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Author Topic: Hive Postmortem  (Read 529 times)

Offline The15thMember

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Hive Postmortem
« on: February 03, 2020, 04:15:42 pm »
Went to check on my bees today, since it's in the 70's here, and as I suspected, one of my hives is dead.  They were a little small going into the winter; the hive didn't get very big all last summer.  For the past couple of weeks when I tapped on the side they haven't been making any noise, and today when I pulled the bottom board tray out it was full of ripped open wax cappings, so I figured the big hive next door was probably robbing them out, and I'd better take a look inside.  Sure enough, found a small dead cluster.  Here's some pictures.  The queen was in the center of the cluster; I pulled her out for swarm bait before I took the pictures.  The bees look pretty healthy and they were right on top of food, so my guess is that they just froze to death, just not enough bees to keep warm.  What do you think was the cause of death? 
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I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline CoolBees

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2020, 06:11:59 pm »
Wow, nice looking foundationless comb with plenty of stores. What killed them? Good question. I'd like to know also. Hope someone can shed some light on it.
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2020, 06:19:00 pm »
Member, so sorry for the loss.  I know the feeling all to well.

I see lots of Varroa mite frass: White specks on upper part of the wax cell.  Kinda looks like sprinkled salt, tiny white specks.

Maybe a combination of small cluster, cold, also weakened by Varroa.

Just an observation for keen eyes.  The bees in the very clear bottom pic all appear to be the same age judging by the hairs on the thorax, chest, top view.  This is to be expected as the bees are winter bees, all about same age..  Old worker bees will have the hair completely absent, rubbed off smoothly, on the top the the throax.

Health to the bees.
Van
« Last Edit: February 03, 2020, 06:29:22 pm by van from Arkansas »
Bless the Beekeepers.  Dealing with venomous insects takes courage, patience, dedication and a desire to be with nature.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2020, 07:02:02 pm »
Wow, nice looking foundationless comb with plenty of stores. What killed them? Good question. I'd like to know also. Hope someone can shed some light on it.

Member, so sorry for the loss.  I know the feeling all to well.

I see lots of Varroa mite frass: White specks on upper part of the wax cell.  Kinda looks like sprinkled salt, tiny white specks.

Van

"I pulled the bottom board tray out it was full of ripped open wax cappings, so I figured the big hive next door was probably robbing them out"

Member I am very sorry for your loss. Sounds like the robbing has started?  Not good. Please freeze these frames ASAP. And when the dust settles. Remember, this is the time of year when our friends are on the verge of really getting after building brood and we know mites love to take advantage. I would highly recommend treatment of the "hive next door". ASAP

''They were a little small going into the winter; the hive didn't get very big all last summer."

A red flag sign of a possible unhealthy hive. For whatever cause. These reasons are why I ask van those questions in his topic, "robbing vrs the norm. " Again, I am so sorry for you. I am thinking of that beautiful sourwood that we were kidding about last season. Do not despair; try to have good cheer. Wishing you the best.   

Phillip
« Last Edit: February 03, 2020, 08:29:21 pm by Ben Framed »

Offline Seeb

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2020, 07:23:01 pm »
So sorry member
The edge . . . there is no honest way to explain it, because the only people who really know where it is, are the ones who have gone over.

Offline FatherMichael

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2020, 07:37:35 pm »
Heartbreaking.

So sorry 15th.

Offline Nock

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2020, 08:41:52 pm »
Sorry. I see the frass Van is talking about as well.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2020, 10:00:37 pm »
Thanks for all the replies guys.  I should have mentioned, this hive had been treated with powered sugar before I winterized them and they never cleaned it all up, so I don't think that white stuff is mite frass, I think it might be just powdered sugar.  I'll take a closer look at the frames tomorrow, and try to get you some closer up pictures of the combs to see if we can determine that for certain.  I'll close up the hive now that it's dark so that the other bees can't get in anymore, and tomorrow I'll dismantle the hive.  There were just too many robbers in the hive today, I couldn't do anything about it.  They've probably been robbing them out for a day or so, since we've had flying weather.                     
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2020, 10:13:11 pm »
Thanks for all the replies guys.  I should have mentioned, this hive had been treated with powered sugar before I winterized them and they never cleaned it all up, so I don't think that white stuff is mite frass, I think it might be just powdered sugar.  I'll take a closer look at the frames tomorrow, and try to get you some closer up pictures of the combs to see if we can determine that for certain.  I'll close up the hive now that it's dark so that the other bees can't get in anymore, and tomorrow I'll dismantle the hive.  There were just too many robbers in the hive today, I couldn't do anything about it.  They've probably been robbing them out for a day or so, since we've had flying weather.                   

