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Author Topic: Hive Postmortem  (Read 974 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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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.
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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 »
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

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 »
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline Seeb

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2020, 07:23:01 pm »
So sorry member

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
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

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
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

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
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

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
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

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?
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

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?
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

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. 
 
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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
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline CoolBees

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #20 on: February 04, 2020, 01:45:22 pm »
... 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?  ...

Phillip said it best - "you did what you could". That's all.

For future reference, a hive that doesn't grow during the summer, has major issues. I had one last year - that never made it out of a medium 8-frame box. Nosema I think - but I don't know for sure. I finally dropped the entire hive into the freezer in mid summer, after our flow, to sterilize the equipment. Then I placed a split back into it and started over. I should have done this much earlier in the season.
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2020, 05:14:38 pm »
Alright, here's some more comb pictures.  2 things are making this diagnosis difficult.  #1, There is definitely powdered sugar on some of these frames.  #2, the robbing bees opened the honey cells really messy, and there are crumbs of wax all over the comb as well.  This is making it very hard to ID what is sugar or comb bits, and what is mite frass. 

Exhibit A: For reference, here is a picture of a section with powdered sugar, and a picture of the ripped open honey cells, just so you can see what these things look like on my camera. 
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Not all the pictures will fit on 1 post, so just hold your thoughts for a minute while I post the rest.


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 The15thMember

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2020, 05:20:19 pm »
Exhibit B: I think most of the debris in this picture is just comb bits.
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Exhibit C: I think this picture shows a little of all three, mite frass, comb bits, and sugar.  The deposits deep in the cells are probably mite frass. 
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Exhibit D: This picture seems to clearly show mite frass.  The comb in this area was pretty clean, and those little white spots are too deep in the cells to be powdered sugar.
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Honestly though, I think it's really hard to tell what's what.  So what do you guys think?   
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 The15thMember

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2020, 05:39:58 pm »
Here's some more from a different camera.
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That first one I think is only powdered sugar.  Honestly, I think a lot of it is just sugar and comb debris.  There is some mite frass to be sure, but I really don't think it's as bad as it looks.  Thoughts? 
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 van from Arkansas

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2020, 05:57:19 pm »
What a clear pic, in focus to the bottom of the cell which looks like the cells were spit polished, made ready for a queen to lay in.  Very nice camera.  I would like to know what kind of camera.

I clearly see sugar as well as frass.  Every hive has mite frass, some frames more than others so detection of frass is not a conclusive unless there is quantity.  I cannot really define quantity of frass with any sort of accurate meaning.  I have seen frames with a lot more frass than shown in your pics; like every cell had a speck or two of frass which I do not see in your frames, Member.  A lot of cells do not even show frass, clean.

Again: What beautiful pics.
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline Skeggley

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #25 on: February 04, 2020, 06:25:30 pm »
It must be your eyes.  :cheesy:  They are all workers in the pictures.
Ok, after double checking, Nah mate, not my eyes, definitely drones, check out the way their eyes meet at the top.


Offline The15thMember

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #26 on: February 04, 2020, 07:39:32 pm »
What a clear pic, in focus to the bottom of the cell which looks like the cells were spit polished, made ready for a queen to lay in.  Very nice camera.  I would like to know what kind of camera.

I clearly see sugar as well as frass.  Every hive has mite frass, some frames more than others so detection of frass is not a conclusive unless there is quantity.  I cannot really define quantity of frass with any sort of accurate meaning.  I have seen frames with a lot more frass than shown in your pics; like every cell had a speck or two of frass which I do not see in your frames, Member.  A lot of cells do not even show frass, clean.

Again: What beautiful pics.

Thank you for confirming what I thought I was seeing, Van.  I think we can chalk this one up to multiple factors, probably mites and a small cluster.  Perhaps the mites just weakened the bees enough that too many died off, and the cluster got too small to keep warm.  Do you agree? 

The camera is the camera on my iPod Touch.  The first pictures I posted are from my point-and-shoot, but as you can see, my iPod took much better ones.  The clarity can't be beat.  The only problem is you can't zoom using the iPod camera without losing the clarity. 

Ok, after double checking, Nah mate, not my eyes, definitely drones, check out the way their eyes meet at the top.

I'm sorry, but they are workers.  Here's a comparison photo that I snagged off of google. 

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Offline MikeyN.C.

