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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Basically as far as I can tell i started to loose massive amounts of bees dying from poisoning in the first of November. When this first happened I thought it was a nearby passerby that may have applied bee killer to the hives so I washed them down with soap and water. The die off continued on for about 3 weeks . Bees walking around outside, falling off the landing board, cant fly. looking and acting like poison. Piles of them on the ground and blocking the entrances. We did have a local farmer apply a commercial insecticide by the name of Whirlwind to control black aphids to nearby pecan trees about a week or two before I noticed my losses happening. Ive not yet researched that pesticide but intend to. It seems that the effects lasted a lot longer then they should have. Whirlwind is supposed to have a 10 day residual. I thought to myself on the good side the remaining bees should have plenty of food, and they did, each hive has 3-4 frames full of capped honey. Each hive had grown to filling out about 5-6 frames of bees of the 10 frame box. After the die off I had probably double frame and a half of bees in each hive. Due to the losses I fed pollen patties hoping to spurn new brood. I live in southern New Mexico, so the bees dont seem to have long periods of dormancy if it gets cold ( in the 20's it warms up to 40's in the day time but give it a week or two and we will be back in the mid 50's throughout the winter. So on warm days Ive been checking and everything seemed to be good up through the last check 2 weeks ago, right before a cold snap. Anyhow it looks like to me both hives froze to death. bees were in clusters still. Right next to honey. I had treated for varrora october time frame so they would winter well, I have not seen signs that this was an issue. no mites that I see. no slime or dysentery. No deformed wings, no foul brood signs.
Any how now Ive got a bunch of frames with honey, drawn frames that are empty, some frames 1/2 drawn. So im thinking this is my course of action and would appreciate feedback on the plan: remove frames with comb and honey pluck out the dead bees and stick all in freezer. Clean up boxes, lids, screened bottoms. Set aside in barn or outside, doesn't really matter. Pre order 2 nucs, but for delivery when? Then I guess just before the nucs arrive re assemble single box hives complete with honey and empty brood frames. Let everything thaw out. Then combine the nucs to the hives. Sounds easy enough! Suggestions?
 

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If you suspect the hives were poisoned I would throw out all of the frames. It the hives were exposed to poison it may also be in the hives and the honey in the frames. The boxes, top, and bottom may be ok to reuse.

If your bees collected nector from a plant treated with chemicals earlier in the year it may not have shown up then and may have been concentrated in the honey. When the hives started eating thru the winter stores with pesticides it may have done them in.
 

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Whirlwind is chlorpyrifos based, which is a short lasting but very powerful insecticide, one of the nastier ones to work with. However in the temperatures you describe it is unlikely that bees would have been on the trees much. Not saying that contact would have been impossible though, if they were foraging.

Soap and water is deadly to bees, and kills them in the manner you describe.

What mite treatment did you use in October?
 

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Sorry to hear about the loss. I didn't think honey bees worked pecan trees since they are wind pollinated. Could be a lot of overspray drift that happened though, people are careless. Were you notified when spraying was going to be going on to be able to take precautions, sound like you might be close to the pecan orchard. I know at least around here keepers must be notified before hand of spraying, if not I have heard people talk of legal action against things like this.
 

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I, and three fellow Bee Club members, live on the periphery of a 1500 acre pecan orchard, (In and across the street from this huge orchard). We have pecan trees in our yards. I've n-e-v-e-r seen bees on pecan trees. I can tell you that there was no pecan pollen found in a honey sample examined by Texas A&M University last year. Unless there was drift of that insecticide, you are barking up the wrong tree. I hope you figure it out. JMO

Lee Burough, in Pecan Plantation, TX
 

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It sounds like mites to me.
 

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Black aphids feed on the green leaves of pecan trees. The timing of the black aphid treatment is not making a lot of sense to me. At least in my area, the fruit is on the ground in November, and the leaves are falling. One of my beeyards is in a pecan orchard. The farmer normally applies his sprays between May and July.
 

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It sounds like mites to me.
To me too. BPV looks like pesticide poisoning in my opinion. Not too sure about the effacy or the timing of the treatment in October. My bees stop rearing brood in October. A single treatment that late would doom my hives for sure.
 

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I would like to hear someone from the OP's area to chime in, but agree with JWP that my hives would be doomed if I treated for mites in October no matter what was used. Oprod, have you talked to other beeks in your area about when to treat? J
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Whirlwind is chlorpyrifos based, which is a short lasting but very powerful insecticide, one of the nastier ones to work with. However in the temperatures you describe it is unlikely that bees would have been on the trees much. Not saying that contact would have been impossible though, if they were foraging.

Soap and water is deadly to bees, and kills them in the manner you describe.

