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Thread: Empty Hives

  1. #41
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    Default Re: Empty Hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Sure, but starvation is caused by lack of honey not pollen, and can be rectified by feeding sugar syrup, pollen will not save a starving hive.

    Not saying they starved, just saying it's possible. The hives were certainly light, at best.
    What about feeding granulated sugar to a struggling hive? Feeding it enclosed on top of the hive?

    Next question. Do the bees fly off and die? There’s not a dead bee to be found.

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  3. #42
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    Default Re: Empty Hives

    Do they fly off and die? Depends. If they died of starvation you will normally find a cluster of dead bees in the hive. But if they died of mites, there will be few or no bees in the hive. Because what actually kills a mite infested hive is the viruses the mites spread around. The sick bees, shortly before they die, leave the hive and crawl along the ground as far away from the hive as they can. It's a self sacrifice thing that sick bees do, to try to save the hive. That's unless the hive dies mid winter when it's too cold for the bees to move outside the hive, you may find scattered dead bee clusters inside the hive.

    How to feed a struggling hive? You will get as many answers to that as there are beekeepers. I'll give you my opinion, but there will be others. Me, I don't like feeding granulated sugar, I like feeding syrup. Because the only way bees can take granulated sugar is by licking the surface of it to get any that was dissolved by condensation. This process can be too slow to save a hive with no other resources. I do not like open feeding either. Because first, you don't know how many hives as well as your own you may be feeding. Second, the strong hives who don't need it may hog most of the feed and the weak ones who do need it don't get much. So me, I feed syrup, into feeders placed on individual hives. That way, I can give each hive exactly what it needs, no more, no less.

    Don't use entrance feeders they can be tempting to robbers. Avoid. Use either frame feeders, or even better, top feeders.

    But the primary thing is to look in the hives, see how much honey they have, and then decide if they need feeding. Maybe they will not. But if they are short of food, go ahead and buy a feeder or two, and give the bees a feed of sugar syrup.

    Just my opinion, others will chip in also, then you choose your own path.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  4. #43
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    Default Re: Empty Hives

    I was going to post a link to my original thread on the topic, but, Oldtimer beat me to it. I thought I had posted it in plenty of time for the upcoming 'abscond' season, looks like I was just in time. I'll post again anyways.

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...f-a-mite-crash

    But dont be to hard on yourself, you may be the first, but you wont be the last. I suspect we will be posting this link into a few dozen threads over the fall. If there is a lesson learned, something good came of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gearup View Post
    Any opinions on the pictures of the frames I added?
    Photo 1. Classic mite crash. Colony dwindles quickly, brood chills, the bees try to clean up by uncapping and removing dead larvae but dont get the job done before it's lights out.
    Photo 2. Same.
    Photo 4. More, but his one shows inordinate amounts of mite frass in empty cells.

    All of the photos are conspicuously missing any open nectar / honey and/or pollen. The bees were not only sick from mite vectored virus, they were starving.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gearup View Post
    Dudley,
    Bad news is I found another of original hives with no brood and another of the nucs with no brood. I plan on treating with oxalic acid.
    More bad news. If they have reached the point of no brood, then the colony is likely already a goner, just doesn't know it yet. If they have no stores, you may rescue them by getting syrup on immediately, but, with no brood, they will spend the next 3 weeks dwindling as they struggle to raise some brood, older bees are still dieing off over that time. This ofc assumes they do still have a viable queen. It may already be to late to save a broodless colony that has no resources stored in the combs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gearup View Post
    What about feeding granulated sugar to a struggling hive? Feeding it enclosed on top of the hive?

    Next question. Do the bees fly off and die? There’s not a dead bee to be found.
    To use dry sugar the bees need to forage and find water. Not usually an issue for winter emergency feed, they use condensation present in the hive. In the summer it's a 'make work' project to fetch water to liquefy the sugar. If the bees are already starving, and I suspect they are, you want to get syrup on so the carbohydrates are in a form the bees can use immediately. They need help, not another 'make work' project. They need to save all the energy they have for tending brood, not expend it out foraging.

