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Author Topic: Workers eating pupae????  (Read 1632 times)
L Daxon
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« on: November 13, 2011, 04:46:30 PM »

I just inspected what I knew was a very weak hive and saw some strange stuff.  Like the photo below:

It looks like some pupae was opened and possibly even eaten.  There were several groups of cells like those shown above.

Also, I saw a number of queen cells. A couple looked like they were ripped open.  The one pictured below looked fuzzy on the end.  Four more looked like nothing more than queen cups that had been sealed over--i.e. rather small to be a full blown queen cell, but sealed none the less.
URL=http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/97/queencellfuzzyend.jpg/][/URL]

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Here is a bit of the history on this situation.  This hive had been weakend by what I think was a major pesticide die off in Sept.  By Oct. I figured it was queenless with no brood.  On Oct. 20 I installed an emergency queen a friend gave me, but we both knew she was a very weak queen. However she seemed to be accepted.  On Nov. 6th, ( 17 days after being introduced) I found this "new queen" at my open feeding station!!!! (she was marked, that is how I knew it was her).  I put her back on the landing board but she would not go in, even though the girls came out and groomed and fed her.  I did not see her anywhere in the hive today.

Now one week later  (24 days after I released the emergency queen into the hive) I do an inspection and find this mess with deformed queen cells, disturbed pupae, and very little stores, though I had a baggie feeder on the top box that they seemed not to have touched in a week.  I know this hive is doomed this late in the season but I am trying to understand what is going on.  Never seen a collection of open/chewed up pupae  before.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2011, 05:19:28 PM by ldaxon » Logged

linda d
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« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2011, 05:19:20 PM »

They will eat larvae when starving. You may need to combine them with another colony.


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« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2011, 05:21:43 PM »

  well a quick look and i would say PMS--parasitic mite syndrome-your hive is crashing with multiple symptoms
 of mite and virus overload--looks like chalk brood starting or ending--protein starved bees and queen superseder--
 those little white specks inside the cells at the top are where the mite defecated in the cells-your bees are trying to overcome a multitude of mite related issues--RDY-B
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L Daxon
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« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2011, 05:53:49 PM »

While I admit this hive is low on stores, I had a baggie feeder on that they didn't touch, and a hive top feeder on before that that they seemed to ignore.  I was also doing open feeding for the past two weeks with HFCS. Also had pollen patties on since Oct. 24--the first one they devoured but the next two they ignored.

If they were having trouble with mites,  didn't see any adjunct evidence, like DWV, which was way prevalent in one of my other hives last year.  But maybe that is why they were weak.  I created this hive in June as kind of walk away split, then added a swarm I caught  (from 15 miles away) to it about 3 weeks later.  I thought the hive was doing great but then it had two major die offs about 5 weeks apart that really put it in a downward spiral.  The die offs looked like they were caused by pestisides--thousands of dead bees showing up  in front of the hive almost over night.  .

I only have two other hives and they are both pretty strong going into winter and don't need the extra mouths to feed.
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linda d
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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2011, 07:22:27 AM »

Not all eggs and larvae hatch into adult bees. There is a certain mortality even in the best colonies. It is usually not noticed because the workers clean up the died larvae and pupae before we spot them. That is when the colony express the hygienic behavior.
The hygienic behavior consists of two independent traits, each one defined by a single gene.
The first one is "Open the capped cell if there is a died pupa inside".
The second one is "Pull out the died pupa from the previously open cell"
A colony can be defined as hygienic if it has a sufficient number of workers which uncap the cells AND if it has a sufficient number of workers which pulls out the pupae.

I believe this colony does have the uncapping trait but misses the cleaning trait.
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2011, 01:26:26 PM »


The first one is "Open the capped cell if there is a died pupa inside".
The second one is "Pull out the died pupa from the previously open cell"
A colony can be defined as hygienic if it has a sufficient number of workers which uncap the cells AND if it has a sufficient number of workers which pulls out the pupae.

I think the hygienic trait is defined relative to mites.  Any bees will open and clean a cell with a dead pupa in it.  The desired hygienic trait is that the the bees will open the cell of a living pupa that is infected with mites and then remove that living pupa.
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boca
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« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2011, 01:51:55 PM »

Sequential hygienic behavior in Carniolan honey bees
Quote
According to Rothenbuhler (1964 a,b) HB is genetically controlled by two pairs of recessive genes (u = uncapping and r = remover), which when they are homozygous allow bees to identify sick, killed or infested brood inside capped cells and then to uncap the cell and remove the brood.


The desired hygienic trait is that the the bees will open the cell of a living pupa that is infected with mites and then remove that living pupa.