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #27 on: February 05, 2020, 04:54:48 pm »
Member, you can nuc down 8-10 frame boxes , by using follower boards and foam, their entrance has to be so they can get to frames. To much space is a certain failure. I learned this the hard way , losing 8 out of 9 hives last year. 5 of the 8 was because of mites, 3 was my fault. The beauty of follower boards in 8-10 frame boxes, is u can expand as bee's expand instead of having all that room.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #28 on: February 05, 2020, 05:52:13 pm »
Member, you can nuc down 8-10 frame boxes , by using follower boards and foam, their entrance has to be so they can get to frames. To much space is a certain failure. I learned this the hard way , losing 8 out of 9 hives last year. 5 of the 8 was because of mites, 3 was my fault. The beauty of follower boards in 8-10 frame boxes, is u can expand as bee's expand instead of having all that room.
Thanks for that idea, Mikey.  I don't have any follower boards at the moment, but I should probably get some.  Certainly cheaper than investing in a nuc or 2. 
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 #29 on: February 05, 2020, 06:08:26 pm »
Member, you can nuc down 8-10 frame boxes , by using follower boards and foam, their entrance has to be so they can get to frames. To much space is a certain failure. I learned this the hard way , losing 8 out of 9 hives last year. 5 of the 8 was because of mites, 3 was my fault. The beauty of follower boards in 8-10 frame boxes, is u can expand as bee's expand instead of having all that room.
Thanks for that idea, Mikey.  I don't have any follower boards at the moment, but I should probably get some.  Certainly cheaper than investing in a nuc or 2.

I like Mikey's idea also . Mikey, did you buy the follow boards or did you make them yourself? The reason I am asking, after I have read your good idea I intend to make some of these. Can you send a picture of one of these along with the set up of foam?
Thanks,
Phillip
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline MikeyN.C.

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #30 on: February 06, 2020, 02:05:01 pm »
I've not made any, I made nuc boxes. I seen theater method 2 yrs ago, the guy made follower boards with 1/4" plywood and used 2 " foam boards. U just have to make sure boards goes all the way to top and bottom so bee's can't get over, under or around follower boards. He used a piece of plywood with a 8x10" hole cut in it. To put between two boxes, so follower boards in top box would come all the way down to plywood inbetween.

Offline MikeyN.C.

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #31 on: February 06, 2020, 05:06:06 pm »
Main thing , is where there are no frames u can't have empty space, if u do and bee's can get to in that space you've got a problem.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #32 on: February 06, 2020, 05:56:31 pm »
Yes I see your point. If they can reach the other side of the Follow board there could be a real mess during comb building season. During winter months at members location, this should not be as imperative as long as she gets back in before the spring comb building start?
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline MikeyN.C.

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #33 on: February 06, 2020, 07:44:08 pm »
Not understanding .getting back . where the Queen goes is where bee's go.



Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #34 on: February 06, 2020, 08:15:03 pm »
Not understanding .getting back . where the Queen goes is where bee's go.

Sorry Mikey. To be a little more clearer. In the winter months the bees pretty much shut down, depending on what area we are in. I am thinking in Members area this may be the case? No comb building. Or very little? So the total requirement a security sealed follow board should not me a problem, being the area past the follow board is or should be empty. The queen likes to stay on the comb of the brood mostly. Beings it?s winter, the bees should not build comb and everything should be ok in the hollow area past the follow board? If she goes back in, meaning Member, before new comb begins to be built, and does what needs to be done, she should be able to head any problems off at the pass. Best of all circumstances?
Phillip
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline MikeyN.C.

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #35 on: February 06, 2020, 09:46:23 pm »
The hole point of using follower boards is to make a 8-10 frame box a 4-5 frame box , with no extra space, extra space is the problem.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #36 on: February 06, 2020, 10:09:31 pm »
The hole point of using follower boards is to make a 8-10 frame box a 4-5 frame box , with no extra space, extra space is the problem.

Clearly understood, I am only saying that it should not be imperative if the follow board is not 100 percent sealed in the winter. The bees should stay in the desired place until spring in Members area. If we were trying to make a (divider board) for the purpose of housing 2 colonies in the same 8-10 frame box winter, summer, spring, and or fall then the sealed divider board would be imperative.  I understand you my friend. Thanks for your response. I have seen videos of the follow boards on Khmer beekeeping, a fellow for either Guam or The Philippines or somewhere in that area, (by the way he is always glad to answer questions if you are interested I will send the link to you), I had not seen close up and personal pictures of the set up. I do know that his (follow board) floated loosely and he would simply slide them over as one would slide a honey frame and add needed frames and foundation as hive grew. These follow boards looked to be a piece of
luan board attached to a regular wooden frame. I did not see a way this loose fitting follow board set-up could be sealed. I thought this is what you were describing as a (follow board) If you had such a set up I was interested in seeing your set up, close up Thanks for your reply just the same my friend.
Phillip
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline Skeggley

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Re: Hive Postmortem
« Reply #37 on: February 07, 2020, 02:52:04 am »

I'm sorry, but they are workers.  Here's a comparison photo that I snagged off of google. 

 [ You are not allowed to view attachments ]

 
All good mate, we must have different strains here as the female bees eyes here are visibly separated and on the sides more so.
I'd add a pic however I've given up trying.
Fortunately my biggest worry is wax moth...