Apiary died over winter

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ericbeaumont 

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What's the current delivery story? You'll be aware that packages into the UK were banned from 1 January, and that BE are sourcing packages from a Northern Ireland supplier (who will have imported from the usual EU sources).
 

felixflyer 

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Yes, they explained all that. At the moment they say they are still coming but will refund any deposits if they don't arrive.

Ideally, I would have bought all locally supplied nucs but it would be too expensive to get up and running with all my hives.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Yes, they explained all that. At the moment they say they are still coming but will refund any deposits if they don't arrive.

Ideally, I would have bought all locally supplied nucs but it would be too expensive to get up and running with all my hives.
Have a look here
 

Boston Bees 

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They were thriving in the autumn. One colony in particular was packed with bees
This actually makes varroa more of a risk - more bees in summer means more varroa to attack the winter bees in their cells in Sept and Oct.

In terms of timing of treatment I found this article very useful:

 

Erichalfbee 

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This actually makes varroa more of a risk - more bees in summer means more varroa to attack the winter bees in their cells in Sept and Oct.

In terms of timing of treatment I found this article very useful:

I like a lot of his stuff. Plainly written and always replies to questions. I had a lot of help from him years ago with CBPV.
Used to post here.
 

Apple 

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Yes, they explained all that. At the moment they say they are still coming but will refund any deposits if they don't arrive.

Ideally, I would have bought all locally supplied nucs but it would be too expensive to get up and running with all my hives.
Well... good luck with that!
 

Nige.Coll 

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In a dip by a pond is a bad place to put bees.
The pond creates fog, the dip creates frost a pocket.
Damp will ruin the bees chance of survival.
I have an apiary the same and I don't overwinter bees there for this reason.
You'll find loads of dead bees on the floor of the hive where they have fallen off the cluster and died.

The fondant seems to have absorbed a fair amount of moisture looking at it but the bees could of done that. What is the rest of the fondant like ?
 

Into the lions den 

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Yes, they explained all that. At the moment they say they are still coming but will refund any deposits if they don't arrive.

Ideally, I would have bought all locally supplied nucs but it would be too expensive to get up and running with all my hives.
Are these bees from the same source?

Not easy to tell from the pic but they have the look of Italian Buckfast about them typical of the producer at source in southern Italy.

Some of those southern bees come in with a fairly ferocious level of varroa and have seen them collapse from viruses too. Not particularly the Laterza stock he is selling (we used to bring them years ago but changed over to other people) but from some other producers in the same area.

Not going to knife the supply..Laterza bees are decent hive fillers and not a threat of any significance to UK bee health despite the protestations of some, but we always recommended requeening them with something tougher during the season.
 

madasafish 

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The third from last picture shows capped brood cells with pinholes in them.
A classic sign of varroa (or of disease).
So many together - at least seven - is a sign of whatever it is - is bad.
As there do not appear to be any disease signs - distorted larvae or scales - I would suggest a massive varroa infestation.

(I saw a hive with 5 supers and LOTS of bees in July collapse to less than a brood box of bees In August due to varroa.)
 

enrico 

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Just for the record, I can have hives that show no varoa drop until I treat. Sometimes they will drop many hundred! On several treatments. I use a vapouriser now which I find most effective. Other keepers hives in the same area have been lost with minimum treatment! They do not appear week in the autumn but come spring they are.... Dead!
 

beeno 

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Just for the record, I can have hives that show no varoa drop until I treat. Sometimes they will drop many hundred!
Yes, Hivemaker had a photo he shared on the forum which had 0 drop and after treatment had 1,000+
 

madasafish 

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Yes, Hivemaker had a photo he shared on the forum which had 0 drop and after treatment had 1,000+

Which is why I ignore varroa drops. Counting numbers which mean nothing is a pointless waste of time.
 

felixflyer 

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Are these bees from the same source?
2 colonies were from this source last year. They were actually really nice bees to work with and became my favourite colonies.

Some of those southern bees come in with a fairly ferocious level of varroa
Interesting, so what would your treatment be in the first year? Treat once they are settled in the hive before putting supers on and again at the end of summer?

I was going to switch to OA vaping this year anyway as the Apilife strips become costlier once you have multiple hives. It's also a 4 week treatment.

