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Author Topic: Any thoughts on Northern Indiana dead hives?  (Read 643 times)
joker1656
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Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana


« on: April 17, 2011, 07:56:18 PM »

Just curious if anyone has any idea on why my bees might have died.

This was just my second winter with bees, so I am learning.  I went into winter with three strong hives.  I came out with none. 

The bees were not dead in a cluster.  There was a cluster, but it was about the size of a baseball.  The rest of the bees, many, were scattered around the edges of the hive.  There were bees littering the bottom board.  Literally covering the board.  The bees in the cluster were face first in the cells, and piled on top of each other.   

There were at least 8 full frames of honey in the top deep.  In the bottom deep there was a honey band (5 inches wide) on at least half of the frames.

There were no eggs that I could see, and no evidence of babies anywhere.  They were queenright in the fall. 

No evidence that I saw that led me to believe any disease was present.  But, like I said this will be my third season, and was only my second winter. 

Huh   
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"Fear not the night.  Fear that which walks the night.  I am that which walks the night, BUT only EVIL need fear me..."-Lt. Col. David Grossman
AllenF
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2011, 08:35:19 PM »

Bee numbers got low and they could hot move to get to the honey.    What did you treat with for mites last fall?
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indypartridge
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« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2011, 07:01:04 AM »

Quote from: AllenF
Bee numbers got low and they could not move to get to the honey.
That's what it sounds like. It's too late now, but keep in mind that you can send dead bees to the Beltsville bee lab for testing. They'll give you a report on the levels of nosema, varroa, etc that your colony may have succumbed to.

I know several long-time beekeepers who lost a lot of colonies this year in Michigan & Indiana.  Dr. Larry Connor, who writes books and is a frequent speaker/teacher at beekeeper meetings, had heavy losses at his farm in Michigan, in colonies he believed were strong heading into winter. I've got a beekeeper buddy just a few miles from me. Last winter his colonies were wiped out, mine did well. A year ago, I got wiped out and his did fine. Sometimes it doesn't seem to make sense.
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skflyfish
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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2011, 10:04:13 AM »

I sent samples from every deadout to the USDA in Beltsville, plus an aggregate sample to BVS in Montana for virus testing. The only test that came back positive was varroa. Here is the link to a thread about it. http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,32359.0.html

FWIW, my most of my hives showed the same pattern of cluster(s) and bees not clustered. I don't know if a quick drop in temp caught them off guard, combined with a lack of bee numbers, is what did them in, but it makes sense.

Jay
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greenbtree
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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2011, 07:40:27 PM »

All I can say is I had heavy losses and other Iowa beeks in the northern half of the state did too.  This winter just never quit!  The bees never caught a break.

JC
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joker1656
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2011, 12:53:35 PM »

Thanks for the input.  I wondered if a could snap caught them unaware, but did not know if that was a viable possibility. 

I have a total of 40, or so, frames of honey left from those three hives.  Do any of you see a problem with using it to give swarms a head start?  That is ..... if we ever warm up enough to get any swarms around here.  My only real hesitation is that one of the hives had what I am pretty sure were small hive beetles.  The frames were all frozen solid for days at a time here, but I was not sure how shb frames could affect a different hive. 
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"Fear not the night.  Fear that which walks the night.  I am that which walks the night, BUT only EVIL need fear me..."-Lt. Col. David Grossman
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