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Author Topic: Dead Bees - Photographs for diagnosis please...  (Read 9250 times)
Andrew Tyzack
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« on: February 02, 2006, 01:58:34 AM »

Sorry to loose the thread - I was away for a few days.

Photographs below show the bees that have died and the comb that I think they were on last.

On the BBKA forum it has been suggested that they may have died from any of the following: the cold, acarine, nosema, glass quilt and damp. Maybe the photo's will help diagnosis?

Roger wrote: "It is difficult to give advice from a distance as it is much better to see the colony.
Personally I think you can almost forget nosema and acarine. You certainly didn't suffocate them either.
Did you have them the "warm" or "cold" way. I have seen several colonies die over the years when hit by cold weather and they die with plenty of food in other combs.
I think it could have been a small late swarm that couldn't maintain itself.
When did you hive it?
What varroa treatment did you give it and when?
Was the queen laying?
When did you last inspect it?"

...I treated all my hives with bayvarol in the autumn.
There was brood at this time.
They were cold way.
It was a late swarm hived in August just before taking to the moors and quite small - 3-4 frames. The queen was marked and must have been a 'domestic' swarm.

BTW The hive next to this one also appears to have died out. But it has a lot of wild comb and I'd need to dig all of this out to be able to have a proper look inside.

Thanks for any more help.

Andrew




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Andrew Tyzack
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2006, 10:01:47 AM »

I've uncapped some of the sealed brood. All had developed bees inside. Some were even sticking out or uncapped. I pulled these bees from their capped cells. They were moist and some moldy.



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Finsky
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2006, 10:15:14 AM »

Somehow it seems like bees have vanished and after that hive has been  too cold. That is why bee have not emerged out and there almost ready bee in combs.   Brood area is quite large.  Not typical situation at all.
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gsferg
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2006, 09:44:35 AM »

Andrew, the pictures and the description look and sound like classic PMS (parasitic mite syndrome) including DWV (deformed wing virus) and Kashmir Bee Virus. Bees dead in the act of emerging with their tongues sticking out and dead uncapped, or partially uncapped brood are classic symptoms. These virii are caused typically by heavy varroa mite infestation for a long period of time.

With those symptoms, you should see THOUSANDS of dead varroa mites on the bottom board, but I can't see any mites from the pictures you've posted- which are very good pictures by the way.

Examine your bottom board debris. It might look something like this:

http://www.sweettimeapiary.com/pics/deadhive/bottomboard1.jpg

That's what one of my mite-induced deadouts looked like.

If you don't find any mites (which would seriously surprise me) then I'd start looking for other problems- perhaps sending a sample of bees and comb away for analysis. At least, try to find someone local with more experience to look it over for you. That was not a healthy hive.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2006, 01:48:54 PM »

George, could I use your picture?  I don't find enough varroa on my bottom boards to get a picture anymore.
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gsferg
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2006, 02:04:12 PM »

>George, could I use your picture? I don't find enough varroa on my bottom boards to get a picture anymore.

Hehe...  Life is full of cruel ironies, eh? Sure, help yourself. I wish they were a bit clearer. Still learning to use my camera.
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Andrew Tyzack
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« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2006, 06:41:59 PM »

I took my halagon bike light to the apiary last night and had a good look at the bottom board. There were indeed quite a few dead varroa mites amongst the dead bees. But how do the mites actually kill an entire hive of bees?

Andrew

ps. I could see my other bees through the mouse guards!
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2006, 09:05:20 PM »

>But how do the mites actually kill an entire hive of bees?

They don't.  But they weaken and damage the larvae so thay aren't really viable adults.  They suck life out of the adults AND they spread viruses.  It reaches a certain level of infestation and the hive collapses and dies.
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Michael Bush
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rusty
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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2006, 07:52:47 AM »

Hi Andrew,

I too have lost some hives this winter, and the pics are very much the same.  I wonder what it is?Huh Mine were late swarms too, but I fed them well, and this has not happened before. I live only a few miles away from you so it could be a local problem
. This winter has been very mild and damp here hasn't it?, I wonder if that is the reason, and bees eating when they should be hibernating??

