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Discussion Starter #1
I got into my hive thoroughly for the first time today to move some deep frames around. I started it in late April with a nuc from BeeWeaver, which came with deep frames. I am using all medium equipment, so made a 3" shim which I placed on the bottom of the hive. This enabled me to place the deep frames in my medium box, directly on top of the shim. Over time I have added two more boxes. Today I removed all the boxes, pulled the deep frames and the shim, and placed the bottom box directly on the screened hive bottom. Then placed the shim on the top of that box, then the 2nd box into which I placed the deep frames (with the rest medium), then the top box, inner and outer covers. The bottom box has brood and some honey, the second box also. The top box has partially built comb and honey. The BeeWeaver deep frames have all hatched out and look like they have honey, but I could not tell for sure. Should have done a better inspection, but was intent on my plan to move the deep frames up in the hive toward eventual removal. I did not see the queen, and neglected to look for eggs or larvae. (dumb move number XXX, I know).

When I removed the shim from the hive bottom I found a thick (1") layer of bees covering the entire hive bottom. At first I thought it was all dead bees, but when I moved them with the hive tool they moved around.They were not moving around actively, like they do on the frames, and did not fly. I looked for shb and saw none. I have not tested for varroa, hoping to stay treatment free and depending on the BeeWeaver mite resistant queen. I saw no malformed wings or bees, but there were a few (3-4) empty bee carcasses. Did not see any ants. Seem to have orientation flights every afternoon. Bees do seem to 'hang around' on the outside of the hive a lot, but not bearding.

The hive bottom is screened, with the board removed. The bees were directly on the bottom screen. The hive has a top entrance the full width of the hive, reduced to one/half by #8 screen. I have not done any treatment. There is a bucket of water near the hive, with a sponge floating in it, but they do not seem to use it. Temperature here is mid 90's, humidity about 85%, light wind.

What is going on? Do I need to disturb the hive again now to look specifically for something?
 

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Did you happen to look under the hive? We have had it happen several times, for whatever reason, the queen was found under the hive on the underside of the screened bottom board. The bees will cluster under there and on the screened bottom with her.
Our hives are up off the ground about 16" on stands, and I can look under them easy enough.
Just a thought.
Joe
 

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better cell reception? no could be cooler/ there do you have a laser thermometer.
 

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Good pick up Joe. I'm not saying that is what is going on but I've had the same thing happen with the Queen under the screen and bees with her as well as on top of the screen bottom. I think you may have this going on. It may be a mated queen from a swarm this hive put out and when she came back she went to the underside of the bottom board.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
HELP!

Update:

I just went out and took the hive apart. There were no bees under the screened bottom, no queen. Most of the bees on the top of the screen (bottom of the hive) were dead, with a few moving around slowly. There was probably at least 1/2 gallon of dead bees.

Went through the hive frame by frame. No queen, no eggs, no larvae. It is pretty apparent to me I have no queen. Will try to order one today.

I am too new to beekeeping to know what the problem is, but I am reluctant to introduce a new queen until I do. There are no hive beetles, and the bees that are alive are moving around but do not seem as active as before. I did not see any deformed bees, though a few seemed to be trying to sting each other. It does look like bees are still dying. The hive itself was still quite mild and not particularly noisy. I will read through the forum and look at pictures to see if that will help.

What, and how, can I learn anything from the dead bee carcasses?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Could be, but I doubt it. I am in a rural area with lots of wild trees and brush. No nearby agricultural fields, and the neighbors are pretty scattered. I do not know of any concentrated source of nectar in the area.
 

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When I have seen bees that have died under the conditions you have described I have suspected the following causes. First, if the bees have formed a mat on the ground around the hive and many are alive but not moving or very sluggish movements, I suspected one of the forms of Bee Paralysis Virus. If they had been confined I would also suspect heat, but you had the entrance open, and you say there was honey so starvation should not have occurred. I would bet on ABPV or CBPV.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I think I know what the cause is.

I just scooped up a quart or so of dead bees and went through them. SHB throughout the sample, with a lot of small (1/4 inch long) white/tan larvae. So, even though I never did see any SHB in the hive during inspections they must have been there. Hope I am not too late to save the hive.

Went ahead and ordered a new queen, since I never did find evidence of one now.

Thanks, everyone. Your help and ideas were helpful, and led me to investigate further.
 

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SHB will not kill adult bees, they kill brood and slime the combs and honey causing the adults to depart.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
OK, so it may be that the SHB were just late comers to the pile of dead bees and are not really my problem at all? I never did see many SHB in the hive at all.

I was all set to freeze the frames, but now do not know what to do. Is there any way to defeat Bee Paralysis Virus, or is it a lost cause? Maybe I should cancel my new queen until I get a better handle on this.
 

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As far as I know there is no treatment for any of the viruses. The colonies I have had that showed symptoms either died or healed it's self. It helps to add a frame of sealed brood and to shake a frame or two of nurse age bees into the sick colony. Reduce the frames to only those that the bees can fully cover. I think reducing the entrance and feeding a 1:1 sugar syrup speeds recovery. None of my colonies lost the queen when they became sick, but I always re-queen one that show a problem such as you have. I keep several nucs and I would use one of those to boost and re-queen the sick colony.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks, AR. I cancelled the new queen (I think!) before I received your answer, so will proceed without her for now. I have no brood or other helper frames so will just take the hive down so the existing bees can cover the frames. The extra frames of honey will go into the freezer as a just in case for SHB, then will be kept to put back in when the bees need them. While I do so will closely check for the queen again. Will probably requeen soon regardless.

Anyone else have an idea we have not considered?
 

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Their testing is limited:

Samples received of adult bees and beeswax comb (with and without bee brood) are examined for bacterial, fungal and microsporidian diseases as well as for two species of parasitic mites and other pests associated with honey bees (i.e., small hive beetle, Aethina tumida).
It's still worth the effort to eliminate certain causes.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Barry

Great idea, I did not know it was available. Apparently it does not even cost anything. I will put it together tomorrow.

Will post any results here.

Thanks

Mike
 

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SHB will also breed in piles of dead bees.
Not only breed but home in on. The little bastards are just about the worst thing to happen to beekeeping IMO. They make it impossible to store frames for any time before extracting and they will reproduce right in the uncapping tank in just a couple of days.
Good luck - it isn't SHB causing the demise of this colony any more than it would be wax moths if have found them. Same idea but wax moths will actually kill capped brood. Well SHB will too after rethinking a bit. A slimed hive as just an awful awful vile mess of millions of squirming stinking larvae.
 
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