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new package, was doing great; 3rd inspection; 90% dead

1395 Views 9 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  drlonzo
This is quite strange and has stumped more than 1 keeper that I've discussed with so I'm broadening the audience...

String test; negative. Smell test: normal. Bees where acting drunk and lethargic when I opened the hive. 7 days ago they had 2 gal of 1:1 and where very healthy and in fact I expected to add a second box this week. Today they have no sugar and no stores (but I am guessing they may have consumed the stores after the entrance was blocked by dead bees (both inside and out).

The night time temps are chilly still around here; getting down in the mid 40s. For the better part of last week it was wet and chilly (50s). They where hived from a new package on the 16th of April. There are 3 other hives at the same location; 2 are slow getting started with some eggs, larvae and capped brood but not too much (and slow to take sugar) and the 3rd (next to this hive) is in 2 boxes now and growing well; eats like a horse. The remaining 3 hives are all brining in pollen and some nectar; they are in the middle of nowhere, not near anything.

I have some ideas but I don't want to taint opinions.











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Those dead brown larva tells the story for me. I've seen it once before on some brood that was in a piece of burr comb pulled from one of my hives just a week ago. It is from starvation. The one thing I didn't see any of was pollen and nectar/honey which they need to rear brood and keep the existing bees alive. Looking at the bottom board with all the dead bees I see the entrance reducers are both turned to be completely closed off. Was this intentional or after the fact? Reason asking is it could also be due to that Heat kill. Is the queen still alive?
 

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Question: Do you have any adolescent boys in the neighborhood? You mentioned poisoning. It really wouldn't make sense for one hive to get into something with that much of a load without incidence to the others. But on it's own with some teenagers and a can of permithrin - it could decimate a good hive in no time flat. The bees you see on the frames may just be the new hatches since the spray. Most of them in the pics seem to be new or very young bees with little to no older bees. It would also account for the dead larva.
 

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That's the best thing i've heard anyone say all day long. Most of the time i'm telling people to do just that. It's too easy to blame something and it not be the correct thing. Keep us posted once you get the results as i'm really wondering myself now too. I hate it that you lost the colony, however this could be a learning experience for many people...
 
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