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Author Topic: Colony Died  (Read 2879 times)
Lesli
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« on: March 05, 2005, 03:23:39 PM »

Sniff, sniff. Today was sunny, so I went to check on them. They were alive and kicking a week ago. Such a strong colony, right to the end--and I wonder if that wasn't the problem. Nearly two full deeps full of bees seems like a lot this year.

Theywere wrapped, had a sugar board, about 6 cells of capped brood--and a queen cell with a nearly fully developed queen (still white, but fully formed otherwise).  Clearly, in spite of the sugar board, they starved. Sad

No sign of disease, for the little that's worth.

Good thing I order five packages!
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Lesli
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latebee
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2005, 05:40:34 PM »

Lesli,

       I was on a snowmobile trip last night and took a spin near some of the big producers wintering beeyards . The two I visited during deer hunting season both had between 15 to 20 colonies of two deeps. As I said I was through these yesterday and I was amazed to see that one of the yards only had the hive stands piled up high and the other only had three remaining colonies,with the stands also piled high. The owner must have cleaned them up.
 Looks like the professional keepers took some very heavy losses this year too. So sorry to hear of your misfortune,but wintering the girls is obviously as tough on the pros as it is on the hobbiest.
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Jay
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2005, 05:41:41 PM »

Lesli,

Do you think they starved? I know in this crazy time of year with warm days and cold nights, they can work themselves over to the warm side of the hive during the day (sunny side) and then not be able to get back to the food reserves when the temps plummit at night!

So sorry to hear this! cry
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Lesli
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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2005, 05:51:29 PM »

Yes, they starved, with many bees head down in the cells--in spite of the candy board. I do think part of the problem was just plain too many bees. We had such mild temps--still in the 50s up to New Years--that they must have continued raising brood and such well into late fall/early winter. So in spite of my leaving all the honey for them, feeding them gallons of syrup, and the candy board (which was nearly untouched...) it just wasn't enough.

Well, that's why agriculture is tough, isn't it? I'm consoling myself by making candles. I'll also melt down some of the comb (some was from the nucs I bought, and is old and in bad shape) and make some fire starters or something.
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Lesli
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Jay
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2005, 05:55:37 PM »

what was the genetics of this hive? (what kind of bees were they?)
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Robo
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2005, 07:33:14 PM »

Lesli,

Was the cluster centered in the box, or where they off to one side or corner?  A sign of tracheal mites is that the bees get disoriented and move off to the side or corner instead of up.  They can be within inches of food and starve.

Seems quite odd that they where trying to supercede the queen this time of year.  Something was obviously not right.

Just because you found them head first in the cells, don't assume the cause was just starvation.   Just like a lot of people die from pneumonia, it is usually bought on when the body is severily weakend by some other disease.

I know loosing a hive is not a plesant experience.  But by all means do yourself a favor and don't draw a conclusion until you throughly evaluate the situation, and be open minded about it.  Take it from someone who lost quite a few hive to "starvation" before I finally came to the realization that my mite treatment was not working.  Closely inspect the bottom board for dead varroa. If you didn't treat with menthol, get the dead bees tested for tracheal mites.  Do everything possible now to find the root cause and prevent loosing 5 hives to "starvation" next year.

Yes sometimes you do loose hives due to weather or starvation, but it is all too easy to draw that conclusion and continue down a path of failure.

Good luck and I wish you better luck next winter....
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Lesli
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2005, 08:02:14 AM »

Could have sworn I responded to this yesterday...

Anyway, I'm pretty sure they starved. The colony was huge, probably because I combined in fall, and then we had relatively warm weather into January. There was almost nothing left, certainly no pollen for raising brood. I wonder if they didn't keep raising brood into that weird, early winter.

The candy board probably wasn't enough.  Irony of ironies, I was going out there with syrup and a pollen sub patty. Wish I'd done it a week ago...
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Lesli
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Finsky
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2005, 12:38:01 PM »

Hi
Sorry for your bees.

I have seen that you live so in south that you do not care how your bees meet the winter. In north there is no such methods I have seen in this forum.

First you must put your bees in winter rest and DO NOT FEED THEM ALL THE TIME!

I have seen that you have feeding bottles and many kind of system to nurse them. But in nature they do not get food when flowers are gone.

All the time feeding means that they raise brood. They consume awfully much pollen and sugar. Some day all stops. They will be starved lack of protein, even if you give them sugar. Bees use their inside proptein and vitamins for feeding larvas and they will die for malnutrition.

In Australia it was researched how to feed them over the cold period so they could be in good condition when blooming starts. Hives got sick.

In Finland we put our hives in winter condition and let them be in peace  6 months. Then they have cleansing flight in Marsh or April. After that winter continues 2 months more and winter food must last to the end of May. Alltogether 9 moths. Is is 20 kilos sugar, feeded during one week.

