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Author Topic: Catastrophic Failure...all bees dead  (Read 7158 times)
kathyp
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« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2009, 10:58:11 AM »

i am not a fan of upper entrances/ventilation.  that aside, i do not think it would make any difference if the cause of your loss was water actually running or dripping on the cluster.  even if that had happened, i can't see it happening on two hives.

i am with robo.  i think you had something going on and the stress of winter did them in.  could you have done something about it?  maybe, but you had treated for mites, which would have been my first guess.  

they might have gotten into something.  garden dusts like 7 dust might be collected as pollen and brought back to the hive.  

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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
BC
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« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2009, 11:24:09 AM »

Michael,
Here is part of the slideout under the screen. I hope the picture comes through. Alot of mites.
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Mason
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« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2009, 11:52:25 AM »

Maybe mites but the frames were definitely wet. 

We have had an incredible amount of rain this year and have had no problems with the frames getting wet.  The only thing that was changed was the configuration so I am not ruling that out yet.

I did go back and re-read the instructions on the Apiguard.  It says to seal the bottom board before treating if it is screened which I did not do.

I really appreciate the feedback and will be thinking about this for a long time.  I have a couple of calls in to some local experienced beeks and looking forward to getting their take on this and will let you know what they say.

Looks like I will be a former beekeeper until March.  The kitchen is a freekin mess with frames all over the place and me trying to crush and strain 1 tiny bottle of honey. 
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BC
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« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2009, 12:10:45 PM »

Mason,
I feel your pain. My first hive and I screwed it up. I will be back ! This time with two. One might be a Top Bar. I'm going to try more ventilation. I'm also going to use foundationless frames in the old hive. I'm going to let them build their own comb. I would like to see if I can control the mites without chemicals.
Good luck with yours !

Happy Holidays
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adgjoan
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« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2009, 12:33:21 PM »

"they might have gotten into something.  garden dusts like 7 dust might be collected as pollen and brought back to the hive. "

Is it possible for the bees to collect something like 7 dust  at some point in the summer then not get around to eating it till later on in the winter? 

Joan
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GaryMinckler
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« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2009, 04:21:51 PM »

Beekeeping to me is almost as stressful as it is joyous.  I just want my bees to live..and don't mind not getting a big harvest.  I thought I was in good shape a month ago with 7 colonies, but today 2-3 are very quiet and way too cold to look.  Good luck with it!
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #26 on: December 21, 2009, 12:51:43 PM »

Hi
Hopefully somebody can look at it and see what happened.  There are so many things that can go wrong, as mentioned.

Sorry, you mentioned bags of sugar and I read that as baggies (as in baggie feeders) but it sounds like you did dry sugar.

As far as the Apiguard goes, I think that only part of the action of Apiguard is vapor, the rest is spread bee to bee.  Even if you didn't close the sbb it should have helped.  Unless you had a really huge mite load, I doubt mites would kill the whole cluster, more of a gradual weakening, and then failure, especially if they don't have food nearby.  And even then the dead bees maintain cluster, heads in the comb, not fall to the bottom.  But then again there are many variables any way you look at it.

We've all been there and it is rough going through it for sure!  Discouragement, thoughts of throwing in the towel, wondering what we did wrong....it gets better though!

Rick
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Rick
Mason
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« Reply #27 on: December 21, 2009, 03:42:26 PM »

I would be lying if I didn't say I was bummed out to see my bees dead but not looking for sympathy just knowledge.  The bees are the easiest things to replace in this endeavor.  I still have my equipment and experience although it was not enough experience to prevent the collapse.   

I think it was cooler temperatures and more importantly moisture.  Somehow my hives got damp.  Maybe it was the configuration of the boxes or maybe that I did not have proper ventilation.  We did have an enormous amount of cold rain last week.  All of the frames and covers were damp.  I even had what looked like the start of some mildew forming on some of the comb and frames.     

Mites-  I don't think it was mites because both hives died suddenly and simultaneously, there was an attempt to control them and I do not see any sign.  Two weeks ago my hives were jamming.

Pesticide-  there is no way of knowing on this one.  We did have one windy day last week about 55 degrees that the bees flew a little.  It's not really a time of year people would be treating plants for pest but maybe.  It was also suggested they may have brought the pesticide in at an earlier time but why would both hives eat the poison on the same day?

Here was my layout exactly starting from the bottom..............

ground
cement blocks
screened bottom board (with entrance reducers)
deep brood box (capped brood and honey stores)
medium super (capped brood and honey stores)
inner cover
dry sugar
medium super (no frames)
outer cover
bricks
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sarafina
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« Reply #28 on: December 21, 2009, 04:31:18 PM »

I have been watching this thread with great interest because I have a similar layout and want to avoid your outcome.

