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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just finished a round of MAQS and after my first inspections at 11 and 13 days, I'm seeing hives with decent numbers of bees, but no eggs, and just a handful of perforated capped cells. I am wondering if the perfed caps could possibly have been caused by the MAQS, in addition to killing the queen?

Background is that I have 2 hives, and both tested at 4-5 mites per hundred on an alcohol test at the beginning of August. I had MAQS strips, but had to wait a week and a half to treat due to an extended heatwave. When temps died into the high 70s, low 80s, I added two strips to each hive. The next day, there were several dozen dead adults at the entrances, and a handful of larvae. The yellowjackets, which typically keep to the ground were picking the carcasses right off the boards. After a couple days though, they managed to clear the dead, and normal activity returned, though at lower levels at first.

I made my first inspections in the hives on Thursday and then today. In the first hive on Thursday, I found only one frame in the brood box that had a couple of small uncapped larva and a few perforated caps. Bees themselves looked ok, and I didn't see the queen. I inspected the second hive today. In this one I saw more perforated caps, though still limited to one inspected frame, but this time not any live looking larva. Both hives had decent honey stores, but very little pollen. No queen cells in either.

I know that MAQS can kill weak bees/queens, though I should not the queen in the second hive was less than 2 months old. I've also read about a possible brood break, but it seems that should have cleared by now. So I'm thinking best case, I've got a couple of dead queens I can try to buy replacements for. My concern though is that this is some other kind of virus I need to worry about?

pics: http://imgur.com/a/9hGD0

Keith
 

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AFB is what you need to be concerned about, which is characterized by dead capped brood, perforated cappings, sunken cappings, and greasy looking cappings. Its tough to tell from the photos alone, but it doesn't look like AFB to me. You can confirm by doing a quick ropy test.

Another possibility is sacbrood. Really tough to tell with a few pictures, but that one is a possibility. I'd call an inspector to go through the hives.

While the label of MAQS says don't treat above 85, the owners personally don't treat if temps are above 80. High 70's is even questionable. MAQS is really an early spring or late fall treatment in my neck of the woods.

When I've used MAQS close to its temp ceiling, I've noticed excessive dead brood more so than dead bees. It also causes my queens to stop laying for 3 weeks or so. Like you, I've opened hives post-MAQS to find no eggs and no young larvae, but hunted down and confirmed the existence of a queen in several hives. Sometimes the queen picks back up, sometimes she doesn't. Sometimes by the time she does pick back up, it's too late as populations have dwindled.

Your queen may or may not be dead, but it's probably wise to get replacements anyway.
 

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remember that the treatment period for this product is a week eventhough the first 3-4 days seem to be when the largest % of it vaporizes. the lack of eggs and brood is not uncommon after the application particularly for colonies that havent been treated with it before and with two strips what you saw seems to be even more likely. queens usually start laying again in 10-15 days. But I wouldnt suggest you go tearing into them to find out. leave them alone for awhile. and thats especially the case if they opted to produce a supercedure cell. without having seen the brood before the treatment it is hard for me to tell much more. nothing screams AFB to me in the pictures though.


formic is an effective treatment but still a strange product. on one hand it is hard on some queens--often the older ones but it will cause young poor quality queens to be lost just as quickly in my experience. so just because you had a 2 month old queen doesnt mean it survives the treatment. on the other hand it pretty quickly purges colonies of low quality queens that the beekeeper should have probably done themselves
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Specialkayme, BigBlackBirds, thank you for the replies.

So for what it's worth, we'd had a stretch of days above 100, and then it suddenly (and thankfully) dropped to highs in the very low 80s and high 70s. Plus, the hives are shaded in the late afternoon when the temperature tends to peak here. That said, I should have at least probably cut to one strip each.

It sounds like the consensus is that the regicidal effects of the MAQS aren't necessarily considered bad, but with that in mind, I should maybe only use it when I have replacement queens available.

I'm hesitant to go back in for a couple days, for fear of disturbing them, but I know from the larva in Hive 1 that the queen was alive and laying at least for some time after I started treatment. I'm going to work on finding a queen around here, which doesn't look to be easy, and plan to take another quick look later in the week for eggs.

Keith
 

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I happened to look at some colonies that had one strip applied early in month. Without looking up exact dates, 13-15 days had elapsed since treated when initially looked. Most had not completely stopped laying but had definately slowed down. A few had recently started to lay but only eggs were seen. A few were not laying; not that I did much of an inspection but I didnt notice anything obvious. I marked those not laying and looked about a week later--vast majority were laying then but a few were queenless and those werent really a surprise---old and would have failed come spring anyway. not sure if any of those were successful raising queen. I planned to shake them out but havent had a chance yet
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Rechecked the hives today. The one with the original queen is laying again with a decentish looking brood pattern, and not a perfed cap to be seen. The one with the newer queen though doesn't appear to have any eggs in normal cells, nor any lavae. There is still a smattering of perforated caps, and when I open them, a hard (dry?) dead almost-adult falls right out. They look pretty dark though, and not white or "chalky".

While there are no eggs in normal cells, I spotted quite a few queen cups with eggs (and a few without). Most of these cells were at the bottom of the frame, but drawn off the face, and not off the bottom bar. The eggs looked like they were centered, and I only saw one in each.

Will a queen who is not laying, be coaxed to lay in queen cups anyway? That's the only scenario I can think of. It doesn't do me much good though, because I don't see how a new queen could mate this late in the year.

I'm still working on getting my hands on a mated queen. Before I drop her in, I'm pretty sure I'll need to find and pull the old one, which may not be easy. Curious if I need to hunt and kill every queen cell as well though -- If I miss one or two, will she be at risk?

Thanks

Keith
 
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