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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
A few days ago, going past a row of boxes, (It was raining heavily) I noticed a pile of yellow cappings spilling out of a hive. It was in front of a hive that's had problems ever since going queenless. The entrance of that hive was reduced to 1" wide, and there was plenty of traffic, but it had obviously been robbed.

Today it was sunny, so I lit the smoker and went to investigate.
First thing I noticed was piles of dead bees on the bottom board and on the ground in front of the hive. I don't remember seeing any dead bees, the other day. Inside, all combs were ragged and chewed out and bone-dry. The top box had 4-5 frames of bees. The bottom box had maybe 3 frames of bees. No brood, no queen. Tons of hive beetles.

I feel a bit bad, as I think those bees starved over the last few days. I put a clean small box in the spot and shook out all the bees on the ground in front of the hive, preparing to feed them. Interestingly, NONE of the bees flew back to the spot, but all of them flew off and were begging their way into other hives. That hive is done. Even the bees know it.

On the good side, after an hour, all the bees were gone, and some of my smaller hives looked like they had gained some population. No fighting or discord.

On the bad side, there are wax moths and a ton of beetle grubs in the otherwise beautiful comb. I think I'm going to bag them up with moth balls to make them dead. I need to learn what the proper way is to kill vermin but not poison the comb. It's too much comb to freeze.

Until now, I've never lost a hive. I suppose it was just a matter of time, but it's still a little sad. Hopefully, I've learned something in the process.
 

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It happens. Do you have a post mortem diagnosis for the cause? Just due to being queenless too long? Was there any brood left?
 

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Get used to it THILL. I can't get above 16 to save my rear!!!! (Big assed drought in Texas). I havent been able to do many splits, and have only caught one swarm (I'm not buying bees anymore, screw it!!!
I am down to 10 and have 12 spaces for colonies set up with 10 more colony spaces yet to be completed.
Sorry to vent, I haven't had a good honey year in 4 years of bee keeping.
Good luck to you! (And everyone else!)
 

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Sorry. For me, I tend to lose the most hives during the summer, not winter. I've seen that 70% of colony losses are due to Varroa, personally I think it's closer to 90%. This is why I now make it a habit to check varroa numbers in spring and summer. I use OAV exclusively as I'm a small beekeeper. I take care of 17 colonies (13 are mine). I started OAV every 4 days on 7/18/22 and will go to the week of 8/14/22. I like to do varroa washes 2 weeks after treatment. Last year at this time under this schedule my washes were 6-0's and 1-1. I'm expecting a similar result this year, but time will tell.
Other beekeepers poo,poo my schedule but it works for me!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Nube,
I'm confident it was because of extended queenlessness. Comb was totally stripped and ragged. Absolutely nothing in there.

I initially gave them brood, and they made a queen, so I thought all was well, but she didn't make it back from mating flights.
Weeks later, I checked on them and saw signs of laying workers, so I gave brood again. They made fat queen cells, and everything was looking good. I left them alone and their numbers seemed to be growing again, and they seemed happy, so all seemed good. Then they got robbed out badly, despite the small reducer opening. I think they had a queen, but had nothing to feed her in the end.

I probably could have saved more had I acted more quickly. Lesson learned. I considered feeding but figured they would just get robbed again. So I did nothing for too long. Next time, I'm putting them in a smaller a box, moving to a different location and feeding immediately... at least that's what I'm thinking right now.

It was still a good number of bees I shook out, so it wasn't a total loss. Next time, I'm going Flower Planter screen method like I did with the other LW hive. It worked well, and that hive recovered and is doing great.

Thanks for the kind words, everyone. Now I have to save all of this nicely drawn comb. No wax moth larvae yet, but I see the webby spots, so they are coming soon!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Daddyo1,
Hang in there, it will come around. One good spring, and you can make a ton of splits. No sense feeding lots of hives if there is no forage around. Save it for spring

Jim,
I do 21 day OAV cycles every 3 days in the fall, very early spring, and mid summer. I have zero to very few mites every time I check, but I do it anyway. Why not? It doesn't seem to even bother the bees. I just got a Johno Easy Vap, and LOVE how much faster and easier it is. I'm at 11... I mean 10 hives now, so it's a small investment that has already paid for itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That might be an excellent piece of advice.
 

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That might be an excellent piece of advice.
Seriously. I lost a good queen last week when they absconded. I was trying to trick her into making a bunch of queen cells, overloaded a small hive with too many bees, and they took off. I hope they found a nice home somewhere, perhaps with a smarter beekeeper, or in a nice hollow tree.
 

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thill, if you are seeing webs they are there. AFAIK, the egg laying adult doesn't spin a web, only the larvae do.

Alex
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
thill, if you are seeing webs they are there. AFAIK, the egg laying adult doesn't spin a web, only the larvae do.

Alex
Ahh... Yes, that sounds right. I'm going to buy some crystals today, but am curious. Can you kill the larvae by settng the frames out in the sun?
 

