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Author Topic: Losing my 3 week old hive- What's happening here?!?  (Read 747 times)
KatBee
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« on: May 31, 2013, 11:55:30 PM »



We bought a nuc about 3 weeks ago, last looked in on it just over a week ago, all was well. Lots of brood, bees looked happy and healthy. We've observed them from outside the hive every few days since then, the ladies were buzzing around like normal a few days ago, but this evening we went out to make sure all looked normal and found a huge pile of dead bees instead. Piles of dead near the entrance, and on the ground below being slowly taken away by ants. Brown blotches, which we assume to be diarrhea, on the hive itself and in the grass, and some bees which are in the "dead" piles still alive, but barely moving- clinging to blades of grass, trying to climb into the hive. In the 15 minutes we observed, maybe three "normal" seeming bees flew by. It was a cooler evening, but not cool enough to slow them down so much.

We opened the top to peek in, but didn't go in the hive as we didn't want to subject them to a chill without having a solution to offer. There looked like maybe 1/3-1/4 of the hive inside at time of opening.

The person we bought the nuc from said it might be poisoning- for it to have happened so suddenly. He's coming out Sunday, but we don't really expect to still have any left by then- not the way things look now. We're at a complete loss. We were so worried about keeping our eyes open for mites, we've never even heard of anything like this. Any ideas what's happened here? Is there anything we can do? We're at a loss and are desperate to do anything that might save the survivors.

Three Week Old Nuc- What's happened here?
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 05:32:18 AM by Robo » Logged
don2
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2013, 12:35:12 AM »

First off, you need to become UN-hopelessly lost. How high is your hive off the ground? Do a close inspection of the wood at the entrance of the hive for any unusual scratch marks. Next inspect the dead bees and see if you can tell if the body as a whole looks normal. The skunk/pole cat will scratch at the entrance and when the bees come to see whats going on the skunk catches them and sucks the juice out and discards the body. If your hive low to the ground , raise it up to 12 to 18 inches off the ground. The skunk will have to expose his stomach and will quit robbing.  Smiley d2
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KatBee
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2013, 03:00:10 AM »

It's not that. The bodies are fine and there are no marks. That also wouldn't (I don't think) account for the diarrhoea, which is very present.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 05:33:10 AM by Robo » Logged
Robo
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2013, 05:38:35 AM »

I would agree with poisoning.   You need to determine where it happened so you can address it so that it doesn't happen again to your bees or others.

Rob...
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don2
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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2013, 06:09:22 AM »

When I posted my reply the video was not up. Not skunks. Smiley d2
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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2013, 07:28:32 AM »

I wonder on the poisoniong too. Do you have any orchards nearby that could have sprayed fruit trees or perhaps a gardener sprinkling Sevin on his garden?
Or any aerial spraying for mosquitoes?
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sc-bee
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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2013, 08:18:17 AM »

Pesticide Kill looks very likely
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KatBee
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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2013, 10:39:09 AM »

Went out this morning with some sugar water to try to divert any survivors from the poison source (it's 7 am here) to no activity. Going to open it up in a bit, but I expect that all are dead. We helped with hives in the heartland of Ontario, amongst farm after farm of conventional pesticide use- we're on "green" Vancouver Island now, I never would have expected this here. But we're surrounded by small homesteads, any one of them could have used something.

Thanks for the input, guys- and thanks for linking the video Rob.

Sad
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JWChesnut
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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2013, 10:46:32 AM »

Do you have Rhododendron or Azalea blooming nearby?  It is toxic to humans, and its effect on bees is disputed.  I know of losses in coastal Oregon that were traced to wild Rhododenron.   Death Camas- Zigadenus (now Toxicordion), Buckeye are also strongly toxic to bee and humans. California Buckeye (Aesculus californica) is a notorious source of colony loss in the Sierra foothills.  Corn Lily (Veratrum) is toxic to bees. 
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 11:00:38 AM by JWChesnut » Logged
blanc
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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2013, 01:52:18 PM »

My guess would be close proximity for them to have time to get back to the hive and die IMO. Had bees poisoned by power company and the bees never came back and am thinking they were to disoriented to make it back and hives collapsed due to the foragers not coming back to the hives. They were foraging about 1/4 to 2 mile blackberry patch away from the hives on the power lines. Fat Beeman got hit from vandals who sprayed his hives weeks back and dead bees all by the entrances. Sorry for the lost.
Blanc
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sterling
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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2013, 05:51:16 PM »

That's looks more like the hive was sprayed. I would think the forager bees that would have been sprayed with something that strong would not have made it back to kill the rest of the hive all at once. Do you have a neighbor who doesn't like you having bees?
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kathyp
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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2013, 06:36:04 PM »

Quote
I know of losses in coastal Oregon that were traced to wild Rhododenron.

i think it would have to be all that was available to them.  i have tons and so do all the folks around here.  bees don't get into them much.  bumbles love them.
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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2013, 08:24:40 PM »

I am siding with sterling on this one. Can you see or smell anything around the hive? Now don't put your nose in it, just asking if there is an odor or even a residue... I have seen something like this during my research on bees and it was someone that decided to spray the ground for Small Hive Beetles. 
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