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Thread: Empty Hives

  1. #81
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Norfolk, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Empty Hives

    I read an article about a month ago where this beekeeper noticed that every 3 years his hives failed. He lived in an agricultural setting surrounded by commercial farms that would grow large crops of soybeans one year, wheat the next and corn the following year. He noticed that the year they grew the corn, his hives would fail. Don't know if you're located in a similar ag setting or not but something to think about. Until we can discontinue these deadly chemicals and GMO mutants, the bees will be sacrificed on the altar of big ag.

    https://www.keepingbackyardbees.com/...3CC569FE59D5F8


    You can follow this link:

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  3. #82
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Caney, OK
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Empty Hives

    Quote Originally Posted by tenleez View Post
    I read an article about a month ago where this beekeeper noticed that every 3 years his hives failed. He lived in an agricultural setting surrounded by commercial farms that would grow large crops of soybeans one year, wheat the next and corn the following year. He noticed that the year they grew the corn, his hives would fail. Don't know if you're located in a similar ag setting or not but something to think about. Until we can discontinue these deadly chemicals and GMO mutants, the bees will be sacrificed on the altar of big ag.

    https://www.keepingbackyardbees.com/...3CC569FE59D5F8


    You can follow this link:
    Only thing we have around here is cattle production.

  4. #83
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Geauga, Ohio
    Posts
    409

    Default Re: Empty Hives

    it's great that the OP is looking hard to find out why these hives failed. It's the only way to improve as a beekeeper - to learn more about how hives work by what happened when they didn't work - so you can save the next ones.

    Let me go back to the beginning for a sec - the mystery started with 3 nucs which "looked fine" 2 weeks prior and were literally empty of bees at the time of inspection.

    Any chance that those 3 nucs swarmed, and the virgin queens did not make it back? If that is the case, they should not have "looked fine" - 2 weeks ago, there would not have been any eggs/larvae, and not much capped brood, even if there were lots of bees. Once a hive is weak, if another starts to rob... the hive residents will follow the robbers home sometimes.

    Any chance that those 3 nucs were not being fed nectar, and a dearth has been ongoing for many weeks? No stores in the frames, right? These nucs were put in hives that had only foundation, yes? So if no feeding, no growth of hive (assuming a dearth has been ongoing for a month or more). This shuts the queen down and the bees can then abscond and look for greener pastures.

    Looks fine = 1 or 2 frames with eggs, 2-4 frames with larvae, and at least 6 frames with capped brood. Nectar and pollen in frames on outer edge of the brood nest. Anything outside those values can mean the queen either isn't being fed, is failing, or the hive swarmed.

    Mite kill symptoms here in OH are usually visible in late Oct thru late Dec when the bees have no more brood. Sometimes some spotty capped brood, long after brood rearing shutdown, that never finished developing in the fall, usually some bees on the frames and dead on the bottom, always more mites than 1-2 per 200 or so bees. Mite frass may mean the last time that comb was used to raise brood there was mite pressure - are any combs in the photos from your prior deadouts or original to the purchased nucs? That mite frass may not be from your current home-grown mites, but it's good you are learning to ID it, as it is a critical clue in sussing out what happened...when you know those combs had your capped brood recently. Otherwise it can be a red herring.

    And now for something completely different... The OP mentioned that they found a "late swarm" and another empty hive. I am thinking the 2 are linked? This points more to absconding due to a pest than anything else. Mites usually sap a hive so there isn't absconding, at least in OH. Quick fix for ants: brake or axle grease on any legs or other edges that the bottom board sits on. Grease is forever, but works well.

    Heavy robbing is often a trigger for absconding. You'll see lots of torn cappings in the empty hive - at least 1 mm in size - as a symptom of robbing. Usually it only happens to weaker hives (fewer than 6 frames covered with bees means not many guard bees to spare). Reduce entrances now to the 4 inch one- there is no downside for the bees and it may save a hive.

  5. #84
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,405

    Default Re: Empty Hives

    Quote Originally Posted by tenleez View Post
    I read an article about a month ago where this beekeeper noticed that every 3 years his hives failed. He lived in an agricultural setting surrounded by commercial farms that would grow large crops of soybeans one year, wheat the next and corn the following year. He noticed that the year they grew the corn, his hives would fail. Don't know if you're located in a similar ag setting or not but something to think about. Until we can discontinue these deadly chemicals and GMO mutants, the bees will be sacrificed on the altar of big ag.

    https://www.keepingbackyardbees.com/...3CC569FE59D5F8


    You can follow this link:
    I used to work for a company now known as Crop Production Services. When the corn tassles, we would apply Warrior to kill the corn borers. Warrior's active ingredient is lambda-c. Unfortunately, bees forage pollen from the corn at this critical time and it is deadly to them.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #85
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Albany NY
    Posts
    48

    Default

    Any word from the op? I am wondering if the sugar shake was vigorous enough to be accurate? Maybe put screen bottom and sticky boards on in future to get a sense of natural drop? This won't help.current situation. I am suspicious of ant diagnosis because 2 weeks ago the bees would have been grumpy and you would have noticed ants either then or when you opened hive (i think, with no experience of fire ants....)

  7. #86
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Caney, OK
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Empty Hives

    Went uptoday to take a look. I have one hive with about 5 frames of capped brood and larva and many, many bees. I saw the queen.

    Another hive (one of my originals) had several thousand bees on the outside of it. I’ve seen them do this when it’s real hot but today it’s fairly cool. In the past when they beared they were from the opening and went up the side of the box. Today they were near the top of the top box. While I was looking at the other boxes they really went active. Reminded me of a swarm but they landed and congregated on the same box.

    One of the other hives (one of the nucs) they were coming out of that hive like it was on fire. Not much brood in that hive and not many bees. I put a top feeder on about five days ago and it held pretty close to a gallon of sugar water. It was empty.

    I also have another hive that is very defensive. They are strong too with a lot of brood and bees. Is it possible that a hive that is defensive/aggressive with me would also be that way with other hives? Could they aggressively be robbing weaker hives and causing them to abscond? I may have had a mite problem with one hive but I don’t think it’s mites that has caused my problem. I think I should have fed the new nucs until they got on their feet so to speak. I think they absconded to someplace better. I did another sugar roll and this time was more aggressive and took a little longer to shake and sit and shake again. There just are very few mites.

    Hers a picture of the bees on the outside of the one hive. I didn’t go into this hive. This hive I believe is queenless. No brood or larva for several weeks.

    0066B0F5-1724-4574-867F-1997454089B7.jpg

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