Lost my colony

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by kballow, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. kballow

    kballow New Member

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    Hello to the group. Name here is Keith and I am in North East Texas, just outside Henderson, TX. I purchased a nuc in May and the bees were doing pretty well for the first month. I was feeding them sugar water 1/1 mixture and they would take a gallon in about two days. Then the weather took a turn for the worst and we went up to 100 plus degrees every day through most of June and July. The bees stopped taking the sugar water and a couple of weeks later I went to check on them and the hive was empty. There were a couple of dozen dead bees on the screened bottom board. The nuc came with five frames and the bees had pulled comb on three sides of the other three frames in the bottom box. What I found odd was that all the comb on the frames was completely empty and dry. None of the cells were capped, just totally empty cells. Would the bees have swarmed and left all the comb totally empty? I feel like the hot weather and high temperatures were just more than a new colony could overcome. Maybe the queen died and all the eggs hatched. Then they ate everything in the hive before they all died. I'm at a loss but intend to get a couple of more colonies next spring if there are any to be had after this awful summer we have had.
    Anyway, wanted to say hello and see if anyone had any suggestions what might have happened to my colony?
    Thanks, and keep your fingers crossed that we get some rain and relief from this drought soon.

    Keith
    Henderson, Texas
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    It's hard to know without knowing the condition from week to week. A new nuc should be checked weekly and notes made.

    Amount drawn out, pollen stores, honey stores, open and capped brood, ETC. Then you can diagnose a deadout much better, and maybe even prevent it.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    it has been the toughest of years here Keith. quite a challenge for anyone just starting out I would suggest. do not loose heart. often times we learn the most from our errors.. at least I think I have.

    I would guess the hive absconded due to starvation. a lot of dead bees and debris on the bottom board would likely suggest dwindling (queen failure for whatever reason) and ultimately robbing.
     
  4. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    A nuc taking a gallon of sugar water in two days :confused:Sounds like they might of had some help, were the cappings ripped and torn looking. Jack
     
  5. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    Welcome Keith! Sorry to hear you had the worst first year. I suggest next year block the entrance down to one or two inches. Check the hive every two to three weeks for the first year. They could have absconded or swarmed. It is more likely absconded than swarmed since nothing was left. When the weather gets better small hive beetles will move in and wax moths so protect your comb.
     
  6. kballow

    kballow New Member

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    Thanks for the comments everyone. Jack, I will have to take a closer look at the frames. I have moved the hive bodies and frames back into my storage shed. I suppose there is something more I need to do to protect the frames and comb until next year. I seem to recall reading something on that but will have to go back and look it up again. Iddee, I was keeping a journal and had been into the hive every couple of weeks through May and June but I got lazy in July when the temps went up above 100 degrees. I did check on the hive one or two times per week but didn't suit up and open the hive. The bees were coming and going from the hive each time I checked them and there was a good amount of bees just inside the entrance so I figured they were doing OK. They had stopped taking the sugar water so I thought they had found something they liked better. Apparently they were not doing so well.
    Not only have I lost the bees, now it looks like the catfish pond is going to dry completely up and lose our channel catfish. Not a good year in East Texas. We do have a bumper crop of large grasshoppers that I would gladly swap with anyone who wants some of them.

    Keith
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    you will need to protect the wax from wax moth. as dry as this year has been the small hive beetle has presented almost no problem but no matter what kind of year we are having the wax moth prevails.
     
  8. Walt B

    Walt B New Member

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    Keith, welcome to the forum. :hi: As Tec said, this year has been tough

    BT spray on the foundation is supposed to prevent wax moths. Might be a nice preventive for next year's efforts. One of the forum members, Sundance, sells the powder:

    http://www.beekeepingforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=1834

    Walt
     
  9. SBrooks

    SBrooks New Member

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    I live in NC and had a similar experience. I got two hives but one has died. Is there any other preparations other than for the wax moths. Also, Its august, I guess its best to wait till next year on the dead hive.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    pulled comb has value when you decide to start up again so that resource is worth protecting. Iddee or one of the North Carolina crowd would be your best source of information in regards to your last question.
     
  11. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I wouldn't try to repopulate a deadout this late in NC. We have little to no fall flow. You would have to feed them all winter, and even then, survival would be doubtful.
     
  12. kballow

    kballow New Member

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    You may not can speak to the East Texas area, but what time of year would normally be best to try and start up a new nuc? I started in May this past year and everything seemed to be doing well until mother nature decided to stop raining on us and everything dried up and died. I'll check with the members of my local club to see what their opinions are but was just wondering. I would guess as soon as something begins to bloom out in our area and still supplement with feeding sugar syrup?
     
  13. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    When the first flowers bloom and the first drones fly. Anytime can be bad if mother nature doesn't cooperate.
     
  14. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    kballow.... you are just a bit north and east of me so about the 15 of February we typically see our first bloom. about a month later we typically begin seeing our first queens mated and laying. May 15 is a bit late to catch any real flow even in a good year. For almost all new hive starts (nucs or packages) in most years you will need to feed some to give them a proper start. This year it didn't matter when you got a start since nothing really happened in regards to spring bloom.
     
  15. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Feb. 15th? i'm usually wadding snow here in SW. Mo. :roll: Jack