I went out to check my hive and all my bees were dead. I think it was wax moths. What can I salvage from the hive without affecting me when I hive a new package of bees. Also I have one deep box that is loaded with honey. Is it any good?
Wax moths tend to become a problem after the colony weakens so I'd look close to see if you have any signs of disease first. After that, clean out the frames a bit and let the new package clean out the rest. Yes, you can use the honey so long as you don't have disease. Also, be certain that your wax moth problem is solved. Deep freezing frames helps. So does a dose of BT sprayed on the comb.
I am not sure how to tell if there is any particular disease. I also live in northern utah. It has been below freezing every night for the last couple months. I think as far as the moths go, they should be dead. I just don't know how to assess whether I have an underlying disease problem. I do know that I wasn't able to get any honey last year for some reason I don't know, but maybe my colony was weak before going into the winter.
Could have been as simple as a queen problem or it could be more. Pull apart the hive and take a look. Do you have a lot of dead bees? Did they starve (heads in cells)? Was there uncapped brood? If so, did it look OK or like it was diseased (look up pics of AFB, etc.)? Did you see evidence of a heavy mite load or K-winged bees in the fall? Stuff like that. I'll bet you had a declining colony last fall...wax moths got a foot hold and it went down from there. Just a guess....
I did have a lot of bees with their heads in cells. As I tried to get as many of the bees off as possible I did pull lots of them out of the cells. I don't think this was because they were starved because my top deep box is still loaded with honey. But it looked like there were small little clusters in some of those spots with 15 or twenty bees which had died and a bunch with their heads in the cells under the cluster dead as well. I thought I may find the queen in those few clusters, but I could never find her. I do have some jpg. pictures I would love to send you so you could see, but I can't figure how to attach them on this site, or if it is even possible. I do think you may be right with what happend to my colony, but if I do have AFB, that was a problem and the moths finished them off along with the cold, I don't want to hive another package of bees and be in trouble from the get go. Let me know if I could email you the photos I took and see if you can see anything that may give us some insight.
I have attached a link to my blog where you can see pictures of damage to my hive. I would love some insight from anyone as This was my first winter with the hive. I have ordered a new package of bees for April, but I need to get this hive figured out before I either use it to hive my new bees, or destroy it if it's AFB and start over. Thanks for all your replies Ravenseye it has been very helpful.
i do not think there were enough healthy bees to keep the cluster going and warm. I see some capped brood cells. Did you pic them open and see what was underneath?
Did you notice any odd looking bees last fall that had "chewed out wings" were smaller than normal and a little slower on the ball? Did you notice any bees with just the heads out of the capped brood, they could not get out? The tongues would be stuck out in this case.
The frames also look short on pollen. I am thinking not enough protien and starvation, possible mite load in the fall
I did notice today as I was cleaning out all the bees that they all seemed to be very small. I didn't see any with just their heads sticking out. There were lots with their back end up. I didn't pull off any capped brood. I will do that tomorrow and report. I wasn't sure I would find any info by doing that. So you think the upper box that is loaded with honey will be all right to use when I rehive with bees. Also if I use those boxes do I go back to just one box starting out or should I put both boxes back together when I rehive?
A forum community dedicated to beekeeping, bee owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about breeding, honey production, health, behavior, hives, housing, adopting, care, classifieds, and more!