RIP little bees...
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  1. #1
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    Jan 2018
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    Default RIP little bees...

    We came out of Winter this last year strong and thought that the quilting boxes we had put on was the key to our success. But today we probed our 7 hives with the endoscope and with the exception of one small struggling group of bees, we found nothing but dead, soggy corpses.

    When putting them to bed this fall, we noticed that despite the great Summer, our numbers were down in each hive. Maybe a half a hive only in each one. So maybe we should have combined hives to make 3 or 4 very heavily populated hives. With the exception of one week early on, it hasn't been all that cold (Seattle area) but it has been rainy of course.

    https://youtu.be/MCjvbxPIptY
    OldMontgomerysFarm.com
    Paul Montgomery -- C-I-E-I-O

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Very sorry Paul. Any thoughts as to why they have not made it?

  4. #3
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    Jan 2018
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    Kirkland, WA
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Perhaps they would have done better if we would have combined hives so that the hives were really full of bees? Don't know.
    OldMontgomerysFarm.com
    Paul Montgomery -- C-I-E-I-O

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
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    659

    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Sorry to hear that Paul. Did you have a strategy for proactively dealing with mites in the hives? If not that may be what the problem was.
    Beekeeping 6 Years - 12 production hives and about 12 nucs - Treatment OAV Only

  6. #5
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    Jan 2018
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    Kirkland, WA
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Yea, we did a Spring and an Autumn OA fogging. Last year we did so well coming out of Winter and we attributed it to having used quilting boxes for the first time to mitigate moisture. We did the same thing this year but something went awry.
    OldMontgomerysFarm.com
    Paul Montgomery -- C-I-E-I-O

  7. #6
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    18 months is about what I give an untreated colony in my area. Whether started from package or a spring nuc, they are normally a dead out by that second Fall or early Winter, sometimes before. I am not sure what you are referencing by “Spring and Autumn OA fogging.” Was this applied with a fogger and medium such as alcohol or glycerine, or was it sublimated by a wand or gun (i.e. Varrox, ProVap, etc.?) Also, was it performed in a series (3tx/5 days apart, etc)?

    I don’t think your focus should be on whether or not you combined weak colonies. I think you should probably try to determine why those colonies were weak. I know mites always seem to be the “go to” culprit. But when you hear hoof beats in Texas, you think horses or cows — not zebras.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Psm1212 is on the money. Your mite treatment was inadequate and the result was exactly what would be expected.

    Quote Originally Posted by paulmon View Post
    We came out of Winter this last year strong and thought that the quilting boxes we had put on was the key to our success
    I know you said a lot more than that, but I'm picking on that, just as an interesting example of human psychology, and we see it evidenced in beekeeping also. So often here on beesource we see somebody say they did X, and it worked, fantastic results. When X actually had nothing to do with it, but people like to attribute success to their own brilliance, ie, the success must have been due to them doing X.

    No personal offense intended PaulMon, i too am tarred with the same brush, if i was a new beekeeper and put quilts on and good results, I too would probably assume it was because i put quilts on.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    Kirkland, WA
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Quote Originally Posted by psm1212 View Post
    18 months is about what I give an untreated colony in my area. Whether started from package or a spring nuc, they are normally a dead out by that second Fall or early Winter, sometimes before. I am not sure what you are referencing by “Spring and Autumn OA fogging.” Was this applied with a fogger and medium such as alcohol or glycerine, or was it sublimated by a wand or gun (i.e. Varrox, ProVap, etc.?) Also, was it performed in a series (3tx/5 days apart, etc)?

    I don’t think your focus should be on whether or not you combined weak colonies. I think you should probably try to determine why those colonies were weak. I know mites always seem to be the “go to” culprit. But when you hear hoof beats in Texas, you think horses or cows — not zebras.
    I treated with a wand, once a week for 4 weeks. We bought 3 nucs about 18 months ago had 4 ( or 5? ) hives going into last winter, 3 made it to spring, and they took off with us having 8 hives by about July and perhaps a swarm or 2 that got away ( and 2 that I managed to recapture and put into new boxes ). Narrowed it down to 7 hives by September. Each hive was only about half full - not really full like we normally like to see going into winter.
    OldMontgomerysFarm.com
    Paul Montgomery -- C-I-E-I-O

  10. #9
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    Jan 2018
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Psm1212 is on the money. Your mite treatment was inadequate and the result was exactly what would be expected.

    I know you said a lot more than that, but I'm picking on that, just as an interesting example of human psychology, and we see it evidenced in beekeeping also. So often here on beesource we see somebody say they did X, and it worked, fantastic results. When X actually had nothing to do with it, but people like to attribute success to their own brilliance, ie, the success must have been due to them doing X.

    No personal offense intended PaulMon, i too am tarred with the same brush, if i was a new beekeeper and put quilts on and good results, I too would probably assume it was because i put quilts on.
    As I explained below, I did a treatment once a week for 4 weeks, once in the early spring and once in the fall, so I don't think that was inadequate. The reason for thinking that the quilting boxes were important ( whether or not they actually were ) is because I am in Seattle where we get very rainy winters and I felt like the insides of the boxes were too wet. The heat from the bees would collect on the inside of the top of the boxes and rain down on the bees. Quilting boxes kept that from happening.

    I also switched from wooden reducers to screen reducers because water was backing up on the bottom boards and causing mold.
    OldMontgomerysFarm.com
    Paul Montgomery -- C-I-E-I-O

  11. #10
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Quote Originally Posted by paulmon View Post
    As I explained below, I did a treatment once a week for 4 weeks, once in the early spring and once in the fall, so I don't think that was inadequate.
    To be fair, you explained that after i made my post. At the time of my post, you had described your treatment as "a Spring and an Autumn OA fogging". A spring and an autumn fogging would have been inadequate.

