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First off this hive is a super on the bottom then a deep and a super on top.I can explain but this is my winter set up for this hive- good honey producer-In summer put honey supers on. When it gets down below 50 or 40 I put on sugar blocks. Checked hive when it was cold and they were eating it.Hive not real active butt cold. Checked about 2 weeks ago and didn’t see many bees. Hive has a lot of bees normally. Looked yesterday and NOTHING. Opened up hive and saw about 15 dead bees in comb.. started to take frames out but could not get a lot out because propulsion cold and frames stuck together with propulis. Noticed a good amount of honey loss ( some comb had small amount of fluid in them- honey?.NOTICED A LOT OF POLLEN. Some comb had a lot of scattered capped brood- some caps had a small hole in them - trying to hatch out. Took hive tool to some and theywere dry.. Lot of honey gone. Had a good supply. About 100 dead bees on bottom scream And it had not been cleaned out for awhile. Was not crowded by far. Capped brood left behind and some honey left but not much. Was cold when bees disapeared. I dont have a lot of space to store comb so I am just leaving frames in hive for the winter. That ok? Why would bees leave in cold and leave capped brood. Honey low and last check had a lot. Lots of pollen. Abscond in cold weather and fill up with honey. Had a warm day ( yesterday) 50 is why I opened yesterday. Two other hives seem good. Thank you for reading this, I REALLY appreciate your help
 

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I have had mite crashes before and there were dead bees all over the place. I just question this. We’re not even a lot of dead bees on bottom screen. I don’t use chemicals and do it by heat with mighty mite. Because of the “structure of my hive the second time I could not get temp up enough. Of course I did not do a mite count because I wasn’t going to treat again anyway. My bad. I had a tremendous mite bomb and dead bees were everywhere. If it was mites wouldn’t you see a lot of dead bees. On bottom scream. I am not saying you are wrong but wouldn’t I see a lot of dead bees. I definitely not saying you are wrong. Do bees fly out in the cold to die with mites. I respect your opinion . I will read anatomy of a mite crash and respond. I have great respect for your reply
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Thanks Grozzie. I was going to be a bit more blunt and just say that the bees did not abscond, they died from varroa. It is more common for there not to be many bees in the hive than to find a lot of dead ones.
 

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It is amazing to me what all gets blamed to the little Varroa mites. True, they deserve every penny of it, but there are more reasons why hive populations go down or dye-out completely.

How was the queen to summers end, did the hive just survive off the last eggs laid by this queen, without time for the hive to re-queen?

Was the queen unknowingly damaged, crushed during inspection?

How old was the queen?

A hive without queen will slowly disintegrate, simply becasue other hives will rob and the worker bees left will move to other hives, rather then dying a lonely death. They have adapted for millions of years without us guiding them.

I am probably getting beaten now for saying something against the 'old' bee gurus, but normally their is more to the story then just 'the mites did it'.
 

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I dont have a lot of space to store comb so I am just leaving frames in hive for the winter. That ok?
Good ideal if the temperatures stay below freezing, but as soon as they are not, the combs will be subject to wax moths. You will also need a mouse guard and/or number 8 hardware cloth to keep bees from robbing the remaining honey and mice out.
 
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1990 was the last year you could keep hives without treating for varroa. It doesn't seem like your mighty mite was very successful for you. I started to keep bees in 2012 and after losing colonies I started to use Oxalic acid as a vapor. I just did my last treatment 2 days ago while we had a 65 F day. I'm only about 125 miles west of you so we have the same weather pattern.

There are plenty of holiday sales on and I'll bet you can get a good price on a vaporizer!

Good luck to you in what ever you decide to do.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Dogmechanic, most anyone that has been keeping bees for any time at all has killed hives in the process of learning how to deal with varroa. When you have a lot of dead bees still in the hive, one of the paralysis viruses did them in. Usually, the bees fly out and die. I let nine hives die out this year and there were no bees left in any of them. In fact, I have only had one hive that died from varroa that had bees in it, and they were 2" deep on the screened bottom board. Very sad as some individual bees were still alive but unable to stay upright. I even brought them into the house to warm them up, but within a day they all died. The next year I bought my Provap 110.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Grozzie what your article says makes a lot of sense. I treat with heat for varroa but the hive was so big last time I didn’t get the heat up. I WISH I WAS NOT SO AFRAID TO USE CHEMICALS. I DONT WORRY ABOUT KILLING BEES. I WORRY ABOUT THE HONEY I SELL BEING CONTAMINATED. IF I THOUGHT I COUD USE CHEMICALS SAFELY I WOULD please give me some information I could look into so I could use chemicals that I thought were safe. It’s the honey I worry about although I know you use most chemicals when supers are off. I am a 72 year old veterinarian and have raised many type of animals invluding some endangered species. Didnt sell any of their products for human consumption. As a veterinarian all meat is inspected. If I thought chemicals were safe I would use them if not I quit bee keeping which I loved very much. Thanks and please help me if you can. People love my honey. I mean really love it. I want to know 100% percent if I raise honey with chemicals it will be as safe as no chemicals, Please reply, please
 

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The only time you need to use a miticide is after the honey is harvested. And for oxalic acid the recommended schedule for the northern states is winter, November-January. You do not have to open the hive to apply it. Oxalic acid is effective when the brood comb is empty. You can use formic acid earlier in the year. Both of these organic compounds occur in nature.


