Hive swarmed
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Thread: Hive swarmed

  1. #1
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    Default Hive swarmed

    I checked up on some hives three weeks ago. They were quite full of honey, I didn't have any spare boxs on me and I noticed they were low on space. One hive had two supers, one deep and one medium.

    Anyway, just this weekend I went back to these hives, to do a honey extraction and provide another super. Unfortunately, the hive had been abanboned, it was full of wax moth which had done a suprising amount of damage during this time.

    I can't recall if I checked the brood chamber for queen activity. It's shocking to me that I had a good strong healthy hive, then not even a few weeks later the hive swarmed. Could me visiting the hive, opening it up trigger them to swarm? Maybe they were already planning on doing so because the queen didn't have enough space for eggs?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Hive swarmed

    Have a look at this sticky post. "The anatomy of a mite crash" and see it it ticks off any boxes. https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...light=Grozzie2
    Frank

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Hive swarmed

    Crofter, TheFuzz is in Australia. Fuzz, are you saying there are zero bees left, like an abscond? Are there dead bees? Are you saying all of your hives are empty, or just one? Perhaps if it was one hive it swarmed and failed to make a new queen? Pretty puzzling if it was more than one. J

  5. #4

    Default Re: Hive swarmed

    Quote Originally Posted by Fivej View Post
    Crofter, TheFuzz is in Australia.
    Even in Australia an abandoned hive full of wax moth larvae doesn't indicate a swarm.
    On the other hand, since Australia isn't supposed to have mites....a mite crash probably isn't the answer either.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Hive swarmed

    This is like a book that is missing the last chapter.

    Not knowing the queen status (queen cells, virgin, missing queen and no viable eggs) Could be several possibilities. My hunch would be swarm for lack of room and remaining bees did not have enough manpower to contain the wax moth intrusion, got fed up and absconded.

    Other questions may be, "other hives nearby and has their numbers increased from taking in bees? Wax moths a problem in other hives? Dead bees in or around hive in large numbers? A lot can happen in a hive in 3-4 weeks, let alone one that is honey bound.
    “Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark, professionals built the Titanic”

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Hive swarmed

    I missed the fact that Ozz is mite free. I suppose a swarm with multiple after swarms and a failed requeen could empty out a colony to the point of wax moth take over. It doesnt sound like the result of a typical swarm though.
    Frank

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Hive swarmed

    It doesn't seem to be a mite infestation having read that thing you posted crofter. Some other states in Australia has mites.

    I used the wrong word, I meant to say they absconded, not swarmed. There's no dead bees. Just this one hive is empty, two beside it are full and active with laying queen. This hive has been there for about a year now.

    Should I really be checking the brood chamber every time I open a hive to see if eggs are being laid? There would have been less guess work if I did so. Maybe I did open it and check and I just forgot, I probably need to start writing these things down because my memory is awful.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Hive swarmed

    Wax moth infestation can make the bees abscond.
    Proverbs 16:24

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Hive swarmed

    I thought the bees would usually defend themselves against a wax moth infestation? I didn't see any wax moths when I visted three weeks ago. How fast can wax moth wipe out a hive?

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Hive swarmed

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloverdale View Post
    Wax moth infestation can make the bees abscond.
    Doesn't it usually take some bad event causing a population drop to set the scene for wax moths to take over? My son has wax moth but I have none here in northern Ontario. He does not have problems as long as a colony is strong. Dunno.
    Frank

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Hive swarmed

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFuzz View Post
    I can't recall if I checked the brood chamber for queen activity. It's shocking to me that I had a good strong healthy hive, then not even a few weeks later the hive swarmed. Could me visiting the hive, opening it up trigger them to swarm? Maybe they were already planning on doing so because the queen didn't have enough space for eggs?
    i'm guessing the colony was queenless when you checked it and all the bees you saw were robbers.

    if so, you shouldn't have found much honey left in the hive nor any capped brood.

    once the honey was gone and with no bees left the wax moths had free reign.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Hive swarmed