What mite treatment did you use in October?
I used APIVAR strips
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Barking up the wrong tree! That’s great. So I would agree that they shouldn’t be in the trees, pollination occurs in spring and yes they wind pollinate and besides this occurred in the fall. But would bees be getting sugar off the aphid juice from the leaves or some sap? Could be overspray, by hives located 60 feet away from the orchard...but that should manifest itself in a 10 day residual of the pesticide, my bees were dying for many weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes your correct with what has been common application for years. Now some farmers are thinking of knocking out the aphids again right before harvest takes place to reduce the amount that comes out the following spring.
 

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Doesn't sound like mites to me, are there weeds blooming, puddles of water near the orchard that bees could be collecting water?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
To me too. BPV looks like pesticide poisoning in my opinion. Not too sure about the effacy or the timing of the treatment in October. My bees stop rearing brood in October. A single treatment that late would doom my hives for sure.
Here is what I followed right off the apivar site for a fall treatment. Never had it really dawned on me that I may have poisoned my own bees. I don’t see that sort of warning on that web page, however since a couple of you fellows are saying this is so, please give me some more details. Why would a late treatment doom your hives? Sounds as if I’m missing a big piece of the puzzle here. And finally if this is truly what I did to myself, are the frames and the honey contaminated and not usable for a package or nuc this spring?

atment after the last usable honey flow - Autumn Treatment.
The aim of the autumn treatment is to decontaminate the colony before winter bees are produced and is considered the most important treatment in most beekeeping systems to prepare the colony for a good wintering, in addition with correct feeding when needed.
It should be initiated as soon as honey supers are removed
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when the nurses of winter bees are developing so that their breeding capacities can be maximized.
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before the parasites have had time to harm the colony
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Mjc14 often our farmers do irrigate. There is also the possibility that one of the farmers locally was using a product they drill into the soil that quickly after irrigation goes into the leaves. It’s a very good pesticide but has a very long residual. I haven’t visited with that farmer yet. Hmm that does raise possibilities, if they brought water into the hive... but water doesn’t stand here for more then 3 days.
 

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...but water doesn’t stand here for more then 3 days.
Only takes 1 day. The problem with blaming mites after treating (like I was told) in an otherwise healthy treated apiary, take a guess at what happens when you reuse the equipment and put new bees on it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Mabey you guys are saying the Apivar didn’t kill my bees but the too late in the application killed my bees.
It’s still 70 degrees here in November. I had piles of bees outside the hive and in the entrances. I would have thought mite infested bees would not die in this manner. I guess I thought they would be too weak to make it back home. :scratch: I was using a screened sticky board and some vasoline. I never saw more then 10 varrorra on the sticky board.
Now other kinds of mites, mabey, but I saw no signs slime or poop all over the place, which is what I thought I was looking for. Will go back and read up on tracheal mites...
 

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Oprod: First, I am very sorry about your bees. It sucks to lose hives. Puts me in a bad mood for days.

Second, no one here is going to be able to tell you what happened to your bees with any degree of certainty, but that will not keep us from trying. :). So I will tell you my best guess. Take it for what it is worth:

I treat with OAV, Apivar and Apiguard in rotations. My experience is that Apivar is the most effective. However, I do not like to use it. It is very expensive and it is the only synthetic miticide I use. However, my results have always been outstanding with the product.

However, Apivar is a contact miticide. So it is a slow, gradual kill of the mites in the hive as they individually come into contact with the miticide. Unlike OAV (which is sprayed throughout the hive in seconds) or Apiguard, which is a fumigant that bees work feverishly to remove (thus broadcasting it throughout their hives quickly), Apivar has a much slower action. So if you drop Apivar in the hive in October, you likely do not have a good kill for a couple or three weeks of the roughly 6 week treatment.

Meantime, your mite population is at its season peak after the flow and your hive has started cutting the bee population in preparation for winter. So your ratio of mites to bees has just been flipped on its head.

So you pull the Apivar strips that you put in in October sometime in mid to late November. Your mites are dead, but the viruses they vectored have infected the bees in the hive. These are the bees that have to get you through winter. They will not be replaced with new brood before winter. They are sick and they are dying.

October is too late to treat — especially with slow-acting Apivar. That is why the FAQ on the product tell you to treat immediately once supers come off.

This is only a guess based on the information you shared and my limited experience. For whatever that is worth. Good luck.
 

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Mabey you guys are saying the Apivar didn’t kill my bees but the too late in the application killed my bees.
It’s still 70 degrees here in November. I had piles of bees outside the hive and in the entrances. I would have thought mite infested bees would not die in this manner. I guess I thought they would be too weak to make it back home. :scratch: I was using a screened sticky board and some vasoline. I never saw more then 10 varrorra on the sticky board.
Now other kinds of mites, mabey, but I saw no signs slime or poop all over the place, which is what I thought I was looking for. Will go back and read up on tracheal mites...
FYI, for me there is not a single mite was dropped on the sticky board and yet the hive was heavily infested. When I did OAV, the first 2 days there are thousands of them dropped on the board so IMO from observation using the sticky board count is not accurate.

don't be discourage learn from the mistake and move forward. Next time try to take pictures since others can help diagnose it better with pictures.
 
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