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Author Topic: Labor of Bees  (Read 1263 times)
CraigW
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Location: Madison County in Central Texas

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« on: February 27, 2009, 11:29:12 AM »

I have had my one hive 3 years. I never got any honey from them. Last year I killed the queen and let them raise another which they did. She took off very well at first and then more problems. I have continued to feed my bees just about constantly. I am now feeding them and have been for a few weeks pollen.

I went in to look at my hive a few days ago and wow, almost dead. I saw some cells that had spider web over the opening of it, maybe 5 or less. I destroyed those. I treated my bees with powdered sugar. These bees are on small cell. I also have a screened bottom board.

I noticed on the screen bottom board about 20 dead bees and some dead bee pupae. I found some dead bees in cells and dead pupae in cells also, about 2 bees and 3 pupae dead in cells.

The hive was free from any bugs that I could see and the front of the hive is clean, no disease signs.

I was so upset if we didn't have a burn ban on at this time I would have burned the whole thing. Then I thought i would just let them die but I felt sorry for my bees and couldn't do that so I started feeding them again but added fumagilin-B, just Incas.

Any idea? I need help with this. One other thing, some of the hive bodies are used. I bought them from another bee man out of Waco, I burned them out with a weed torch and washed down with bleach and set in the sun for a while before I used them.

Thanks for your help.
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mgmoore7
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2009, 11:49:29 AM »

Are there any stores in the hive now? 

Are you seeing them bring in any pollen? 

How many boxes do you have them in now and how many frames of bees are left?

Have you ever done a mite count check?

Does your area have nector & pollen available?

Definately odd not to get any honey in 3 years.
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2009, 01:29:11 PM »

Here's what I am wondering:  what kinda of vegetation is in your area?  are you on the plains?  I wonder if the girls have enough resources (pollen and nectar).  But I don't know your area.  crops?  have you been in drought for 3 years?
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EasternShore
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2009, 01:55:32 PM »

The webs may be from wax moths from low numbers..guessing..
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CraigW
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Location: Madison County in Central Texas

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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2009, 01:58:44 PM »

Thanks for your fast response.

The bees are on one frame only. I have them in one hive body. They do have some uncapped stores. They are bringing in pollen. Despite all my problems with them they have always done those 2 things, when available of course. We are in a drought have been for 5 years, but I do feed them and we have a pond on our land. I have planted lots of flowers and fruit trees for the bees.

There are some feral bees around. I have another feeder set up and I see these bees that come in from 3 different directions, one are my bees the other 2 I assume feral.

On the webs in the few  cells, I took a sharp knife and destroyed those cells, is that good enough?

Hopeful.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2009, 02:02:23 PM »

Now, some may call me crazy.  shocked The hipsters may call me a doofus. But just as I sometimes pick up the yellow pages every now and then, I also feel that every little beekeeping problem may not be solved by playing twenty questions about every dead hive out there. Sometimes, old school still works the best. And just like before this crazy thing called the computer took over most people's lives, and everyone instantly became "kewl", I'll suggest that perhaps the best thing you can do is seek some advice from a local "old-timer" (Just ask if they use the yellow pages....that makes them an old timers  Wink ) and see if they can take a look at your hive. They may be able to give you some tips on the local weather conditions, etc. Nothing beats actually looking at your hive to pinpoint the problems.

Knowing your brood production last fall, when was the last time you seen brood, and many other points would help. Is there brood now? Are they starving out, or are they just dwindling out with a failed queen? Are the bees scattered to the four corners of the hive, which may indicate T-mites? Are there dead bees outside in front of the hive that could indicate pesticides? So many questions. You mention old equipment, but AFB to the point it would kill a hive, would easily be recognized. The fumagilin, is not needed, unless you see signs of dysentery, which by know would be obvious.

Do you have or know anyone who could take a look at it?
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2009, 03:06:15 PM »

Well the biggest problem that you have is that you only have one hive  rolleyes.  If I were you I'd immediately get 1 or 2 more.   If you have 1 hive and it dies, then you will be devestated (been there!).  Now, if one of my 9 or 10 die...well, looks like I'll do a split this spring!! cheesy

Other than that...yeah...how were they doing last fall?  Sounds like they struggled for whatever reason, that doesn't give them a good footing to start this spring.  Did you do any other treatments?  Small cell isn't a silver bullet for mites....

One frame of bees can survive but will take a long time to build up and will need special attention. 

The webs are wax moths starting.  5 isn't bad, but if they can't defend the hive, that number can explode quickly.

Rick
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Rick
Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2009, 06:17:39 PM »

I agree with BjornBee with a few additional comments.   If the hive is down to 1 frame it is probably doomed but it might be brought back by reducing it to a nuc size if it has a queen. 
If no queen it is already too late to save the hive.
If you have a queen and are finding dead larvae and pupae on the bottom board that means the bee cluster is too small to develop that much brood and what is outside the night cluster is dying.

To save reduce it down to as small a hive as you can (use a follower board), feed syrup and pollen.  Even then it might not matter.  If you have other hives boroow a couple frames of bees, brood and all, ffom anothe hive to keep it alive while it builds up.  You might have to do this 2 or 3 times.
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iddee
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« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2009, 08:04:15 PM »

I don't know how it is in Texas, but here in NC we have 6 or 7 state bee inspectors. One will be here within 48 hours of a phone call. As Bjorn said, you need experienced eyes in that hive, and as scads said, two or more hives will solve the problems that one lone hive causes.
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gmcharlie
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« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2009, 08:15:33 PM »

I would have said  go buy a nuc box and try to salvage what is left.   Then replace the frames in the other hive and start over.......     I have a hard time believing there is not enough local pollen/nectar to keep 1 hive going.......... 
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IABeeMan
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« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2009, 11:58:27 PM »

 There are some nice local groups in Central Texas. Call em up and join one. There is a wealth of knowledge to be gained and some great assistance. My dad sold his bees last year and had some really nice crops the last two years. His hives were just out side Ft Hood there in Killeen. So I don't think it is a pollen and necter availability issue. It is more than likely a management issue. Central and South Texas is known as honeybee heaven. Call up the locals. Like stated before, the technology age has killed the face to face communication side of life.
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Cossack
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« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2009, 10:12:37 AM »

It sounds like you have wax moths on one of the frames. If you can take that frame and put it in freezer for a few days that should solve that problem.

How about ordering a new queen and "Brood Patties" and try to build the colony back up.

Should also consider getting a second hive.

Good Luck.
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