During feedind  bees cap the food. If food is uncapped for winter, it will be fermented and bees will get sick.  And if you feed them all the time, they raise larvas and hive will be dead after 4 months.

Bees are from southern hemispheres. They survive better in warm climate. Warm winter is not reason for perishing.
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Lesli
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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2005, 03:00:15 PM »

Well, I'm not that south, Finsky! Upstate NY is hardly the southern hemisphere. Smiley But I had a very large colony, very warm winter (until the last couple of months) during which time I think it was the bees who decided to raise brood, judging by the lack of pollen in the hive. So I think it was a combination of things. But I've learned from it, and I hope I can do better next fall.
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Lesli
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Stinger
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« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2005, 07:13:07 AM »

I have had the same experience. Sunday we had a very nice day in northwest Ohio, so I decided to feed my hives. I had noticed a couple of weeks ago that one of my two hives was not moving when the temperature rose. Yesterday, they were not moving either so I decided to open them up since it was nearly 60 degrees.  I took of the top and inner cover off and found nothing moving.  I had set them up to winter with two brood boxes.  I treated them with apistan and fed them a lard & sugar patty for tracheal mites back in September.  Any way when I pulled a couple of the frames there was lots of honey remaining. Not sure what went wrong. The center cell of the center frames where brood had been were empty. There were uncapped cells with honey in them and there was white substance on the uncapped surface. I assume this was honey that crystallized. Not sure what else to do to try to find out what happened. If anybody can help me with the detective work, I would appreciate it. Thank goodness I still have one hive left and they now have a fresh quart of syrup. cry
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Lesli
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« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2005, 07:51:38 AM »

At our bee club, we were talking about how this winter might be especially difficult for the bees. Weather in the 50s into January is just not the usual around here, and no doubt the bees were more active and therefore, consuming more.
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Lesli
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Finsky
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« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2005, 01:45:21 PM »

If hive has brood over winter here, it will surely die.  Some strains have no sence of wintering. Also if brood hatches at autumn too late, hive is in danger. If you give too long feeding at autumn, bees starts to raise brood.

Hive seems very big at winter if it has no winter ball.

This winter I have a hive, which has been active all the time. 2 weeks ago  I weighed with hand how much they have sugar. Hive was really light. I took a box, and  put there 20 lbs capped sugar frames and the rest uncapped.  Temperature was 14 F.  Also I gived one frame which had plenty of pollen.  

That hive seems very big because it is not in the ball.  I have some queens whic are imported from Italy last summer. It may be that origin.

Something happens every winter.  I have 20% extra hives to repair my "unfortune". Bees are many, and nobody can succeed 100%.

But surely you must study, what to do to hives at late summer and what is dangerous to bees. When late autumn begins, nothing positive is to be done.  I have read this forum, and I have seen a lot of mistakes.  Sorry, often you give bad advices to each other.

I have paid my lessons many times. It is normal.  But change the feeding system.
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Robo
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« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2005, 02:29:03 PM »

I also find it interesting that in both situations (Lesli & Stinger), there WAS food still available.  It has been an extremely mild winter,  and I too have seen much more activity than normal.  I have many more bees dead on the snow surrounding the hives because of the flying due to the warm weather.  At first I was concerned, but then came to the conclusion that many of these would have died inside the hive on a normal winter.  Knocking on wood,  all of my hives are still alive,  which is something I can never remember happening.  

I just have a hard time understanding starvation when it is warm enough for them to be active and there is still stores available.
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Horns Pure Honey
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« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2005, 06:24:25 PM »

I am sorry to here that Lesli Sad bye
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Ryan Horn
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« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2005, 09:00:01 PM »

If there are white stains in and on the brood cells, it may very well be a sign of vorroa, in fact, vorroa feces.  When you disassemble the hive, look at whats on the bottom board.  If there are alot of mites, could be clue.
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Kris^
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« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2005, 09:07:07 PM »

So very sorry to hear about your colony, Lesli.  You too, Stinger.  My fear is that if I lost one hive, well, that's 100% of my apiary.

Quote from: Robo
I also find it interesting that in both situations (Lesli & Stinger), there WAS food still available.  It has been an extremely mild winter,  and I too have seen much more activity than normal.  


I'd been concerned when the temperatures went into the 40s last week and I saw very little or no activity.  On Sunday they started flying when the temps hit 50, so I went in this afternoon to check them out.  The bottom box was pretty heavy, and ended up having several full of honey and syrup in it, with the rest empty comb.  But 2/3 of the colony was filling the upper box, along with the queen, and there wasn't any honey in it to speak of.  So I reversed them.

There wasn't any brood in the hive that I could see, but there was some capped brood.  There was a load of debris on the bottom board, which I had just changed out for a clean one about three weeks ago.  The debris looked like powdered brown sugar.  On a closer look, it was mostly parts of larvae and propolis.  So some of the sub-20 degree weather we've been having at night recently must've done its damage.   Sad

-- Kris
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