    I personally have never had a wax moth problem; on a recent thread this was mentioned, bees absconding due to wax moth infestation, same with hive beetles. You have a timeline for the wax moth, they could have been there and you didn’t notice it. Maybe the hive swarmed and didn’t have enough bees to defend against wax moth. Put a strip of duct tape on your cover/lid and write brief notes on the status of the hive when you inspect. Keep the Sharpie pen in your car or with your tools.
    Proverbs 16:24

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Hive swarmed

    I think Crofter has it nailed. Wax moths cannot kill a hive or make it abscond on its own. It is an opportunist, and only gets the upper hand when a hive is very weak from other causes. J

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Hive swarmed

    I wish I could remember what thread it was; I just read it today that bees will abscond when their hive is overrun with wax moth and/or hive beetles, just like they will if overrun with varroa; I want to say that Western said this in the thread and was agreed with by another. I’ll try and find it.
    Proverbs 16:24

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Hive swarmed

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloverdale View Post
    I wish I could remember what thread it was; I just read it today that bees will abscond when their hive is overrun with wax moth and/or hive beetles, just like they will if overrun with varroa; I want to say that Western said this in the thread and was agreed with by another. I’ll try and find it.
    Duh, it was in this post; 8m losing it!
    Proverbs 16:24

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Hive swarmed

    Hi TheFuzz,

    I've had a Hive Abscond due to Hive Beetle, but not Wax Moth.
    Unlikely it was Wax Moth unless it was very weak.

    There are no Varroa Mites in Australia.

    Another cause for this situation could be that the Hive did swarm and had a number of after swarms until there were very few bees left to defend the comb.
    Then the Wax Moth invaded the Hive.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Hive swarmed

    So, the ultimate question - how often to get into the brood nest, especially when collecting honey? those supers are a pain to lug off. And what are ya looking for in there anyways?!!

    I don't want to leave a hive queenless for long, and so I want to know if they have a queen. If they swarmed, I want to know, because I consider that to be heritable behavior, and I want to select for bees that don't swarm when I super properly. So I check for eggs every 14 days - in a big hive, it is hard to find the queen, so I use the presence of eggs as a proxy. And I write that down. I also write down if the brood pattern looked solid, if there were stores near the brood nest, and if I harvest honey, or add a frame, and from where... because I keep thinking back a month or so later, "when did I? Why did I...?" and I gotta write it down!!!!

    I write down things that I will reference later. Yes eggs 14 days ago, no eggs now? They swarmed or are superceding the queen, better either requeen with a nuc, or watch closely to be sure a new queen made it back - check in 7-10 days, no procrastinating.

    Few signs of nectar/honey around the brood nest? Oh dear, it's a dearth. I would take off the honey, cuz their summer honey is for me, and I might even start to feed to keep their strength up for the fall flow. What was the state of the outer frame/above the frame last time I visited? Ideally I wrote it down, cuz I sure won't remember!!!!

    I have a webpage with inspection tips, its on this page, http://www.chickabuzz.com/bees/index_survival.html , which might help you decide what to note, and why you're noting it, and what you're looking for when you inspect. So you can avoid that "Whaaaa? What happened?" feeling.

  19. #18
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    Default

    Has anyone seen a real swarm yet this year? My hives are jam packed here in northeast FL

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Hive swarmed

    Quote Originally Posted by trishbookworm View Post
    So, the ultimate question - how often to get into the brood nest, especially when collecting honey? those supers are a pain to lug off. And what are ya looking for in there anyways?!!
    Good advice as always, Trish. A lot of us (present company included) would do well to keep more detailed inspection records.

    Russ
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Hive swarmed

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    Good advice as always, Trish. A lot of us (present company included) would do well to keep more detailed inspection records.

    Russ
    I have a little cheepo pocket digital recorder that I talk into as I inspect hives (I know, you with smartphones can use that, but I don't care if I get propolis on my pocket recorder) - then I transcribe into a log when I get home. As long as you mention the date, you can go a while before doing the transcription.

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