It will be interesting to see what everyone else thinks

Rusty.
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Ymbe
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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2006, 09:10:05 AM »

The symptom of the emerging bee poking part way out of the cell and tongue sticking out is a good indicator of death by Varroa (or vectored viruses) according to some beekeepers I spoke to recently - at least, none could recall seeing the symptom for any other reason.

Does anyone have further information on this as a symptom?

Andrew, I noticed you treated with a pyrethroid: have you done any resistance testing for Bayvarol/do you know what your mite levels were like?

http://www.csl.gov.uk/science/organ/environ/bee/diseases/varroa/images/vresist101005v2.jpg

There doesn't appear to be resistance noted in your area on the NBU maps, but then again sampling seems pretty sparce in Yorkshire!

And, Rusty, what were your Varroa levels like on the colonies you lost?
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gsferg
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« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2006, 09:47:20 AM »

>Does anyone have further information on this as a symptom?

I've removed some dead emerging bees with their tongues sticking out and they usually showed other symptoms such as deformed wings and/or shrunken abdomens indicating they'd been heavily fed upon and were suffering from mite-vectored virii.

It's clearly a symptom associated with acute varroa infestation, but  the explanation may be as simple as starvation. The USDA has this to say about it:

Quote
Starved brood

Normally when there is a shortage of food in a colony, brood are removed or consumed by the adult bees or both. However, when there is a sudden shortage of adult bees to feed the larvae, the larvae starve. Affected larvae are not restricted to the periphery of brood combs. The most striking feature of starved brood is larvae crawling out of the brood cells in search of food. Starved brood is almost always restricted to the larval stage. However, emerging bees may starve if they were stressed as pupae by chilling or overheating and if there are too few nurse bees to feed them soon after they have chewed through their cappings. In these cases, emerging adult bees usually die with only their heads out of the cells and their tongues extended.


The entire paper is pretty interesting:

http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/np/honeybeediseases/honeybeediseases.pdf

George-
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Ymbe
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« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2006, 10:01:09 AM »

Hi George, thanks for the paper and your observations. I'll look forward to reading through the booklet; it is the first reference I'm come across on starved brood and this symptom.
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gsferg
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« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2006, 10:27:17 AM »

>it is the first reference I'm come across on starved brood and this symptom.

Same here. I always thought it was a specific symptom of one virus or another, but the explanation makes sense.  In the hives I observed when this was happening, there was in deed a shortage of bees in the brood nest area. I've watched bee emerging in healthy colonies and they've  certainly been "attended" by nurse bees. Tony Jadczak, Maine State Apiariest, had this to say about acute varroa infestation in reference to a hive of some friends of mine this past summer:

Quote
The deformed pupae, dead pupae and young bees with deformed wings and stunted abdomens are all symptoms of acute Varroa. I have seen plenty of this during fall inspections when it wasn't raining. You will also notice small clusters in many colonies with these symptoms and their prospects of successful wintering vary according to the severity of the infections and the coming winter.

Several things are going on associated with the mite infestation: The bees with deformed wings are infected with wingless bee virus (WBV) also known as deformed wing virus (DWV). The brood and adult bees in these colonies are often infected with Kashmir bee virus and acute paralysis virus respectively. The brood often has symptoms similar to EFB and AFB and is often scattered with bees that died during emergence with their tongues sticking out. Frames with theses symptoms are situated in the lower brood chamber at this time of year.
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Andrew Tyzack
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« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2006, 10:32:30 AM »

I treated with bayvarol after the bee inspector recommended it after a routine visit, so I guess we don't have resistant mites yet in Yorkshire. It was my first year and hadn't yet installed open mesh floors for monitoring. So I don't know how heavy the infestation - he could tell I needed to apply treatment due to deformed bees (which are very obvious when you see them). This may mean I was too late and the colony was already doomed?