I think the varroa infestation is a correct assumption made worse by treating late. What would they have actually died from though? There is no sign of disease so is it just too many mites? If so would I be ok to reuse the combs or should I renew everything?
 

Boston Bees 

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What would they have actually died from though?
The winter bees were too virus-ridden, due to the varroa in their cells. As such, fewer of them emerged from their cells. Many of those that did emerge will have been unhealthy. As such the winter cluster would have been smaller than it should have been, and the bees in it would have died quicker (rather than living for 4 or 5 months as you need them to). So the cluster just shrinks and shrinks, and eventually gets to the point that you see on your frames - such a tiny amount of bees that they can't survive a cold snap and freeze, or can't move to find food and starve.

If so would I be ok to reuse the combs or should I renew everything?
Personally, given that this just looks like varroa, I would:
  • Remove any old black frames, as you would do as part of routine management (good for bait hives?)
  • Keep the honey frames and use for helping future colonies
  • Cut out and destroy the sections of brood frames that actually have brood in (no hive wants to be given a frame with old rotten larvae in), but keep the remainder of the brood frames - doesn't look like there is anything wrong with them.
  • Freeze any frames for 24 hours if you see evidence of wax moth.
But I will be interested to see if others disagree.
 
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pargyle 

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The winter bees were too virus-ridden, due to the varroa in their cells. As such, fewer of them emerged from their cells. Many of those that did emerge will have been unhealthy. As such the winter cluster would have been smaller than it should have been, and the bees in it would have died quicker (rather than living for 4 or 5 months as you need them to). So the cluster just shrinks and shrinks, and eventually gets to the point that you see on your frames - such a tiny amount of bees that they can't survive a cold snap and freeze, or can't move to find food and starve.



Personally, given that this just looks like varroa, I would:
  • Remove any old black frames, as you would do as part of routine management (good for bait hives?)
  • Keep the honey frames and use for helping future colonies
  • Cut out and destroy the sections of brood frames that actually have brood in (no hive wants to be given a frame with old rotten larvae in), but keep the remainder of the brood frames - doesn't look like there is anything wrong with them.
  • Freeze any frames for 24 hours if you see evidence of wax moth.
But I will be interested to see if others disagree.
It's a lot of frames to freeze... personally I would invest in a tub of Dipel and give them all a spray .. its going to be a while before they are back in use and wax moths grubs make a hell of a mess if they get going. Hopefully if they were strong colonies the likelihood is that there will be no infestation at present... but the boxes need sealing up and they will be a magnet for the moths. Better to treat with Dipel and know they are safe.

All the above explanations about why they died out are relevant... it's very sad and there us nothing more tragic than a box if dead bees ... there wont be many beekeepers who have not been there at some point and we all share your pain. But ... it's a learning curve - albeit a sharp and expensive one in your case. Take the lesson..put it behind you and move on ... you will be a better beekeeper for the experience.
 

felixflyer 

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I appreciate all the replies.

The boxes and frames are all inside now. I'm lucky that the office where I work is on the same farm as my apiary so they are all in here with me and wax moth shouldn't be an issue. If all goes well I'll have my new bees next month and can restart.
 

Apple 

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I appreciate all the replies.

The boxes and frames are all inside now. I'm lucky that the office where I work is on the same farm as my apiary so they are all in here with me and wax moth shouldn't be an issue. If all goes well I'll have my new bees next month and can restart.
Best advice is...
Put all of those boxes in the deep freeze for 24 hours on the highest setting... then seal each one in a plastic sack to exclude anything from getting in...... otherwise it will be:party-smiley-050: for the wax moth!

And get those hives up in the sun!

Chons da
 

pargyle 

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The boxes and frames are all inside now. I'm lucky that the office where I work is on the same farm as my apiary so they are all in here with me and wax moth shouldn't be an issue. If all goes well I'll have my new bees next month and can restart.
Wax moths lay their eggs in crevices in the structure of the hive ... the eggs can survive over winter and the larvae develop as soon as the temperature warms a little and they grow at a very fast rate ... just because there are no moths about at present does not mean that one of the critters didn't leave you a present behind last autumn ...

Have a read ...


Be afraid .... be very afraid. It's a vile pest and as I said earlier - the destruction they cause is exceptional.
 

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