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Author Topic: My observation hive died Tuesday  (Read 506 times)
sawdstmakr
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« on: March 13, 2014, 04:50:26 AM »

My OH died Tuesday night. This past weekend, they kept clogging up the opening with dead bees. I ended up replacing the tube. My wife and were taking the OH apart every day from Friday to Tuesday. Seems like every time the tube gets real yellow they end up dying in the tube. They used up all of there winter stores so I fed them sugar water for the first time. I had bought the sugar about a year ago and put it in food grade plastic buckets. When I opened it it smelled like aspirin. This is white table sugar. I have never heard of sugar going bad so I used it. It also ran into the hive a bit and went into the clean out tray. The feeder is on the bottom of the hive, not the top. Not sure if the sugar is contaminated. I have been told that Walmart has a test kit for $30. I will probably have to get one to test it. The last day 99% of them looked like zombies all lined up on the comb all facing straight up. Friday night they started pulling out all of the uncapped larvae and continued doing so until it was all removed.
I was not able to get into it last night to clean it out because Tuesday night my hot water heater started leaking and I had to replace it yesterday after work.
Jim
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2014, 06:30:39 AM »

The sugar should be fine.  They probably just got too old and died and as it dwindles it's hard for a small cluster to bounce back.  What does a "test kit" test for?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2014, 07:35:26 AM »

Jim, you got me interested in the sugar. Please keep us posted and educate me on the test kit as well. From what I've read about long term food storage sugar doesn't go bad. Did you have it in a mylar bag? oxygen absorbers? air tight? The FG bucket is suppose to be safe for decades.
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sterling
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« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2014, 10:36:32 AM »

I've never heard of sugar going bad. Sugar is a preservative. I have a 55gal. drum of sugar that I'm using out of that I have had since last summer and it still taste good. And the bees like it.
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2014, 11:58:58 AM »

The sugar should be fine.  They probably just got too old and died and as it dwindles it's hard for a small cluster to bounce back.  What does a "test kit" test for?
Acording to Karen Wassamer, it tests for most types of poison. It is for testing well water.
 This hive just rebuilt after the winter. In December I probably had less than 400 bees in it. A week ago they totally covered the bottom 2 deep frames and half of the 2 medium frames. They had just started prepping the cells for brood and I could see a baseball size brood area (royal jelly) on one of the medium frames. It is a 8 framehive in this pattern:

MM
MM
MM
DD


Jim
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2014, 12:03:19 PM »

Jim, you got me interested in the sugar. Please keep us posted and educate me on the test kit as well. From what I've read about long term food storage sugar doesn't go bad. Did you have it in a mylar bag? oxygen absorbers? air tight? The FG bucket is suppose to be safe for decades.

GFS,
It was just in the bucket. The ones that come from the Publics Food stores. They use them for Icing. I have 3-3 gallon buckets of it.
Jim
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2014, 12:04:47 PM »

I've never heard of sugar going bad. Sugar is a preservative. I have a 55gal. drum of sugar that I'm using out of that I have had since last summer and it still taste good. And the bees like it.
Sterling,
When you open the container, do you smell a strong smell of asprin?
Jim
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kathyp
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« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2014, 01:25:23 PM »

observation hives are hard to keep going.  i have had mine pull all the brood also and never knew for sure why, except for the time they had chalkbrood.  i have come to the conclusion that they are great for education and entertainment, but they should not be expected to last well.  if they do, it's a bonus. 
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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
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2014, 03:15:19 PM »

Sorry for your loss.  Kathy is right that they can be hard to keep going.  I've been quick to replace a queen that doesn't seem to cut it as well as pulling frames of capped brood to keep the hive population low enough that they don't think of swarming if the queen is a rock star.  Knock on wood I've kept mine going for over 4 years now but I've had to keep on top of it.  Some years it's been minimal work.  Other years it's been a definite challenge.  Last year had a re-queening that failed, then another succeed only to find it was a dink.  I ended up putting in a swarm queen and she's been good but they aren't as fastidious about keeping the hive clean as most bees so there has been some dead build up at the bottom.  I'll clear that today as I learned last Spring it's a perfect spot for SHB of wax moth larva to emerge and hide until a substantial population can build up.

