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Author Topic: HELP! Colonies dead! WHY??  (Read 1826 times)
EOHenry
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« on: January 12, 2006, 10:06:23 PM »

Today in W. Michigan it got up to 55 F  Smiley , so I thot I would go out and ck the hives.  One of my 4 hives had some bees doing their cleansing flights but no activity out of the other 3.  I opened them up and they were all dead.  Sad  I found clusters of dead bees in all 3. The smaller hive had the cluster in top deep just off to the side.  The other 2 hives, which were my best honey producers had the dead cluster in the bottom deep.  There was plenty of honey left in all of them. Any advice what I can look for, why they died? Any advice appreciated!
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Shizzell
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2006, 01:09:45 AM »

Well. It may be many a things.

-Did you tarpaper the hives?
-Use an Entrance reducer?
-Mites?
-Is anything wrong with the comb?
-Is it facing the wind?
-Is the hive in a position that it will be above -30f? -20f?

We all know the dissappointment of losing bees. Sorry about that. Hope we can help so this doesn't happen next year.
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Finsky
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2006, 03:47:50 AM »

Could it be tracheal mite:
http://bienenzucht.s01.user-portal.com/beekeeping/tracheal-mite.html

"Without it you can suspect for tracheal mite if there is a large number of dead bees in the winter and there is enough food.  "
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amymcg
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2006, 07:35:59 AM »

You could take a sample and send to the Beltsville lab, they will tell you if there were tracheal mites or other problems.
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Robo
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2006, 10:34:52 AM »

I agree with Finman on the tracheal mites.

I still believe that a large portion of dead hives written off as "winter weather" are actually tracheal mite kills.  It is so easy to fall into the out of sight out of mind mentality.
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jgarzasr
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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2006, 04:26:47 PM »

I think this link has a lot of good info.... and straight to the point.

http://mainebee.com/articles/july2000.php
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EOHenry
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2006, 05:57:27 PM »

I checked out the sites that were suggested.  I think that I did not treat my hives soon enuff in Sept.  I did not think I should put Menthol in the hives before I took off some honey, and I had some frames that were not capped yet, so I waited until middle of Sept. to extract and then put in Menthol patties. There was still some of the patties left when I checked them yesterday.  More questions, will capped honey pick up the Menthol odor? What should I do to brood boxes now or before next spring? Can I put one of the almost full superson top of my last colony for food supply?  I wonder if the only colony that is still alive is because it is the swarm I captured last summer? Should I requeen that hive? They were definately a differant type of bee than my others which were Italians.
Thanx for all the help.

Henry
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Robo
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2006, 08:45:36 PM »

Quote from: EOHenry
More questions, will capped honey pick up the Menthol odor?

I don't know for sure, but I wouldn't suggest trying it either.  You should consider buying queens that have been bred for tracheal resistance and forgo menthol all together.  
Quote from: EOHenry

What should I do to brood boxes now or before next spring?

Clean out the dead bees as best you can and close them up so nothing can get in and damage them.
Quote from: EOHenry

 Can I put one of the almost full superson top of my last colony for food supply?

Sure if they need it,  just try to do it on a warmer day so that you don't chill the cluster if they are up top.
Quote from: EOHenry

 I wonder if the only colony that is still alive is because it is the swarm I captured last summer?

Could very well be,  the queen may have come from tracheal resistant stock
Quote from: EOHenry

 Should I requeen that hive? They were definately a differant type of bee than my others which were Italians.


Yes and maybe cheesy
Since most swarms are the old queen leaving,  she was most likely already a year old, so will be going into her 3rd year coming up. On the other hand, if you think she is good, you might consider rearing some queens from her first.  I tend to believe locally raised queens are better acclimated to the area than queens bought from the South.  I have no evidence to back it up,  just a personal opinion.
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Finsky
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2006, 12:53:03 AM »

To have good commercial based queens is the basic of good beekeeping. It is impossible to beginner valuate if some hive is good or not. And it is impossible to small yard beekeeper to keep on with good stock of bees.

Get rid off swarm queens and their doughters. They make only troubles.
It is good to take first generation daugter from byed queen. After that it is mere lottery.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2006, 12:25:57 PM »

The most common cause of dead bees is starvation.  Look for stores around the cluster.  Look for brood in the middle of the cluster.  Sometimes they start with lots of stores in the hive but the bees can't get to them.  Sometimes brood anchors them in place and they can't move to stores.

The next most common cause of bees dying is Varroa.  Look for deformed (crumpled looking) wings on the dead bees.  If you have deformed wings and also if you see tens of thousands of dead mites on the bottom board, then they probably succumbed to Varroa or viruses.

The next most common cause of bees dying is Tracheal Mites.  They most common sign of this is that the bees just dissabpeard.  They're gone or dead in front and not in a cluster.  But if there are bees in the hive, look for "K" wing.  Bees wth Tracheal Mite infestations have a problem hooking their wings together correctly and instead of a double wing that looks like one surface, they have the back wing angled so it's in front of the front wing and makes a shape like "K".

Look for mice nests.  Mice and shrews can eat a lot of bees and do a lot of damage.

Sometimes, they just die.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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