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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Another thread got me thinking on this question:

If a queen were to be killed in late fall / early winter due to some accident that did not directly effect the rest of the colony, wouldn't that colony still likely survive till at least late winter / early spring as it is made up of longer lived winter bees? I was thinking about this in the context of fall deadouts which should not simply be caused due to the loss of a queen assuming what caused the queen loss did not have broader impact.

Are these generally accurate statements?
 

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no.
define "survive" a Hopelessly Queen less colony does not survive.
It daily has bee loss until they are all gone.

Is it a resource, whole different question.

But no queen no eggs no larvae is dead colony walking.
with time being the only vector not completely predictable.

IMO queen death does not happen in a "healthy" colony so there are other items to consider. Often Queen death is a hint of Virus or contaminant.

A hypothetical the queen has a heart attack, is mostly a Hypothetical conversation. My answer to that is,, "she would need a pacemaker"

BTW Kevin how did your bees look going into winter?

GG
 

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You'd have a hive with lots of laying workers even if they did make it to spring. I don't think that would be useful for anything.
 

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Interesting question that I have also thought about. Assuming queen was rolled and no colony disease, I think it is possible. Last year my daughter lost a queen in late fall when it was too late to replace her. Their was still a small population of winter bees left almost into spring. She still would have purchased an early queen had it " survived" and it probably would not be worth it. J
 

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Interesting question that I have also thought about. Assuming queen was rolled and no colony disease, I think it is possible. Last year my daughter lost a queen in late fall when it was too late to replace her. Their was still a small population of winter bees left almost into spring. She still would have purchased an early queen had it " survived" and it probably would not be worth it. J
I don't think bees that survived that long without a queen would ever accept a new one.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies - I understand that the colony can't survive long term, but was thinking about it in the context of diagnosing a fall deadout, for example. If the entire colony died, then it was not the result of a singular impact to the queen. Hypothetically, they could live on if a queen was crushed, for example, and you should not expect to see a pile of dead bees in that scenario assuming it was late fall / early winter.

GG, you ask a great question about my two top bar hives. As late as early November they were doing great. They had put on sufficient stores, summer like entrance activity, lots of brood, etc., so I thought they were in a good place. Well, one of them died and despite consulting with local experts, there's no consensus as to what happened.

I blame it on Hopguard or the combined effects of Hopguard and Apivar.

The deadout had a mite count of 3% in August so I treated with Apivar. At the end of the treatment period the mite count was still 3% so I felt I still needed to do something heading into winter. I don't have a resperator or wand to administer OA (will correct that as soon as I can), so my treatment options in a top bar hive and with the outside temps were really limited. I ended up applying one strip of Hopguard which went fine. It was when I put in the follow up strip of Hopguard that things went south and I saw a lot of dead bees on the ground and blocking the entrance.

Was it Hopguard? I don't know but gut and circumstantial evidence leads me there. She was a great queen and I had been planning on spring splits, so this was not fun news. It's very early, but the other hive looks okay at the moment and at least now I have a lot of resources for the spring whether I split the remaining colony or get a swarm.

Lot and lots of lessons this first year, for sure!

Kevin
 

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I only used hopguard once about 9 years ago and believe there is now Hopguard II. There has been mentioned advice not to slime the queen when placing strips. There must be something driving that advice so that would be a possibility.

The winter I lost most bees to supposed suffocation I had one survive that was queenless I presume only for a short time which I diagnosed because of no eggs. They progressed to laying worker but I put in frames of brood occasionally from the lone surviving queenright colony. They made queen cells but there were no drones. I kept cutting out cells till some time in May when I let one progress . She emerged June 10 and mated successfully. It was only an experiment and kept going by robbing the other very successful colony of brood. I requeened later as I suspected how well mated she was.

Not very parallel to your situation because the queen appeared to have been lost tail end of winter not in the fall. My thoughts, not much use combining your colony with another colony unless that one was low in numbers. More bodies would be no asset. The real value to salvage is the drawn comb and stores that would be an asset when you put another nuc or package on them or a split in the spring. Protect those frames!
 

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first year is a big one, on paper you look good but things never seem to go the way the books say.

At times it boils down to "what did I do last or next to last" and then read more on that till you think it will not bite you again.
Most frustrating thing is to be bite by the same issue several times.

with a dead out you have comb, good for traps and good for new packages. I am in the lang world but for me even 3 frames of comb with a .5 to .75 of frame honey is a great start.
Each year gets a bit easier, do try to do splits if you can, next year, it is a whole nother world of what can go wrong or right.

I have had good luck with the following process with built comb
get a cheap easy to find Italian package, Hive on comb, my goal price, early, get to 10 frames of bees, by june.
At 9 frames pull the trigger on a 2 queen order you have been researching for a while ( I have mine for next june picked out now already)
Queens arrive, place old queen in a NUC with 2 frames of bees. split the remaining in 1/2 with 1 brood , 1 food, 1 bees in each till all used.
Now you have 3 hives the old queen in a NUC, 2 new Queens of your "choice" in 4-5 frame NUCs, in june,, all should make the winter.

features:
cheapest easiest to find package, early delivered, will do . its just bees, save some funds for the queen you really want.
Good queens IMO come when the bees would raise their own, early june better mated, better weather, and your choice of 100's of queen suppliers.
Most of the time the queen I really want does not come in a cost effective "package", queen or NUC only, later that I want for a package.
what is the NUC?? a few frames of bees and a queen, so roll your own.
If one of the queens fail, you combine back to the original. Option, can be combine to the surviving purchased queen wait 2 weeks and then split, for the other genes.
Original is a fall back queen, or in Aug re queen with a 3rd new queen.
I rarely have package spring queen make the first winter, like 2 for 14 is the last several years. I try to replace her pre winter bees being raised.
3 NUCs will grow bees and build comb faster than 1 hive of the same bees, ?? they have 3 queens and more will.
in July if you wanted you could dispatch the old queen and add half her frames to each new split about when you add the second box, or keep her if you like her, or make 2 more NUCs to over winter.
has several good options, all from a cheap package in the spring.

notes:
I treat the hive pre split to give the new queens a chance.
I often use my own queens, say I have 8, i want to use on 4 packages,, in 6 weeks cull the worse 2, add frames to either my breeder to get another split or the good queens to build them a bit faster.


GG
 

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Kevin, you are on the right track with your thinking. A queen accidentally killed during an October inspection is not going to result in the hive becoming beeless in November. The bees themselves will survive until early spring. I do believe that they are a lost cause for the reasons stated above. Do not waste time, money, or resources on them. Just let them die out naturally. They will maintain the comb until they do and then you use the comb for splits or swarm traps to replace the lost hives.
 
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Kevinf,

I had terrible results with Hop Guard 2 in 2017 and lost 8 out of 13 colonies. Now I only use OAV.

Sorry about your loss. Good Luck next year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks to all. I should be clear that in my specific case, my one colony loss was a complete deadout. All the bees died for reasons that I nor others can fully explain. As I was trying to think through the loss, though. it led me to my original question. Something had to have impacted the entire colony and not just the queen. I know Hopguard has its detractors and have heard about people's comments considering it a queen killer, but I know others who have had good success with it. Nevertheless, my gut says my loss is connected to it, but I don't think I have heard of it wiping out an entire colony..... I should note that all the bees were on the ground or on the floor and there was plenty of stored syrup/honey on the empty broodcombs.

Here are some photos where you can even still see some uncapped brood:
61523
61524
61525
61526
 

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be a clue

Odd brood pattern,

swirl some out on a tooth pick and taste it.

what does it have a hint of?

GG
 
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