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Author Topic: Dead-out Autopsy Guide?  (Read 510 times)

Offline ericdyoder

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Dead-out Autopsy Guide?
« on: March 11, 2014, 12:27:51 AM »
Hi, all -

Brand new to the forum here and almost as new to beekeeping (1st winter almost through). 

Does anyone have an "autopsy guide" of sorts for inspecting dead winter colonies that they would be willing to share?  I'm piecing together "look-for's" and questions to ask while breaking down my lost hive, but it would be nice to have a checklist of some kind. 

I'm sure this is a common request; I apologize if I just haven't looked deep enough to find something like this shared a hundred times over in the past.

Thanks much.

Offline Vance G

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Re: Dead-out Autopsy Guide?
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2014, 01:40:27 AM »
It is good to know what caused the demise of a colony.  First I would look at where the bodies are.  If they are at the top of the hive against the cover, they starved to death.  All they have to do is have the cluster shrink one row of cells away from honey and if the temperature does not allow them to regain that critical distance they starve.

Look on the bottom board for varroa mites.  If you find a lot of them, they played a role in your colony dying

Look for capped brood with perforations and a smell like glue or bananas.  If you find that, get instructions for cutting out a sample and send it off to Beltsville MD for diagnosis.  It is free.  Quarantine  the equipment so it does not get mixed in with your other stuff and make sure no bees can rob it out and take honey and disease back home. 

Is the hive wet and soggy, if so lack of ventilation played a big part in your loss. 

That is all I find important though there are more small details.  If you find no problems with questionable perforated capped brood that is ropey and stinks, your equipment is probably safe to re use.  The bees will clean up any and all molds and will remove the dead stuck headfirst starved in most deadouts.  The drawn comb unless many years old and jet black is a valuable asset one should be slow to throw away. 

Others will have other priorities, these are mine.  Good luck.

Offline rober

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Re: Dead-out Autopsy Guide?
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2014, 11:02:51 AM »
you can send them to the usda lab in md.  bee prep & address on the website. they need at least 100 fresh bees.