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Author Topic: COMPLETELY empty hive  (Read 5428 times)

Offline tjc1

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COMPLETELY empty hive
« on: November 15, 2015, 06:57:37 pm »
I have had deadouts before, but never like this. This hive was active 8 days ago, when I treated with OA vapor. Today it was warm enough for activity. Seeing none, I listened while tapping the side - silence. I opened the hive to find exactly three - 3 - dead bees. A fair amount of stores on hand, though I can see in various locations where cappings had been chewed and honey removed recently. Have not seen any robbing activity, at least while I've been at home. This is the hive referred to in another post, where I found no dead mites after the OA treatment. Anyone heard of OA treatment causing bees to abscond? Can't imagine them wanting to move this late in the season... I am mentoring a new beek locally who reported to me the same phenomenon two weeks ago with her hive.

Offline Foxhound

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Re: COMPLETELY empty hive
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2015, 07:19:56 pm »
Stumped me. I'm curious what others think happened.

Offline Blacksheep

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Re: COMPLETELY empty hive
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2015, 07:57:09 pm »
I don't like those chemicals!

Offline tjc1

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Re: COMPLETELY empty hive
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2015, 08:35:16 pm »
I should have noted that I treated another (larger) hive at the same time, and it is fine.

Offline MT Bee Girl

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Re: COMPLETELY empty hive
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2015, 09:18:31 am »
It seems like every time I turn around on fb, someone's hive absconded after OV treatment.
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Offline GSF

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Re: COMPLETELY empty hive
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2015, 06:15:33 am »
MT Bee Girl - stop turning around (lol)

This is my second year treating with OAV. Right now I'm sitting at 20 hives, last year 14, sold around 15-20. No absconding.

tjc - did the other beek do the OAV? How much are yall using per super? I've heard of folks using too much and killing a bunch but not absconding. I'm not saying it's not possible.
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Offline Robo

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Re: COMPLETELY empty hive
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2015, 08:16:55 am »
You are not alone.  This seems to be a phenomena that is hitting the NorthEast (maybe other places as well) this year.  I have heard of at least a dozen or more cases this fall and have personally inspected two of these hives.   Purely speculation on the part of a few well respected beekeepers, but it is believed they are absconding do to some type of sickness (perhaps a virus) that is being vectored by varroa.   Most of these hive have plenty of capped honey,  but no nectar.  Theory is that the remaining bees gorge on the nectar and flee and join nearby colonies.    Our experience is that there is some tie into commercial bees.  All the cases where either new purchased bees or in yards that were in contact with bees from a commercial source.   We have not seen any cases in beeks that have not bought in purchased bees or been in areas where purchased bees were.
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Online sawdstmakr

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Re: COMPLETELY empty hive
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2015, 01:03:32 pm »
I lost several hives in the spring and a couple during the summer. One day they were full and a week later they were empty with honey remaining. This after surviving winter. Most were from swarms from commercial bees that are placed next to my farm, stones throw from my property.
I suspect it is more genetic. When it warms up in the spring and there is a lull in the flow they up and move out to find new food sources just like they did in Africa.
Jim

Offline GSF

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Re: COMPLETELY empty hive
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2015, 02:09:47 pm »
Good points Robo & Jim.
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Offline chux

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Re: COMPLETELY empty hive
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2015, 02:13:18 pm »
You are not alone.  This seems to be a phenomena that is hitting the NorthEast (maybe other places as well) this year.  I have heard of at least a dozen or more cases this fall and have personally inspected two of these hives.   Purely speculation on the part of a few well respected beekeepers, but it is believed they are absconding do to some type of sickness (perhaps a virus) that is being vectored by varroa.   Most of these hive have plenty of capped honey,  but no nectar.  Theory is that the remaining bees gorge on the nectar and flee and join nearby colonies.    Our experience is that there is some tie into commercial bees.  All the cases where either new purchased bees or in yards that were in contact with bees from a commercial source.   We have not seen any cases in beeks that have not bought in purchased bees or been in areas where purchased bees were.

