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Please help diagnose what this is... Video..

2580 Views 13 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  sqkcrk
This is a new Nuc I just placed in the box less than 5 days ago.. I'm wondering what happened to the brood as lots of it is dead in many stages? I was originally taping this to send to the vendor I purchased this from as she wanted to see the Queen cells.. Then I noticed the open brood and started "plucking"...

Thanks for any advice..

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Your nucs adult bee population appears to be very weak, I don't know if the brood has died from neglect or from varroa mites, or both. I would say that the nuc came from a colony that had a large varroa mite/virus population. If the adults can't cover all of the brood area, I would recommend reducing the number of frames down to what they can cover. If any other colonies that you may have can spare a frame or 2 of nurse bees, that would help, if the problem is lack of care.

The uncapped brood I can see looks gray in the video, are they pearly white when you are looking at them during your inspection? If they are gray they could have been chilled due to the lack of adults needed to warm the brood areas. Do you see any dead larvae that have died before being capped?

If you can't see inside the queen cell use the hive tool to spread the mouth, the bees will redo the entrance with no problem. It is common for the bees to build queen cups in the spring, it is only a problem when the are occupied by an egg or larva.
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AR Beekeeper gives good advise.

Just to add to it, you do not at any time mention eggs, we need to know if the queen is laying normally.

the brood, the last 2 brood frames you pulled had chilled brood. My guess is because there are not a lot of bees in the hive, and if you had a cold night, the bees where forced to cluster and could not cover all the brood so it died. The first brood frame you pulled looked more like mite damage to the brood, but just not quite possible to tell from the video. My suggestion would be give it a couple of weeks for the bees to clean out the dead. After that, if you still see dead larvae like this, on a comb the bees are able to cover, it's a mite issue & would be a good idea to treat.

The queen cells, don't know as could not see if they had larvae but the second one seemed further developed than a broodless cup. Could be the queen has been introduced and the bees built some cells while they were temporarily queenless. If the queen is laying eggs normally they will likely destroy the queen cells or you could do it. If she is not laying do not destroy the queen cells.

The bees look like classic italian with a small bit of mutt, nice docile bees and should do well for you. But these bees tend to be mite prone and in a couple of weeks if there is still mite damage you may have to treat them or they could struggle & you eventually lose them.
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Thank you so much for your help.. I'm really glad to have found this forum..

There were plenty that were dead before being capped.. I didn't pay attention to the color other than they weren't brown or black.. I'll check more closely in a few days when I go back in.. I will also look more closely for egg cells..

On the bottom tray bellow I found 4 mites yesterday.. That was without anything on the bottom tray that's bellow the screen. I have now put Olive Oil on it hoping to catch a better sample..

Do you think I should do a powdered sugar wash?
I would be calling the seller of the bees,,,not good for just being 5 days old in your hives.
It was already covered well but I will take a stab at explaining what I was thinking when I saw your video....(not enough bees)..It's important that the brood area be together so that the bees can keep it warm. If you have a brood frame on one side of the hive and a brood frame on the other side of the hive they may neglect some of the brood because they can't keep it warm. I have seen that in my bees if I separate a frame of brood too far from the cluster. At night when it gets cold the bees go to one central point to keep warm. A brood frame too far away from that spot will get chilled and not develop correctly especially if night time temps are dropping very cold like they were a few weeks ago. This being a new nuc it may have had frames just put in the box but not in a good position and not enough bees to keep it warm. The original colony that these bees came from may have had too few bees to begin with and the frames were already chilled but I can't say. I am sort of surprised to see a nuc with issues like this. When I bought 2 nucs my first year I was able to look through it and see that there wasn’t issues and see that they were healthy before I took them so on that note I agree with tomkat. If the supplier is close by maybe they can come add some bees but perhaps it is a buy as is deal??? so...

When you shake the frames like you did you are shaking the bees off that keep the brood warm so go easy with that or not at all till you have more bees and shake them into the hive as best as you can. With a very populace hive it has less or no impact but with a brand new colony like that keeping the brood frames together and having as many young bees as needed is important especially if the nights are cold.

What I would anticipate happening is that the bees will clean away the dead brood and the area of new healthy brood will be narrowed down to in between two frames to re start. It is important to not change the order of the frames. Put them back in the same spots that you took them out. Let them grow for a while. There is not enough bees in the hive right now so they can't manage all of that larvae and pupae.

The sign that things are going in the right direction in a few weeks is that once the bees re establish where they are focusing on raising the brood you will see healthy brood pattern there and it will be nice and white and a more consistent patch most likely in between and on the insides of two frames that face each other. I would anticipate a turn around for the better in a few weeks.

Keep the frames of brood together as opposed to having that frame with no brood between them. More bees would be good but it is what it is so let them re organize and be patient. If you can get some more colonies then you can add in some more bees from them into that one:)
Best of luck with the bees and their queen.
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There were plenty that were dead before being capped..
How did you determine that?

You shook the bees off of the second frame. I wouldn't have done that. The queen might have been on it. Which you didn't know until you saw her. I call unoccupied queen cells queen cups. Just to differentiate one from another. In my mind I kept saying open the cell, open the cell, when you saw the second queen cell. But like what was pointed out the cell was further developed which the bees don't do unless there is an egg laid in it.

Did you figure out whether the queen was laying eggs? The brood pattern may not be hers. Whether it is or not, you need more bees in that hive. If you have another hive that can spare the bees give your new hive a healthy/well laid frame of brood w/ bees still on it.
There were plenty that were dead before being capped..
How did you determine that?
I think Mark was implying that you can't know that. In any case, why would the bees cap dead brood? They wouldn't.

It looks like a case of not enough bees. Symptoms: dead and neglected brood. Probably chilled. Chilled brood is susceptible to chalkbrood infection as well.

Ask for a replacement nuc, this one is not good
I concur. Unless the larvae, the second stage of growth of an insect such as honeybees, is misshappen in some way, if it is still white I don't see how anyone can safely assume it is dead.

Not fully capped cells or even pin hole punctured cells are not necessarily dead or dying. I some times open them to see, but mostly I leave them alone.

Yes, ask for a replacement or money back. My apologies to the maker, but that looks like a poorly built nuc to begin with. It should have looked better than that 5 days ago.
Thanks so much for looking at the video.. I realized I shook that frame early once I noticed the queen :).. I'm not certain the larvae was dead.. What I saw was the blob in the bottom of the cells that looked much different than the others which had a defined shape.. All looked white..

The other Nuc I received with this one was very strong with lots of bees and a consistant full brood pattern.. From your imput I'm thinking it might be a good idea to "steal" a frame of brood from the strong nuc and give it to this one? I just don't want to end up with two week hives......

Here are some photos of the top of the frames..

20140521-P1000260.jpg by Steamboataerials, on Flickr

And here is the photo set...
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FYI I have been offered a new nuc by the supplier.. He is thinking it is a "Chill Kill" Very nice of him as I'm sure the kill happened on my watch..
Very nice of him as I'm sure the kill happened on my watch..
Not necessarily. If the nuc was moved and lost the field force, it could get weakened. Or if it didn't have enough bees to care for the brood in the first place, the brood could die. Lots of things can go wrong.
Again, I agree w/ Peter. Don't blame yourself. Don't blame anyone. You already have another nuc offered to you by your supplier. Keep good relations w/ him. It could be beneficial to the both of you. Things happen.
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