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Author Topic: Devastation  (Read 820 times)
Mammapajama
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Posts: 3

Location: Boston area


« on: August 27, 2012, 03:51:57 PM »

I am a second year beekeeper and still learning.  I went away for 6 weeks this summer and returned to complete annihilation.  I have had issues with swarming but until recently, not disease.  This spring multiple swarms emerged from my only hive.   Before I left for vacation, I combined a small swArm hive with a strong hive in which I had observed but not treated for mites. Unfortunately, I chose the small hive's new queen over the tried and true but swarm happy old queen.  I also borrowed a few frames of brood from the newly merged hive and swapped them out with what remained of my original, now severely depleted hive.  When I inspected yesterday, the big hive had nearly filled a super with honey, but had all but disappeared. No queen, as far as I could tell, mostly empty frames with some beetle larvae, white mummified bee larvae, very spotty capped brood most with a pin-hole in the cap, and of the bees that remained many had the deformed wing disease.  Hive 2 was also a ghost town, with some wax moths crawling around and 2 empty boxes but for one solitary frame of sealed brood.  Did not observe mites or deformed wings, but did see some beetles. 

Dear god, where do I start? Assuming I am right and the queens have absconded, do I even bother to try to save the poor left-behinds?  Or do I take what honey I can and save my equipment before the moths really move in? How DO I save my equipment??? I would like another shot at this next year, but don't want to contaminate the new hive. 

If I happen to find signs of a beleaguered queen or an attempt to make a new one, do I try to make all this right or give up and start over?  Not sure I have the heart to turn my girls out.
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Mammapajama
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Location: Boston area


« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2012, 04:05:42 PM »

Ps, if it matters, I live in the Boston area and there was some uncapped brood in the first (formerly big) hive but sealed brood only in the 2nd.  No eggs that I saw in my growing panic.
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Mammapajama
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Location: Boston area


« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2012, 08:01:02 PM »

Just re-visited hives. I did see some eggs and tiny larvae in hive 1, I dusted them with sugar and took off the empty honey super.  I was going to push them down to one box but I think I'll give it a week. Hive 2 I took off a brood box and saw no eggs.  Think it is worth requeening a beetle-embattled moth-curious handful of honeyless bees? Do they have time to get ready for winter?
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Sundog
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Location: Florida Suncoast


« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2012, 01:51:34 PM »

I think I would try to combine everything and create as strong a one hive as possible with winter approching.  I would look hard for the queens, and I would keep the strongest queen and try the newspaper separator method on the combine.  Once the bees are accustomed to each other, take away the excess area by consolidating frames into one brood box.

Study up on feeding before winter, they will probably need help.

Good luck.
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