That's a dream.
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kathyp
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« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2011, 03:00:33 PM »

one suggestion for this equipment.  cut out the comb and bleach dip everything before you use it again next year.  chalkbrood is supposed to be self-limiting in a strong hive, but...it can linger and why start a new hive on already contaminated comb?
  i agree that it looks like you have a number of problems, but they probably all stem from the hive just not being strong enough to do what it needs to do.  that includes the fact that they weren't taking the syrup.  if all you had left were nurse bees, they didn't leave the brood to take the syrup. 
your brood may also have been damaged by cold if there were not enough bees to cover.  in that case, they will pull the larvae and clean out the cells as they would for any other damage.

looks you got the perfect storm of disease, malnutrition, and die off....sucks, but it's all learning   Wink
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2011, 03:18:09 PM »

Sequential hygienic behavior in Carniolan honey bees
Quote
According to Rothenbuhler (1964 a,b) HB is genetically controlled by two pairs of recessive genes (u = uncapping and r = remover), which when they are homozygous allow bees to identify sick, killed or infested brood inside capped cells and then to uncap the cell and remove the brood.



The graphs in the linked article are not convincing.  The difference between "HB" and "non HB"  are minimal and you will notice that they don't do any statistical analysis of the significance of the difference between the two hives.  I don't believe these results.  In any case, they are only looking at killed bees, not infested bees so this does not speak to my point.

The Rothenbuhler study may be better but I have not been able to read it.
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boca
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« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2011, 03:46:57 PM »

I don't have the expertise to comment on the study. I linked it only to indicate the source of the quote.
But it is quite a good paper to have an idea of what the hygienic behavior of the honey bee means. Figure 4 on page 661 is a very informative one.
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Finski
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« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2011, 11:50:49 PM »

.
When I see those problems it resemble my hives last autumn.

I had some huge hives which seemed to have huge amount of mites too.

They had queen exhange and brood brake.
When the new queen started to lay, mites rushed to the brood. When it was time to get new bees for winter, nurser bees were badly damaged. At same time old summer bees have died.

The result was that hive was too cold. Vast areas of brood caught cold. Bees tried to clean dead and sick brood. They opened brood cells but in a big job theywere tired to clean them all.  then I saw frames of dead brood and bees were vanished.

It was varroa. 6 hives in autum. I found it when I gove oxalic trickling to hives.

.
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Finski
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« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2011, 12:00:53 AM »

.
A healthy hive

here is late Autumn and bees do not flye any more.
3 weeks ago I joined my last mating nucs and changed new queens.

I looked one hive, is that queen alive. It had made one whole frame new larvae. What then?
I decided to take away the brood frame later when weathers become colder.

Now I opened the hive. There should bee a frame of seeled brood, but there was nothing but honey in cells. They had aborted all brood from cells. Not a single trace. If they carry them out, birds will eate them at once. How they did it, i do not know. Perhaps they ate them because brood were young and soft..

.
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L Daxon
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« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2011, 10:44:57 AM »

Thanks for all the responses.

Yep, I think I just had a perfect storm of bad conditions hit this hive one after another.  I still think the main culprit was the back to back pesticide die offs which weakend the hive and allowed pests/disease to get a foothold.  I thought about adding frames of brood/workers from my other hives to help build it back up, but I was afraid that the pesticide had made it into the stored food and what I introduced might die as well.

When I realized, late, that I was queenless, I tried to give them a new queen, but unfortunately that emergency queen was a dud: just good for the frame of brood in there now and then she took off. I can see Finiski's point about how, if  this hive did have a big mite load, once some new larvae was around, the mites rushed to it and really did a number on what is in there now.   It has just been one bad situation after the other.  Now it is too late in the season to do anything.  If I had a strong mated queen I guess I could try to overwinter them in a nuc, but without a queen in mid-Nov., they are goners.

I have kept bees for about 10 years and never lost a hive so this is new to me.   I am using this as a major learning experience.

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linda d
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« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2011, 02:24:48 PM »

I have kept bees for about 10 years and never lost a hive so this is new to me.   I am using this as a major learning experience.



Last year I had kept bees 49 years but I have never lost hives in Autumn. They were empty!

I saw 2 years that I had too much mites, and I have met much mites during my mite history since 1987.
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L Daxon
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« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2011, 03:33:04 PM »

Well, now I am in shock and a bit stumped.

I just opened up the hive intending to pull a few pupae to see if they had a lot of mites on them.  I pulled the one frame of brood and noticed that the queen cell that is pictured above was opened at the end. Hum.  Then I flipped the frame over and low and behold I saw the marked emergency queen I couldn't find two days ago.  I thought she had died the previous Sunday when I found her at the open feeder on my porch.  But she is still live, though just walking slowing around, not laying or looking like she is too energetic.

And as if that wasn't enough, I flipped the frame over again and there was a virgin queen running all over the place. She had obviously hatched in the last two days since I took the photo of the queen cell with the fuzzy end.  But I can't imagine there is a snow ball's chance she can get mated this late in the year.  We haven't had a hard freeze yet, but I would be surprised if there are any drones left.  I don't think I have seen any in my hives in 3 or more weeks.

I did pull 5 pupae and only two of them had a single mite that i could see.  Most of the open pupa I had seen on Sunday were cleaned out. Just maybe a handful still open and the ones that looked like they had been eaten Sunday were all gone/cleaned out.  I even saw one bee carrying a pupa as if taking out the trash.

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linda d
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« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2011, 01:06:21 AM »

.
Give oxalic acid trickling and look how much you get mites.

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