Member no matter what the cause it is sad and we all feel for you. Go back and look at the pictures that Mr HP posted for us last year when you lost the other hive to mites. Look real closely, those pictures and these look EXACTLY the same to me. I am afraid van is right. Irregardless, we know they should not have starved, such beautiful comb and honey. I am totally confident that you will make a full recovery.  Hang in there girl. We are here rooting for you, the whole beemaster family!!
Blessing,
Phillip

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2020, 10:15:39 pm »
Thanks for the support, Phillip.  :happy:  I wasn't very confidant in this hive going into the winter, so it's not a huge blow.  2 of my hives are very strong, and I'll certainly be able to split in the spring. 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2020, 10:16:52 pm »
Thanks for the support, Phillip.  :happy:  I wasn't very confidant in this hive going into the winter, so it's not a huge blow.  2 of my hives are very strong, and I'll certainly be able to split in the spring.

That's the spirit and attitude!!  Blessings

Offline MikeyN.C.

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2020, 10:50:14 pm »
Should have been nuc ed down

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2020, 12:46:10 am »
Should have been nuc ed down

That might have helped Mikey and a good thought but; Member told us earlier...

"They were a little small going into the winter; the hive didn't get very big all last summer."

That in itself indicated that the bees were not up to par to begin with and were in trouble. I thank you Member very much for your honesty and sharing, this helps us all to learn together. 
Blessings,
Phillip

Offline amymcg

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2020, 08:26:33 am »
I also had a small hive going into the fall. They looked similar to yours member when I looked at the size of the cluster. I have no doubt that mites were a large part. But again they weren?t a good group to begin with. I bought two packages last spring. This one was always smaller and never built as strong as the other. I probably should have requeened them last year.


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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2020, 08:47:59 am »
I also had a small hive going into the fall. They looked similar to yours member when I looked at the size of the cluster. I have no doubt that mites were a large part. But again they weren?t a good group to begin with. I bought two packages last spring. This one was always smaller and never built as strong as the other. I probably should have requeened them last year.


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anymcg. Sorry you had mite trouble also. I have never purchased a package and can not speak from hands on experience on this one. I have listened to experts that have. There is a fellow in Tennessee that made videos on this very subject just this past season. He had to requeen one or more of his packaged hives also, and says it?s not uncommon to have to requeen packages sometimes. For what ever reason. Wishing you the best.
Phillip

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2020, 09:31:55 am »
Mites seem to be a silent yet deadly foe to we the beekeeper and or bees 🐝. I bet there are others who have had similar experiences as member?

Offline Skeggley

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2020, 09:48:25 am »
I feel for you guys over there, hats off for your endurance.
I do have a question though...
Why are there so many drones?
Or is it my eyes?

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2020, 10:14:23 am »
Thanks Skeggly, I hope y?all can keep them out of you country from now on. 
I suppose drones are a key factor in the way mites get transferred from hive to hive even from a mite infested hive from what I understand drones are not choosey about where they obtain a free meal?

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2020, 01:16:21 pm »
Should have been nuc ed down
I don't have any nucs, so that wasn't an option, but I probably should have put them into only 1 box instead of 2.  I didn't because when I winterized them they still had some brood, but in my area bees need a full medium of honey to get through the winter, and I didn't want to take their brood from them, so I couldn't fit all the honey they would need into one box.  Perhaps that was a mistake.  What do you guys think I should have done in this regard? 

I feel for you guys over there, hats off for your endurance.
I do have a question though...
Why are there so many drones?
Or is it my eyes?
It must be your eyes.  :cheesy:  They are all workers in the pictures. 
 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2020, 01:36:09 pm »
Should have been nuc ed down
I don't have any nucs, so that wasn't an option, but I probably should have put them into only 1 box instead of 2.  I didn't because when I winterized them they still had some brood, but in my area bees need a full medium of honey to get through the winter, and I didn't want to take their brood from them, so I couldn't fit all the honey they would need into one box.  Perhaps that was a mistake. 
 

I feel for you guys over there, hats off for your endurance.
I do have a question though...
Why are there so many drones?
Or is it my eyes?
It must be your eyes.  :cheesy:  They are all workers in the pictures.

Member, I know you did the best you could do with what you had. It is easy to look back and tell ourselves what we should have done or tell others what they should have done, perhaps it would have sounded better or a little nicer if Mikey would have said (what you could have done). Mikey is a nice guy and I am sure this is what he absoultly meant. (What you could have done) I feel sure he did not mean to come across in a possibly offensive way. Is this right Mikie?

 "What do you guys think I should have done in this regard?"

What you should've done was best that you could do, under the circumstances, and you that is just what you did.  What you could have done, and I think you did do, was a good treatment of some type such as OAV or Apaivar etc. just before putting them to bed. (See Ian Stepler on this), and as Mikey said came up with a nuc box if you would have had access to onen (which you did not have). The biggest thing would have been to dispose of the mites. Feed pollen for late fall and winter growth.
That way instead of going backwards, your hive would have been going forward even if a turtle pace considering the time of year. If we take a closer look at the next to the last picture, blown up as much as possible, we will see young larvae in the open cells on the right side just under the honey. So we know the queen was trying Member, I hope that helps?
Phillip