My Complete Hive Died This Past Two Weeks.

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Tomgillane, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. Tomgillane

    Tomgillane New Member

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    I live in the South Atlanta, GA area where we had a relatively mild to cold winter. The history on my hive is that I am a one year new beekeeper. Last March, 2017 I bought a mated Queen with her bees. The bees were purchased fairly local, mid Southwest, SC. I initially housed them in a two chamber hive. I located the hive in my back yard where the hive get direct sun light 3/4 of the day. It is located on the south side of a wood privacy fence, blocking north winds. The new bees were so prolific, the hive split two times last spring. After the second split, I added a third chamber. The hive did very well after adding the third chamber.

    After the last nectar flow last year, I checked the hive to see what the honey storage looked like for the winter. The bottom brood chamber had a good storage of eggs, cone, and live population. The center chamber was used by the bees to store honey, pollen, and some brood eggs. There was more than enough honey stored, about 30lbs.

    Two weeks ago I noticed just a little activity on the outside of the hive. I could hear the hive humming on the inside, so I was under the opinion the hive was doing good. This past weekend I noticed no activity at all. I could not hear any humming inside the hive. I went out today to inspect the hive and found that every bee was dead. There was more than enough honey stored to last the rest of the winter, about 10lbs remaining. I did a search for the queen but had no luck in finding her. I could have easily missed her. I cleaned the hive out and left the cone and honey in the hive. I closed up the entry ways to keep unwanted visitors out. While I was cleaning, I had one honeybee visiting while cleaning. It would not go into the hive. Should I close it up or keep it open? Does anybody think the queen and her bees left the hive?

    Anybody have any ideas why the hive died on me.
     
  2. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Did you treat for mites? Do you use a screened bottom board, and if so, sticky in or sticky out? Did the dead bees seem to be wet? Were they all lumped up in the center of the hive, or scattered on the bottom board. Any signs of Nosema? Any fecal marks around the front door of the hive?
     

  3. Tomgillane

    Tomgillane New Member

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    I treated for mites in late spring 2017. I did not find any indication of mites but treated anyway. With no indication of mites, I did not retreat for winter. I use a screened bottom board with a pull out solid bottom below the screen for ventalation. I kept the bottom closet for winter. There were very few hive Beatles. Between the bottom board catcher, Beatles traps on each level, and the bees doing their part, no beetle problems. The dead bees seemed to be a little sticky moist. Most of the dead bees were scattered below on the bottom screen. Some dead ones where stuck between the frames. No Nosema indication and the landing board was clean. How do you treat for Nosema?
     
  4. roadkillbobb

    roadkillbobb Active Member

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    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  5. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That is an excellent suggestion Bob. I think fumagillin in syrup was the nosema treatment, but I've never had to treat for it.

    My guess would be a little bit of mites with some virus weakening them reducing numbers (the bees on the floor) followed by too small a cluster during the real cold snap that we all got, (the bees between the frames). The moisture might be a contributor. Ventilation at the top lets humidity escape. I put a nickel on each corner of my inner cover just under the insulation foam board I put in my telescoping cover.

    Sending dead bees to a lab is the best
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018