I'm now switching to open mesh floors and will be monitoring the mite levels more carefully this year.

Andrew
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Ymbe
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« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2006, 10:55:35 AM »

Quote from: Andrew Tyzack
I'm now switching to open mesh floors and will be monitoring the mite levels more carefully this year.

Andrew


You may find the Varroa calculator below a useful tool. For non-UK members the Varroa population limits in the UK are set at a lower threshold for treatment than on continental Europe (1000 mites but this is season dependent). I don't know what non-European, countries' recommended treatment thresholds are, but it goes without saying that a preferred population level would be zero! smiley

http://www.csl.gov.uk/science/organ/environ/bee/diseases/varroa/varroacalculator.cfm
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Finsky
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« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2006, 10:55:51 AM »

Quote from: Andrew Tyzack
This may mean I was too late and the colony was already doomed?


You are right. Mites had done their dirty job. Cure does not affect in violated brood. I have had hives where latest brood were full of mites and those were just the bees which should overwinter.
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gsferg
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« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2006, 11:07:16 AM »

>This may mean I was too late and the colony was already doomed?

Most likely doomed, though it might take a couple of months. If you catch it early enough and can knock back the varroa sufficiently so the bees have time to raise sufficient healthy bees for over wintering and they have plenty of stores, they might do alright. Usually however, by the time symptoms of PMS show up, it's too late. This usually ocurs in late summer, the bees have stopped raising drones and are in the process of scaling back brood rearing and the mite population has peaked- they dive into the worker brood to reproduce, and the effects are devastating. I speak from experience Sad

As the weakened bees die off, the colony dwindles to the point where they don't have the numbers to stay warm. They often die on open honey. It doesn't take long. Most mite-killed hives don't make it to spring.

George-
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rusty
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« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2006, 11:31:20 AM »

Quote
And, Rusty, what were your Varroa levels like on the colonies you lost?


Hi,
I Treated with Bayvarol in the Autumn, and haven't been in to the hives since removing the strips, it's been too wet and cold. I have had a spring clean in the apiary and cleared away the dead bees so it is too late now to check again for mites,  although I  didn't notice any thing suspicious. I am tending to put it down to a serious wasp attack during a mild late autumn, late-ish swarms and too mild a winter causing bees to eat rather than sleep. However I may be, and probably am,  totally wrong and i am not saying I don't have a single Varroa mite, just not in those quantities, I HOPE!

I find it all pretty heartbreaking, as if I have a strange emotional attachment to my bees, weird I know, or  are you all like that???

Someone suggested I use oxalic acid, in the hives in late summer, to fight Varroa, but I am really scared of residues in the honey, (nothing but clean smoke and Bayvarol strips go into my hives). What do you think folks, is it a good idea, does it work, and is it safe to use.

Rusty
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2006, 08:01:45 PM »

>Someone suggested I use oxalic acid, in the hives in late summer, to fight Varroa, but I am really scared of residues in the honey, (nothing but clean smoke and Bayvarol strips go into my hives). What do you think folks, is it a good idea, does it work, and is it safe to use.

There is already oxalic acid in all honey.  There is oxalic acid in rhubard (it's what makes it tart).  There is no Bayvoral (I beleive it's the same as Apistan here, which is fluvalenate) in honey naturally.  I would use the oxalic before I would use fluvalenate.  Last time I used fluvalenate it didn't kill the mites at all and the bees perished.  The mites have built resistance.  That would be my first suspicion.

But then I vaporized oxalic when I used it.
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Michael Bush
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rusty
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« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2006, 04:13:28 AM »

Thanks Michael,

I am kicking myself this morning, wishing I had taken the advice, and am going to visit Thornes Beekeeping Supplies to see what they can offer, Apigaurd may help but only a little. Fingers crosed!

I thought it was just that my bees had starved, over the winter it happened in all the late swarms??but when I found more colonies I started to really panic!!



Rusty
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