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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last Saturday 2/29/2020 My dad went to check our bees. Multiple hives had honey and absolutely no bees. Not even dead bees. It's like they just left. No signs of mites or moths. Just gone. Same thing happened earlier in the year and he had a specialist take samples in order to complete a pathology report. Anybody have the same experience. The wheels of universities spin slowly. Been waiting a while. Though maybe someone had the same experience and could point us in the right direction.
Thanks in advance.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Mites. 99.44% sure. Even if you treated at some point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
We did treat for mites but it was end of fall 2018. I just think there is something we are missing. Thanks though.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Eknight74, I just realized that was your first post, so let me welcome you to Beesource. Please take a moment and read "Anatomy of a Mite Crash".
https://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?347723-Anatomy-of-a-mite-crash
See if any of this looks familiar. Mites and the diseases they vector are the #1 cause of hive failures and almost all disease related deaths can be traced back to them. The exceptions are the foulbrood diseases but they are fairly rare, thank God. Moisture issues and starvation round out the top three, but they typically leave a pile of dead bees in the hive.
 

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Actually I am located in Kentucky USA
When you have a chance, go to your profile and add your location. That way when you ask or offer advice, it gives folks a better perspective.
What sort of mite treatment and when did you do it? A lot of us get pretty fixated on mites. You've described a common set of symptoms for a mite driven collapse.
Also, if you can post photos of the brood comb...try to get some close ups. That might help.
 

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Welcome to beescource.

I have to agree with JWPalmer. Here's my experience. In 2017 I did an oxalic acid dribble in December. That was the only thing I did that year. In 2018 I lost 8 out of 13 colonies in June and July. Since that time I treat and treat and treat. I'm seeing people say that they use oxalic acid vaporization monthly. They also say their varroas counts are 1's or 0. I was using a sugar shake to check. This year I bought a Varroa test shaker to use alcohol. I know I will loose 300 bees each time I check them but that's better than losing the whole colony.

Good Luck to you.
 

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Believe it or not even treated bees die (mainly because of lack of treatment). When was the last time you saw the colony (alive & not robbers) flying prior? What did the pathology results show earlier in the year for the others? No signs of mites is always & red flag to me, because usually there is ALways signs of mites:D Seen in brood (hopefully not one bees), or counted prior & post treatments, or even to see if treatments are warranted. Some call this “the bees absconded”, but I never call it this unless I see it. More likely a might crash as pointed out:eek: How did the hives originate?
 

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The bees left, is always a red flag to me. They left, implies they went somewhere. Occasionally the case but usually not. Death by mites, depending on weather at the time, can leave a hive pretty much empty other than food stores. I guess it could look like they left.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
All the hives were caught wild or created from hives that swarmed that we already owned. Dad checks them religiously. This winter he even checked them because we had some really warm spells. All was well. Candy boards on no evidence of mites. Then he checked and they were just gone. They left a hive full of honey behind. No dead bees. Thanks to all who provided articles to read and things to think about and/or check on. I appreciate it.
 

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No signs of mites is always & red flag to me, because usually there is ALways signs of mites
Pretty much true for me, but this last year was unusual in that I didn't see one mite even with alcohol wash. A miracle I guess. So, it is possible to find a hive with no visible mites. I imagine there were mites there somewhere, but the wash failed to find them. Drone brood cut open was also mite-free.
 

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We did treat for mites but it was end of fall 2018. I just think there is something we are missing. Thanks though.
Sorry about your bees.

What was your treatment of choice?

Alex
 

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You last treated for mites at the end of fall 2018, well over a year ago. If you waited to treat until the end of fall, it was already too late. The hive was then struggling with weakened winter bees. The mites had an entire year and then some to finish off the colony. There's little doubt at all. That's almost certainly a mite crash.
I would like to ask what signs of mites you or your dad were looking for? Were you doing alcohol washes or sugar shake mite counts? Removing drone brood? I only ask because if you were looking for mites actually on the bees, that's a bad way to go. By the time you see mites hanging on the bees, it's way too late.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I asked dad to be sure. He treated them again in December. I wasn’t aware of that when originally made my post.

He also stated that until the treatment in 2018 he never treated with any chemical treatment he only used wintergreen essential oil tee tree essential oil and an antibiotic that is no longer made. Ten years without any troubles with mites and then he switched to chemical type treatments and now we are at 2 hives. We have planned to basically build up again. Thank you to everyone who offered advice and guidance.
 

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OK, you say all was going well for ten years until you changed the treatment regime. Then after that you lose all the bees, twice.

That must beg the question, what did you change the treatment to? Maybe it's no good. What treatment was used?

The other thing, your Dad checks for mites. But, how? Just have a look and see if he can find any, or what?
 

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It sounds like your dad might want to study the life cycle of varroa. For any treatment to be effective it must also be properly timed. Late fall and December still miss the window of opportunity. You might suggest that he spend a little time at Randy Oliver’s website scientificbeekeeping.com
It can be a bit complex but once one understands the interaction of the bees’ lifecycle and that of varroa it will gel.
Good luck.
 
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