Too many questions....
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Bloomfield, IA USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Too many questions....

    This is our 5th year of beekeeping. We had a very dry summer. Three weeks ago I harvested honey. There wasnít as much honey as in past years. I started feeding Sugar water right away and today I was installing my metal guards to keep the mice out and noticed a couple of my hives seemed dead. The coldest its been so far is 28 degrees. It was 45 this morning so I popped the top off one of the hives and there were lots of dead bees on the bottom screen and two small clumps of dead bees. There was however a larger clump that were still active. Any idea whatís going on? I looked into the bottom of the other hive and saw lots of dead bees but didnít pop the top on that one. I have 6 hives and the others seem ok.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    West Jordan, UT, USA
    Posts
    1,118

    Default Re: Too many questions....

    pics of the brood frames would be most helpful.
    meanwhile, what has your mite control system done for you lately?
    Never ask a barber it he thinks you need a haircut.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Boston, MA, USA
    Posts
    253

    Default Re: Too many questions....

    Obligatory bee source questions.

    1) how do you treat or manage for mites?

    2) if yes when was the last time you treated?

    3) how do you measure your mite count and when did you do it last?

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Jackson, Ohio (SE Ohio) USA
    Posts
    817

    Default Re: Too many questions....

    Have never done a mite count, just "assume" they're there and treat with OAV per "usual and appropriate" guidelines. SHB, the same, just put the little black plastic traps in and empty/change oil occasionally. In twelve years have never lost a colony to those issues. Early warm spells followed by extended cold snaps and not feeding in a timely fashion is another story. :-(

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Bloomfield, IA USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Too many questions....

    I guess you all are saying it’s mites.... I have never checked or treated for mites. Not treated because I don’t like the chemicals. Guess I better check though it sounds like. Ugh...��

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Jackson, Ohio (SE Ohio) USA
    Posts
    817

    Default Re: Too many questions....

    Every year when the state inspector is here, the inspection form indicates "light Mite and SHB load/activity" whatever the term used. OAV and oil in a trap I don't feel are "bad" chemicals. However, I'm a hobbyist with 4 hives.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Bloomfield, IA USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Too many questions....

    We don’t have inspectors. But I don’t know hardly anything about all the different things talked about on here. We have cows and chickens are are organic as possible and also NO gmos. Guess maybe I have been remiss with the bees

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Jackson, Ohio (SE Ohio) USA
    Posts
    817

    Default Re: Too many questions....

    When I first started keeping bees, kind of went nuts trying to understand and keep up with all the info, contradictory opinions, etc. Decided it's supposed to be a hobby. Tried to find the least environmental impacting way to go that had some chance of success. Don't do extensive testing and diagnostic stuff, just assumed pests were there and treated. Started having fun and enjoyed having bees. You might want to zero in on some Treatment Free (TF) posts and articles out there and see if that's a better fit.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,148

    Default Re: Too many questions....

    springersports, i see that your join date is may 2015.

    do you have colonies of bees that have survived 3 winters without any mite treatments?
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Bloomfield, IA USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Too many questions....

    Yes one for sure went 4 years. I have had as many as 9 hives and this year I only had 5. We had a terrible cold spring so lost 2 before summer really started. Then the drought. By the time harvest came I think they were starving

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,148

    Default Re: Too many questions....

    Not bad. from where are you sourcing your bees and/or are you making splits from your own colonies to make up the losses?
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  13. #12
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Bloomfield, IA USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Too many questions....

    Quote Originally Posted by exmar View Post
    When I first started keeping bees, kind of went nuts trying to understand and keep up with all the info, contradictory opinions, etc. Decided it's supposed to be a hobby. Tried to find the least environmental impacting way to go that had some chance of success. Don't do extensive testing and diagnostic stuff, just assumed pests were there and treated. Started having fun and enjoyed having bees. You might want to zero in on some Treatment Free (TF) posts and articles out there and see if that's a better fit.
    Yes , this is kind of the approach I’ve taken. So many opinions and with our wanting to be as organic as possible - but we realize with the livestock, sometimes a treatment is needed. I will read up some more. I don’t want it to be a hassle. I wanted to have fun with the bees

  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Bloomfield, IA USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Too many questions....

