Hive vanished

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by ASTMedic, Nov 16, 2014.

  1. ASTMedic

    ASTMedic New Member

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    No I don't mean the hive boxes disappeared but all the bees sure did.

    I thought this summer was going to be a good one with my hive. It was year 2 on my first hive. They had superseded the orignal nuc queen last summer and went into last winter strong. Over wintered well. I fed early due to the warm spring and they built up well. I though the hive would go to 3 deeps for the brood chamber by summer with their growth rate. They seemed to slow a bit early this summer but were doing well, just not as well as I expected with their growth this spring.

    When things were going good I cut back to checking them once a month (early July). One month they were fine and the next they had all but vanished (early August). No dead bees, no issues with robbing, no moths or any other problems I could see. They just vanished. When I went into the hive I found only a few frames covered with bees. No signs of a laying worker and there was even capped, normal looking, brood. Just not much of it. No signs they attempted to make an emergency queen as if I had rolled her at my last inspection. Just gone. They had even left a full deep of capped honey and numerous frames packed with pollen.

    So seeing that the end was inevitable I pulled the deep of honey knowing they would start getting robbed soon with their poor numbers. I wanted to get something productive out of the hive and not waste that honey or just feed the wild bees. I consolidated the hive to a single box but their fate was sealed. I put a feeder on but food was clearly not the issue.

    Really odd. I could understand if they died from something (no dead bees found) or if I should have been feeding and they depleted their stores (had a full deep of honey and pollen) or were overcome by moths but none of that. Nope they just vanished into thin air.
     
  2. camero7

    camero7 Member

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    What was your mite count?
     

  3. ASTMedic

    ASTMedic New Member

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    Didn't check for them. Never saw any signs that I needed to. Zero signs of dead bees anywhere near the hive.
     
  4. camero7

    camero7 Member

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    Now you may have the answer. You need to do a sugar roll or preferably an alcohol wash at least 2X year.
     
  5. ASTMedic

    ASTMedic New Member

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    But no sign of death?
     
  6. camero7

    camero7 Member

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    Bees with a high varroa count often abscond. You need to start monitoring mites if you want to be a beekeeper.
     
  7. ASTMedic

    ASTMedic New Member

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  8. LazyBkpr

    LazyBkpr New Member

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    To explain a bit better, the bees that were sick or dying would have flown away. It is their way to get away from their hive to die, so you are not likely to see them die. SOME will die nearby and or be carried out, but most will fly off if they are capable.. Other issues are possible as well.. did they get into pesticides in someones garden? A combination of both? The remaining bees absconded, leaving only those few young nurse bees that refused to leave the brood...
    You wont see Varroa unless your LOOKING CLOSELY for them, or popping open drone cells etc.. A good indicator is Deformed Wing Virus, which is transmitted by the mites.. if you see crawlers in front of your hive its time to get your frames bleached!
    Hope that helps a bit..
     
  9. camero7

    camero7 Member

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    Not exactly, when mites get too strong the bees often leave the hive and move to a new location. They escape the mites in the brood and get a brood break. Do mite counts, don't wait until the hive is in distress before you treat, it's usually too late.
     
  10. LazyBkpr

    LazyBkpr New Member

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    Yes exactly.. weather you like it or not, it is VERY possible there was a combination of events. You may be VERY correct it was ONLY mites that caused the bees to abscond, but a MUCH more likely scenario is that there was a combination of events that stressed them more than JUST mites.
    Yes, It COULD very well be the beekeepers fault for not checking mite loads, but usually when i find hives depleted, I also find that the apple orchard a mile and a half away also sprayed that week, and OH! Sorry! We forgot to call you!
    I do not often have bees abscond JUST because of mites. I often have hives that are on the edge of crashing, because that is the best way to tell if they are going to respond to the mite load. Perhaps the OP's hive went past that point and absconded, but give him the rest of the answers that are also possible.
     
  11. camero7

    camero7 Member

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    If you don't monitor mites you don't know if they're the problem. Most hive failures, particularly in the fall are the result of varroa and/or the virus they vector.
     
  12. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    One of mine did that this spring. I missed the swarm, the newly hatched and mated queen showed back up a week after I took her hive down and merged her bees, found her in a clump of bees on one of her former empty frames, set her up a hive, that's my hive 2, going into winter in a 10 frame deep with a medium of stores.