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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started a couple packages of bees for the first time last spring and one of them has never really seemed to get going, any way starting about a month ago I was beginning to see many dead bees on the landing board and right below the hive, here are my observations and what I have done so far.
-the many dying bees couldn't move put would sort of move their legs in a stupid sluggish motion. vary uncordinated
-many had barely had any wings on them
-queen has never laid a good brood pattern
-hive seemed unmotivated to survive, lazy
-italians to gentle could not get one to sting me
-not at all hygenic would leave dead bees for days
-never built up more than 2.5 medium, partly my fault as I didn't feed much
-first few weeks their was staining around entrance
This has been going on a since I installed the bees but has gotten way worse over the last month.

So I finally dicided to really figure out what was going on and did a thorough inspection
-only one medium of bees left
-dead brood throughout the hive. Some looked like they tried to get out but couldn't because there body was halfway out.
-Many dead while still capped.
-A couple of frames smelled bad from all the dead I think,
-Tested negative to AFB or EFB
-screened bottom board covered in bees. Mostly looked to be very new bees and pupa.
-a few frames of combined food. Mainly sugar water

I figured that the best thing I could do for them was help clean up. One frame of honey and drawn empty comb was placed into a medium followed by blank frames. Proceeded to shake all the bees into the new box being careful with the queen treating it sort of like a new package. So my refurbished hive is now only one medium and a top feeder, sad to see it dwindle down to that. After it was all together I gathered up all the old frames for a bit more investigating and dissected them. My mite count was 1 brood out of 15 had a mite or 2, is this acceptable? the few drones had a higher rate of about 1 of 2.

If it matters I am in southern CA lows in the 40's and highs in the 80s pepper trees are in bloom now for miles.
Sure hope my hive makes it. I always new something was wrong but gave them the benefit of the doubt and hoped they would fix themselves. So what do you guys thing happened
-bad genetics, disease, mites, or insecticide.
and what course of action would
you recommend.
 

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You'll definitely get more answers here.

The drone mite count sounds high and the rest of the brood I'm not sure.

You mentioned earlier that : "queen has never laid a good brood pattern"

This would suggest that the queen was weak and may not have been superseded, leaving the colony frail to other diseases obviously not related to AFB since you've done thorough testing. With a high mite count, I'd point to CCD (colony collapse disorder). We'll see as the other opinions come in....

What causes the staining & why are they doing it, brooksbeefarm ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I should mention that the staining lasted only a couple weeks after the package was installed.
 

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As I read your problem this is what came to me.
One more question to be answered but I believe it sounds like they have been slowly poisoned. Is it common to see "dysentery" with an exposure to insecticide?
 

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feed medicated syrup with fumiglan B and as well treat for varroa mites. there is a variety of products out there. I like mite away 2 for the simplicity and you get two mite kills...varroa and trachea.

However, I am of the opinion of checking to see if the hive is viable. Look at the cost to treat and requeen, and would it pay to do this. Are there enough bees and are they young and healthy enough to raise brood. If not, then the answer would be to let it die. I would not combine with a hive since these are sick and your other hives i presume are healthy.

Start again in the spring...

just my two cents
 

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a question or two:
1) where did you acquire the packages
2) did the producer of the packages medicate for nosema.

tecumseh:
at your location staining from nosema would suggest that the nosema was EXTREMELY sever.

once the queen is infected you would never expect her to produce anything that might look like a normal patter. likely the only reason this hive did not replace (superscede) this queen is they were too weak to replace her. from your description this hive is also experiencing some viral type problem (sound to me like deformed wing virus plus a paralysis virus).

might I suggest... the next time you acquire a package some question as to how the hives and packages are treated (medicated) is almost always a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I did not ask the supplier if the bees had been medicated but they came from a mainstream supplier so I imagine they would have.
Now that I think back the area were my bees are kept did get sprayed with poison while they were there to combat those darn argentina ants. My yard is infested with them.
 

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I think we are too quick at times to blame something else like poisoning rather than look in the mirror.
My thoughts on this are this hive was weak and the length of time waiting to treat contributed to the failing of this hive.
I am not saying CCd, but rather to little to late. In came the varroa, and then the nosema, and now deformed wing virus and that other one Tecumseh mentioned.

As a beekeeper, in this day and age, we must be proactive in our disease monitoring. It is something we must be on top of at all times. Monitor monitor and then monitor again. We also need to monitor pre/mid/post treatments to ensure the treatments are working.

When we accomplish monitoring regularly, we can see and know when the hive is in trouble. Then and only then can we begin to look at posioning because of sprays as a reason for our hives being in trouble because we have the proof to say..."they were healthy at this point....this is where they stood at this time..."

Now you must decide if this hive is viable enough to treat or to let it die, and not combine with your healthy hive.
Since this hive is so sick, and if you have another hive, there is a good chance robbing has begun, so now the diseases are spreading. Might be time to look at getting proactive with the healthy hives to keep them healthy. Otherwise you will lose them all

As a side note, our university recommends when monitoring to monitor 15% of the hives in each yard...some weak, some strong, some medium to get an accurate reading on each yard
 

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I read as far as "Deformed wings" and quit reading. That's "deformed wing virus" and those bees are carrying signs that say DOWN WITH MITES. The poor pattern could be due to the bees cleaning out cells that had mites. PMS (Parasitic mite syndrome) can mimic most diseases. All dead bees stink. Logically the brood that is left is full of mites. Throw that frame away and treat the adults with oxalic acid drench. Then at least you have a fresh start. Feed and give pollen patty.

Next year put a cup of sugar in with the package of bees and roll them around and let them sit for 5 mins. It gets rid of the phoretic (passenger) mites.

...and shut up about your flowers blooming! ;)

dickm
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Based on what your telling me I am going to research the different kinds of treatments, treat and then requeen when they become available.
 

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will s...

1) typically pesticide poisonings will be accompanied by large number of dead bee at the front door and most times on the bottom board in numbers large enough you would have had difficulties not noticing them.

2) a lot of package producer will treat the queen rearing nuc for nosema but not the worker bees in the package. some do of course add fumidil to that small container which comes with the package but not all. this would be the first bit of information I would want to know in regards to a package.

3) the producers of packages also may or maynot treat for varroa. this would be the second bit of information I would want to know. if he does you can almost be certain that the bees in the package have little resistance to varroa. the queen... well maybe yes and maybe no. initial state of infestation would be important but you will also need to monitor constantly. treat if it become necessary. there are a lot of options for treatment from soft to harsh.

casually I suspect the initial problem with the package was #2 and #3 naturally followed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
^my other hive is doing ok I think I haven't treated for anything but they always seemed more active, never had any staining. They built up 2.5 mediums from there introduction. i was starting to get more dead beas around the same time as the other hive but I think it was just because the weather finally started to cool down and got some rain. The dead were quickly cleaned up thou as soon as it was warm enough.

I decided to see what the bottom board looked like on the sick hive and it reeinforced your guys's thoughts. Pobably a couple hundred dead mites from half a medium of bees. Last time it was cleaned was on the 13th dec. Two days ago, you think I have a mite problem lol.
Is there any product that I can buy from a store for these buggers. Shipping always seems to take close to two weeks when it comes to bee supplies. I am going to check my other hives bottom board now.
 
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