    Yes, bees do fly off and die, it's what they do normally. During the summer, a strong healthy hive will have a population of 60,000 bees with a queen laying 1500 eggs a day. That means 1500 brood emerging each day, so for a stable population, 1500 bees are dieing off too. In the summer it's rare to see a lot of dead bees in / around a strong hive, but they are dieing off at a tremendous rate. If they dont fly off to die, the undertakers carry off the corpses.

    For me, going back to the photos, photo 5 is yet another clue, random bits of burr comb being drawn off the foundation. It has been my experience when we try get a weak colony to draw comb, this is exactly what we see. it also happens if the frames are not pushed right together, or the bees have a shortage of incoming nectar. But if they have a reasonable flow (natural or artificial in the feeder), a strong colony will draw those frames out nicely. If you look at the frame they are working on, if it's covered with bees, you will get good comb. If there are just a few bees here and there, they are more likely pulling up the wax on the foundation and moving it to build little clusters of poor comb. But therein lies another thing, to build out frames they need a good population of young bees that have an abundance of nectar to work with. Even if a colony gets on the recovery path by starting to raise brood today (mid July), it's 3 weeks for that brood to emerge, then another 10 days before they become good wax makers. It'll be 5 weeks before they are in any shape to draw out comb in any quantity, and that assumes there are enough bees still present that the queen can lay non-stop for 3 weeks building up a replacement brood nest. That's a tall order for a colony already weak.

  5. #44
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    Default Re: Empty Hives

    Once the population starts to spiral down due to ever fewer bees becoming foragers and the older ones dieing off, external feeding becomes ineffective. Somewhere in the process the colony reaches the point of no return.

    My first summer I almost lost a nuc to mites because I had bought in to the garbage that first year nucs dont need mite treatment. Once I got beyond that garbage idea mites have not been a problem. The time to take action is before they do, not after the fact.

    The mite caution signs for me are any of the following; perforated cappings and occasional larvae being pulled, mites visible on drone larvae torn open, frequent signs of bees aggressively grooming each other. That works for me in my fairly isolated location with at least somewhat resistant bees but there are other more sophisticated mite testing regimes. Waiting till you see mites visible on bees is definitely no where on the list!

    There are something like 30 viruses affecting bees and many of them are vectored or their affects worsened by increased mite levels. It appears that the virus levels take some time to rise to dangerous levels and this can lull a beekeeper into thinking his bees can withstand a fairly high mite level. Then whack comes the hammer and the whole bee yard can be decimated, perhaps apparently by some virus but the claims then are that, "it wasn't mites that killed my bees"!

    It is not easy for the beginner to sort out what is garbage, and what is not, because some of the worst of it is expertly wrapped and promoted or merely wishful thinking.
    Frank

  6. #45
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    Default Re: Empty Hives

    It is not easy for the beginner to sort out what is garbage, and what is not, because some of the worst of it is expertly wrapped and promoted
    QFT

    Ok so it was mites, the pictures tell the story.

    On to step 2...fast!
    This likely means you have big problems in your other hives, time to get on that ASAP, no need to test or fuss, there is a mite issue.
    Pull your supers and hit hard with 3 rounds of OA dribble week apart
    put syrup on the weak hives and reduce the entrances and or add a robbing screen.

    I am sure some one will chirp up and say "oav" "MAQS" etc .. sure fine if there is a shop in town....
    but I don't think you need to spend time reaserching or 2nd guessing... you need to be driving tonight, or tomorrow for a sloultion.. easyets for most is to the feed store for a $2.00 60cc syringe, and the hardware store for Oxliac acid.. you can work out what the "better way" will be for next time in the next week or two, but right now you need to hit the mites hard, and fast

  7. #46
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    Default Re: Empty Hives

    Easy now, I think OA Dribble is only a once or at most a twice a year treatment. OA Vaporizing can be done multiple times.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  8. #47
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    Default Re: Empty Hives

