What Happened????

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Hog Wild, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. Hog Wild

    Hog Wild New Member

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    I am a newbie with 5 hives that I started this year, one of which was doing great - that was until I peeked inside this past weekend!
    I have top feeders on all of my hives and being the first year wanted to insure that they had plenty of food going into the Winter. I started feeding them about 3 weeks ago, it has been unseasonable cold here so I wanted to cover all my bases. A couple of weeks ago I went to top up their sugar water and noticed that in my strongest hive there were about 10 - 15 dead bee's in the entrance to the top feeder which I thought was unusual compared to the other 4. It was too cold to open up so I just topped up with the intentions of checking on them on a warmer day. Well, I went to empty out the dead/refill this past Saturday and when I removed the feeder I did not see or hear any activity so I kept digging. There was approximately 40 dead bee's on the bottom board and none left in the hive. Not a single live bee and no dead queen out of the 40 casualties.
    They left behind 40 lbs of honey and just disappeared!! Did I do something to make them swarm? Do they swarm in these cold of temps (teens- 30's at night and 30's to 40's during the day). Checked on my other hives and they were buzzing right along....Again this was my strongest hive?

    Merry Christmas to Me!

    Thanks,
    Dave Bradley
     
  2. DCoates

    DCoates New Member

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    When was the last time you inspected them? Was there anything that was different from the other hives?
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    You aren't the only one it has happened to. I have heard the very same story from a number of beeks. My best guess is Nosema Cerranae. It doesn't leave the same tell-tale spots as Nosema Apis. They just fly out to poop and don't come back. It's only a guess, but I can't come up with any better guesses than that. Sorry for the loss. Hope you have a Merry Christmas aside from that.
     
  4. Hog Wild

    Hog Wild New Member

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    I inspected them 3 weeks prior to this past Staurday, again it has been unseasonably cold here but they were coming to the top of the feeder before I could even get the top back on. I could hear them throgh the top feeder just a humming along, the only odd thing was the amount of dead bee's when I went to top it off a week later.

    I use the wooden gravity front feeders and hardly ever lose any feeding. I even looked through the 40 + dead bee's on the bottom board & the feeder entrance for the queen. She was marked and should have been easily detected.

    I extracted the honey from this hive because I did not know if the root of the problem was in the hive, not sure what to look for but nothing in there seemed out of sorts. Come Spring I should be safe to add another package to it shouldn't I?

    Thanks for the advice & all have a Merry CHRISTmas!
     
  5. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Was there any dead brood or brood capped cells in the hive?
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    HogWild writes:
    A couple of weeks ago I went to top up their sugar water and noticed that in my strongest hive there were about 10 - 15 dead bee's in the entrance to the top feeder which I thought was unusual compared to the other 4.

    tecumseh:
    was there still feed in the feeder?

    Iddee writes:
    My best guess is Nosema Cerranae.

    tecumseh:
    my best guess also.

    I often time notice that with either of the carrena twins and most especially with a frame type feeder there is often times signs of 1) excessive dead bees in the feeder and 2) the feeder never gets throughly clean out. even when such a hive has some small population the brood nest looks 'soiled' (which I think is likely pointing to carrnas effect of the house tending bees population).
     
  7. cow pollinater

    cow pollinater New Member

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    Nosema probably had something to do with it. It seems to be more of a problem than most of us have recognized.
    Have you had weather good enough for robbing?
    The reason I'm asking is that I get two or three deadouts a year that are slow to be robbed when others that crash under the same conditions are robbed almost instantly.
     
  8. Hog Wild

    Hog Wild New Member

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    Yes, there was plenty of feed left in the feeder both when I noticed the dead bee's in the entrance and when I realized they were all gone. As far as the weather goes it has been very cold both night and day here for the entire month of December. The highs have only been in the 40's (during the day, much colder at night) just about the entire month. Not sure if there was robbing going on but they left behind about 40 lbs. of honey.

    There were no dead or capped brood left in the hive just honey and empty cells.

    Do I need to worry about Nosema in my other hives and do I need to somehow treat the hive hardware of the affected hive?

    Thanks!
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a hog wild snip:
    Do I need to worry about Nosema in my other hives and do I need to somehow treat the hive hardware of the affected hive?

    tecumseh:
    imho worry accomplishes nothing. My personal slat is to treat hives that show signs of being sick and to not treat well hives. the best information now tells us UV (ie exposure to bright sunlight or black lights) and/or spraying frames with water + bleach are good disinfectants if you think nosema is the problem. I am told they have a radiation device (<socialized medicine for bees) in North Carolina where equipment can be irradiated for a small cost. The beauty of irradiation is that it kill a lot of things beyond just nosema.

    I suspect (don't know... speculating for sure) that nosema may or may not be contagious depending on the season of the year and temperature. one variety seems to do poorly in the cold part of the year and the other in the warm part of the year. speculating again, I suspect this may be the primary reason for what we use to called fall and spring dwindling in honeybees.