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Author Topic: First Time: 100% losses  (Read 1637 times)
2Sox
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« on: March 31, 2013, 09:49:09 AM »

I guess this is probably the worst news any beekeeper can have.  No bees flying yesterday (temps in the 50s), went into most of the hives.  They were done.  Sixteen hives going into winter - LOTS of honey left on - and no hives surviving.  Varroa hit them kind of hard in the fall, so populations were kind of small and I was prepared for the worst but I didn't expect this.  

So my next big job is to process all of the honey they left and to somehow keep the wax moths away from the remaining drawn comb. Gonna stock up on those large plastic drum liners.

I'd be grateful for any advice (and encouragement) you could give me so that I can most efficiently deal with the situation at hand.  By the way, I don't treat my colonies and this is my fifth year.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 08:24:20 PM by 2Sox » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2013, 09:56:22 AM »

Traet mite problems in August before they start raising bees that will overwinter. Make sure they don't have too much empty space when closing up for winter.
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Georgia Boy
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« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2013, 11:25:25 AM »

Wow!!! Thats a really tough hit to take. You have my sympathies.

Unfortunately I'm too new to offer advice only that I am sorry for you losses.

Don't give up and good luck this year.

I am sure all the people on here will be and are willing to help you.

David
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tefer2
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« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2013, 11:46:39 AM »

This kind of news is widespread in Michigan this spring. We have talked to folks that have lost between 80 & 90% of there hives. Whether they treated for mites and nosema, seemed to not be a factor in their losses. Tests are coming up with nothing so far. Scary for us!
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2Sox
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« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2013, 12:09:13 PM »

Traet mite problems in August before they start raising bees that will overwinter. Make sure they don't have too much empty space when closing up for winter.

I was about to consider treatment after getting beat up like this. Then just this morning I turned the pages in the March, Bee Culture magazine and came upon Buddy Marterre's article - and it stopped me in my tracks.  Take a look at it.  It's a good read and makes a lot of sense.

Georgia Boy,
Thanks for your kind words.

I'll be able to rebuild through swarm captures and cutouts.  I'm the only one within a hundred mile radius who does them plus I have ads running in the local papers and online.  I'm pretty busy but it still hurts to have this kind of thing happen.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2013, 12:43:20 PM by 2Sox » Logged

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Bush_84
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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2013, 01:01:26 PM »

I am right there with you.  I also had 100% losses.  I treated with hopguard, but nothing for nosema.  Had dysentery, but I don't believe that killed them.
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ThomasGR
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« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2013, 03:21:12 PM »

Any sign of brood disease during summer - fall ? I think you have to read "Fifty Years Among the Bees". Miller describes how he lost 42 of 45 beehives during the winter of 1870. His method of "rapid increasing" ( mentioned by too many books ) is followed by "DISASTROUS WINTERING" in page 28/457. I think this bad moment is not known as much as his increasing method, but is the detail containing the true LESSON for everyone. Of course after that he created again his apiary and... wrote this valuable book! I would be concerned in using again the equipment of hives that lost without obvious reason.
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Bush_84
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« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2013, 04:25:13 PM »

I hear it's very unlikely that any brood disease could kill a hive in winter, especially if they look good in the fall.  Our winters are nothing like winters in Greece I imagine.  I suspect mites and a long and cold winter has something to do with it.
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rbinhood
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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2013, 04:37:42 PM »

Sorry for your loss but, I think everyone who has ever had bees at one time or the other knows your pain.  You can have years when everything is all pure success and years that are not so bad and then the year when it all goes south and you wonder if all the hard work was worth it.  You fight the good fight and keep trying by doing the very best you can.
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2Sox
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« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2013, 06:56:52 PM »

Yes, fight the good fight.

