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Author Topic: Lost Nuc, why?  (Read 416 times)

Offline SB-Russ

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Lost Nuc, why?
« on: November 12, 2017, 11:00:51 pm »
Hi all,

I got a late nuc this year (April). It seemed strong when I picked it up from the seller and he said not to disturb it during winter. The cold days went on late this year, to early September, then we had a sudden heatwave for2 weeks, then rain for 2 weeks.

I didn?t do any internal inspections, but when looking externally during the heatwave, I saw zero activity at the entrance and figured the hive was dead. 4 week slater when I opened the box, there was a wax moth infestation, although they had only invaded two of the frames, with lots of cocoons on the bottom of the frames, but only saw about 5 moths and no larvae.

The rest of the frames were like newly placed comb. There wasn?t a single bee, larvae, eggs or honey, just empty comb.

Any idea what the cause would be? Did the Queen die maybe, so all the bees hatched, took all the honey and left? I?m thinking the  wax moth only moved in after the bees vacated, but I?m just guessing. My fault for not inspecting so long probably.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2017, 04:33:11 am »
Did you inspect the hive at all before winter?  Did the seller show you all of the frames?
Sounds like you only had 2 frames of bees in a five frame Nuc. The chances of surviving the winter are slim. I can keep 2 frames of bees alive in an inside observation hive but not in a outside Nuc.
Did you take some pictures? If so, please post so that we can give you a better answer.
Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline SB-Russ

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2017, 05:11:28 am »
No, I didn?t look inside, but I trust the seller.

I?ve been wanting to get some pictures, just never seem to have the camera on me at the right time. Will try and get some pictures up tomorrow.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2017, 07:44:09 am »
Thanks.
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline SB-Russ

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2017, 04:34:46 pm »
Well my first reaction may have been incorrect. Looking more clinically now I've taken some photo's, there is evidence of old bees on several of the frames. Didn't have time to look at individual cells, but here's a pic of one side of the frames.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2017, 06:24:00 pm »
SB,
Hard to see in this picture but it looks like a lot of dead bees on the frame and lots of capped honey. I could not tell if there are dead bees head first in the comb. I suspect there were not enough bees to keep this hive warm and they froze to death.
Never accept a Nuc without having the seller show you the frames and preferably the queen. All five frames should be covered with bees if you are buying a five frame Nuc.
Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline SB-Russ

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2017, 10:40:04 pm »
Hmmm.

So do you think the wax moth would have only
Moved in after the bees left? They wouldn?t have been the cause, would they?

Moving on from here, should I just melt down the wax and scrub everything out to kill any moth eggs?

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2017, 10:47:17 pm »
Hmmm.

So do you think the wax moth would have only
Moved in after the bees left? They wouldn?t have been the cause, would they?

Moving on from here, should I just melt down the wax and scrub everything out to kill any moth eggs?
Wax moths are the cleanup crew.
Take the frames and put them in the frame for 3 days. Then pull off the cacoons and reuse the frames.  The bees will clean out the rest of the  trash.
Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline SB-Russ

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2017, 10:53:00 pm »
OK. I?m assuming you mean put them in the freezer :) just have to try and make room somehow. Maybe time to consider a small freezer for the shed...

PS - what about the box? Is a physical clean OK, or do the eggs hibernate in the wood somehow? (Sorry I know this info is out there for searching) will research when I can get off my phone I to a real screen)

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2017, 11:08:25 pm »
Wax moths are easy to clean up. Just use your hive tool to scrape the cocoons off.
Jim
Auto correct got me on the freezer.
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline Acebird

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2017, 09:26:22 am »
Judging from where you are (below the equator) your seasons are reversed to ours so April would be fall.  Buying a nuc in the fall would be a coin toss and getting through the winter would be another coin toss so the odds are against you.  Regardless of what killed your hive you have very few options that will improve your success.  If you don't have a mountain of experience don't even think about getting bees in the fall unless they are gifted.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline Anybrew2

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2017, 04:05:38 pm »
Mmmmmm looks a little like AFB just a thought....
See if there's any brown stringy yuck in the cells.

Cheers
Steve

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2017, 10:23:35 pm »
Andrew,
What makes
You think AFB?
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline SB-Russ

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2017, 10:47:48 pm »
Hope it?s not AFB  :sad: I had some closer pictures, but had trouble converting from my phone to something the forum would accept. Hard during the week to get time to poke around in the shed. Will dig out some of the capped cells as soon as I can.

Offline Anybrew2

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2017, 01:05:59 am »
Um because I had a similar experience when I first started with Bee's with a colony failing,  I later learnt that it was AFB which caused the colony to reduce in numbers and ultimately fail. and also  I dont  like the colour of the frames my AFB frames had that dirty look to them.

just a thought.

Offline yantabulla

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2017, 01:27:09 am »
Regardless of what killed them the advice to reuse the old frames is irresponsible.  Burn them & start again.

Offline SB-Russ

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2017, 04:37:19 am »
So ai just went poking around in 3 of the frames. The cells with caps on them have nothing inside, they?re just empty cells, unless there?s a dead egg at the bottom, and they?re dry. I came across a couple of cells half filled with pollen, but otherwise no sign of brood, honey or dead bees.

Some of the cells have what looks like wax crumbs around the rim, where I assume the bees uncapped stores to get to them. The colour of the comb is simply because they are old well used combs I believe.

Offline little john

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2017, 05:56:32 am »
Regardless of what killed them the advice to reuse the old frames is irresponsible.  Burn them & start again.

What ?  If a colony should die because of loss of queen/ drone-laying/ starvation/ drifting-off/ CCD - or any other reason (short of foul brood) - then you're going to burn perfectly good comb and the frames as well ?  That's crazy talk.
LJ
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2017, 06:30:08 am »
SB,
Take the frames and look in the cells. Hold the cells so that the son is over your shoulder and angle the frame so that light goes in the cell. Look for little tongues sticking up from the bottom in empty cells in the brood area. Does the hive smell bad? If there are none and it does not smell bad, it is probably not AFB. Don't burn them.
Also look for white specks in the bottom of the frames. That would bee mite crap. If it is in most of the cells, mites are what did in your hive. Don't burn the hives. Mites do not survive long without the bees. If you really think it is AFB, call someone who knows what to look for. Our inspectors can walk through an apiary and smell a hive that has AFB without even opening any hives. 
Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline Acebird

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Re: Lost Nuc, why?
« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2017, 09:07:51 am »
What ?  If a colony should die because of loss of queen/ drone-laying/ starvation/ drifting-off/ CCD - or any other reason (short of foul brood) - then you're going to burn perfectly good comb and the frames as well ?  That's crazy talk.
LJ

I couldn't agree more.  Two of the frames look much older than the other three.  I assume most people treat bees and the old timers used antibiotics regularly.  For that reason I would strip the comb in those two.  It is hard to tell the structural integrity of the frames with these photos so if I could see them better they might go also.
Brian Cardinal
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