I know a couple of commercial beeks in my area who have lost a significant number of hives with the same symptoms. No bees. Stores remaining. Some of the remaining hives in the yards were inspected. Inspector found low mite counts in most. One or two where the mite count was bordering needing treatment. He speculated that the lost colonies probably had high mite count and contracted some newer diseases for our area. I heard mention of Kasmir disease????  I don't think anybody knows for sure, but this is going on at least as far south as eastern NC, this fall. Anybody south of here seeing the same thing?

Offline tjc1

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Re: COMPLETELY empty hive
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2015, 10:36:21 pm »

tjc - did the other beek do the OAV? How much are yall using per super? I've heard of folks using too much and killing a bunch but not absconding. I'm not saying it's not possible.

No, the other beek had not treated. Both of my hives this year came as packages this past spring from the same source. I used 2 grams OA for the 4 medium hive, and 1 1/2 grams for the 3 medium hive. In retrospect, the abscond must have been underway when I treated. There were bees in the hive that day (flying), but when I checked for mite drop the following day, there was not one mite, which I thought strange - now I guess they must have been all gone by that next day.

Offline Troutdog

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Re: COMPLETELY empty hive
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2015, 08:49:06 am »
I have had deadouts before, but never like this. This hive was active 8 days ago, when I treated with OA vapor. Today it was warm enough for activity. Seeing none, I listened while tapping the side - silence. I opened the hive to find exactly three - 3 - dead bees. A fair amount of stores on hand, though I can see in various locations where cappings had been chewed and honey removed recently. Have not seen any robbing activity, at least while I've been at home. This is the hive referred to in another post, where I found no dead mites after the OA treatment. Anyone heard of OA treatment causing bees to abscond? Can't imagine them wanting to move this late in the season... I am mentoring a new beek locally who reported to me the same phenomenon two weeks ago with her hive.
Just to add to Robo's thoughts on this
Additional conversations with other berks in Hudson Valley and northern ny the following
Up north monster honey flow this year, low stress on bees, full stores no dead bees behind yet unhatched pockets of brood.
Hudson Valley drought stress lots of feeding 2.1 mites treated early Sept and follow up treatment if needed. We used formic flash 65%. All hives were booming in population and had lots of stores and pollen. For my hives demise was within a week from full to barren. Robbing did not happen at all in these hives save a few yellow jackets. Of my 5 hives lost 3 had new commercial queens the other 2 were 2nd year from same yard nucs  made last july.
First 2 times I thought they swarmed from possible over feeding (did not seem honey bound as brood area was still without nectar/ sugar syrup.)
Next 2 made me wonder what is going on. Toxins or virus?
Did local highway dept spray for loosestrife and other invasive species
New chemical cocktails or was this a new virus.
Hives that were requeened had some issues earlier in summer such as failing queen not brooding up and general lack of production.
Deformed wing virus was not evident in deadouts. No massive die off in front of hive area.
Did a noses spore count on wax in hive and ceramae was present.
Possible combination of events if localized such as just my yards ok no big deal,but having reports of this in several counties around my location with similar circumstances makes me wonder.
Common theme was large populated hives with stores. Larger foraging numbers leads me to think it is a toxin. Many house plants are heavily embedded with insecticides at growers. Was thinking perhaps fall plants such as mums could contain a clue.

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Offline GSF

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Re: COMPLETELY empty hive
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2015, 09:43:29 pm »
I just mentioned this on another thread here. I sold some hives to a person this last spring/summer. She called and was wondering if I had any idea why 3 strong hives would just up and leave behind capped brood and plenty of stores. She said there wasn't the first dead or live bee anywhere. That's the first I've heard of in Alabama.
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Offline tjc1

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Re: COMPLETELY empty hive
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2015, 11:56:50 pm »
I sent comb/brood samples to the Beltsville ag lab and will report any findings here.

