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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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First hive loss, 3rd year keeping bees. Bottom of hive full of the dead, plenty of stored honey, better part of two full mediums above brood box. Hive had an insulated ( 1.5”) jacket on for the winter, above the entrance and below the top cover to allow air movement, but no insulation under the top.. I found puddles of honey on top of the frames and green mold on the upper frames.. I’m guessing I’ve had a moisture / condensation issue but have attached ( hopefully) a photo of one of the frames from the brood chamber in case someone sees something I haven’t .. disease ? Foulbrood ... or something that would require more drastic action that a clean up and feeding the leftover honey back to the other hive ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply Michael, time to clean up the hive now .. such a shame, this was a new hive and was very strong coming into the winter, well protected, treated for mites and plenty of food. Difficult lesson to learn without knowing the cause .... ever onwards !
 

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I see a possible scenario that the uninsulated top of hive became the condensation focus rather than happening on the side walls. Result, water dripping down over cluster. With no apparent sign of brood the colony may have perished quite some time ago.

Did the dead bees appear to have blocked the entrance? Did you have lower entrance only?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Frank, I think you are probably correct, I should have installed an insulated top for the winter... lesson learned. The inner cover has a notch in it that the bees use as an entrance so although the lower entrance was indeed blocked with dead bees. I have a second hive next to the one that perished that has a similar set up and it survived. It was warm enough today for a full inspection although I didn’t see her I’m assuming the queen is still there as there is brood. The hive is however light on bees, with about two cups of dead on the bottom board. Those that are left are bringing in pollen and seem to going about their business as usual. I also though it was odd that most if not all of their activity is in the lower deep super, they don’t seem to have moved up through the frames during the winter as my other bee have always done. Perplexing. So today I added some leftover frames of honey for them, threw in a pollen patty and treated for mites ... fingers crossed.
 

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the symptoms you describe could also be Varroa Collapse.

-Small cluster, Ample honey stores,
-Stunted abdomens, deformed wings; mites visible on bees
-Partially emerged brood with tongues extended in lower hive body
(Premature death of adult bees reduced critical mass needed for thermoregulation in winter).

How do you manage Varroa?
what was your last mite count?
when did you last measure you mite levels?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Alex, I’m not sure it was the mites this time. Although I can’t remember the mite count ( missing log book ) it wasn’t an alarming number otherwise I’d have remembered. I treated the hive in the fall with MiteAway strips but hadn’t treated up to that point thinking ( incorrectly ? ) that a young colony would be harmed by the chemicals. When I opened the hive there were no bee alive, ample honey, no brood. This had been a very strong and incredibly productive colony going into the winter, I believe I made a terrible error not insulating the cover..
 

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Yes, more likely than not it was condensation. However, treatment in the fall (September or October) for verroa is too late in most locations. Winter bees are start being produced in August in many places. The mites destroy the bees immune system (fat body).
 

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Alex, I’m not sure it was the mites this time. Although I can’t remember the mite count ( missing log book ) it wasn’t an alarming number otherwise I’d have remembered. I treated the hive in the fall with MiteAway strips but hadn’t treated up to that point thinking ( incorrectly ? ) that a young colony would be harmed by the chemicals. When I opened the hive there were no bee alive, ample honey, no brood. This had been a very strong and incredibly productive colony going into the winter, I believe I made a terrible error not insulating the cover..
When did you treat for mites? Your profile is missing your location so I can't say when your treatments should start but I have found that treatment timing is critical for hive survival.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think I’ve just filled in my profile info ... Rhode Island .. I treated the hives in late September, when the colony was getting ready for the winter and I’d pulled the honey supers ..
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Dave, late Sept. is way too late. When do your hives go broodless? For me in Richmond it is mid October, so all the winter bees have been created by then.
 

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I agree that late September is too late for your area. I start my treatments typically the first week of August after the honey supers are pulled.
 

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It is both too late and too early! The winter bees should be raised by bees that are free of mite vectored disease. It can take several rounds of brood to get rid of the disease load after the mites have been killed. Early in August is the time to get a handle on mite numbers and prepare to treat. Honey supers can be removed or blocked off if treatment must be done.

End of September is too early to say good enough. Depending on the number of feral bees and surrounding kept bees, the colonies can become reinfected by drift and robbing. You may have to do another round of treatment and it is highly recommended to catch them with another treatment sometime after they have quit rearing brood. Perhaps late Nov.~ Dec.

I am painting the worst case scenario. You might not have to be as aggressive in your circumstances but if that is what it takes you have to decide whether you do it or deal with the alternative; dead outs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the invaluable feedback. Definitely too little to late and not enough solid information on my part. I spoke with my local supplier of all things bees and they start treatment about July 25 ( MiteAway I believe ) and an Avipar treatment November / December..Right now I have two Avipar strips in the brood box’s of my two remaining hives which I plan to remove in a fortnight and will to follow that with MiteAway in July and another Avipar treatment November / December.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Whoa! That is a lot of treating, and not cheap either. Apivar is a six to eight week treatment and the strips need to be out two weeks before the supers go on. MAQS is very temperature sensitive. I thought RI got hot in July? Maybe someone near you on Beesource will share their treatment timing but I think you want MAQS in the spring or fall since it can be used during a flow, and Apivar in early August if it is needed. You might want to consider OAV, cheap, effective, and can be applied anytime the supers are not on, under current guidelines.
 

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First hive loss, 3rd year keeping bees. Bottom of hive full of the dead, plenty of stored honey, better part of two full mediums above brood box. Hive had an insulated ( 1.5”) jacket on for the winter, above the entrance and below the top cover to allow air movement, but no insulation under the top.. I found puddles of honey on top of the frames and green mold on the upper frames.. I’m guessing I’ve had a moisture / condensation issue but have attached ( hopefully) a photo of one of the frames from the brood chamber in case someone sees something I haven’t .. disease ? Foulbrood ... or something that would require more drastic action that a clean up and feeding the leftover honey back to the other hive ...
I also lost a hive using an insulated winter wrap/jacket. When I went to check, I knew I messed up, because the wrap drooped down and covered the entrance and smothered the bees. I didn't nailed a nail above the opening as recommended by the manufacturer. The hive had a good population.. Not saying this happened in your case. Also, I used hemosote board on all my hives, which absorbed most of the moisture.
 

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Thanks for all the invaluable feedback. Definitely too little to late and not enough solid information on my part. I spoke with my local supplier of all things bees and they start treatment about July 25 ( MiteAway I believe ) and an Avipar treatment November / December..Right now I have two Avipar strips in the brood box’s of my two remaining hives which I plan to remove in a fortnight and will to follow that with MiteAway in July and another Avipar treatment November / December.
I live in NW NJ with an USDA zone of 6A. My last treatment with Apivar went in September 15, which allowed treatment up to the first or second week of November when they become broodless. I also did an OAV in December, just to be sure. I had 11 full hives and 4 nuc size hives go into winter and only one perished, because it was smothered by the winter wrap. Oh, as some SHB overwintered with the bees, so keep an eye on that.
 
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