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Author Topic: Absconding, deformed Wing virus.  (Read 380 times)

Offline Van, Arkansas, USA

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Absconding, deformed Wing virus.
« on: November 04, 2017, 10:26:55 pm »
I have had two hives abscond this year.  Both exhibited bees with shriveled wings, known as deformed Wing virus.  The first abscond was in late August, an otherwise strong healthy hive with a lot of bees, 2 deeps and a super. 

The most recent abscond,  I discovered today.  The bees must have left the past day or two.  This hive had about a dozen small hive beetle, I could find zero varroa in the few capped cells that were left.  There was no eggs or larva.  The hive was treated with oxalic acid, sublimation in September after I noticed deformed Wing virus.  The past 2 weeks I have noticed bees on the ground in front of the hive with the characteristic deformed wings.  This hive had good honey stores, a solid number of bees.  There was 1/2 frame each of honey and pollen as the absconding bees took most of the stores.  Maybe 6 dead bees on the bottom of the hive.  Temps have been warm, 80's past several days.  No sign of wax moths.  No robbing was going on with this hive.  Entranced was reduced to 3/4 inch for winterization, no insulation, screened bottom board.

Now I understand I'll never know for certain why the bees absconded.  I am thinking there is a connection with the virus and absconding, but I still have a lot to learn about these beautiful little creatures we call honey bees.

My other hives show no apparent signs of the virus.  Posted for your review and comment.
Blessings

Offline herbhome

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Re: Absconding, deformed Wing virus.
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2017, 11:23:51 pm »
This is a bummer, Van. Most people would say mites but it sounds like you had them in control. Maybe someone more experienced than I can offer advice, all I can do is commiserate.
Neill

Offline little john

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Re: Absconding, deformed Wing virus.
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2017, 05:32:16 am »
Hi Van.  That's certainly a "bummer". 

However, it's possible that this could have a rational explanation, as there's a form of swarming which one never reads about these days, which Dzierzon called 'Pauper Swarming'.

Pauper Swarming - as the name suggests - occurs when conditions within a beehive become so impoverished, so reduced in quality, that the colony considers that moving to another location - regardless of the risks involved - presents as being a better strategy to adopt than staying put and hoping for the best.  Essentially, they consider that they have nothing left to lose by taking a chance, no matter how slim.

When seen from their point-of-view, they have been brooding-up for a while now in order to produce 'winter bees', and have been investing significant resources in the process - yet many, if not all of those bees have had to be dumped due to their imperfections.  Now of course the bees don't know why things have been going so wrong - they just know that they have, and that the colony is presently in trouble.

Now when most colonies begin dwindling like this, they are caught between a rock and a hard place.  They may know well-enough that the colony is in decline, but can do nothing whatsoever about it.  So they are forced to stay put, with inevitable consequences.

Your colony however had two key advantages:  as they have left some stores behind, this suggests that they had plenty to draw upon when the decision to swarm was made; secondly - and perhaps even more importantly - you mention that temperatures were in the 80's during the last few days.
If you put these three events together: life in the hive being far from good; plenty of stores; and a good-weather window - conditions must then have presented themselves to the colony as being ideal for risking 'a jail-break'.  Bees are one of nature's finest opportunists - and great survivors - but only providing that the right conditions present themselves ...

So - the answer could well be as simple as the above.  They left, because it seemed the best strategy under existing circumstances.  You found few varroa in the remaining capped cells presumably because you zapped their parents back in September - that would make sense.

No guarantee that this is the explanation of course, but it fits the evidence.
'best,
LJ
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Absconding, deformed Wing virus.
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2017, 08:21:03 am »
Van,
I believe the reason they left is because of genetics. I strongly suspect our bees now have a lot of Africanized genes. In Africa, when the dry season starts, the bees have to move to follow the food source. I suspect this is CCD.
I had it happen to my observation hive this year. They left with lots of honey, almost no varroa, and lots of wet and capped brood.
2 years ago I lost a lot of bees to absconding in the spring. Last year I fed all of my hives with just 2 little holes in the lid to minimize how much sugar water they could get. I did not lose any hives. I feed them when it warms up between the end of the maple flow and the  start of the spring flow. This helps to feed during the dearth.
Jim
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Offline sterling

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Re: Absconding, deformed Wing virus.
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2017, 11:02:24 pm »
You waited to late to treat the mites. They already had viruses caused by the mites. The oxalic acid vapor kills the mites but not the viruses. You saw the crawlers they were sick and dying the ones that left did so as a  last resort to survive.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Absconding, deformed Wing virus.
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2017, 08:20:53 am »
What doesn't make sense to me is all the honey that is left.  If it were a swarm complete with a queen wouldn't the foragers come back to rob the honey that was left?  The virus could be the reason the hive just died out.  I would agree if you get to the point of DWV treating for mites is too late.  The bees are already in a weaken state.  Treating could finish them off.
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Offline little john

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Re: Absconding, deformed Wing virus.
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2017, 09:11:07 am »
What doesn't make sense to me is all the honey that is left.  If it were a swarm complete with a queen wouldn't the foragers come back to rob the honey that was left? 

Not if they've swarmed beyond foraging range. 

'Swarming Behavior of Honey Bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in Southeastern Louisiana',  Jose? D. Villa (2004), includes data showing that swarms have been recorded having travelled 10km (6.2 miles).
LJ
 
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Absconding, deformed Wing virus.
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2017, 09:52:52 am »
If it is a case of the bees dieing, the queen would still bee in the hive. Even if it was dead. I have had a hive die and the only bee alive was the queen. Never did figure out what killed an entire observation hive full of bees in 3 days. 
Jim
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Online tjc1

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Re: Absconding, deformed Wing virus.
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2017, 10:59:52 am »
My experience concurs with that of Sterling and Acebird. Two years ago I lost two strong hives with the same scenario. There was a scientific research paper posted here just after that that described the situation exactly, as a response to virus overload, even though only one of the hives was showing DWV. They just left at some point (one in early November the other a couple of weeks later), with nothing but a very few (less than 100) dead bees in the hive, and both full of honey. The same base problem - I waited too late to treat in the fall. I now do the OAV in late August and have not had the same problem (yet!).

Offline GSF

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Re: Absconding, deformed Wing virus.
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2017, 10:22:35 am »
Interesting observations and comments
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Offline little john

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Re: Absconding, deformed Wing virus.
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2017, 03:45:03 pm »
I waited too late to treat in the fall. I now do the OAV in late August and have not had the same problem (yet!).

That's a useful hook for me to use to flag-up the most informative video I've yet seen on the subject of OAV and Varroa. It's a talk by Marion Ellis - 40 mins long, so I'd recommend saving it to watch at your leisure.  A really good talk (imo).
LJ
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http://www.ssyoutube.com/watch?v=q4WvPNmS7uc
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