Sugar shouldn't go bad.  If dry or high enough % volume in water it's as stable as salt.  When the water volume was too high you can see the streaks of bacterial/fungal growth kick up.  Unless it's disgusting and beyond salvage, I'll heat it back up to kill off the growth, maybe add a little more sugar and feed it.  For those that may think this is gross or mean, I've seen bees working hog wallows, cattle lots, can recycling centers and dumpsters.  They're tough and little mold won't kill them off versus those other things.

I've got no idea about a what would turn the tube yellow or why they would be dying in it.  
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kathyp
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« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2014, 03:53:23 PM »

mine got a little yellow, but i think it was just from the traffic in and out.  pollen, dead bees, etc.  they do tend to clog it up if i don't stay on top of it.  especially in spring when they get to house cleaning.
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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
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« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2014, 04:08:49 PM »

You said that the tube was replaced with a new one. What kind of material was used?

Could it have still have been off gassing?   Was there any types of glue or sealants used?

Just throwing that out there for something to think about.
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2014, 05:51:45 AM »

observation hives are hard to keep going.  i have had mine pull all the brood also and never knew for sure why, except for the time they had chalkbrood.  i have come to the conclusion that they are great for education and entertainment, but they should not be expected to last well.  if they do, it's a bonus. 
Kathy,
Thanks,
I have not had much trouble keeping this hive going. I let them swarm when they want to just for the education and seeing the new q develop. It has gone down to almost no bees after a swarm because all of the swarm cells died and they made emergency cella and it came back strong. The biggest problem is the bees clogging the tube and filling it up. Thought I had that problem fixed by making it flat.
Jim
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2014, 05:54:26 AM »

You said that the tube was replaced with a new one. What kind of material was used?

Could it have still have been off gassing?   Was there any types of glue or sealants used?

Just throwing that out there for something to think about.
G3,
It is a clear plastic tube. Not a lot of odor coming from it.
Jim
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2014, 06:13:26 AM »

I took the hive apart last night to clean it out. The entire bottom space was solid dead bees. On both sides, the bees were stacked up in the four corners about 8 to 12 inches high and very few in the center of both sides. Looked like some one placed the dead bees along the sides and they kept rolling down hill towards the center.
I had vacuumed up the dead bees in the bottom and removed all of the frames from the hive, they were glued in real well and had placed the 2 deep frames in the trash because they were old and the SHB larvae had started to hatch. My wife and I were talking about the q may have survived when she gets all excited.
She found the q alive. I caught her in my hand and went and found a q cage and put her in a split hive. It was 10 days from the split and after 30 minutes they were very happy to receive her. The hardest part was trying to find out if she was out of the cage after I had opened it. They were all over my hand, calm but they sure liked the smell of that cage.
Jim
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RC
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« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2014, 07:20:05 AM »

Jim, do you think that the feild bees may have brought in some insecticide? That sounds like an awful lot of bees to die at one time.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2014, 07:36:30 AM »

Sugar that has been in a bucket does have an acrid smell about it.  I don't think it hurts anything.  My left over winter feed goes into buckets when there is any and gets made into syrup or fed dry again later and I've never had any issues.
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Michael Bush
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
sawdstmakr
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« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2014, 11:28:00 AM »

Jim, do you think that the Field bees may have brought in some insecticide? That sounds like an awful lot of bees to die at one time.

Sure seems like it.
I had fed the NUC that had the Queen grafts the same sugar and I checked them yesterday and they were OK. The syrup was empty.
Jim
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2014, 11:31:11 AM »

Sugar that has been in a bucket does have an acrid smell about it.  I don't think it hurts anything.  My left over winter feed goes into buckets when there is any and gets made into syrup or fed dry again later and I've never had any issues.

Thanks Michael.
The aspirin smell really had me concerned that I had poisoned them. You don't think that I need to test it?
Jim
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kathyp
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« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2014, 11:32:42 AM »

insecticide should have killed the queen too. they would have been feeding her. 
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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
sawdstmakr
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« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2014, 11:58:16 AM »

insecticide should have killed the queen too. they would have been feeding her. 
Thanks Kathy.
If that is the case, what could kill that many? They had air and thin sugar water. There were even a few cells of honey that I found when I cleaned it out.
Jim
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