B6A61-6D24-4515-AA6A-9F6316D75454.jpgB33CBCFF-8AE9-40D6-AD1A-44E0C9C0552C.jpgWent back into the hive with a little more purpose this morning and the sour smell is almost gone? One frame in the top box has brood that I could cover with my hand, I poked away at them and no slime at all.... they are about 80% formed with wings but no colour yet pretty much all grey, of the 25 or so I picked out I saw one mite..

    Top box where most of the bees were has no honey but it looks like they Were starting to store sugar from the fondant I gave them.... part of a frame has a bunch of cells 1/3 full of what looks like sugary substance..

    Other than being dead the bees look normal no wing deformation etc..

    Second super from the top still has 8+ frames of capped honey, box below that has 4-5 frameswith some honey remaining at the outer edges, bottom 2 boxes are empty, no bees sticking out of the combo.

    The pictures should give a general idea of what it looks like, the majority of the dead bees around the hives are from me shaking the boxes/frames to clear them..
    Attached Images Attached Images

  16. #15
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    May 2016
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    Cariboo, Bc canada
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    Default Re: Lost a hive today

    I replied earlier with some pictures but it seems thepost need to be authorized by a forum admin...

    Meanwhile I’ve been thinking on this all day, as there were no signs of foulbrood , no K wings, a small amount of brood and lots of honey in the box below the main cluster of dead bees I’m thinking they refused to leave the brood and starved.. the only argument to my theory is the foodi gave them that it looks like they were starting to put into combs?

    A full medium full of honey and probably the equivalent of another 3/4 spread out over the other 4 mediums.... would the 5 medium boxes have simply given them too much real estate to deal with?

  17. #16
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    Nov 2011
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Lost a hive today

    It appears that the photos triggered the 'moderated' flag, but I'm not sure why. In any case, the post and photos should be visible to all now.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  18. #17
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    Oct 2015
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    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: Lost a hive today

    Id bet this...
    Quote Originally Posted by Rlahaise View Post
    Meanwhile Iíve been thinking on this all day, as there were no signs of foulbrood , no K wings, a small amount of brood and lots of honey in the box below the main cluster of dead bees Iím thinking they refused to leave the brood and starved..

    If it'd been dead a long time, and the bees you saw before weren't from this hive, there'd be evidence of robbing. Ragged comb, etc...
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    After the fact, I always know what didn't work.

  19. #18

    Default Re: Lost a hive today

    It looks like there's bee poop all over the hive exterior. Is that right? In my experience, mite infested hives don't last this long, rather they die in early winter. But mites could still be a factor. Maybe it's Nosema. Based on the fact that there's capped brood, however, I'd think genetics are also involved. Truly winter hardy bees are smart enough to stay in winter-mode this time of year, and might not have so much capped brood to keep warm.

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