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I was wondering if it's possible to tell how a colony died based on how you found it, ie: a death by freeze would look this way, a death by starvation that way, etc. Any feedback would be appreciated, we lost a hive a month ago and haven't done anything with it yet to see what we could learn from it.
Thanks
John
 

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In Santa Cruz CA you'd have to worry about freezing this time of year. It is rare that bees freeze. If they do, it was caused by something else, like moisture. So if the dead bees on the bottom board are wet, and if the inside of the inner cover or hive top is wet, the water caused stress and death.

Starvation is when the bees are head first into the cells, and dead. Comb around them would be empty of stores.

Piles of dead bees in front of the hive, not just a few or a couple of hundred, but LOADS of bees, generally indicates pesticide poisoning.

A very large quanitity of bees with deformed wings could indicate it collapsed due to mites.

That's a start... what else folks?
 

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If you had a death by freeze in Santa Cruz, Global Warming has definitely not reached California.

There has been substantial loses here in San Mateo this December due to an undefined collapse. Most hives have few or no bees left, some with plenty of honey remaining. I think it is a virus.

Starvation would have a lot of dead bees with their heads buried in a cell, and no stores left.
American Foulbrood would smell, have brown, ropey larvae, and scattered dead larvaes.
 

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Yes, but what is causing the queens to fail ?
Queens infected with nosema or viruses will fail. The brood from virus infected queens will be infected too.
And yes , the last remaining bees will plug the brood nest with pollen before the final demise.We see that often with varroa kills. A small patch of pms brood, completely surrounded by pollen.Whole frames of pollen.
 

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Odfrank,Aren't you referring to CCD when hardly any bees are left but plenty of honey ?
I am reluctant to use the term CCD, which to me is a totally undefined disease, because some posters on this board have such a strict definition of what it is. I have been keeping bees for 40 years. I have seen bees dying from mites for about 15 years. The last three years I have seen half my bees die from August to December, with big piles of dead bees in December after very cold nites. I call that CCD, often with substantial amounts of honey left behind, which also is found in the mite dead hives I find in September. I don't know what is what, I just know that beekeeping has become a practice of every year starting half over again.
 

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I am reluctant to use the term CCD, which to me is a totally undefined disease, because some posters on this board have such a strict definition of what it is.
odfrank, I'm not trying to be argumentative but the symptoms of CCD have been pretty well defined and not by the posters here but by the researchers who're investigating it. It would be like insisting that someone has swine flu, when they really have pneumonia. The symptoms are different but in either case the person is sick.
It's obvious that your bees are very sick. The same with dthompson's (from another thread). And I've heard of some other commercial beekeepers who've have had serious losses. But, if the researchers are looking at more than one cause and all are claiming to have CCD, it just confuses the effort to find the problem(s).
Best of luck to you.
 

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the symptoms of CCD have been pretty well defined and not by the posters here but by the researchers who're investigating it.
Where do we find these definitions by researchers? I don't want to name my problems incorrectly.

Out here on the left coast we have a disease killing oak trees called SOD, Sudden Oak Death. The researchers have figured out the pathogen to be Phytophthora ramorum. I feel that until researchers figure out the pathogen of CCD, it is pretty much a catch all name for our current Disappearing Disease, which never had an exact cause pinned to it.
 

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From Wikipedia, a pretty good list of symptoms.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colony_collapse_disorder
A colony which has collapsed from CCD is generally characterized by all of these conditions occurring simultaneously[19]:
• Complete absence of adult bees in colonies, with little or no build-up of dead bees in or around the colonies.
Presence of capped brood in colonies. Bees normally will not abandon a hive until the capped brood have all hatched.
• Presence of food stores, both honey and bee pollen:
• i. which are not immediately robbed by other bees
• ii. which when attacked by hive pests such as wax moth and small hive beetle, the attack is noticeably delayed.
Precursor symptoms that may arise before the final colony collapse are:
• Insufficient workforce to maintain the brood that is present
• Workforce seems to be made up of young adult bees
• The Queen is present (not a symptom, but a requirement. If Queen is not present, the hive died because it was queenless. That is not CCD)
• The colony members are reluctant to consume provided feed, such as sugar syrup and protein supplement.