Offline Troutdog

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Re: COMPLETELY empty hive
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2015, 08:42:04 am »
I lost several hives in the spring and a couple during the summer. One day they were full and a week later they were empty with honey remaining. This after surviving winter. Most were from swarms from commercial bees that are placed next to my farm, stones throw from my property.
I suspect it is more genetic. When it warms up in the spring and there is a lull in the flow they up and move out to find new food sources just like they did in Africa.
Jim
Swarming generally leaves behind bees and q cells.
Absconding all go.


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Offline chux

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Re: COMPLETELY empty hive
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2015, 10:40:12 am »
In addition to the two commercial beeks I know who have seen colonies disappear, a couple of backyard beeks in my local club have reported the same symptoms between late summer and early fall, in several of their hives. Strong colony seems to abscond. No bees or dead bees left. Leaving behind plenty of stores.

 

Offline KPF

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Re: COMPLETELY empty hive
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2015, 12:45:03 pm »
one theory that has been proposed in the northeast is that the flow was so good hives became honeybound and left no room for the queen to lay. One very experienced beekeeper noticed this issue, spun out 4 frames of honey, and put empty (but built out frames) into the brood chamber to give the queen room to lay. He didn't have any problem with absconding, but many other experienced beekeepers did. This was in the South Shore of Massachusetts. Just a theory. It's tough to tease out these things, but the honeybound theory makes sense given how good the flow was this year.
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Offline ICDB

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Re: COMPLETELY empty hive
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2015, 11:07:01 am »
I live south of Boston and had 2 hives that absconded, both wintered over from last year.
Two weeks prior to the event the hives were given OA treatment with huuuuuge mite
Drop off. Not honey bound as there was plenty of space for laying. I do not live near any
farms or commercial beekeepers. I harvested about all honey left by the wanton bees.

I suspect for me it was the mite infestation and I need to be more proactive
with more frequent treatments even if not efficient with plenty of brood in chamber.

I have seen some trucks in my neighborhood and theft reports reporting only shop vacuums stolen,
Could it be possible a thief(s) are stealing the bees and reselling them in the spring?
Possibly a conspiracy by left wing zealots looking to make big pharma look bad. (lol)

Offline chux

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Re: COMPLETELY empty hive
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2015, 11:07:14 am »
one theory that has been proposed in the northeast is that the flow was so good hives became honeybound and left no room for the queen to lay. One very experienced beekeeper noticed this issue, spun out 4 frames of honey, and put empty (but built out frames) into the brood chamber to give the queen room to lay. He didn't have any problem with absconding, but many other experienced beekeepers did. This was in the South Shore of Massachusetts. Just a theory. It's tough to tease out these things, but the honeybound theory makes sense given how good the flow was this year.

Makes you wonder...Do many of you good folks see honey-bound colonies absconding in the fall? I would expect the queen to shut down early and for them to start eating through the stores instead of leaving at that time of year. It seems counter-intuitive for the colony to kill themselves in order to get out of a honey-bound situation. But maybe not. The bees always find ways to surprise us.

Offline KPF

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Re: COMPLETELY empty hive
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2015, 04:00:25 pm »
I know. I'm a first year beekeeper and it seems bees are too smart to commit suicide because they stored too much honey. Why not just dump some of the honey overboard? But in our club the number of abscondings is huge, and a lot of them were hives managed by very experienced beekeepers. Same story. Tons of honey. No bees. Important lesson. Some of our members try to limit disturbing the hive in fall as the bees get ready for winter. Limited to no inspections in late fall if the hive seems to be hoppin'. In most years, this practice probably is not a bad thing, but in a year with a monster flow, it could be devastating if the hive is honeybound and you don't know it. That's assuming the honeybound thing is the real reason. There are so many variables at play with these pesky bees it's mind numbing. But I guess that is most of the fun.

"Sprinkles are for winners."