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Author Topic: First Hive Inspection Didn't Go Well  (Read 868 times)
Corliss
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« on: April 28, 2013, 06:43:18 PM »

I live in Connecticut and just installed a package of Russian bees about a week ago.  Today was the first inspection and it was very disappointing.  I had an experienced beekeeper helping as I'm brand new to this and don't have a good handle on what the hive should look like at this point.  Basically, I lost a lot of bees since the installation, no frame was completely drawn out and those that had been were not flush with the frame but hanging sac-like and you could see dead larva in cells.

If you have any ideas on what I could do to improve the situation or what might have been the cause, I'd appreciate hearing your opinion. 

Thanks!
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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2013, 06:48:57 PM »

losing a lot of bees is normal, but you need to define "a lot".  don't know what you mean by "hanging sack like"?  did you use foundation?  if so, what kind.  if not, it is normal for the bees to build in a U shape and attach the sides and bottom later. 

what else did you see in the cells?  how did you know that larvae is dead.  did you see eggs, larvae that is ok.   what has your weather been like.  how many frames are covered with bees?

what did your experienced beekeeper say?
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Corliss
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2013, 07:07:10 PM »

As far as the number of bees lost, my experienced beekeeper felt that out of around 11,000, at least a third were gone.  We opened the hive at noon and some of them could have been out but that many?  I had counted 25 dead bees in front of the hive three days ago and when we opened the hive, there were at least that many more dead on the bottom screen.  I assumed that was a bad sign as well since bees usually keep the hive clean.

I used a wax foundation.  I wish I could describe how they drew it out but it wasn't like all the examples I have seen where the cells are flush with the frame.  This was more of a layered deal and there were bees walking underneath the cells they had drawn out.  I hope that makes more sense.  There were a few places on the frames where the foundation had been drawn out correctly but there was nothing in those cells.

Other cells contained eggs and pollen but all of the larva appeared to be dark brown and my beekeeper said they were dead.

Our weather has been all over the map since the installation.  A few nights have been in the 30's and the days have ranged from the low 40's to the upper 60's.

There were only two frames that had small clusters of bees working away.  We weren't able to locate the queen, despite the small numbers.

My beekeeping expert thinks my hive is probably going to keep sliding downhill.  I had noticed mid-week that the activity level had changed drastically, especially considering that it was a lovely warm day, the same as the previous two during which the bees were all over.

Hope this helps give you a better idea for diagnosis.

Thanks.
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AllenF
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2013, 07:15:37 PM »

Have you been feeding them?   And where are you located?  You should be able to see if there is brood soon.   It is hard to see eggs and young on very new wax to see if you have a laying queen there.  The cold may have kept them down.   
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sterling
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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2013, 07:17:57 PM »

What size box did you put them in? It may be to big and the larva chilled.
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kathyp
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2013, 07:30:22 PM »

i was thinking chilled brood too but

Quote
There were only two frames that had small clusters of bees working away.  We weren't able to locate the queen, despite the small numbers.

that's not a good sign.  what were the bees doing?  were they covering brood?

Quote
I had noticed mid-week that the activity level had changed drastically, especially considering that it was a lovely warm day, the same as the previous two during which the bees were all over.

and i'm wondering if they swarmed on you.

any sign of queen cells?
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Corliss
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« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2013, 07:42:07 PM »

Okay, to try and answer all the above questions:

I am located in Connecticut.
Yes, they were being fed from a hive top feeder.
There were no queen cells present.
Covered brood?  Does that mean larva under capped cells?  If so, no sign of that either.  All the brown and dead larva were in open cells.
They are in hive box with medium size frames, 10 per box.
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buzzbee
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« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2013, 08:15:35 PM »

Top feeder above or below the inner cover?
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kathyp
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« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2013, 08:19:33 PM »

pictures
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Corliss
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« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2013, 08:52:10 PM »

No inner cover - just the hive feeder and the outer cover on top of it.

And, foolishly, I didn't take any pictures today.  I will be looking at them in another week although I'm guessing by then that they'll either be done for or on the mend.
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10framer
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« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2013, 08:59:21 PM »

sorry, but it sounds bad.  pictures would definitely be a big help.
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kathyp
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« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2013, 09:20:54 PM »

Quote
I will be looking at them in another week


go pull a couple of frames tomorrow or as soon as you can and get some pics.  i wouldn't wait until next week.  might not be anything can be done, but we might see something that can help.  get pics into the cells where any brood is and anything else that looks interesting.  can't take to many and it shouldn't take you but a few min.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2013, 10:52:46 PM by kathyp » Logged

.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Corliss
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« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2013, 09:36:38 PM »

Okay, will do.
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buzzbee
Ken
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« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2013, 06:10:09 AM »

Send your pics or links to pics to
photos@beemaster.com
And note the post you want to add them. We will get them up as soon as one of us are available.
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Corliss
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« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2013, 11:51:50 AM »

Now I'm having second thoughts about opening the hive again to take the pictures.  The weather today is in the low 50's with some rain showers.  I'm worried about making the situation in the hive worse by chilling them even further.  And please forgive my ignorance, but would providing insulation at this late date help anything if this is brood chill?  And if it would, are we talking about tar paper or a blanket or what exactly?

Thank you to all for your help.
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kathyp
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« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2013, 12:31:28 PM »

don't worry about it if it's not a good day.

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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Corliss
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« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2013, 08:11:01 AM »

Due to the assistance on this forum and talking to the instructor of my beekeeping class I believe my hive problem is chilled brood.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that the number of bees left can come back on their own.  However, tonight it is supposed to get down into the 30's again.  Does anyone have any suggestions for a temporary insulation that wouldn't cause condensation inside the hive?

Thanks again for helping a total beginner!
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Jim 134
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« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2013, 08:35:27 AM »


 How much experience does the experience beekeeper have that look at this hive have Huh
 Was this a full hive of bees Huh
 Was this nuc of bees Huh
 Was this package of bee Huh



                       BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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dirt road
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« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2013, 08:44:29 AM »

You mentioned dead bees on the bottom screen. Is/was your SBB open or closed?
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Moots
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« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2013, 08:46:36 AM »


 How much experience does the experience beekeeper have that look at this hive have Huh
 Was this a full hive of bees Huh
 Was this nuc of bees Huh
 Was this package of bee Huh


Jim,
Per the OP...."I live in Connecticut and just installed a package of Russian bees about a week ago".

Corliss,
Best of luck with your bees, being a newbie myself, I know how tough it is wanting to do the right thing, but not necessarily knowing what's the right thing to do.

My suggestion is read as much as you can, seek advice both locally and on this forum, then make decisions based on what feels right to you at the time for you and your bees, move forward and deal with the consequences, whatever they might be....Good or bad!  Smiley

I've learned quickly as a Beek, there are few if any consensuses and no magic answers.  laugh  I know it's tough, but try to relax and enjoy the journey.  
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