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Author Topic: All Dead In Cluster :(  (Read 1159 times)
timdalyiii
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« on: February 25, 2013, 07:49:43 AM »

My bees winter in two deeps.  I went to feel the weight of my hive and give it a knock to hear the hum today.  The hive was heavy, but there was no hum.  Fearing the worse I popped the top off and took a peek.  Nothing in the top box and it was in the 40s so I figured at least one bee would come see what was going on.  I removed the top deep.  It was full of honey.  I then saw all the bees dead, still in the cluster. 

Any thoughts on what this means?  If they starved, why wouldn’t they move up to the top super to the food?  I did see that the cluster was over a little bit of capped brood.

I plan to get a nuc to start again.  In the cluster many bees were head first into the cells with just a bit of their rear sticking out.  Any suggestions on how to get the bees out of the cells?  They don’t just fall out.
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Moots
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« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2013, 08:07:38 AM »

How big was the cluster?  Sounds like they may have been too small to move to get to the food.  I've seen others post similar situations.

As for the clean up, there was a discussion the other day about that....I want to say it involved everything from "bang them out", to let the birds eat them out, to let the bees clean it up.

Then again, I'm still new to all this, I'm sure some more experienced members will weigh in...

Good Luck!
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 09:11:23 AM by Moots » Logged

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danno
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« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2013, 08:11:37 AM »

they starved keeping that spot of brood warm.  As for cleaning let the bee's do it. Anything else you try will just wreck your comb. 
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timdalyiii
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2013, 08:14:04 AM »

The size was a little smaller than a volley ball I guess.
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rwurster
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« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2013, 09:12:40 AM »

I've lost 2 colonies this year both to starve outs.  Neither colony had brood to keep warm and neither colony had a drop of honey nor pollen left.  They did leave me with 40 frames of nice drawn comb though so it's not really a loss so much as it is a jump start on swarm season, which by the way can't get here fast enough.
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Vance G
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« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2013, 12:32:00 PM »

Shake off the loose bodies or they will mold; and the bees will pull out the ones in the cells.  If you can move the boxes into a building where you can open them up so they don't mold.
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timdalyiii
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2013, 01:50:36 PM »

Will do. I check them every few weeks. So it must have happened in the past couple of weeks. I was so excited to go into the spring with a good colony.
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AllenF
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2013, 07:08:54 PM »

At least you have drawn frames with some honey to give a new hive a start on in the spring. 
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capt44
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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2013, 07:15:38 PM »

I've been noticing alot of folks with dead bees and food in the hive.
Think maybe the hive sweated and moisture dripped down on the cluster?
A bee can survive very cold temps but at 32 degrees F and moisture dripping on the cluster will kill the bees.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
AllenF
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« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2013, 07:17:01 PM »

Too few bees in the hive going into winter.   They froze or starved unable to move the cluster to reach food. 
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timdalyiii
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« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2013, 08:34:35 PM »

Maybe Capt44.  I had the top propped with a stick to try and keep it ventilated.  I wish I had something definite so I can avoid it next winter.  I've only had a few different colonies, but this was the strongest going into the winter. 
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Stromnessbees
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2013, 03:34:46 AM »

Hi timdalyiii

I fear that your hive has died from CCD, Colony collapse Disorder, caused by neonicotinoid pesticides.

CCD poisoning is odd, in that the pesticide is taken up in the middle of summer, and yet the hive shows no symptoms until a good part of the bees fly off in winter and die. The remainder of the hive is too small to move up to the food and dies from isolation starvation or it just dwindles away completely.

I would not feed the rest of the honey to other bees, as it might still contain some pesticide.

Take very good care of your other hives and try to figure out where the pesticide could have been applied.
Maize and canola are nearly always seed coated with it nowadays, and golf courses and parks often get a drench, which will poison trees and flowers for many months if not years.

If you can't stop the exposure it might not be possible to keep bees alive in your area in the long run, so please help to campaign for a ban of these pesticides.

 Sad
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timdalyiii
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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2013, 06:51:03 AM »

The town spayed for Mosquitos over the summer. I don't know what they used. Could that have attributed to what happened?
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T Beek
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« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2013, 08:42:27 AM »

At least you have drawn frames with some honey to give a new hive a start on in the spring.  

I'll have to agree w/ Allen (too few bees) and add that perhaps 2 deeps was too much space for such a small colony.  Squeezing colonies down, by removing empty boxes and frames in preparation for winter is necessary for winter survival where winters can be extreme.

The description sounds nothing like a poisoning IMHO
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danno
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2013, 09:18:58 AM »

At least you have drawn frames with some honey to give a new hive a start on in the spring.  

I'll have to agree w/ Allen (too few bees) and add that perhaps 2 deeps was too much space for such a small colony.  Squeezing colonies down, by removing empty boxes and frames in preparation for winter is necessary for winter survival where winters can be extreme.

The description sounds nothing like a poisoning IMHO
I agree completely.   This is the problem with having 1 colony.   You have nothing to compare a problem to and when it dies like they all do sooner of later you have 100% lose.   I have found 3 out of my 70 overwintered dead so far.   I'm sure there will be more in March
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Dimmsdale
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« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2013, 01:40:50 PM »

I ran into the same thing.  Two of my Three hives were dead and in their cluster.  Both were Loaded with honey, almost an entire deep full.  I was running 2 deeps, screened bottom boards with the insert in, small upper entrance in inner cover and mouse guards.  The 2 hives that died were on an 18" high hive stand.  There were some dead Varroa on the drop boards, (about 200 per hive).  I wouldn't think that to be a terribly high number from a dead out with a drop board that was in place since November?  We had a 60 degree Saturday on the last week of January and all of the hives were busy making cleansing flights.  3 days later, we dropped down to the low teens for about 2 weeks.  I'm guessing that might be what did the girls in.  They were packages from Georgia.  I'm getting some NUCS from Central PA this year(Sunkist Cordovan).  I'm hoping these girls might do a little better for me in the winter.  My final hive is looking healthy(2 year old coloney, Georgia Package-different breeder).  It sits on the ground on a concrete paver.  I was wondering if that might have kept it out of the wind and thus a little warmer.  I have not treated for mites and that might have been my problem, but never found more than 5-10/hive doing 3 day drops on a sticky board.   Aaaaahhh time to sit back and wait till Spring and ponder the "what if's" LOL
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T Beek
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« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2013, 02:32:07 PM »

Temp extremes especially as Spring approaches can be a killer.
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danno
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« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2013, 03:04:37 PM »

My candy boards save alot of colonies this time of the year
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Stromnessbees
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« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2013, 04:20:57 PM »

The town spayed for Mosquitos over the summer. I don't know what they used. Could that have attributed to what happened?

I would ask the authorities what they sprayed.

But in general the biggest problem is caused by neonicotinoid seed treatments.

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timdalyiii
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« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2013, 06:03:19 PM »

I live in a very populated area.  Not much corn.  A bigger poison problem would be people treating their lawns.  I order two nucs from Harvey's Bees here in southern NJ.  I was so pumped for a good year.  Now I'm excited to be starting two colonies. 

My colony was also up on a foot and a half inch stand.  Had a screened bottom board.  Entrance closed to an inch.  I had the insert in for most of the winter, but it had been so wet hear the past few weeks I took it out to help the ventilation.  It was an unusually cold February with scattered days of in the 40s. 

Nothing left to do but prep and wait for April.  Thank you everyone for your thoughts.
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