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Author Topic: mites decimated hive?  (Read 1945 times)

Offline beebeeking

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mites decimated hive?
« on: November 08, 2006, 05:21:09 PM »
I've been keeping bees for less than a year; have one hive of two deep brood boxes.  Everything seemed to be going fine so far until yesterday... I've been doing the dowda powdered sugar method as was recomended by the people I got the bees from: one treatment a month, then once a week every week in august.  Mite numbers did seem high, but being such a newbie I didn't know whether to be alarmed or if it was normal.  Did last sugar treatment two weeks ago and bee population seemed normal; did last real inspection a month ago.  When I went into hive yesterday, I was horrified to find basically an empty hive.  Top box full of honey, as it was a month ago but absolutely no bees in top box.  Bottom box: no larvae, except a couple corpses of bees that seemed to die while emerging from their cells.  The only sign of brood is on a few frames and its "spotty."  The only actual living bees numbered maybe 100! Did see the queen. There are a number of dead bees on the bottom of the hive (maybe 100 or so)
Questions: Could this be varroa that utterly destroyed my first and only hive? What besides varroa could it be?  Can this hive be saved this late in the season, and if so HOW?  Any advice or insight would be great... it's really depressing how quickly this came about and I can't help but feel  discouraged. :(

Offline Mici

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Re: mites decimated hive?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2006, 05:47:50 PM »
everyting full, a lot of bees, a lot of honey, what about swarming???, maybe more than once if there are so few bees left. don't know, just guesing

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: mites decimated hive?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2006, 08:35:18 PM »
With Varroa collapse I would expect to see thousands of dead bees on the bottom board along with thousands of Varroa mites (you will have to LOOK for the mites).  I would expect a significant number of bees with deformed wings.  I would NOT expect ANY brood this time of year.  They would have shut down brood rearing somewhere between a month ago and several weeks ago.

Sounds like something else to me.  Are the bees "K" winged? (2 seperate wings on each side in the form of the letter "K").  They could have absconded, moved next door, swarmed late, had some other disease or just dwindled when you weren't looking.

I'd look for deformed wings, "K" wings, and mites on the bottom board for clues.  Also check any brood cells that have sunken caps with a stick or a match and see if it strings (ropes).  Also look for drones or an excess of drone brood that would indicate a failed queen.
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Offline abejaruco

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Re: mites decimated hive?
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2006, 03:26:49 AM »
Your problem is a common problem in Europe.
Have you had an autumnal blooming? If the bees have been parasited by varroa, they die sooner, and nurse bees will work as field bees...a chain reaction. You will find enough honey, few pollen, dying brood and a "Queen On The Verge of a Nervous Breakdown".
Now it is being studied the Nosema ceranae as possible cause. I doný know if nosema or Acarapis kill in autumn, I have read that usually kill in spring.


Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: mites decimated hive?
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2006, 07:09:55 PM »
If there is little dead bees within the hive it is possible that the bees found a late source of nectar/pollen that had been treated with insecticide.  The forager bees would have died in transit, the younger bees would have turned to foraging, and the avalanche effect would have decimated the hive. 
With out a lot of bees to examine for K wing and other systems (mite load) I would be more inclined to suspect poisoning.
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Offline beebeeking

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Re: mites decimated hive?
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2006, 02:22:07 PM »
Thanks for all the suggestions.  I did notice a lot of bees crawling on the ground last inspection, and didn't know what to make of it, but now I'm thinking maybe its because their wings were deformed.  A few people have also suggested swarming, and it had been unseasonably hot in October, so that's a possibility, although I haven't ruled out varroa-related issues.  I still don't know for sure, but have more possibilities to consider now.  Thanks again.

Offline Kirk-o

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Re: mites decimated hive?
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2006, 11:38:33 PM »
I have bees in L A California and have had the same thing happen twice.A real Mystery something was not right so the bees perished no bees no dead bees no mites on botttom board just disappeared
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