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Discussion Starter #1
For some reason the bees in my observation hive are dumping live brood. At first I thought the queen was bad because the brood pattern was very spotty though out the year and I saw dead pupa on the landing board a few times. My uncle said it could just be chilled brood so I put them in an observation hive in the fall sine they didn't have very many bees or drawn frames. At first they didn't raise any brood until about 3-4 weeks ago and when they did it looked just spotted as before. Not long after they started to cap the larva I started noticing discarded pupa on the bottom of the hive, all white at first then progressively older. The oldest I have seen were almost ready to emerge and still alive but they were still somewhat pale with whiter legs and proboscis.
This is our first year keeping bees. We have read a few books but have not seen anything on this subject aside from a lack of stores that might cause this problem. I have a feeder on the hive and they have capped and open stores so that can't be the cause. Does anyone know what the problem could be?
 

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Maybe hygienic behavior. Meaning that they are discarding them because of mites or something.
 

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I overwintered a OB hive. I had the same thing happen to me. I think the population was not enough to cover all the brood and it chilled. Just my 2 cents.
Mike:scratch:
 

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Given his location the only way he would be able to over winter an OB hive would be indoors so chilled brood should not be a problem.

He did state that he had a feeder on the hive, but not if they had any pollen. Maybe they are starving from lack of protein.
 

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Hi MikeJ -

If they have been struggling all year (as it sounds like they are) I would be worried about bacterial brood diseases or possibly viral infection .
Where did these bees come from? Your description makes it sound like they were a colony that never built up over the summer - is that correct?

Have you had anyone come take a look?
Pictures of brood would help.

Best to you and your bees,
-Erin
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for your replies… sorry I have been busy the past few days and haven't had a chance to reply.
The hive came from a split I made earlier this year from a swarmed hive. The queen was one that hatched out from one of the swarm cells. The brood pattern has always been spotty but they seemed to keep there population up throughout the year so I though they should make it through the winter indoors.
They had pollen in some of the frames when I first put them in. I haven't noticed any lately but I have been feeding them some pollen supplement.
There is about 3 - 1/2 full frames of bees all together. I have also rigged up a small heating device that can keep a 12"X8" section of the glass on the brood nest at about 80 degrees.
I haven't seen them dumping brood lately, but there is no brood left to dump.
I haven't seen a varroa mite on any brood, bees or bottom board in all hives all year.
I first though that the queen might have been interbred since we only have two hives and there doesn't seem to be very many feral hives around.
I have heard the varroa can spread to hives by drifting workers and drones following queens back to their hives. The reason I suspect a lack of feral hives is that we have had five queens mated earlier this year and still haven't seen any mites yet.
I haven't seen anything that resembles brood disease all year.
The sate apiarist said that there isn't any registered bee keepers in our area and we don’t know any one around here that might have knowledge in this field either.
We have another observation hive with two frames that isn't raising any brood at all. I though it might be that there aren't enough bees, even though I have a heating device on this one as well. This hive doesn't have stored pollen either now, but I have been feeding them supplement as well.
Even if they didn’t have any pollen at all would the bees remove live capped brood?
 

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If you are giving them pollen and you don't see any mites I don't know what to tell you. Giving them far too much credit maybe they realize that it is too early to swarm so they are dumping brood to keep the population down until warmer weather hits.

You may want to consider sending a sample to the bee lab and see what they find. It is free other than postage on the sample.

http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=7472
 
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