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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So it looks like I lost my three hives to starvation. I went to feed my bees pollen patties today and dicovered their demise. :cry: They all died in clusters with honey around them and there were full frames of honey throughout the hives. Under the clusters were bees head first into the frames dead. Why would they have starved if there was still honey around them and on frames in the hives? :scratch: I checked through some of the bees looking for mites but did not find any. Any thoughts??? Thanks

Eileen
 

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How big were the clusters? Doesn't sound like starvation to me.
 

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I have 80% loss here, finding the same thing, small dead or almost dead clusters surrounded by honey. I also have a few hives that have lost their will to fly. A small cluster of live bees is there with a queen but no flight activity.
 

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What were your mite counts like last year?
What were they like in the spring of 2009?
The summer of 2009? near the end of Summer?
How about into fall?
Did you treat and with what? What were the temps like when you treated? What date did you treat?

Did you feed and pollen or syrup?

What was your nosema count like? Spring and fall?

What did you observe in your hive last fall? l

Did you see signs of DWV last fall? or even last summer?

Without some or most of these questions answered, hard to give a difintive reason. However, judging on what i read, I figure you had bad varroa in the summer, and in the fall. Bees with shortened life span because of varroa, and maybe nosema got a foot hold with the already weakened bees.

Monitor monitor, monitor.
 

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You can monitor, you can treat, you can feed pollen supplement, you can feed syrup but the sad thing is in the end you can still find that small cluster of bees or no bees at all. SAD:( All my hives went to CA for almonds except 2, which have been more like pets. Those 2 hives(Dbl deep with insulated shallow super screened on top and bottom for ventilation on top of the deeps) were both 6-8 frames of bees at 30 deg F when I popped open the covers(insulated super) to check stores before I went to CA. When I was gone there was a warm spell and I thought great, they get to do cleansing flights. I got back a week ago and it was near 40 deg F so I went out, popped them open, and they were dead. Both had queens. I verified that by seeing fresh eggs and visually seeing the dead queen in each hive. Bees were scattered all over in the hive dead with an area the size of a large grapefruit on 3 frames of clustered dead bees. Both hives had frames of honey left, granulated sugar above them on newspaper and honey right up to the cluster. It got warm and most of the bees scrambled out to die because what was left of bees in the hive was half or less what was in there 2 wks prior. These 2 hives have been in the same spot for 2 yrs. They survived last winter and made good honey last summer comparing them to what my average production was on the other 800 +/- hives.
 

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You can monitor, you can treat, you can feed pollen supplement, you can feed syrup but the sad thing is in the end you can still find that small cluster of bees or no bees at all. SAD:(
I agree, and yet I disagree.
When and how someones treats is as important as treating. Treating when mite loads gets to high is too late. The damage is done, the bees are "walking dead". Brood damage is already done as well. So if these bees are the winter cluster, and they have been damaged due to mite infestation, it is no wonder the bees died. Bees that have been damaged in the brood have a shorter life span and are weaker than healthy bees. Add in the stress of not being able to cleanse regularly, and weather, and cold and you have a recipe for disaster...it's in the timing...
 

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I added to my above post while Honeyshack replied back but here is what I did.
My mite treatment was Sept. 2 for those 2 hives. Still had a nectar flow going from golden rod and frost aster but I had pulled their honey supers so they could fill up for winter. I also fed them after the flow stopped to ensure they had plenty and they had brood in the bottom deep and the top deep was plugged full. In the beginning of Oct they still had brood. Alcohol wash showed 1 mite in 1 hive and 0 in the other. Pollen was/is still in the frames they were clustered on and around them
 

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Sorry to hear about your struggles, I know it can be very discouraging when you try to do everything you can and then see this happen.

Out of curiosity, I wonder if you all could tell me a little about your queens.
Italian, NWC ... ?
When did you get them ... from what state?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sorry to hear about your struggles, I know it can be very discouraging when you try to do everything you can and then see this happen.

Out of curiosity, I wonder if you all could tell me a little about your queens.
Italian, NWC ... ?
When did you get them ... from what state?

Hi Mike, The queens were Italians all 3 from Georgia
my hives were treated in the spring of 2009 and fall 2009 with Apiguard & treated for Nosema with Fumidil B. I treated all hives while the temps were still in the low 60's. 2 Hives were new hives in April of 2009 bears attacked and I added more bees to build up because 3/4 were eaten/dead from bears. The original hive would have been 3yrs next week. Mite counts were very low and alomost none on the 2 new hives. there were no signs of wing diseases.
Thanks for everyones input
 

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Hard to say Eileen. I combined six colonies to four last fall. One of the combined hives died in December. The rest were flying yesterday although one was on the weak side. Haven't checked my off site colony yet. Was there any brood at all? Do you think they died recently?
 

