What happened to my hive?

Discussion in 'Pests and Diseases' started by Noreen, Sep 16, 2017.

  1. Noreen

    Noreen New Member

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    On August 26 all was well with my hive upon inspection. I did a sugar roll and only found 1%.
    On the 30th I noticed a commotion at the hive with bees making lots of noise and flying around in front of hive. They seemed agitated. I saw a squirrel nearby and thought that was the problem.
    Then 9/13/17 (Wednesday ) it got hot here again and there was bearding which I hadn't seen in a while. That night the temperature went down into the 50s. The next am there were still bees outside the hives. They were just there stuck to the side of the hive not but moving. I had to go to work after that discovery but in the afternoon I noticed bees crawling on the grass not flying.
    Finally got in hive today and found top brood box nearly empty and bottom brood box perhaps a third full of bees. No honey. Nothing. Dead bees on screened bottom and in front of hive.
    I was thinking robbing because there's no honey, but maybe I should have been feeding them [I wasn't ]. Or was it a disease? Anyone care to guess? I'm new to this and feeling like I made a huge mistake somewhere along the way.
    I had brought sugar syrup out with me as I planned to see if they needed it. So I left them the syrup. What else can I do?
     
  2. ccjersey

    ccjersey Member

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    The commotion sounds like robbing. Just one of those things that cannot be put off until later.

    You don't mention queen cells so it doesn't sound like swarming but that would be another possibility. Perhaps swarming followed be a robbing frenzy could account for it but you would have seen the queen cells I think.
     

  3. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    First welcome to the forum, second, I can answer better and others can do if we know what part of the country you are in. I think that is something that would be well displayed next to our image and name on posts, maybe Austin can add it.

    It does sound like the hive was robbed. As to the bearding with temps in the 50's, that is odd, something was wrong in the hive, maybe small hive beetles? or the queen was outside and the bees joined her? Possibly that beard was a swarm preparing to leave in the morning, whether a swarm, or an abscond.

    The bees remaining in the bottom box may be newly hatched workers that do need fed and will need a queen, and reduced real estate. Move them to a 5 frame nuc if you can, for the winter, and order a queen now. (guessing it is still warm enough where you are.)
     
  4. roadkillbobb

    roadkillbobb Member

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    I tried to split a hive earlier in the year and it was going good till I screwed it up, the bigger hive I have, during inspection I cleaned out some honey filled comb and put it next to the much smaller hive that is a distance away figuring I would give the smaller hive a treat, and that must have brought robber bees in from wherever and it was too late,I learned the hard way on that move. they emptied the smaller hive of all the honey and now I have exactly what you are describing minus many dead bees..I will continue to feed into the cooler weather, and see if they requeened at all, I see empty queen cells but no new brood yet..if they dont show any new brood before the cooler weather ill combine them back into the bigger hive and try for a split in the spring...the first year I lost my hive to mites...so dont give up just because of a bad year, I find it very rewarding when it does go right..good luck...
     
  5. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Going into winter with a very small colony, I have had my best success with stacked 5 frame nucs. Deep on the bottom, I usually use mediums on top. I took a colony through last year that ended up 4 nucs high, only bees that made spring honey. They can be very successful in small vertical hives, as they move UP to find food in winter, not sideways. Brushy Mountain makes some pretty nice nucs. I was buying Dadant, but Brushy has better quality.
     
  6. roadkillbobb

    roadkillbobb Member

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    I have several nuc boxes I bought, I will try that rather than combine them back and see what happens, would insulating the nuc during the cold winter give them a little more help keeping warm?
     
  7. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    yes, on insulation, trying to remember your zone. I put mine down in my signature line.

    I don't have to insulate here, but I usually take a piece of that silver bubble wrap (left over from an attic adventure) and tape it on the north side of the nuc stack or the hive stack so it goes from top to bottom on the north side. I also use a piece of foam board in the lid. and a penny on top of the hive to allow ventilation below the lid. Just a little.

    Long Island New York? Yup, you're gonna need some insulation on all 4 sides, and top but be sure you put a penny on top of the top box, under the insulation and lid, to allow moisture to vent. 4 pennies, one on each side.
     
  8. Noreen

    Noreen New Member

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    Thanks. I remembered that I had a video of the behavior I thought was robbing. I will upload to see if you agree. I need to shorten it first....
     
  9. Noreen

    Noreen New Member

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    Thanks. I remembered that I had a video of the behavior I thought was robbing. I will upload to see if you agree. I need to shorten it first....
     
  10. Noreen

    Noreen New Member

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    I forgot to write that I'm in Connecticut.

    Also, it's only a 16 sec video but the file is too large
     
  11. roadkillbobb

    roadkillbobb Member

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    I have top covers with a top entrance, should I leave that open for the moisture? is that enough or close it up and leave a gap from side to top insulation?
     
  12. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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  13. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    If you leave the top entrance open in winter that should be adequate to allow moisture to escape, I would think. I am guilty of being in Texas and never having kept bees during a northern winter, but I know a lot of northern keeps and they all say ventilation is critical.

    Keeps with bottom entrances put a screen box full of straw on top to hold the moisture if they don't vent with pennies. In Texas, we vent with pennies. (bee yards may accumulate change when we drop them though)
     
  14. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    the question is, how do you insulate the roof on the inside and have the top entrance unblocked and available, can you post a picture of your hive?
     
  15. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Just a still shot showing the posture of the bees outside the hive, or a still of the front porch if there was fighting, should give me enough to see what you have got. In all probability it was robbing, fall is a bad time for it.
     
  16. roadkillbobb

    roadkillbobb Member

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    I will snap a pic and post, my big hive is bearding today, its over 80 degrees out now, its been some wacky weather this year..
     
  17. roadkillbobb

    roadkillbobb Member

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  18. roadkillbobb

    roadkillbobb Member

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    middle pic is showing the front and left side of top cover, the top front under that 3/4 inch space is the front entrance..
     
  19. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    will this be your first winter with bees?
     
  20. roadkillbobb

    roadkillbobb Member

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    this will be my second winter with this hive, I didnt insulate this past year but the year before I had the hive further back under trees and I did insulate, but the mites killed them off, so I didnt insulate last winter and they made it through, but swarmed in the spring....its an almost full hive of bees now im thinking there are enough to keep warm, but the smaller hive is short on bees, so I was going to take your suggestion and put them in a nuc box and insulate because of the lack of bees to keep warm through the winter in a smaller confined space, its still unknown if I have a queen in the smaller hive yet, im also wondering when the queen will stop laying eggs as the cooler weather approaches?..