My layout:

Ground with landscape cloth to keep down the weeds
Cinder blocks
Hive stand (only one hive)
Screened bottom board
Deep with no brood or honey stores - just drawn out comb
Deep with capped brood and honey stores (very light one one hive)
Inner cover
Outer cover
Several large rocks

I propped the outer covers with a stick this summer when they were bearding and have been trying to get hubbie to build me a ventilated top for my hives.  The sticks are gone and I added entrance reducers last weekend on the 4" opening side.  I didn't notice any mildew on the frames or excess moisture but it has been dray for a few days - first time in several weeks.
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sarafina
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« Reply #29 on: December 21, 2009, 04:32:21 PM »

One other thing - are your hives out in the sun?
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Mason
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« Reply #30 on: December 21, 2009, 05:59:03 PM »

Yes my hives are in the filtered sun.  Although we have not had very much sun in a while.  Just rain. 

I had the same configuration but the only thing I really changed was when I put the inner cover over the bees to accommodate the dry sugar.

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BC
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« Reply #31 on: December 21, 2009, 06:27:48 PM »

Mason,
Sounds like you had about the same type of weather as I. We had a drop in temp , below 0 and then it warmed up. Then the rains came. Alot of it. My telescoping cover is still wet inside. Innercover has mildew. I know it wasn't leaking because I had a double layer of tarpaper on top of it. ( Bottom of second layer dry. ) I said before I'm not an expert. I think with the drop in temp , the quick warm up and tons of rain. I didn't have enough ventilation.
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slaphead
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« Reply #32 on: December 21, 2009, 11:23:12 PM »

Dear Mason and BC,

Sorry to hear of your losses, it sounds like your bees may have got wet and frozen. Do you know if the bottom boards were bee free before the cold snap?

SH
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BC
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« Reply #33 on: December 22, 2009, 12:35:52 AM »

Slaphead,
During the cold snap I checked the hive with a stethoscope.I could hear them. I checked again when it warmed up and after the big rain. I didn't hear anything. When I did open up the hive the other day. I could see they were all dead. Some were still in a little cluster on the right side. A lot were on the screened bottom board. I don't know how long they were on the bottom. I did pull out a lot of dead bees when it warmed up. I use a piece of wire with a hook on the end. I pull them out through the entrance reducer. Like I said before in the other posts. The innercover was damp. Inside of the telescoping cover was wet.
You live in the Pacific NorthWest. You know how this weather can be. I'm originally From California. I'm not used to 22 F one week and then back to 45-50 F the next. I still think I should have vented more. I won't make that same mistake next time. I feel terrible but I'll get over it. You learn from your mistakes.
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kathyp
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« Reply #34 on: December 22, 2009, 12:40:27 AM »

unless water was dripping on the cluster, moisture probably wasn't it.  your boxes are tipped? and you had sugar on.  use care venting.  you tend to vent heat before moisture.  if it's raining or high humidity outside, venting does not reduce moisture in the hive.  it does let heat out.

i live in the PNW also.  it is damp inside my  hives all winter.  as long as the cluster does not get wet, the damp does not seem to bother them.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
BC
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« Reply #35 on: December 22, 2009, 01:03:50 AM »

Kathyp,
Boxes tipped. Plenty of stores. Plus a frame feeder full of Baker's sugar. I have the telescoping cover in my garage. I checked it today and it is still very wet inside. Do you think the condensation froze up in the cold snap and then melted and dripped down when it warmed up ?
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kathyp
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« Reply #36 on: December 22, 2009, 10:11:54 AM »

maybe, if your cluster was to small to keep the space warm.  i have seen the bees melt the snow off the top of the hive with the warmth of the hive.  if they have to much room, that heat is wasted.

i question moisture in masons case, in part because he lost both hives.  to have a moisture problem in one hive that kills the bees is believable.  in both and to have them both die suddenly?  seems unlikely.

i think one of two things happened.  either they got into something and it killed them, or they had some disease or parasite that weakened them and the cold snap finished them off.  in the second case, moisture could have been an issue.  if they were already diminished in health or size, it would not take much to push them over.

truth is, we'll probably never know.  all these things are things for us all to consider so that we can fix what is fixable in our own hives.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Mason
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« Reply #37 on: December 22, 2009, 01:21:26 PM »

Quote
i question moisture in masons case, in part because he lost both hives.  to have a moisture problem in one hive that kills the bees is believable.  in both and to have them both die suddenly?  seems unlikely.

It would seem to me that because both hives were identical set-ups and both died simultaneously to reason moisture as the cause or contributor.  What are the odds that both hives would eat the same poison on the same day or both hives have the same parasite or disease and both die on the same day?

There is also no denying that everything was wet.  I know there was plenty of moisture but not if that is what killed them.  Most likely it was a combination of errors.  Maybe they had mites, ate poison and it is was cold and moist.

What do you mean by "tipped"?
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BC
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« Reply #38 on: December 22, 2009, 02:27:26 PM »

Mason,
Hives tipped forward for drainage. Not standing staight up.
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Mason
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« Reply #39 on: December 22, 2009, 03:25:42 PM »

Well that is one thing I was doing wrong.  My hives are level.  I did notice a pool of water on my outer cover where the bricks had sagged it in.  I don't think I was leaking but it was terribly damp in the hives.

You know I was really hoping that there would be a smoking gun.  I would have preferred if someone would have said,  "you stupid idiot everyone knows you were suppose to "blank"".  It would have been better to have been called out as to making a mistake then mysterious circumstances.  I am going to be so nervous next year going into winter.
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