Dead Hive

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Michbeeman63, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. Michbeeman63

    Michbeeman63 New Member

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    Couple questions for a 2nd year beekeeper. I have a hive that has been struggling all winter and it appears to have lost the good fight.

    1. how do I know if it is truely gone. I don't hear any buzzing when I tap on the hive. Could there be such a small cluster that it is too quiet. I open up the top and listen through a hole in the candy board and don't hear anything.

    2. If it is gone what do I need to do to refurb it. How can I do a post mortum and when do I do it? Don't really want to sweep out the dead bees and add a new package without knowing what caused this one to die. (diseases or something)

    3. should I do something to this hive to prevent bees from my stronger one from robbing this hive and getting some sort of disease.

    any help is appreciated.
     
  2. Hog Wild

    Hog Wild New Member

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    Those questions are pretty tough to answer without knowing what you truly have going on in the hive.

    Are your conditions favorable to do a complete inspection? Are there honey stores remaining, you can determine this by hefting/tilting the hive for weight without having to go into it.

    Once their fate has been determined it would be easier to make suggestions. :thumbsup:
     

  3. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I'd wait for a sunny 60F day and if they are not flying at 60, I'd conclude they were dead.
    Sometimes my winter hives won't fly even at 50F if it's cloudy, rainy, or windy.

    Look at it this way- that hive will have all kinds of great frames that you can use to give a real boost to your other Spring hives. After my dead hive spring inspection (which didn't tell me exact cause of death except I didn't see any signs of disease, but that is important!), I just brushed the dead bees off each frame and brushed out the hive boxes, scraped off the bottom board. Don't worry about picking every dead bee out of every cell- a good strong hive will clean up the comb in the blink of an eye.
     
  4. Michbeeman63

    Michbeeman63 New Member

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    What do you look for as far as disease? what are the signs? Foul brood may not be obvious over the winter since the bees would have cleaned out the cells by now. Mites? Maybe I can post some pics of the frames and some of the more seasoned expects can give me their two cents.

    I am building two new hives. Would you resist the temptation to put these frames of honey into the new hives or leave them in the one that met its demise. there I go, calling it demised. it may have been just a damp cool evening and still alive in a small cluster.

    I will look for honey stores left over as well.

    Any concerns waiting to do something with my good strong hive?

    thanks. again
     
  5. Hog Wild

    Hog Wild New Member

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    MichBee wrote: "Any concerns waiting to do something with my good strong hive?"

    Just make sure they have enough honey stores, if not you will need to feed. Hopefully your winter is as mild as ours and you can get into them soon.
     
  6. Michbeeman63

    Michbeeman63 New Member

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    MichBee, I have a candy board that is about 2/3 eaten. I have some cakes of sugar that I plan to stick in the hive if they look like they are running out. Will start putting my boardman feeders on as soon as it starts to look like it wont go below freezing.
     
  7. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    You really compacted a lot of complicated questions together. My attempt at answering can only be superficial. :(
    IF the hive is dead`---if it starved, you'll either see no food reserves or you'll see reserves in frames distanced from the dead cluster of bees.
    --If it died of disease, you should see opened or unopened cells with abnormal looking larvae or pupae inside. The frames might very well have an unplesant odor to them.
    --If it died of Varroa, you would probably find bees with malformed wings among the dead bees.
    If they died of disease, beware of using the frames with another hive. You certainly don't want to destroy your other hive.
    If they died from Varroa, pray for a few freezing days to destroy any mites that might still be in the frames on developing brood.
    But maybe they are alive- :mrgreen: --take good care of them and build them up with syrup and pollen substitute. :thumbsup:
     
  8. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    If the hive actually did die during the winter, there won't be any live mites hanging around in the frozen frames. Nor will there still be any developing brood for mites to lurk on. Any mites will have died along with the bees during the winter.
     
  9. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    All of life is a gamble. For a 2 year keep to gamble using dead-out frames in a new hive gives the beek a very high odds of winning. I would wait until a 60 F. sunny day and if no bees are flying, I would clean up the hive about half way and look for a swarm or package to go in it. They will finish cleaning it.

    In the mean time, I would heft the hive and if it feels empty, I would feed it dry sugar on the inner cover. Only about a lb. and check it in a week. If it is being used, I would add more.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    an ef snip followed by> my addition...
    IF the hive is dead`---if it starved, you'll either see no food reserves or you'll see reserves in frames distanced from the dead cluster of bees. >you generally will find dead bees with their head stuck in cells in some number.

    --If it died of disease, you should see opened or unopened cells with abnormal looking larvae or pupae inside. The frames might very well have an unplesant odor to them.>if you have dead pupae or larvae you may smell something but this is not always associated with disease... but just rotting organic matter. it is not uncommon to find these same aspects (described by ef above) in starved hives.

    --If it died of Varroa, you would probably find bees with malformed wings among the dead bees.>a magnifying glass and carefully examining the litter on the bottom board is about the best you can do here (dead varroa will show up on the bottom board since they have to have a host). sometime fecal matter from sever varroa infestation can also be noticed at the bottom of cells... again you most likely will need some kind of magnifying glass to notice this.

    at the end of the day you likely want to follow Omie's direction since her season will be fairly closely aligned with your own. I myself really like to expose frames to sunlight for a while since uv is an excellent 'organic' disinfectant.

    when you do open the hive up do let us know what you find.

    and good luck...
     
  11. Michbeeman63

    Michbeeman63 New Member

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    thank you all for your help. I will hope for a warm day to dig deep into the hive to see what I find. I will take some pics of the frames or anything I find unusual and post them for your advice.

    My feeling is that the hive died from moisture dripping from the candy board down on the frames. There was water dripping out of the front near indicating. I posted about this in a separate post. My bee club told me that the candy board can cause this dripping issue. I have two hives, and the other one does not seem to have this issue. Both of them are new hives from last spring. The other one seems to have more strength and has been able to generate enough heat to prevent the dripping or to eat the sugar water before it flows out the front.

    Once I open up the hives I will let you all know what I find.

    thanks.
     
  12. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Mich--could it be that you hive is tilted back and rain water collects on the floor and ends up inside?
    Hives are best positioned tilting slightly forward so that rain or any other water that collects inside drains out the front.
     
  13. Michbeeman63

    Michbeeman63 New Member

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    Efmescc. My hive has a good tilt forward.

    Thanks
     
  14. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    My bee club told me that the candy board can cause this dripping issue.

    tecumseh:
    I would suspect either or both of two things... 1) candy made up not hard enough (not enough cooking when it was made) or 2) something around the top of the hive is allowing water leakage (fine blowing rain or snow).