HELP NEEDED

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by bturbes, Feb 28, 2010.

  1. bturbes

    bturbes New Member

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    Today is a bright warm (for Minnesota in February) day. So we decided to have a look see at our hive and maybe put in a pollen patty.

    All our bees are dead. This was a one year old hive (our first).

    Here is what we found;

    Small part of a left over pollen patty was on the top hive and was covered totally in mold.

    We pulled a few of the top frames out, there is PLENTY of honey and pollen in the cells.
    Yet some bees are dead with thier heads in empty cells.

    Also we noted that some of the bees are covered with what looks like saw dust. Under a magnifying glass it looks like dust.

    Does anyone know what happened?
    How do we proceed from here?
    How would we harvest the honey with contaminating it with the bee bread and dead bee parts?

    How would we establish a new colony in this hive?

    Thanks for any help.
    :beg:
     
  2. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Without seeing it my guess would be that it was a small cluster for your climate and they starved. A small cluster won't move to stores in extreme cold. I'm guessing the dead bees on the bottomboard are the ones that had what looked like sawdust on them, my thinking is that would be cappings from the ones that were head first in the combs.The mold on the pollen patty could indicate there could have been a moisture problem? If i was sure there wasn't a AFB problem ( i'm guessing there isn't) i would clean the dead bees off the frames and store them in the freezer or in a plastic bag with para mouth crystals. I would then look for a 5 frame nuc or order a 3 lb package of bees ( put order in now) as soon as the weather warms in your area and use the drawn comb and honey for the new hive. If there is any capped dead brood in the stored frames just scrape the caps off befor you put them in with the new bees and the new bees will clean them up. This is just my opinion, i'm sure you'll get more. Bood luck, Jack
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    snip 1:
    Also we noted that some of the bees are covered with what looks like saw dust. Under a magnifying glass it looks like dust.
    tecumseh> perhaps the same mildew that was on the pollen patty? wax debris and some robbing? could also be scale from foul brood or varroa scale?<this would be an important question to answer before proceeding to snip 5.
    snip 2:
    Does anyone know what happened?
    tecumseh> not with any great reliability since I have no information in regards to hives conditions before they died (what did they look like in the fall and how much stores did they have?). if the cluster of bees was small and the winter severe then likely they froze.
    snip 3:
    How do we proceed from here?
    tecumeh> once I had some idea of what the 'dust' was I would restock the equipment.
    snip 4:
    How would we harvest the honey with contaminating it with the bee bread and dead bee parts?
    tecumeh> that sounds like a lot of work for very little usable honey.
    snip 5:
    How would we establish a new colony in this hive?
    tecumseh> you would likely wish to buy a package or a nuc.

    good luck...

    I had almost posted this and Jack's posted came up. I certainly like that feature of this board. I think Jack comments are exactly on target.
     
  4. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I agree with both of the above. When you start to clean the hive up and as you are raking out the dead bees, be on the look out for the queen, the hive could have been queenless also.

    I would not try to harvest the honey, just save it for the next bees, put it in the freezerto kill any mites or SHB.

    Spring is not too far off so don't let it get you down too bad.

    G3
     
  5. bturbes

    bturbes New Member

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    We had three hive bodies going into the winter.
    There was well over 100 lbs of honey in the hives. We did not take any off last year.

    I thought the hive was rather large going into winter. But have no idea what a good size would be.
    I did notice that there was alot of burr comb and some queen cells that were not there when we checked in the fall.

    I saw no indication of mites and I know that there is no AFB.

    There was some frost inside the hive, even though I did have the hive well protected with straw bales. I had a moisture board above the inner cover.
    We did have alot of snow this year and had to clear snow from the bottom entrance several times.
    We also had a spell of very cold temps this winter (-10 to -15 F).
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a bturbes snip:
    But have no idea what a good size would be.
    I did notice that there was alot of burr comb and some queen cells that were not there when we checked in the fall.

    I saw no indication of mites and I know that there is no AFB.

    tecumseh:
    fall cluster size should be somewhat to highly dependent on the kind of bees you raise. for example Italian will have a somewhat large cluster up thru fall while say Carnolian or Russians are known for small winter cluster size.

    Do you wrap the hives? If I recall properly -40 or below is critical for the survival of the bees, but the temperature you posted plus high winds and no wrapping could lead to the same results.

    The queen cells sounds like the answer to your first question. The hive had queen problem in the very last part of the year and 'that was the end of that story'. The dead bees in the hive may even contain a virgin or two who never mated due to the lack of drones.

    in my prior statement/question the afb would be my largest concern in regards to using the equipment again for restocking.

    ps.... I have found that promoting a good population of young bees at the latter part of the year (fall) typically equates to a hive coming into the spring in much better condition.
     
  7. bturbes

    bturbes New Member

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    [attachment=0:3bsdnycq]Bee Winter.jpg[/attachment:3bsdnycq]

    Above picture is how the hive was set up for winter.
    I did have to clear snow from bottom enterance a few times.
     

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  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    burr...

    I have only wrapped two hives in my something approaching 50 years of beekeeping, but I seem to recall we loosely wrapped with 30# felt and filled in everything with leaves and covered with another sheet of 30# felt and then place bricks on top of that. the canadians had some nice research on winter wrapping hives.
     
  9. rast

    rast New Member

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    If you want to, and can't find satisfactory Canadian research as Tec suggested, ask Ron Miksa through his website, badbeekeeping.com. He can tell you anything you want to know about keeping bees alive in Canada and killing them too, if he has time.
     
  10. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper New Member

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    Put a sample of the dead bees in a baggy and send it to the bee lab in Beltsville Maryland. Then you will know if they died of starvation or some diease.
    It is the only real way of knowing. We can all speculate.

    :mrgreen: Al
     
  11. noahsbees

    noahsbees New Member

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    I had just about the same thing happen to me!!! :eek: I do not know what happened because I am trying to figure it out myself.
     
  12. bturbes

    bturbes New Member

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    I think I might have solved the problem.
    When I went to clean out the hive and took off the hive bodies I found water had accumulated in the corner of the bottom board.

    The hive was not level and sloped slightly to the back, so the melting snow ran INTO the hive.
    Now I know to have a slight tilt so any snow melt will run out of the hive and not in.
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    thanks for the update bturbes...

    fine blowing snow plus a lot of wind and not so tight hive bodies can yield the same results as rain. wintering is not such a problem here but cold H2O in the winter time is a hive killer almost anywhere.
     
  14. rast

    rast New Member

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    Hmmm, yet another plug for screen bottom boards maybe?