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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
When I open my hive this spring, I was faced with all dead bees, plenty of honey still in place, some frames that looked fine and then some that had what looked like small granular stuff (dead larvae?), other cells that looked like pollen, others that looked like honey. Any help on what is going on? I thought it was foul brood....but it doesn't particularly smell (except for dead bee smell) and the 'stringy" test didn't seem to indicate it.

I have some pictures but can't figure how to get them from jpg to pdf to upload.

I guess I'd like advice on what it is.... And whether I can use the frames that look OK again or should I just burn everything.

Advice?

Photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobhaak/
 

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My first suspicion is always Varroa so I look for dead Varroa on the bottom board and Varroa feces in the cells (little white specs in the brood cells). If it doesn't look like Varroa I'd look for the cluster. If there really is none, then I would suspect Tracheal mites. If they are scattered all over. If they have no stores, of course, I assume they starved. If they have some but are not in contact with them, I assume they "cold starved" that is got stuck away from stores and couldn't or wouldn't get to them.
 

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I've been looking at your photos and am assuming that you're questioning the white stuff that more or less fills the cells.

My question to you is, did you feed dry sugar to them? If so, it appears to me that they packed the dry sugar into cells, as they would pollen. And, without adequate moisture inside the hive, were unable to use it. Or, they clustered away from the honey and sugar, and weren't able to access it due to the cold, and starved. I'm puzzled by the pollen stored more toward the center of the frame, closer to the center than the stored sugar, if that's what it is. Did you feed dry sugar early in the fall, before the last pollen source finished blooming?

Either way, in my opinion, it's not disease. These frames will probably be able to be used again, but I'd rely on someone knowledgeable who can see them in person.

DS
 

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The white stuff is most definately crystilized honey/sugar and the pollen looks normal.

The dead bees if indeed where head first..in "clumps" suggest starvation which could happen even if there's plenty of honey in the hive, but is not accessable to the bees..ie out of reach from the main cluster. A picture of the bees would be helpful

Either way...The frames are safe to use over
 

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I had the same white granules in my hives. I took the pictures to meetings etc. I've concluded that it's nectar that never dried enough to be capped then crystallized. I actually tasted some :rolleyes:, it's sweet. I wouldn't imagine that it had anything to do with the die out.
 

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I'd actually suggest that. TASTE it. See if it's sugar. That'll give you your answer. The only time you wouldn't want to do this is if you suspect that the bees died off because of poison. (Which would be identified typically by a PILE of dead bees in front of the entrance, dead bees and larva in all stages with their tongues hanging out, etc.) Give it a shot. There's nothing in there that'll hurt you.
 

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My first suspicion is always Varroa so I look for dead Varroa on the bottom board and Varroa feces in the cells (little white specs in the brood cells). .
And if there is any sealed brood left at all, look for bees that died while emerging. These are fully formed adults. Often with their tongues sticking out. Did them out with a pocket knife. They should have fully formed wings. Their abdomens should be at least as long as the wings. They shouldn't look like these...with stumpy abdomens and shriveled wings.

 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
OK.... I guess I trust you guys.... tasting it is not something I would have thought to do... If you never hear from me again, you'll know some bee/humans virus jumping has occurred!
 
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