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Author Topic: lots of dead bees  (Read 1296 times)
givemeone
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« on: June 25, 2012, 11:24:15 PM »

We inspected our hives this past weekend.  We only have two.  Our hives have a screened bottom board with the "freeman bettle trap..."  

A few dead bees (and beetles) in one of the traps....but, we had hundreds (or more) of dead bees in the second hive beetle trap.  No dead bees to speak of anywhere else.  

Does anybody have any idea about what might be going on in hive #2.  It looked a bit weaker than the other hive but, it did have capped brood, food stores, etc...

We dumped the oil (which was mainly just dead bees) and put the trap back in dry just to count additional dead bees.  Only a couple in the past two days and we probably were at fault for those deaths while inspecting.

Our first hive 'disappeared' sometime over the winter and we restarted with two nucs this spring.  Will proably not do nucs again due to the horrible beetle problems we seem to inherit.  We did give hive #2 some frames of honey that the 'vanished' bees had left behind.  It was stored in a freezer for a couple of months and then we put it in the hive a few weeks ago.....

I wonder if there could be something wrong with the honey.  Huh?  I'm considering pulling them out and burning them.  I ordered some replacement frames today...

Just wondering if anybody had dealt with a similar issue and what advice the community might have.

Thanks
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BjornBee
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« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2012, 05:45:30 AM »

Can you give more details on your "horrible" beetle problem?

I hear beekeepers all the time blame this package producer, or a nuc producer, of giving them beetles. When I ask them how many they seen in the package, the answer usually is none. But the beetles showed up soon after installing the package, and so it is assumed that the beetles had to be in the package. That they never seen a beetle till they installed the package or brought the nuc home.

As for nucs, did you inspect the nuc prior to leaving with it? If you bought a healthy, beetle free nuc, which anything less is YOUR fault, then why blame the nuc producer, and forever (I am sure) repeat the story for others, that buying nucs equates into buying beetles.

Truth is, beetles are pretty much spread throughout the eastern part of the U.S.  Can I show you hives, and whole yard with no beetle activity...sure I can. But since beetles can fly up to 12 miles per day, I also know that "when" (and not if) they show up, it may not have anything to do with packages, nucs, or even my own management.

Beetles are attracted to the alarm pheromone of the hive. They seek out weak, and hives under stress. They are here to stay. And every beekeeper will have them eventually, just like mites.

One hive will have no beetles, while the one next to it will have a few. What is the difference? Perhaps one hive the beetles were attracted too, or perhaps one exhibits a weak disposition to deal with them, while the hive with no beetles clears them out.

Moving forward, just as with the mites, we can continue to treat, trap, and suffer the consequences of this pest for the next hundred years, or we can understand them, deal with them, and help the bees survive any devastating consequences.

But failing to do your part in inspecting nuc, and buying and bringing back beetles in nucs, then forever blame the next guy, is far less than what is needed. Chances are, you will have (or already have) beetles in your area regardless of your purchase of nucs or anything else.
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givemeone
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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2012, 08:43:17 AM »

Thanks for your help.   Undecided

I understand that beetles are part of beekeeping.  That is why we have the beetle traps.

And yes, the beetles were in the nuc.  When my wife picked them up they had just finished a trip from wherever the bee supplier bought them.  Apparently it was not a pleasant trip.  It made inspecting a bit difficult for the seller and my wife.  We are new to beekeeping.  We have a hard time finding the queen much less beetles.

I'm not saying the beetles are the cause of the problem.  I'm just asking if anybody has had a similar experience. 

Our bees are in the same yard as our free ranging chickens.  I don't think many beetles would have survived the walk over to our hives from whatever hole they crawl out of to infect a hive.....
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BjornBee
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2012, 12:05:10 PM »

givemeone,

Keep in mind, I always write, knowing that any conversation will be archived and read by thousands of beekeepers for many years to come. So do not it personally.

Some advice.....

Yes, I agree with you. And I would encourage you NOT to buy nucs again as you described. For many years, until recently, nucs were locally produced, allowing the beekeeper buying them to visit, ask questions, and know what you were buying, and from whom you were buying.

But recently in the past few years, it seems the commercial guys who traditionally did not make up nucs after almond pollination, are changing over from the decreased honey yield business, and going after the influx of new beekeepers needing bees.

I have been on the record for years, and bashed for that same period, as being against suggesting to anyone, the idea of buying commercial nucs from migratory beekeepers. There is little chance of knowing the history of the comb, visiting the operation, or inspecting bees prior to pickup, as you commented. And this holds true by the offering of nucs handled by middleman or third party operations. I know several guys advertising nucs, with little mention that they are being made up elsewhere from commercial hives coming back from almond pollination.