I’ve heard a couple of the folks investigating CCD talk and one other thing they seem to consistently mention is that it occurs abruptly. That is, hives that seem healthy and vigorous one day are practically vacant a few days later. The sense I've gotten is that with CCD the adult bees appear to leave the nest and just don't return.
 

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I will go with ods descriptions and observations he is seeing colony collapse disorder and is accurately separating it from demise principally due to Varroa. There is something to be learned from this. As far as no bees around the hives, how many dead bees would you expect to see on the ground out in the prairies? You can make a definition so precise that it hardly exists in reality.
 

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so far lost 6 hives, lots of pollen and honey in each hive, with couple hundred dead bees on the frames. can i use these frames on new packages i am getting this spring. thanks
 

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As far as no bees around the hives, how many dead bees would you expect to see on the ground out in the prairies?
Many of the CCD hives were in large yards in FL or holding yards in CA. Loaded with bees one day, empty a couple of days later. No dead bees on the ground. If they were like odfranks there'd have been loads of dead and dying bees. These weren't out in the prairie.
You can make a definition so precise that it hardly exists in reality.
I didn't make the definition but the definition was met by tens (or hundreds) of thousands of hives. It didn't seem too narrow.
odfrank has sick bees. If every time a beekeeper has sick bees it qualifies as CCD, then the definition becomes so broad as to be totally meaningless.
It really doesn't matter to me. I'm just suggesting that he investigate his losses as a separate disorder....not to just assume it's more of the same. Send samples to Beltsville, Md....whatever it takes...otherwise he may never get it under control....of course depending on what it is he (we) may never get it under control anyway.
 

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can i use these frames on new packages i am getting this spring. thanks
Woodmann99, the following is a post I made in another thread.
The long and short, I can’t answer whether or not your frames are ok to reuse but if they were mine I’d try.
Woodman99, I think you and odfrank may have different problems. If I’m not mistaken, Calaveras county is in the Sierra foothills….right? Cool days and cold nights right now. Those clusters of a few hundred bees may not have been enough to maintain warmth. If so, was there something you might have done? Maybe. It’s part of the learning process. If you don’t know why they failed, how can you possibly correct it next time? In late summer make sure they’re queenright and making brood. Check for varroa and treat as necessary. Make sure they have ample stores. As the weather cools make sure the populations are big enough to survive. Find out from other local beeks what their experience has been. Just my opinion.
And on this note, I’m through posting on this topic…..sorry if I’ve offended anyone
 

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Dan are you speaking from personal experience? I am. I have literally, personally, observed the loss of thousands and thousands of these type of colonies. The more closely and often they are watched, the more you see it is a dwindling over a certain period of time, particularly if they haven't been moved. What actually gets said in most cases is that they "were fine the last time I looked..." The loss is certainly sudden some times when the bees are stressed for the final time, like ganging up or cold weather.
 

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Tom, second hand. I've talked to several of the folks who investigated the initial reports, some who have been studying the data, and a couple of veteran, commercial beekeepers who experienced sizeable losses. This wasn't the old 'fall dwindling' or 'dwindling' that beekeepers have reported for decades.
Again, I don't personally have a dog in this fight. I wish the best to every beekeeper who's lost colonies
May 2010 be prosperous.
 

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Woodman98, take this for what it is worth. I have only had bee's for a year now, but if one of my hives just up and dies or disappears for no apparent reason, and they leave behind a bunch of stored food, why would you take those frames and put then in a new hive? Something drove the other bee's out or killed them, my opinion is you would only be setting another hive up for failure. Frames and foundation are cheap.
 
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