Captured swarm colony died suddenly after two weeks

Discussion in 'Pests and Diseases' started by mjrice, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. mjrice

    mjrice New Member

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    Hello beekeepers,

    I am a new beekeeper this year and I have a hive (carnolians) that seems to be thriving. Then, a couple weeks ago I captured a swarm in a nearby town when it landed in a coworker's yard. The new colony seemed to do fine for the first couple weeks and were drawing comb and the queen was laying (I didn't find her until a week later, but she was there).

    On July 1st, while inspecting the new hive, I noticed some of the bees seemed to be falling from the frames, but I didn't think much of it (inexperience). Then, suddenly on July 5th, almost the entire hive died within about 12 hours. In the morning, there were a dozen dead bees in front of the entrance, and by evening it was literally clogged with dead bees. All around the hive on the ground were bees stumbling, jittery and struggling to fly. Inside, larvae were dropping from the frames. I looked at these bees up close (insides also to check for nosema) and don't see anything physically wrong with them, and no signs of fouled brood cells. Below is a link to a few dozen pictures I took on the 5th. Does anybody know what could cause this? Like I mentioned, my other hive, which is about 15 yards away, seems perfectly fine. After the 5th, there were maybe 100 bees left, including the queen, but they still can't fly. The larvae appear to be starving in their cells. Also I should mention, all the equipment (deep and frames) for this hive was brand new.

    Link to photo album

    Has anybody seen this happen before?
     
  2. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I would vote on pesticide poisoning. With no more bees than are in the hive they will probably also perish, not enough for foragers, house bees and nurse bees, although I have seen them struggle back to healthy numbers. If you decide to nurse them along reduce the entrance to about 1" to help them keep robbers out and consolidate all of the frames into one box if there are two.

    Welcome to the forum and sorry to hear of your loss, not trying to sound mean but if you are going to keep bees you will have losses.
     

  3. mjrice

    mjrice New Member

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    Is this kind of die-off from pesticide a common thing? Is it strange that it only affected the one hive? I haven't used any pesticides in my yard or on my fruit trees this year, but of course they are going lots of other places.

    And thanks for the welcome; I am so glad I found this site I don't know why I didn't look sooner.
     
  4. mjrice

    mjrice New Member

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    Also - another question - are the frames / comb / honey / pollen now toxic if this was pesticide poisoning? Is there any way to know for sure?
     
  5. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Once bees get locked onto something it is hard to turn their heads in a different direction.

    The bees will fly in a 2 1/2 mile radius of the hive to forage, just think what lies all around you.

    Pesticide poisoning is usually more of big problem around larger row crop and orchard farms, but can get it from the neighbor who has a big flower or veggie garden as well, the county spraying for skeeters, drift from pest control companies spraying your neighbors house, seven dust is bad stuff for the ladies, etc..

    Hard to tell about the wax and frames.
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    The other hive may have been working a different source. That indicates the poison was likely brought in from a garden, orchard, or other farmtype area, rather than a house or road spraying. If you can find the source, ask them to spray at dusk, so it will be gone by dawn, and if dusting, be careful to keep it off the blooms and put it on the leaves and stems only.
     
  7. mjrice

    mjrice New Member

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    I live in a pretty populated area, so there's probably not much chance I can actually figure out where they may have been. What do you think I should do with the frames? Is the hive safe for more bees if I can find another swarm to capture?
     
  8. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I would dispose of the drawn comb. Reuse the frames and undrawn foundation.
     
  9. mjrice

    mjrice New Member

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    I looked into this hive again yesterday. So sad... the queen is still there, wandering around on her own. About 10 other bees still stumbling around.
     
  10. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Put an inch of alcohol in a small medicine bottle and drop her in. Use a few drops in swarm traps next spring. It makes a great swarm lure.
     
  11. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Before the poisoned bees died, they could have deposited toxic nectar and pollen in the combs. That's why Iddee said to get rid of the combs. Some of the poisons in use are soluble in hydrocarbons and remain absorbed in the wax after washing and even melting down the combs.