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    Not bad. from where are you sourcing your bees and/or are you making splits from your own colonies to make up the losses?
    If I lose a hive I just replace it with new bees in the spring. We live in Iowa and there is a man close who gets his bees from somewhere in california

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,148

    Default Re: Too many questions....

    understood. chances are those imported bees are commercially produced and therefore come with a history of requiring mite treatments.

    a couple of thoughts:

    1. the weak colonies with the dead bees are most likely in the late stages of varroa collapse. if they are in that shape after the first cold snap it's very unlikely they will make it through winter.

    the most important thing at this point is making sure that your stronger colonies (as well as any neighboring colonies) are not able to invade those collapsing ones on the next warm day. if that happens the mites and their associated viruses will end up hitching a ride on the robbing bees and likely end up taking down the robbing colonies.

    i would consider installing robber screens on all of your hives as soon as you can to guard against this from happening. they are not terribly expensive or you can make your own. here is an example:

    https://www.mannlakeltd.com/10-frame...robbing-screen

    it's probably too late in the season for mite treatments to do much good. the damage has already been done due to the impact the mites had on the brooding up of the overwintering bees.

    if the weak colonies so small that they have no chance i would consider euthanizing them by putting them in a deep freeze for a few days.

    2. going forward i would consider taking the next step with your beekeeping and propagate more bees from your own to make up the losses. colonies that are able to survive 2 or more winters without being treated are good candidates from which to make queen cells and splits with.

    3. also consider adding to your skill set the ability to monitor for varroa and recognizing the early stages of infestation especially with respect to identifying diseased brood and adult bees.

    4. there are some mite treatments, in particular the organic acids, which are actually approved for use in cng and organic operations.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  16. #15
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Bloomfield, IA USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Too many questions....

    Wow, square peg. This is great info and a great help. Thanks. ����

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,148

    Default Re: Too many questions....

    good luck with your bees and please do whatever it takes to avoid spreading diseases and pests to neighboring colonies.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    drakesville, iowa
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Too many questions....

    springersports,

    Iowa does indeed have bee inspectors. They will inspect hives free of charge.

    Andrew Joseph, State Apiarist
    IDALS – Bureau of Entomology & Plant Science
    Iowa Laboratory Facility Phone: (515) 725-1470
    2230 South Ankeny Blvd. Fax: (515) 725-1471
    Ankeny, IA 50023 Email: [email protected]

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
    Posts
    2,138

    Default Re: Too many questions....

    Springersports, You raise livestock. Bees are livestock. I know that is a little hard to wrap your head around but once you think of it like that, you will have more success. It does take a lot of learning and experience and way more time initially than one would expect. But once you put some effort into it, it does become easier. As others have said, there are "organic" treatments. For me, its the best middle ground. Treatment free is possible, but the successful people have a lot of knowledge and devote a lot of time to achieve success. For someone who has a few hives and doesn't want beekeeping to be a hassle, I have found organic treatments to work for me. J

  20. #19
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Bloomfield, IA USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Too many questions....

    Quote Originally Posted by couesbro View Post
    springersports,

    Iowa does indeed have bee inspectors. They will inspect hives free of charge.

    Andrew Joseph, State Apiarist
    IDALS – Bureau of Entomology & Plant Science
    Iowa Laboratory Facility Phone: (515) 725-1470
    2230 South Ankeny Blvd. Fax: (515) 725-1471
    Ankeny, IA 50023 Email: [email protected]
    Hmmm - thanks for the info. But I think I will pass -
    Edit: seems we are almost neighbors!

  21. #20
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Bloomfield, IA USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Too many questions....

    Thanks J. Funny you should say that but I realized just that when I got to thinking about treating the cows when necessary. So I certainly can appreciate that! Thanks for the input! ����

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