Starvation or disease
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Wharton, Texas, USA
    Posts
    229

    Default Starvation or disease

    Checked the bees today before this little cold snap they were booming of my 12 hives 3 of my calmest ones were in a very tight cluster and almost motionless the queen has completely stopped laying and it looks like they’ve been eating the brood cappings and maybe killing brood before it emerges? Is this starvation or some kind of illness. Regardless I put feeders on them.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    8,106

    Default Re: Starvation or disease

    Varroosis

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Wharton, Texas, USA
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    229

    Default

    Good lord ok. I did alcohol wash today on one of my mean hives figured they could stand to loose bees just found one mite. Killed some heavy pockets of drone brood and sall several in a different hive. I didn’t test the sickly bees because I didn’t want to stress them. I guess I need to deploy the acid. I oav treated them but with all the capped brood I’m sure I was waistin time. I
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    10,037

    Default Re: Starvation or disease

    To recognise starvation, if they have honey and it's where the bees can get it, they are not starving. If there is zero honey, they are starving.

    In addition, if the bees are starving to the point where they cannot keep brood warm and the brood has died, there will almost certainly be a pile of dead and near dead bees on the bottom board.


    Without seeing the whole hive and just based on the pictures shown, i agree with Michael, most likely varroa, second choice starvation as i don't know if there is honey there or not.

    But in either case, giving them a feed is the wrong course of action. If a hive is starving to the point where the bees are tightly packed and hardly moving, giving them a feeder with syrup may not help them plus may lead to them being robbed. What I would do (if they are starving), is drizzle a little sugar syrup right on them, to bring them back to life. If no sugar syrup available, just a bit of honey taken from another hive by digging your hive tool into a comb. The bees must be revived and brought back to an active state before giving a feeder with sugar syrup. But preferably, they should be revived, and then given a honey comb to keep them going a while with much less risk of being robbed than is they were given syrup. Later once they are ready, they can be given some point of hatch brood to help them get past "critical population mass" needed for efficient raising of more brood.

    But if those pics were mite damage, the hives is beyond saving without help. They need 1 or 2 frames of healthy brood added, plus an effective mite treatment such as Apivar. If they do not have enough bees to keep the added brood warm, adult bees should be added also. Although nurse bees only, don't want to put older bees in there which will return to their parent hive.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Wharton, Texas, USA
    Posts
    229

    Default

    There was zero honey stores this is why I sided with starvation but I’ve already put 1:1 sugar on them so I’ll just have to let it play out. I put Formic on them just awhile ago they were back alive since I had given them sugar syrup hopefully they make it.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    10,037

    Default Re: Starvation or disease

    Great, getting some syrup on them was the right move, this should be followed with a bit of comb honey to keep them going longer term if you can, weak hives like this may not enter a syrup feeder.

    But. Formic is very harsh on a struggling hive, in fact for a hive in this condition it could be the last straw that kills them out. It also works well on well populated hives but in poorly populated hives such as this the fumes will probably go out the door rather than in among the brood and bees where it can do the business.

    It might work, but straight up, chances are low, well under 50% in my view. A less damaging treatment like apivar would be a much better choice.

    However over to you, if you are happy just to wait and see, please update in due course just out of interest. Good luck!
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Wharton, Texas, USA
    Posts
    229

    Default

    Will do. I really believe the biggest issue was lack of resources but I did discover I do have a varroa problem and I plan to hit it on the chin. This is really the last shot at Formic for me it will warm up soon and the temp range willl be to high.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Cullman, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,240

    Default Re: Starvation or disease

    I was curious as to the apropriate ness of syrup for the conditions.
    Here in north alabama, the temperature has not been consistently cool enough for dry sugar nor warm enough for syrup. plus, bees have been bringing in some pollen & some nectar from some where so not that interested in syrup ( or syrup too cool)
    This year, I had been keeping syrup on hives almost all "winter", but also moist sugar bricksfor the last month or so. I used the hive tipping method to determine hive weight, & inspire me to get some kind of food on them that they can take. even so, some hives take the food & others do not.
    good luck with your bees. CE
    Started summer of 2013, just another new guy, tinkering with bees.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,407

    Default Re: Starvation or disease

    You could shake some nurse bees in, build them up, put a frame of honey next to the cluster. Get them strong enough to treat. But why? You have strong hives that are doing better under your management. Shake these out and make splits from your better bees. Especially if they were a full sized colony going into winter. Even if they were starved a bit, if they went into winter with the same stores as everyone else, then they didn't manage it as well. Some mortality is an opportunity to improve the genetics of your apiary. Its the nucs that are undersized going into winter that I will baby a bit in spring. They need a fair shot.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee
    Posts
    1,407

    Default Re: Starvation or disease

    I agree, mites. Like old-timer said formic is very hard on a small colony especially one that is parasitized
    Splitting a first year hive successfully https://youtu.be/ZfRTreQ-S9c

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Wharton, Texas, USA
    Posts
    229

    Default

    All hives were thriving today cleaned out 2 gallons of sugar syrup. I talked to another local beekeeper that’s been doing it since the 70’s he thought the freeze we had last week may have got killed some of the brood. Either way I formic dosed half my hives and I will do the other half after a week when I see how it affects the first half. Hedging my bets I guess. It’s day two for the Formic and the bees seemed fine and I would bet that first day is the highest vapor concentrations.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    washington, vermont, USA
    Posts
    368

    Default Re: Starvation or disease

    I believe you're doing the right thing by choosing formic over apivar for this situation. Apivar takes too long to get the mites knocked back. Formic will be quick.
    After the treatment you could set the weak one on top of a strong colony with an excluded between them. Nurse bees from the strong colony migrate up to help care for the brood. Then they can be separated again. Good luck

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