Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Last year was my first year of beekeeping and everything went well until suddenly it didn't. So like the title says, is there anything that I need to do to my hive before the new batch of bees move in? Can I use it? Should I leave everything in it? There is comb, pollen, and honey that could be used.
If i need to clean it out, to what level? Just get rid of the current comb? Get rid of the frames? Burn it all and start fresh?
Thanks for your help
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
457 Posts
First off, welcome!

Before repopulating your hive it's important to discover why your hive may have died. Colony Collapse Disorder isn't "really" a thing. Typically we're able to find out exactly happened and only by doing that, can we prevent it from happening again.

For example, if you had a brood disease you'd need to dispose of all the old equipment. - Found evidence of mite droppings on the back of cells and mixed in with dead bees, you can reuse everything again and learn to treat or treat differently.

https://www.beverlybees.com/how-to-autopsy-a-honey-bee-colony/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,789 Posts
Welcome.
I think that the first thing to realize is that your hive didn't fail due to colony collapse disorder.
You might go to your profile and add your location as it can help others decide what responses are appropriate to your location.
Personally, I expect that all of your equipment is reusable including the wax comb, unless it has been damaged by wax moths.
Second, I would recommend that you find a local beekeepers group or better yet an experienced mentor to help you avoid the same failure next year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
405 Posts
Your hive has about a 99% chance of having died from varroa mites. Learn what they are, how to monitor for them, and figure out how you're going to deal with them (what kind of treatment you will use). They're lots of different treatments out there I use Formic acid and OAV.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I'm pretty sure it was not varroa. I did test for them using the sugar shake method and the highest number I saw was 2mites per 300 bees.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
457 Posts
I'm pretty sure it was not varroa. I did test for them using the sugar shake method and the highest number I saw was 2mites per 300 bees.
Sugar shake isn't very effective. It doesn't properly dislodge the mites. If you got 2 with the sugar shake method you probably had 10x that which didn't fall off. This is why most have switched from the sugar shake to the alcohol wash.

I'm guessing you never treated for mites?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
That link is great, but unfortunately not helpful enough in my case. There was pollen and honey available, only a few dead bees on the ground with no deformities, not enough mites or other pests to kill a very healthy looking (to me)hive. I dont think, it was cold or condensation but am not sure how to be certain. No mold is present. There are a few capped brood cells left but not many, maybe 8 in the hive and there are no holes in the caps.
When I was getting the hive ready for winter I went from two deeps and a medium down to a deep and a medium. There were lots of bees in the hive and I remember wondering if there were TOO many and they might have left for a bigger hive. The other local beekeeper I know said that it was unlikely due to the coming cold.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,334 Posts
Hi, as mentioned above Varroa will compromise the honey bees immune system, which weakens the bee. This allows diseases like brood bacterias’ (AFB, EFB) and viruses CBPV, IABV, etc) and microsporidian diseases like nosema cerana to creep in. Some of these you will not see in your dead hives, like n. cerana, some of the viruses etc. even with an experienced beek helping you to diagnose what happened. Bacteria spores like American Foulbrood stay in the honey and in equipment; spores of n. cerana are in the wax and on frames and equipment. I err on the safe side because some of these situations I have experienced. Take a look at Randy Olivers site scientificbeekeeping.com Sorry if I sound alarming, but there is much to learn and do when keeping honey bees that new beekeepers just don’t know about when they start. There is much information and experience on this site so you have started well. Happy reading!
Deb
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I did not treat for mites. I had not read that the sugar was not effective so this year I will try both to see. I did not have many dead mites on the bottom board, shouldnt there be a bunch if they were why the hive died out?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
457 Posts
Exactly. It's not always the mites themselves that kill the hive - it's what they introduce into the hive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
457 Posts
I did not treat for mites. I had not read that the sugar was not effective so this year I will try both to see. I did not have many dead mites on the bottom board, shouldnt there be a bunch if they were why the hive died out?
You said there weren't a lot of bees in the hive. When something is wrong with a worker bee she will fly away to die. If yours were infected with something they may have flown away to protect the hive, with the mite in tow. As such, you wouldn't see a lot of mites. Look in the bottom of the brood cells for white mite droppings, especially in open drone brood.

Regardless, I'd plan on treating in the future. I don't see any mites and my mite drop is VERY low...but I'll do an OAV treatment and get 50 or more within 24 hours. They are there, and always more than we think.
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
5,796 Posts
Bigdave, welcome to Beesource. When a colony dies for no apparent reason, it is usually varroa or one of the diseases they vector. New beepeers are always reluctant to acknowledge this, but it is a scenario that plays out time and time again. That you did not treat almost guarantees that it WAS varroa. There is a wealth of information on this site that will teach you to identify and deal with the problems you will encounter. Take any information you derive from watching Youtube videos with some skepticism. Even some of the well known names have old videos out there that are no longer accurate. Sugar shake, FGMO, etc. just simply do not work. Best of luck with the new bees you are getting and feel free to post any questions you have. We are all here to help.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,444 Posts
welcome to beesource dave!

check out this page and scroll down about half way to find the picture of 'guanine deposits':

http://scientificbeekeeping.com/first-year-care-for-your-nuc/

look carefully at your brood comb and see if you find any there.

also, if there is still some capped brood, pull some out with a tweezers and look for deformed wings, stunted abdomens, or any other deformities.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,789 Posts
A very good resource is Randy Oliver's site scientificbeekeeping.com
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Well I have learned a ton of information in my first year, and I still have a lot more to learn. Thanks for all you input, i really appreciate it.
In the future I will be more on the ball about those darned mites. Through the year I didnt see any problems with any of the diseases I have read about, and didnt see the mite levels high enough to be concerned about, (according to my reading material) so I thought happy thoughts and assumed all was well. I'll get those suckers this year!!
Thanks again for the help and reference material!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Bigdave, welcome to Beesource. When a colony dies for no apparent reason, it is usually varroa or one of the diseases they vector. New beepeers are always reluctant to acknowledge this, but it is a scenario that plays out time and time again. That you did not treat almost guarantees that it WAS varroa. There is a wealth of information on this site that will teach you to identify and deal with the problems you will encounter. Take any information you derive from watching Youtube videos with some skepticism. Even some of the well known names have old videos out there that are no longer accurate. Sugar shake, FGMO, etc. just simply do not work. Best of luck with the new bees you are getting and feel free to post any questions you have. We are all here to help.
I am also new to beekeeping and lost my hive. I did not treat for mites either. I have ordered 4 new packs of bees for this year and the treatment for the mites. Can I reuse my existing comb and honey that is in the old hive? It is very heavy. There are not a lot of dead bees in the hive. but a lot of weight.........
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,444 Posts
Last year was my first year of beekeeping and everything went well until suddenly it didn't. So like the title says, is there anything that I need to do to my hive before the new batch of bees move in? Can I use it? Should I leave everything in it? There is comb, pollen, and honey that could be used.
If i need to clean it out, to what level? Just get rid of the current comb? Get rid of the frames? Burn it all and start fresh?
Thanks for your help
to your original post, while varroa mites are at the top of the list of suspects there are other possible reasons why your colony didn't make it.

before using the equipment again i would consider letting an experienced beekeeper take a good look at what's left, more than anything to rule out american foul brood, which make require sampling some of the brood comb.
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
5,796 Posts
So which is the "proper" way? Those two sites have fairly different ways of doing a sugar shake. 2 min. vs 4 min. Shake vigorously vs. let stand. Heck, a lot of beeks can't even do an alcohol wash properly. I just learned the right way from the state inspector.
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top