Two hives dead

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Bens-Bees, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

    Messages:
    978
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Had two hives die out while I was on vacation. I had checked them a week prior to leaving and they were both healthy. When I got back to check on them, all bees were gone, no dead bees anywhere in or around the hives, no bee droppings on the outside of the hives like if they had nosema, opened the hives and there was a putrid smell that smelled like a snake if you've ever smelled your hands after handling a garter snake you know what I'm talking about, no beetles or beetle larva, no slime, but several wax moth larva and cocoons and the moth larva had already pretty well destroyed the comb, also in one of the hives there was a skink that had taken up residence. The hives both smelled like the skink.

    Here's what I'm thinking, the skink drove the bees out by taking up residence and stinking up the hives, moving from one hive to the next when the first hive absconded. Does that sound plausible or should I look for other signs as well?
     
  2. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

    Messages:
    5,162
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I would look for other signs, a strong hive would have chased a lizard off.

    Sorry for the loss.
     

  3. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

    Messages:
    396
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm really sorry to hear that. How many hives do you have remaining? Hopefully enough to get you back on track for next year. I've never heard of reptiles being a nuisance before; I guess I'm in the wrong climate for that.

    You didn't mention any brood left behind, and if there was, what was the condition. Might be a good clue. I don't know how destroyed your comb was, maybe the question is moot.
     
  4. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

    Messages:
    2,683
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    im thinking the bees absconded once wax moths got the upper hand. The skink probly came in later. If the wax moth infestation was bad enough it will cause an odor in the hive
     
  5. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

    Messages:
    978
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Oh I have plenty enough remaining that I'll be able to split and I'll get plenty more swarm calls to augment that as well.

    The comb was really badly destroyed by the moth larva... I couldn't tell if there was any brood left. When I checked them the week prior to going on vacation, the stronger of the two hives had 7 frames of brood with a solid brood pattern, and the weaker of the two had 3 frames of brood also with a good brood pattern. Both had eggs, larva and capped brood at that time.

    These were some REALLY gentle bees... so I'm not sure they would chase anything off. I never had one of them even show any interest in me when I would work them without smoke.
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    have you been experiencing a dearth?

    most times when european bees abscond from a hive starvation is THE cause. often time such a hive will leave just a bit of brood which decays and stinks like any rotting protein.
     
  7. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

    Messages:
    2,683
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    i was under the understanding the bees was gone. Is there by chance golden rod blooming in your area
     
  8. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

    Messages:
    978
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Yes, lots of goldenrod blooming in my area... goldenrod started blooming a couple of weeks ago. They've also had lots of roses and salvia blooming in the area that they've been foraging from for several weeks.

    yes the bees are gone now, they were doing well when I checked them a week prior to going on vacation.
     
  9. Bitty Bee

    Bitty Bee New Member

    Messages:
    347
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    We had a case that sounds almost exactly like yours. We returned from vacation and found one hive dead with all the same symptoms as you mentioned, except the smell and the lizard. That hive was in A+ condition before we left. So, I assumed they absconded. Then the wax moths gratefully accepted the empty house.
    I cleaned up the mess and haven't any more troubles, yet. Then got a bee tree to replace it with.
     
  10. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

    Messages:
    978
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    One more discovery about these hives... While no beetles were found in or around the dead hives... dead beetles were found in one of the beetle eaters... one of the beetle eaters was empty, the other one was full with at least 200 dead beetles. Neither hive had any slime or anything like beetles normally do when they overrun a hive though.