    However even the 4 spring foggings and one autumn fogging that you now describe would be inadequate. But hey, just my 2 cents if you feel otherwise over to you. But you did ask.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  12. #11
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Sorry, I meant to say 4 in both spring AND fall. I guess I just consider the 4 doses as ONE treatment.

    And yea, I know the order of this thread got kind of mixed up because we were all posting so close together. But that's a good thing
    OldMontgomerysFarm.com
    Paul Montgomery -- C-I-E-I-O

  13. #12
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Assuming your mite treatments were effective and the bees were relatively healthy ...

    Did you do "anything" different this fall regarding the quilt boxes, insulation, hive ventilation, etc?

    Even with less bees in the hives than you had last year there should not be that much moisture inside. With sufficient stores and healthy bees, smaller clusters can survive winters too. But excess moisture dripping down on the bees in the winter months will usually do them in.

    Perhaps your larger clusters last year were more efficient at ventilating the hive and removing moisture laden air. I don't know, just a thought. Ventilation would be something I would be taking another look at.
    To everything there is a season....

  14. #13
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    Jan 2013
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    Lumpkin County, GA
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    People may disagree with me but OA is not effective if there is brood present. I was using OA as my only treatment in the fall and winter but was still having substantial losses. It was not until I switched to AplLife Var in the fall (first week of Aug) and OA in the winter, that my losses were reduced.
    Make the switch to a thymol or formic treatment in August and your losses will improve.
    FWIW.

  15. #14
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    Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Quote Originally Posted by ericweller View Post
    People may disagree with me but OA is not effective if there is brood present. I was using OA as my only treatment in the fall and winter but was still having substantial losses. It was not until I switched to AplLife Var in the fall (first week of Aug) and OA in the winter, that my losses were reduced.
    Make the switch to a thymol or formic treatment in August and your losses will improve.
    FWIW.
    I agree with Eric on this. I don't have quantitative evidence on this but in my experience it has been more and more difficult to control mites exclusively with OAV. I spent hours and hours wearing a gas mask last fall and still had a tough time with mites. I'm going to try Apiguard as a fall treatment next year.
    Beekeeping 6 Years - 12 production hives and about 12 nucs - Treatment OAV Only

  16. #15
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    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Quote Originally Posted by ericweller View Post
    People may disagree with me but OA is not effective if there is brood present. I was using OA as my only treatment in the fall and winter but was still having substantial losses. It was not until I switched to AplLife Var in the fall (first week of Aug) and OA in the winter, that my losses were reduced.
    Make the switch to a thymol or formic treatment in August and your losses will improve.
    FWIW.
    Eric and I have had identical experiences in discovering, much to my disappointment, that OAV in series, simply was not adequate for our region. I now use Apivar as soon as my supers come off in late July/early August. I have also had success with Apiguard, but my temps are so high then that thymol treatments can be tricky for me. I am headed out today to do a one-shot OAV treatment in all of my hives. I am hoping to catch them with little capped brood.

    As Randy Oliver said, we are all looking for a silver bullet. For most of us, that one silver bullet just does not exist. Randy suggests you instead put on brass knuckles and go several rounds, with multiple methodologies, throughout the year. That is money and work, but I have found Randy’s analogy to be spot on.

  17. #16
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    Apr 2016
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    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Sorry to hear this Paulmon. When in the fall did you do your OAV? Do your colonies go broodless? If so, approximately when? The reason I ask is that the timing of treatments is often critical to overwintering success. While you want your bees to be at a low mite load before they cluster for the winter, it is equally important that the winter bees be healthy (raised as mite free as possible), and winter bees are made weeks before they cluster for the winter in my neck of the woods. It is a fine line that one has to straddle. J

  18. #17
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    I am surprised that no one has mentioned the 7 day spacing of the individual treatments. There have been quite a few mentions that spacing 4 or 5 days and even 3 days is necessary if infestations are high in the colony involved and in surrounding bee populations. Admittedly that is not very practical with a wand type vaporizer.

    A treatment with time release like Apivar, Maqs, or the thymol types would be more suitable. Confirmation of effectiveness is necessary to not be taken by surprise due to external reinfestation.

    Were there mite drop counts done?
    Frank

  19. #18
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    Mar 2011
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    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Have you opened the hives to do a post mortem exam, sent any bees off for testing or done a mite wash with alcohol on some bodies?
    Stuck in Texas. Learning Permaculture in drought, flood and strange weather. The bees are still alive.

  20. #19
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    Sep 2016
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    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    A single broodless TX (winter) should have knocked the mites back, the fact you were using 4 suggests you weren't treating at the correct times and had brood. Your video "fall treatment" was posted late Sept showed a lot of pollen coming in (along with brite green grass) witch is indicative of brood rearing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czxU1SDOEOU

    My 1st guess is it the fall treatment failed do to brood, and or the mite leves were so high by the time you treated they were dead girls walking. The winter bees were so impacted and couldn't make the winter. (live long enuf to rear spring brood). in your climate you likly will need to look in to a treatment thats effective when the hive is brooded up

    That being said, as mike points out you had a moisture problem that's needs dealt with

  21. #20
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    Apr 2017
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    Default Re: RIP little bees...

    Paul, I too am sorry for your losses. As someone who does treat exclusively with OAV, I can assure you that the tretment regimen you outlined was inadequate. Can't say that is what caused the deadouts though.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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