    Easy now, I think OA Dribble is only a once or at most a twice a year treatment
    internet poppycock, that keeps getting repeated.. this goes with all the garbage new beekeepers have to sort threw the frank mentions
    yes you don't want to do that to winter bees, but nor should you need to
    In the Maggi study on OA resistance the commercial yard being used had received 64 OA dribbles in 8 years, and it was a stronger solution then we use in the states https://www.researchgate.net/publica...d_A_study_case

    In the much sited https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full...9.2015.1106777 showing that OAV is "much" safer on the bees, the difrrance was 16 dead bees
    Do a search and look at the study's on trickle.. many are a corce of 3 treatments

    its my go to rescue if I have to save a hive so I can later break it in to nucs with better queens.. Kills more mites when your brood on then OAV, in trials OAV killed 6.81% more mites then the control, trickle killed 49.36% more mites then control.

    is it ruffer on the bees, likely a bit, hard to tell with a large hive pop... but the mites are so high the bees are hosed with virus, you need to knock the snot out of the mite so a clean brood cycle can happen. There is a good chance a bunch of those bees that were there for the 1st treatment won't be by the 3rd, no matter what you do.

    even so it may be too late no mater what the OP does, witch is why I suggest speed over procrastination.
    Last edited by msl; 07-16-2018 at 09:46 PM.

  9. #48
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    Default Re: Empty Hives

    It occurs to me that if one is feeding a colony about to collapse from starvation, one should feed syrup at a sugar concentration that the bees will eat right out of the feeder, without further concentration or dilution. Does anyone know what concentration that is?
    Bill

  10. #49
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    Default Re: Empty Hives

    1:1 will get fed directly to the brood 2:1 will get stored.

  11. #50
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    Default Re: Empty Hives

    Thank you-
    Bill

  12. #51
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    Default Re: Empty Hives

    msl
    As far as winter broodless dribbling, it is absolutely critical to treat them only once, with exactly the right amount and concentration of OA. More than one winter treatment clearly hurts the bees. Charriere and Imdorf (2002) found that colonies treated with 5-6 ml/seam of 3% OA were only 85% the strength of controls by April 25. The best review is in Anonymous (1999). Typically, winter bees treated with OA start out a little slower, but catch up by the end of March.
    This was taken from randy olivers site here
    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/oxal...-1-of-2-parts/
    So like all things, the damage from a once or twice treatment of dribble might have some merit depending on the when it is done.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  13. #52
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    Default Re: Empty Hives

    Msl, You are right about a lot of oft repeated internet poppycock. I'm sure I have been both the perpetrator and recipient. What is a person supposed to do? Read all you can, make your own decisions, then live with them. This is what I based my statement on. http://scientificbeekeeping.com/oxal...-1-of-2-parts/ It is possible I'm missing something.

    This is a copy/paste from that paper; THIS IS ALL YOU NEED TO REMEMBER: Apply one time only: 3-5 ml of 2.8% w oxalic acid in 50% sugar syrup per seam of bees as soon as the colony goes broodless. Please see “The Learning Curve, Part 3” for updates!

    Winter bee mortality and brood suppression seem to be the major drawbacks to repeated treatments.

    Since everyone seems to agree the Dribble method is harder on bees I wonder if it would cause higher mortality to sick and dying bees.

    I admit I haven't read the updates, but I will now.

    Several studies are sighted.

    Back to reading.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  14. #53
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    Default Re: Empty Hives

    I don't know how that Smiley thing got into that copy/paste above. Anyway, I would be hesitant to use dribble on starving bees as they would probably eat a lot more of it than usual. I guess one could feed them for a couple days, but then that would be delaying treatment. If you use dribble on bees that have no stores would they store it and then feed it to the brood? If so, I wonder if that would cause a problem.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  15. #54
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    Default Re: Empty Hives

    Thanks to all that responded. I know there is an overwhelming amount of opinions and ideas but here’s my plan of action.