No need to suggest to others with your comments that nucs gave you SHB or anything else. The nucs did not do that. It was the nature of the operation providing nucs in the manner you described.

Nucs are great from local sources. They offer localized or regionalized bees, support your bee industry in your state, allow you to visit the producer, ask questions, see what you are buying, and have a source of knowledge after the sale.

You lose all that when some guy makes up nucs after almonds, in another state, and then are sold by middlemen or third party operators. So rant against a particular supplier, or the way they were offered. But to suggest for everyone reading this thread, that nucs could give you SHB, is incorrect, if you buy from the right nuc producer.

As a side note about your chickens. No SHB came from holes in the ground anywhere near where your hives or chickens are kept. Not unless you allowed an entire life cycle to be completed inside your hives. Any SHB finding your hives came from far away, and flew right past your chickens. They did not walk past your chickens.

You need to quit dealing with bee "suppliers" and find a local source from a bee "producer" of nucs. That, or go with packages.  Good luck!
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2012, 12:14:34 PM »

I think you will find that most of the beetles in your hive were born in your area. Last year did you use the oil tray under your hives? If not they are coming out of the soil. And there can be a lot of them. Are your hives in the sun. The more sun they get the less beetles.
When I move my hives to the farm, my beetle population dwindles to almost nothing but when I bring them back into town (more continuous flow) within days my traps are killing hundreds of beetles. i use not only a SBB w/oil tray but also a screen top board that allows the beetles to enter on top of the hive but they cannot get in to it. Every night I open the tops and kill beetles. Its therapeutic.

The hive with all of the dead bees is not set up right or was designed wrong. If the bees can get in where the oil is they will die. Usually they get in there while bearding during the night. They are bored and wonder all over the hive and find the opening. Might just need to be adjusted or maybe some tape.

Jim

« Last Edit: June 26, 2012, 08:01:40 PM by sawdstmakr » Logged
loumaro
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« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2012, 02:14:04 PM »

Sawdustmaker
Do you realy grt a big kick out of KILLING BEES?
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Louie
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« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2012, 02:43:58 PM »

 huh
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2012, 08:03:45 PM »

Sawdustmaker
Do you realy grt a big kick out of KILLING BEES?


My bad, I corrected it.  Cry
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givemeone
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« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2012, 10:32:03 PM »

Bjorn,

We don't have chickens.  Just keeping in the spirit of your first post.


"As a side note about your chickens. No SHB came from holes in the ground anywhere near where your hives or chickens are kept. Not unless you allowed an entire life cycle to be completed inside your hives. Any SHB finding your hives came from far away, and flew right past your chickens. They did not walk past your chickens."

I know where the beetles came from.  I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed but, when I put 2 + 2 together I usually come up with a result somewhere near 4....."+" or "-" .75 or so.  When you're installing the nuc into your equipment and you find a beetle crawling on your jacket....that's a clue.

Your second post was much more helpful and worth thinking about.  I appreciate that and will reflect on it whenever somebody interested in the 'sport' asks for my advice. 




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givemeone
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« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2012, 10:44:47 PM »

I think you will find that most of the beetles in your hive were born in your area. Last year did you use the oil tray under your hives? If not they are coming out of the soil. And there can be a lot of them. Are your hives in the sun. The more sun they get the less beetles.
When I move my hives to the farm, my beetle population dwindles to almost nothing but when I bring them back into town (more continuous flow) within days my traps are killing hundreds of beetles. i use not only a SBB w/oil tray but also a screen top board that allows the beetles to enter on top of the hive but they cannot get in to it. Every night I open the tops and kill beetles. Its therapeutic.

The hive with all of the dead bees is not set up right or was designed wrong. If the bees can get in where the oil is they will die. Usually they get in there while bearding during the night. They are bored and wonder all over the hive and find the opening. Might just need to be adjusted or maybe some tape.

Jim




Ok.  This makes some sense.  But, the way the hive is designed there is a screened bottom board and below that there is the beetle trap with the oil.  This allows the beetles to fall through and drown.  It seems like the bees purposely crawled through after them.....or something.  I have no idea how you could keep the bees from getting down there if they were motivated to do so.  I also don't know why they would be inclined to do so.
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2012, 11:08:37 AM »

You need to seal up that tray. If it gets real hot, they will beard and you will lose a lot of bees. I put a screen below the oil pan on  my home made SBBs. They are designed to keep the bees out.
Jim
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loumaro
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« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2012, 03:13:43 PM »

Sawdustmaker
Putting a screen below the oil tray is a great idea. I'm going to just that,
thanks for the tip.
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Louie
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