 

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It is amazing to me what all gets blamed to the little Varroa mites. True, they deserve every penny of it, but there are more reasons why hive populations go down or dye-out completely.

How was the queen to summers end, did the hive just survive off the last eggs laid by this queen, without time for the hive to re-queen?

Was the queen unknowingly damaged, crushed during inspection?

How old was the queen?

A hive without queen will slowly disintegrate, simply becasue other hives will rob and the worker bees left will move to other hives, rather then dying a lonely death. They have adapted for millions of years without us guiding them.

I am probably getting beaten now for saying something against the 'old' bee gurus, but normally their is more to the story then just 'the mites did it'.
If something had happened to the queen, such as being crushed during an inspection, would that necessarily lead to the loss of the entire colony? I assume since these are winter bees they would have the physiological ability to make it further into winter even in the absence of the queen. Is that accurate?
 

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The only time you need to use a miticide is after the honey is harvested.
That is an incorrect statement , there are many times people need to use a mite treatment before the harvest, areas with a strong fall flow come to mind as does lack of a spring treatment or management
 

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It is amazing to me what all gets blamed to the little Varroa mites. True, they deserve every penny of it, but there are more reasons why hive populations go down or dye-out completely.

How was the queen to summers end, did the hive just survive off the last eggs laid by this queen, without time for the hive to re-queen?

Was the queen unknowingly damaged, crushed during inspection?

How old was the queen?

A hive without queen will slowly disintegrate, simply becasue other hives will rob and the worker bees left will move to other hives, rather then dying a lonely death. They have adapted for millions of years without us guiding them.

I am probably getting beaten now for saying something against the 'old' bee gurus, but normally their is more to the story then just 'the mites did it'.
I have to agree with you on this "It is amazing to me what all gets blamed to the little Varroa mites. True, they deserve every penny of it, but there are more reasons why hive populations go down or dye-out completely."

Although for this particular posters hive it really does sound like mites.
 

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Horse Hockey. With everything else being equal, with 2 yards 4 miles apart, mites did NOT kill all the hives in one yards, and spare ALL the hives in the other. Miters kill slow thru the virus they vector. For years we have seen strong hives in Wisconsin on September 1st, and empty hives on Novenber 1st.. The bees fly off to die outside the hive. Most often Soybeans are the crop next to the beeyard.

Crazy Roland
 

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Checked about 2 weeks ago and didn’t see many bees. Hive has a lot of bees normally. Looked yesterday and NOTHING. Opened up hive and saw about 15 dead bees in comb....... Some comb had a lot of scattered capped brood- some caps had a small hole in them - trying to hatch out...... About 100 dead bees on bottom scream...... Capped brood left behind and some honey left .....
What you describe perfectly fits death by varroa. So, without seeing the hive I'm not going to say it was death by varroa. But what I can say is your description fits death by varroa, better than any other explanation.

A hive without queen will slowly disintegrate, simply becasue other hives will rob and the worker bees left will move to other hives...... but normally their is more to the story then just 'the mites did it'.
In this case, we know the hive was not without a queen, because it had brood, albeit dead. If a hive dies because it is queenless, the bee population only starts to drop after all brood has hatched. Once no more brood is hatching the population begins to drop due to no new replacement bees, and eventually the hive dies. As you correctly point out the final coup de gras may be by way of robbing, but that is usually well after all brood has emerged, cos the population is fine up to that point.

I have had mite crashes before and there were dead bees all over the place.
Lots of dead bees all over the place would indicate it was not mites that killed the hive, it was something else. Because bees dying of mite related causes leave the hive and crawl as far away as they can to die, it's a self sacrificing thing sick bees do, to try to save the hive. Lot's of dead bees in the hive mean it wasn't mites. EXCEPT if things were so cold the bees were locked in with no escape. But that requires temperatures well below freezing and probably snow. You say temperatures were 40 to 50, at that temperature bees dying of mite related viruses will leave the hive.

If it was mites wouldn’t you see a lot of dead bees.
No.

Do bees fly out in the cold to die with mites.
More likely crawl out.
 

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Mr. Palmer - with respect - I followed your key.. See if I did it right... No spotting at entrance,, Lift innercover and see no bees., Less than a pound of bees on bottom board.. .... and the answer is...... Cold ????? before the first frost.???
And I can add, most often brood was present, so they had a queen.

Crazy Roland
 

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Still using that "crazy" moniker

Reminds me of some fun old times with departed characters Roland 😂
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Hi Roland, I don't follow your line of thought. I have no problem with being wrong if that is where you were going. My wife says I am always wrong. I am used to it and take no offense. I also recognize that you have been keeping bees much longer than I have. I am glad you have stuck with us since so many of the most knowlegeable beekeepers have decided that Beesource is not worth their time. Maybe you really are crazy.
 
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