    I leave on a 4 day trip tomorrow early, early. Can’t get Oxalic acid until I return. Dadant in Paris,TX is within driving distance but they don’t have any. I will treat them on Saturday with OA. I have 4 hive top feeders which I will feed them with 1:1 sugar syrup starting today. I saw a YouTube video where a BK treated his hives with atomized mineral oil. He swears by it and says it’s effective. I could do that today but would like opinions on that.

    Yesterday had a strange thing happen. As I was going through my hives looking for VM I finished up and there were a million bees flying. Reminded me of a swarm which it was. I looked on the branches nearby and sure enough there was a small cluster of bees. I shook them into a box and placed them in an empty hive. I thought the swarm season was in the spring. Only thing I could guess was the queen fell off or flew off and many followed her. Haven’t yest inspected today to see what’s what.

  16. #55
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    Default Re: Empty Hives

    For anyone who hasn't already watched this - there is the most informative talk on the subject of Oxalic Acid and Varroa by Marion Ellis at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4WvPNmS7uc

    It runs for around 40 minutes, and (imo) is well-worth downloading and watching a few times. The talk does get off to a somewhat shaky start, until the communications are sorted out - but bear with that slight snafu, as the information in the talk explains exactly how and why crashes occur ... and why they sometimes don't. Highly recommended.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  17. #56
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    Default Re: Empty Hives

    Mineral oil fogging has pretty well been debunked but like the flat earthers, some still believe. Many people make money on the number of hits on their internet creations. Where profit is a potential motive, caveat emptor!
    Frank

  18. #57
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    Default Re: Empty Hives

    Wood bleach=Oxalic acid. Available at most Hardware stores and Home improvement centers. Technically illegal because of labeling.

    Mineral oil has been discussed quite a bit on BeeSource. A few respected Beeks swear by it.

    When deciding which treatment to use I opted for OA because it turns into a crystal that the bees then can remove from the hive as opposed to a fine coat of atomized MO stuck on everything. I don't know if it stays in the hive or for how long. The bees see OA as trash and carry it out. Admittedly, I don't know how they view MO or how they react to it or if they try to remove it. I just don't like the idea of coating everything in the hive including bees with oil.

    I would get a vaporizer and some wood bleach, the sooner the better.

    You probably had a front row seat to an absconding. Were there any bees left in the hive from which they issued?

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  19. #58
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    Default Re: Empty Hives

    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  20. #59
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    Default Re: Empty Hives

    Quote Originally Posted by AHudd View Post
    Wood bleach=Oxalic acid. Available at most Hardware stores and Home improvement centers. Technically illegal because of labeling.

    Mineral oil has been discussed quite a bit on BeeSource. A few respected Beeks swear by it.

    When deciding which treatment to use I opted for OA because it turns into a crystal that the bees then can remove from the hive as opposed to a fine coat of atomized MO stuck on everything. I don't know if it stays in the hive or for how long. The bees see OA as trash and carry it out. Admittedly, I don't know how they view MO or how they react to it or if they try to remove it. I just don't like the idea of coating everything in the hive including bees with oil.

    I would get a vaporizer and some wood bleach, the sooner the better.

    You probably had a front row seat to an absconding. Were there any bees left in the hive from which they issued?

    Alex
    The hive was completely empty. Not even dead bees. Other than comb you would have never known they were there.

  21. #60
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    Default Re: Empty Hives

    On my moble as I am pulling a 16 today, so I can't link like I wold like to
    1st how many here have regularly done a 3x trickle and are giveong advice on it ?
    How many have never done a trickle and are giveong advice on it?

    What is being missed is summer vs winter bees
    treating in the summer 3 times a week apart , 1/2 the bees that were there for the 1st treatment have died of naturel causes and been replaced with new bees
    As I said earlier you don't want to do that to long lived winter bees, but neither should you need to given the broodles mite kill

    The ops hives seem to be crashing, churning out hundreds of mites a day along side a massive influx from the failing hives

    While vape is populate in us culture it's less efctive in the ops sistiation and requires waiting for a tool, something they can't afford to do as the hives are likly at or past the point of no return

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