started beekeeping last spring after reading all winter and spring with 3 hives all hives were nucs.
My first hive died in late august the hive never really thrived, I believe it was mainly due to having a poor queen she never had a good laying pattern. The hive population started to decline mid July and was done by late August. My second hive died this week I believe from what I am reading is that it was mostly due to starvation and a very deep onset of cold last week. The hive was 2 deep supers 1 super was 85 percent full in the fall and the second was 40 percent full. I treated the hive with apiary strips for mites for 6 weeks in the fall and also fed a 2 to 1 sugar syrup until the middle of November. I placed an 18 pound sugar cake on the top super at the end of November. Upon a hive inspection today the weather was 54 degrees and cloudy the hive had no outside activity so I opened it up and found all bees were dead many were in head first into cells and there was still a small amount of honey on some frames still capped. Approximately 1/4 of the sugar had been consumed. The hive had no noticeable odor. The dead bees were located at various places around the hive as well as a large amount on the bottom screen board. No wax moths or hive beetles were present and there had been a mice guard on since late august so no signs of mice or other vermin were present. The third hive also was set up exactly as the second hive and seems to be doing well. I have not done an internal inspection due to the rain and overcast but the bees were very active. What should I be looking for and how can I help my last hive survive the rest of the winter. I am located in the Hudson Valley area of New York.
Not much to see here. With no insulation at the corners I question the value of that type of protection. A picture of the frames where the last of the bees lived would be helpful. If you can't find such a place, The hive was probably queenless in September and died out early. Out of curiosity you could do an alcohol wash of your dead and see how many varroa were present. Losing bees is always unpleasant. Unless you find capped brood with perforations there is no harm in reusing the equipment and even that is only a small indicator of trouble. Pictures of such and an experienced beek to have hands on would be required to really determine if you have any problem to worry about.
I won't guess at the cause of death but I will say that if your only treatment for mites was in the fall with Apivar strips, you treated too late. It seems to be a common mistake with people thinking that if the mites are taken care of just before winter, they will be mite free during overwintering. This may be true, but what you want is a couple brood cycles of relatively mite free healthy bees going into winter. These are your winter bees that you need to be healthy to survive the winter months. J
Its hard to tell exactly what happened from the handful of photos....it appears the population was small...why that is could be for a variety of reasons some of which others have already mentioned. Something that might be useful is to consult one of the hive autospy flowcharts....I know we have one in the Resources section of our website at www.capitalbeesupply.com and there are other ones that people have created if you Google around. The dilemma is that one has to look at the totality of all the things that went on through the year and at best we all would be guessing at the real cause based on the info and photos so far...that is where a chart might get you to a more direct answer since you have the hive right there. The three main causes typically are mites/mite vectored viruses, low population/inadequate thermal mass and lack of food stores.......
Thank you all for your information I will be checking the hive autopsy flow charts and see what I can determine. Ido know of one mistake I made that makes all of this harder being a new keep I did all my inspections on video and never transcribed to either a computer or a simple note pad. Lost phone lost all my info that being said I will be recording and transcribing each inspection.
Did you insulate the hive cover? What was the moisture situation in the hive? Insulating the sides does not do much but insulating the top is important to prevent condensation from dripping on the bees. Wet bees are dead bees. Hard to tell if that was the case from these pictures.
hive was wrapped and insulated with one inch of styrofoam top cover had two inches of foam well ventilated no signs of moisture mildew or wet bees. The hive was active two weeks before the severe cold snap
Anytime you have a lot of dead bees on the bottom board, look for dead Varroa mites. Look in the brood cells for mite feces (little white specks). Look to see if the cluster was in contact with stores. Look for AFB scale in brood cells (black/gray scale).
not starvation and not moisture or cold from the pics. The 2nd to last pic does look to have mite fras in the cells
-> probably PMS i would guess but a few closer up straight down shots of the combs so we can see clearly into the cells would help.
Comb has unfortunately been cleaned and brushed before putting into my chest freezer for use in the spring. I treated with Apivar the first week in October for 6 weeks with the 2 strips per deep. The treatment was newly purchased and unopened I did see a large amount of mites on bottom sticky board for first two weeks of treatment and it slowly declined from that point and by large count I would approximated 4 per 100 and by the end 1.5 per 100 and that as I said was an estimate. I am planning on reusing the comb for my spring bees it has no foul odor or coloring no sign of disease that I could tell
I use Apivar in the spring before the honey flow it gives you a very low mite population at the start of the season. do your mite checks during the summer and they need a low mite count before they start making the winter bees. I treat again in the first week of august. then I give them a shot of OAV before it gets to cold last year it was october 30. and all ways rotate treatments. I use 4 different treatments.
yes, too late treatment. you may have had low mites going into winter, but your winter bees were compromised. those 'long-lived' bees are reared in august/September. that's when you need to ensure that mite counts are low.
looks like they were well ventilated. the wrap is intended to absorb the heat of the sun. placing styrafoam insulation over the wrap counteracts your efforts.
best thing to do for your remaining hive is to ensure they have food. and develop a treatment plan moving forward. good luck!
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