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Author Topic: Cleanup after varroa?  (Read 2017 times)
Jaysn
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« on: March 31, 2006, 02:12:58 PM »

I lost both of my hives this winter to varroa, this is my first year and I didn't know what the symptoms looked like Sad  When I opened them up this spring, there was a cluster of dead bees in each, surrounding brood that had died after the cells were open, and had their tongues sticking out.  There is also a faint whitish-blue mold on some of the frames, especially those with capped honey in them.  What do I need to do to prepare these hives for new bees?
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amymcg
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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2006, 06:54:47 AM »

That sounds more like starvation.  Are the dead bees all over the floor of the hive or are they stuck in the cells head first?

Regardless of either starvation or varroa -  You can just sweep out the dead bees and dump in the new ones.
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Finsky
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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2006, 08:01:31 AM »

Quote from: Jaysn
a cluster of dead bees in each, surrounding brood that had died after the cells were open,


It seems that they have raised brood and consumed their winterstores. They met end when food was finish. It needs nothing more.

You live here? Do you have snow normally in winter?

http://pix.epodunk.com/locatorMaps/nm/NM_17773.gif
.
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Jaysn
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« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2006, 03:15:18 PM »

There were some that were head first, and some that were head sticking out, and dead bees all over the bottom of the hives as well.  There were also two full frames in each hive, and several half frames.  Yes that's where I live Finsky, and we got about 4 inches of snow total this winter.
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Finsky
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2006, 04:02:34 PM »

Quote from: Jaysn
,, and some that were head sticking out, ..., and we got about 4 inches of snow total this winter.


Those whose faces were out they were just emerging but they stopped there.

You  have real winter there and bees should have brood pause, but they did not.  There is many reasons how this happens. Most important is that that they are  not northern stock which instincts tell that winter is coming.
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gsferg
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« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2006, 08:34:42 PM »

Sounds like classic varroa infestation to me. Did you check the bottom board? If varroa killed the hive you should find thousands of them on the bottom board.

The bees dead emerging from their cells with their tongues sticking out is a sign of lack of nourishment at the critical time of emergence due to a lack of nurse bees- again, a classic sign of varroa infestation. Finding some bees head first in cells doesn't in and of itself mean they starved. Bees cluster on empty cells, not capped honey. The bees enter the cells head first in the middle of the cluster, on both sides of the comb so the only thing separating the bees on either side of the comb is the midrib itself. The bees then cluster on/around those bees in effect creating a "ball" of bees with the comb running up through the middle. Larger clusters could envelope several combs in this fashion. Really small clusters will fit between two combs but they still will bury themselves in the cells to make their cluster as round as possible. A pancake of bees between two combs does not heat itself very efficiently. A cluster composed of two pancakes of bees on either side of a comb, almost in contact, is much easier to heat.

Going into winter, the cluster usually starts out in or near the middle of the bottom box and ideally one or two combs in the middle of the brood nest in the bottom deep will be largely empty, perhaps with some honey and pollen around the outside. This would be where they raised their last batch of brood. Ideally, the combs in the upper box will be full of capped honey. As winter progresses, the bees will eat their way up leaving empty comb behind them until the get to the top. Hopefully by this time it will be spring, but often it's still late winter. This is a critical tiime for the bees because then they must move sideways to access fresh stores. If the weather is still very cold and prolonged, the bees can get stranded with fresh stores only inches away, but unable to move to it because they're too tightly clustered. When the get to the top, they'll often move towards the southerly or southwesterly side of the box which catches more early spring sunlight and is hence warmer. Coincidentally, this is often where there is some pollen stored, which is necessary for them to start raising brood in the spring. This is a particularly risky time- kickstarting the colony for spring buildup.

If the bees cluster on capped honey, there are in effect 2 clusters on either side of the comb and they will be unable to generate enough heat to keep themselves warm. Instead, by clustering adjacent to stores on empty comb, they are able to extend the cluster to cover enough honey to provide nourishment for the cluster. Slowly over the course of the winter, as the stores are consumed, the cluster moves to stay adjacent to fresh stores.

When they run out of stores, they will starve. When their numbers dwindle to the point where they can't maintain sufficient heat production to enable them to move to cover fresh stores, they will starve. If they have begun to raise brood in early spring and they run out of stores adjacent to their cluster, they will not abandon the brood, and they will starve. In any case, you will often find bees head first in cells in deadouts whose numbers dwindled to below the critical mass to stay warm, even when they're sitting on honey. To determine if they died due to starvation, you have to look closely at the evidence.
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ian michael davison
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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2006, 03:36:30 AM »

Hi all
Jasyn: The bees with their tongues sticking out is a sign that they starved. I have found this to be common in heavily infested hives with Varroa. As gsferg says check the evidence.

If you wait till you see signs or symptoms of varroa you will normaly have quite a heavy infestation particularly if you have little experience. Deformed bees are normaly evicted from the hive pretty quickly.

This year look at some of the Varroa treatments and decide what best suits you. You do not have to bother with counting mites unless thats what floats your boat, but just kill the B*RST*RDS. evil

I believe you guys have Api Gaurd now and this is a good proven organic treatment but does need backing up with a Winter acid treatment IMO. I also remove frames of Drone comb in the active season to restrict mite build up. This can also be a very quick visual way of monitoring mites in the hive.


Regards Ian
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