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What I've found is that most colonies start off ok, they develop ok, and generally speaking all remain ok.

And then there's that one colony which develops problems early on, and no matter what you do to it, no matter how many countless hours you spend playing with it, nor how much resources you invest in it - it never seems to quite make it like the others. And one problem with such colonies is that it's very tempting to get hooked on trying to cure it, especially once some resources have already been thrown at it.

This has happened to me more times than I'm prepared to own up to, and I never seem to learn - it's always a case of "just one frame of 'xxxxx' should cure the problem", be it brood, eggs, stores. or whatever..

Better by far to junk that colony, and start another one from scratch. (If only I could keep remembering to do that.) :)
LJ
 

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Ahh... Yes, that sounds right. I'm going to buy some crystals today, but am curious. Can you kill the larvae by settng the frames out in the sun?
The moths don't like sunlight, but then the frames are exposed to other vermin. It gets hot enough here in the direct sun to melt the wax. I understand some people store them out of the supers spread out in covered shelters.
I have a freezer that I cycle full boxes through prior to spraying with BtA for long term storage. The freezing step can be skipped, but in that case the sooner the frames can be sprayed the better because the bigger the grub, the more spores they must consume to be fatal.
If you decide to use crystals make sure you read up on the correct type. Some are toxic.

Alex
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
What I've found is that most colonies start off ok, they develop ok, and generally speaking all remain ok.

And then there's that one colony which develops problems early on, and no matter what you do to it, no matter how many countless hours you spend playing with it, nor how much resources you invest in it - it never seems to quite make it like the others. And one problem with such colonies is that it's very tempting to get hooked on trying to cure it, especially once some resources have already been thrown at it.

This has happened to me more times than I'm prepared to own up to, and I never seem to learn - it's always a case of "just one frame of 'xxxxx' should cure the problem", be it brood, eggs, stores. or whatever..

Better by far to junk that colony, and start another one from scratch. (If only I could keep remembering to do that.) :)
LJ
LJ,
Yes, this was definitely"that" hive. Problems from the start.

I think the addiction to trying to fix t hive is because you want to know what is causing the problem so you can identify/fix it in the future. So it is probably not a waste of time, just a little frustrating at times.

In my case, it is always the 10 frame hives that have problems. I only have 2, so easy to track. The 8 frames always do well. It might be a coincidence, or it might not be. I'm still trying to figure out what is causing the issues. This particular box was a recent trade from a friend who is going all medium boxes.

A mystery!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The moths don't like sunlight, but then the frames are exposed to other vermin. It gets hot enough here in the direct sun to melt the wax. I understand some people store them out of the supers spread out in covered shelters.
I have a freezer that I cycle full boxes through prior to spraying with BtA for long term storage. The freezing step can be skipped, but in that case the sooner the frames can be sprayed the better because the bigger the grub, the more spores they must consume to be fatal.
If you decide to use crystals make sure you read up on the correct type. Some are toxic.

Alex
Thanks for the info. I've found the right type. Hope to use just enough to kill the bugs, and then keep bagged up for now.

I think I'm going to wash and bleach the boxes out, just in case it's some kind of contamination in the box
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Crystals purchased, hive boxes bagged and treated.

Was amazed of how much damage was done in one day. I lifted up a box and thought it was dirt pouring out of it. HUH? Pulled a frame, and that was pollen released by the bugs eating the comb. They work fast!
 

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One other thing to consider is if the larvae are SHB. Will your treatment be effective?
Alex
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
I think the p-Dichlorobenzene will kill most any insect trapped in the sealed bag, but I don't know for sure, or how long it takes to work.. Will be interesting to find out.

The alternative is to distribute a few frames into each of my other hives, and let the bees handle it, but I don't want to disturb the whole apiary or infect other hives. As Little John posted above, sometimes taking heroic measures to save a problem hive just isn't worth the resources.

I think those boxes and frames are going to get screwed to trees as swarm traps.
 

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I d
I think the p-Dichlorobenzene will kill most any insect trapped in the sealed bag, but I don't know for sure, or how long it takes to work.. Will be interesting to find out.

The alternative is to distribute a few frames into each of my other hives, and let the bees handle it, but I don't want to disturb the whole apiary or infect other hives. As Little John posted above, sometimes taking heroic measures to save a problem hive just isn't worth the resources.

I think those boxes and frames are going to get screwed to trees as swarm traps.
don't have any experience with paramoth, but am wondering if it will repel SHB.

Alex
 

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Try spraying your frames with Xentari for the wax moths. It is a biological insecticide containing a natural, potent strain (ABTS-1857) of the microorganism Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies. The microorganism has been ok’d by the FDA for this purpose, but under a differenent Brand name. You can even spray a little in the hives and it doesnt hurt anybody but moths. Good luck. I need to spray in some hives, because I inherited some hives this year that have the greater. Ugh.

And Michael Palmer says that freezing greater wax moths doesnt always kill them.
 
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