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Hi Mike, The queens were Italians all 3 from Georgia
my hives were treated in the spring of 2009 and fall 2009 with Apiguard & treated for Nosema with Fumidil B. I treated all hives while the temps were still in the low 60's. 2 Hives were new hives in April of 2009 bears attacked and I added more bees to build up because 3/4 were eaten/dead from bears. The original hive would have been 3yrs next week. Mite counts were very low and alomost none on the 2 new hives. there were no signs of wing diseases.
Thanks for everyones input
One person's low count is another person's walking dead and damaged brood...what were your numbers?
Did you apiguard work? Spring #'s as well as summer #'s and pre and post treatment numbers in the fall...
Here, spring is 1% and in the fall pre sept 15 <5% and post sept 15th <10% for winter survival...That said, that is healthy bees with no pressure from nosema, no pressure from diseases.

Walking dead, could be either mites, could be a virus, could be nosema cerana infection which does not always show dysentry.

Sorry about the bear, that could have added presure, however if they were attacked in April, you should have known by August 15th if the # of young bees and brood were enough to make a good cluster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I used apiguard & Fumidil B in the spring and in the fall. Temps were in the 60's while treating. the 2 new hives were treated 2 weeks after putting packages in the hives. This year I did not wrap hive which I wrapped by first hive previous year. I fed 1-1 sugar water in the fall starting sept 10th until the end of november then put pollen patties in all three hives in January. The queens are from GA and are Italian queens. I am in the Northeast in Mass. I still have not found the dead Queens in my hives. I did notice quite a few queen cells they were empty. :scratch: They were not there when I extracted honey in September.

Now, I need to figure out what to do next. I ordered my new packages and they will not be here until the end of April. I think I may replace queens with Northeast raised queens. Should I use Carni's or Italians? What should I do with the honey and the drawn out frames & Pollen stores? Do I need to clean everything from the hives before adding bees? Should I harvest the honey for consumption? What Now? Thanks all for your input! I appreciate all!

Eileen
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hard to say Eileen. I combined six colonies to four last fall. One of the combined hives died in December. The rest were flying yesterday although one was on the weak side. Haven't checked my off site colony yet. Was there any brood at all? Do you think they died recently?
Hi Jeff
I think it may have been recently because I have had bees flying on the warmer days in January and even recovered a few in the snow on my deck thawed them out and returned them to the hives :lpf: A little extreme I know and would wrap on the hives and hear them buzzing. It looks like the older bees died alot earlier than the younger ones. The new brood were the ones head first in the empty combs and clustered around them.
 

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sounds like it could be they got too cold due to lack of bee count, or possibly pesticides? if there werent many bees then they probably got too cold. could be any number of things though, we lost a few hives this year as well, one had about an inch of dead bees inside the hive covering the bottom, no sign of mites or anything.......
 

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Sorry about the loss. Weak bees in the fall....maybe small clusters and then cold starved? I had an off year with queens and maybe you did too. Even worried about AFB for a bit. Don't have to tell you what a bad spring it was. Rick has some packages left to order for April I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hi Jeff
Thanks, Yes it is a tough year. Sorry you lost some also. I still have honey for you to try out from fall. I loved it, so yummy :)

I need to figure out what to do next. I ordered my new packages from Rick and they will not be here until April 28. I think I may replace queens with Northeast raised queens. Should I use Carni's or Italians? What should I do with the honey and the drawn out frames & Pollen stores? Do I need to clean everything from the hives before adding bees? Should I harvest the honey for consumption? What Now? Thanks all for your input! I appreciate all!

Eileen
 

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You might want to try Carni's. I like them but I'm not real particular. My best queens have always been mutts and I don't do anything special. You know me...I'm hardly home enough!

When I check a dead out, I just brush the bees..as best I can...from the comb. I clean up the frames a bit...propolis and stuff and weed out old or bad comb. I clean off the bottom board and also do maintenance on the woodenware. I let the new bees take care of the rest. I do check the frames and comb carefully for hints at what may have gone wrong. One year, I had a terrible condensation problem and I found moisture and mildew all over the inside. You can use the stores for your new bees and they'll love it. I never harvest from a deadout. The honey crystallizes quite quickly anyway. You might want to button up the hive or move the stores to a safe place so you won't get robbed out before your new packages come in. I store frames safely and then place them equally among the newly packaged colonies. Oh...I did catch a swarm two years ago without trying. It might have even been from one of my own hives. They just moved right into a deadout box and I found them when I went to hive a new package. It was a nice surprise.

Let me know if you need anything!
 
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