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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

We just had our first hive loss and we're trying to figure it all out. I'm pretty sure it was varroa plus too much condensation (the dead pile of bees was very wet) and we're sending information to Washington State University to get accurate help for the hive loss.

But my question is, while we were inspecting the two hives left yesterday, we found shiny three day old larvae?? The little white shrimp-looking larvae ... It's less than 20 cells, and located at the bottom of the frame in a strong hive packed with 16 frames of mostly capped honey.

This is our strongest hive, and I'm assuming if these larvae are diseased... the bees will remove them on their own or are in the process of removing them. (Maybe why they are still uncapped?)

But we are kind of surprised to see larvae in December... could she still be laying right now?
 

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What you see is why beekeepers wait until the winter solstice to OAV their colonies. By 21 December ALL cells will have hatched out. That's the only time when OAV can kill all of the varroa mites. If you haven't done so yet purchase a Vaporiser during the Black Friday sales time. You always have varroa but you can keep their numbers down to acceptable levels and reduce the number of hives you would lose to them.

Queen cells are capped on day 8 after laying. I didn't find the calendar for workers but it may be 2 days later as they take a few days longer to hatch. And yes some bees will uncap diseased larvae, but not all will do so.

It sure feels nice to have bees make it to then through the winter. Good job!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow, really? Thank you! We are kind of winging out here on our own. Ok, so I need to just settle down and wait this out... then vapor them. I can do that. I have all the tools, so now I will just wait.

Appreciate the information! :)
 

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Loriann1, if you did not treat your bees with something other than OAV earlier this year, you do not wait. OAV is an ongoing treatment process and waiting until the bees are broodless before giving them their first mite treatment of the year is a sure fire recipe for needing to buy bees every year. As a follow up treatment to say Apivar, given earlier in the summer, the winter solstice treatment is a good way to get rid of any remaining mites so that you start the spring mite free. Those of us that use OAV exclusively give the bees their first treatment as soon as the supers are pulled off. We continue to treat throughout the summer/fall based on mite counts or calendar days, depending on the method you choose. We also do treatments at Thanksgiving and Christmas for the same reasons although this year has been odd, I have brood in my hives too. If you have a day above 45 degrees, vape 'em.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Loriann1, if you did not treat your bees with something other than OAV earlier this year, you do not wait. OAV is an ongoing treatment process and waiting until the bees are broodless before giving them their first mite treatment of the year is a sure fire recipe for needing to buy bees every year. As a follow up treatment to say Apivar, given earlier in the summer, the winter solstice treatment is a good way to get rid of any remaining mites so that you start the spring mite free. Those of us that use OAV exclusively give the bees their first treatment as soon as the supers are pulled off. We continue to treat throughout the summer/fall based on mite counts or calendar days, depending on the method you choose. We also do treatments at Thanksgiving and Christmas for the same reasons although this year has been odd, I have brood in my hives too. If you have a day above 45 degrees, vape 'em.
Oh believe me, we've done treatments all year - probably not as many follow ups as I should have done (dribble OA, wait a week, do it again, etc) because our weather would dip too cold.. so, those second treatments didnt clean up the stray mites. So, it is definitely an issue I need to fix next year. I think we may go more to vapor OA than doing dribble. I just dont like getting them wet anymore.
 

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This is our strongest hive, and I'm assuming if these larvae are diseased...
Why would you assume they are diseased ?

I'm quite a bit north of you, on the same coast. Folks talk regularly about the colonies being 'broodless', but I dont believe they are ever totally without any brood. Indeed, they spend most of the winter with 'not much' brood, but I've never opened a colony that is totally broodless, unless they are also queenless.

We no longer open colonies during the winter, so I cant say anything about them right now, other than it was a nice warm day yesterday and we had young bees orienting in front of some of them. We have in years gone past opened colonies in January, always found small patches of brood when we did that. But our rate of spring honey production increased dramatically when we started enforcing the policy of 'do not open hives after mid October, till putting on first patties mid February. We feed them up in September, ratchet straps go on in October and we let them have 2 or 3 weeks to finish sealing up with propolis before the November storms start to arrive. From then we just leave them alone till spring feeding starts. We start feeding patties mid February and do not feed liquid in the spring.
 

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but I dont believe they are ever totally without any brood. Indeed, they spend most of the winter with 'not much' brood, but I've never opened a colony that is totally broodless, unless they are also queenless.
I agree with that. Based on my data from broodminder sensors and personal observations, I don't think most of my colonies ever truly go broodless for an extended period of a time. Just recently I noticed that my colonies shut down brood rearing around October 22-23 and resumed around November 3-4. Not all, but most did.
 

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I've never been broodless unless there was no queen. I use OAV exclusively and treat from the back thru an oil pas access. Starting in August and treat every 5-7 days until the mite fall is VERY FEW or none. I don't use foundation either in my brood frames so small cell brood may help with mites.
 

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But our rate of spring honey production increased dramatically when we started enforcing the policy of 'do not open hives after mid October, till putting on first patties mid February. We feed them up in September, ratchet straps go on in October and we let them have 2 or 3 weeks to finish sealing up with propolis before the November storms start to arrive. From then we just leave them alone till spring feeding starts. We start feeding patties mid February and do not feed liquid in the spring.
Grozzie, what's you overwintering set up? Quiltboards? insulation? upper entrance?
 

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Grozzie, what's you overwintering set up? Quiltboards? insulation? upper entrance?
We make sure the colonies are fed up, try to get this done before end of September. I've tried various different ways of doing extra work to prep the hives for the winter. Final conclusion, it's a lot of extra work, survival rates did not change. Wrapping the colonies made no difference, box of shavings on top made no difference. Winter configuration is essentially the same as summer.

This year our wintering configuration is a bit changed from years past in that we still have reducers in place. For the mating nucs, we have a shim on that gets packed with damp sugar in October. The other difference, half the colonies are in singles. I the singles go well this year, then we will likely do more singles going forward.
 

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OAV may be great but this time of year I like to hit them with drip. 5 ml per seam (see Randy Oliver Scientific bee site for most recent updates). I prefer a cloudy day with about 40 degree temp. Your hive situation sounds ideal (no capped brood).
Oxalic Acid Treatment Table - Scientific Beekeeping
 

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Location means everything and I'm old but I'm not breaking down hives and dribbling when it's 40 degrees F. And as far CLOUDY... my bees will eat your lunch..A NUC maybe but not 20,000 + girls with wet hair.
 

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Your not ‘tearing it apart’. Pop the cover, look down inside. The bees will be brooded up inside. If they are in the top box about 5-10 may fly out. Look down between the frames and see if you see bees. If you see none, take 2 hive tools and break the two boxes apart. Don’t even take it off, just tip it back (you may need to rock one corner forward so it stays on top). Take your syringe full of 50 ml acid and drip 5 ml down each seam. This works best with 2 people. I then put on a shim, sugar brick, burlap or spare fabric, feedbag to keep the rain out, cover back on, and heavy brick (since they can not glue it down in this configuration). The bees that do come out will cling to you for your warmth, just brush them back by the entrance. Its not going to be an attack, like a cartoon. Do a search for a video on line.
 
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