Pretty sure it was because the populations in all my hives were not really booming going into winter. I chalk that up to the effect of Varroa on them.  I broke down only 3 of my hives today and I'd estimate I have 120+ pounds of honey - just from these three!. Lots of it is crystallized so I'm going to have to cut it up and sell it as comb honey.  I don't use foundation so it's fairly easy.
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rbinhood
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« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2013, 08:28:05 PM »

2Sox, make sure you freeze your frames and honey before you cut it....by freezing you kill all those tiny little critters that may be living inside the capped cells.  Let it thaw and then cut and place in containers.
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2Sox
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« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2013, 08:46:33 PM »

Thanks.  But up here it was frozen all winter!
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Georgia Boy
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« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2013, 09:05:25 PM »

Can you say BRRRRRRRRRR.   grin
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dfizer
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« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2013, 09:07:33 PM »

Did you do any mite checks or sugar shakes to determine if you had a mite problem and if so to what extent?  I, too think that your hives fell pray to the mite.  I have 4 hives and all 4  made it through the winter - that's the good news.  The bad news is that for two winters before this past one I lost all hives - two years in a row.  The only difference was that I checked and treated for mites last fall - low and behold. All hives made it through the winter.  

I sympathize with you and I know the 100% loss feeling first hand.  Good luck with your cut outs and swarm calls.  

David
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capt44
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« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2013, 11:03:48 PM »

I treated with Formic Acid in late August for 5 days.
There was a fairly high mortality rate on the old bees but I had plenty of brood.
In late October I treated with Fumagilin-B for Nosema.
They went into winter with a large population and 100 pounds of honey at least.
In February I check the food supply in each hive then give the protein patties and 1-1 sugar syrup with Pro-Health.
I was out in one of my bee yards this afternoon and the bees were really flying.
I thought from the sound there might be a swarm out there but nupe just them gals bringing in pollen and I seen several drones at each hive.
I look to be getting swarm calls at anytime now.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
2Sox
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« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2013, 08:58:40 AM »

I treated with Formic Acid in late August for 5 days.
There was a fairly high mortality rate on the old bees but I had plenty of brood.
In late October I treated with Fumagilin-B for Nosema.
They went into winter with a large population and 100 pounds of honey at least.
In February I check the food supply in each hive then give the protein patties and 1-1 sugar syrup with Pro-Health.
I was out in one of my bee yards this afternoon and the bees were really flying.
I thought from the sound there might be a swarm out there but nupe just them gals bringing in pollen and I seen several drones at each hive.
I look to be getting swarm calls at anytime now.

Well done!  Last winter I had nine out of eleven hives survive.  I was pleased with that.

The difference in latitude between Arkansas and Delaware County in the western Catskill Mountains makes a world of difference when winter comes.  I still don't plan on treating my bees with anything.
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2Sox
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« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2013, 09:25:43 AM »

This kind of news is widespread in Michigan this spring. We have talked to folks that have lost between 80 & 90% of there hives. Whether they treated for mites and nosema, seemed to not be a factor in their losses. Tests are coming up with nothing so far. Scary for us!

This is awful news.  I just completed the Bee Informed Partnership questionnaire.  I'd be curious to find out what results that get and what information they can give us all to help.
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D Coates
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« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2013, 09:50:14 AM »

I feel your loss.  Last year I went into winter with 15 double deeps and no treatments.  Some were relatively weak but still strong, others were absolutely packed.  I lost 14 during the winter.  I refused used to repeat my mistake and changed my technique.  This year I went with consistant drone removal and Hopguard.  All 15 survived (I worked them yesterday).

Are you planning to change anything?  Considering you've already vowed to not treat your bees with anything, if you change nothing be prepared for years where you repeat those losses.
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2Sox
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« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2013, 09:55:58 AM »

I feel your loss.  Last year I went into winter with 15 double deeps and no treatments.  Some were relatively weak but still strong, others were absolutely packed.  I lost 14 during the winter.  I refused used to repeat my mistake and changed my technique.  This year I went with consistant drone removal and Hopguard.  All 15 survived (I worked them yesterday).

Are you planning to change anything?  Considering you've already vowed to not treat your bees with anything, if you change nothing be prepared for years where you repeat those losses.

I've considered using MAQS.  I think I made the mistake of leaving too much room for them considering the small populations they had. I think this added to their demise. I'll need to tighten up their space this fall.
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« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2013, 10:13:26 AM »


I'm the only one within a hundred mile radius who does them plus I have ads running in the local papers and online. 


Don't count on that.  Im just on the north side of you and I collect swarms, and cut out colonies for people. 

You would be better off treating for mites after pulling the last of the honey off.
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