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Apiguard disaster.

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KayJ 

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Hello folks.
I'm a new beekeeper looking for help and support please.
I started in June with a nuc which swarmed within two weeks giving me two colonies. So far so good. I thought I was just about coping till this last Sunday when disaster struck - all my fault of course!
I'd just finished my Apiguard treatment and was removing the trays and scraping the remains onto the top of the frames as I'd been advised to to. There was quite a lot of Apiguard left, maybe half a tray in each hive, it was rather crusty and some of it fell down between the frames.
When I checked on the hives Sunday night ( I'm a bit sad like that ) I was horrified to find the bees were all clustered on the outside of both hives, and they spent Sunday and Monday nights there. I worried that they would die of cold/wet.
They are back in their hives now but there are a lot of dead bees and I was very sad to see them removing lavae and dead bees from the hive.
I wonder if the queens are still alive. How will I know if they are queenless? Will they start to lay at this late stage in the year? Do you think they will recover and get through the winter?

Also, can anyone give me an idea how many frames should be full of stores to get them through the winter. I've been told 18kgs of stores, but if a full frame holds 2kgs, thats 9 full frames they need per hive and they probably have 4 and whats around the brood nest. At least they did have before Sunday. Doesn't sound like enough, does it?
 
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Cazza 

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Hi Kay and welcome.
You will receive loads of good advice here.

First off, do not panic! This is the best piece of advice I was ever given, it helps to try not to as bees are generally pretty resilient and things are generally not as bad as you think.

I think scraping off the apiguard isn't the best thing to do, I have never felt the need for this and it shouldn't be necessary but it's done now.

There is time for laying. I had to look at a hive yesterday to inspect for EFB and the queen was still laying like crazy.

Anyway, wait for the advice which will follow from wiser people than me.
Cazza
 
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Believe me you will know if they are Q-, if mine were anything to go by as their behaviour will change for the worse. Others have said that bees have died due to Apiguard treatment, and the site does say this could be a side -effect.

I think it is unfortunate in your first year (I would have been gutted as my bees were a June nuc. too); but not to panic is great advice; and I am sure one of the truly experienced beeks will reply soon.

When you say that they have stores around the brood nest - how big is the brood area? Over how many frames - as this will help to work out what they have.

And good-luck with the forum, it is a great place!
 

kazmcc 

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Hi Kay. From what I've read clustering is a typical reaction to thymol treatment, I suppose they want a bit of fresh air, once they found it was a bit nippy, they went back indoors and dealt with the smell :p Also, I read that some larva removal is usual too, but I suppose that depends on how much there was. I am a beginner but have scoured the forum for advice on this and what to expect. I am sure others will be along soon who have more experience.
 

MuswellMetro 

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A} There was quite a lot of Apiguard left, maybe half a tray in each hive, it was rather crusty and some of it fell down between the frames.
When I checked on the hives Sunday night ( I'm a bit sad like that ) I was horrified to find the bees were all clustered on the outside of both hives,


b}Will they start to lay at this late stage in the year? Do you think they will recover and get through the winter?

C} I've been told 18kgs of stores, but if a full frame holds 2kgs, thats 9 full frames they need per hive and they probably have 4 and whats around the brood nest. At least they did have before Sunday. Doesn't sound like enough, does it?
ok i assume you are a small national hive, if not my veiws may differ,and welcome to the forum, , we all try to help, but the more info you give the better, and remeber some also what to ask the same question but are silent, so ask the question even if it seems silly, so long as you do mind the flack that sometime comes


a) from their FAQ http://www.wimbledonbeekeepers.co.uk/APIGUARD FAQ.pdf

How do I apply Apiguard?
A: See Vita’s leaflet. If you are using Apiguard in trays: peel back the lid of the tray and place, gel side up on top of the brood frames. Make sure to leave enough space for the bees to get into the tray (use a spacer [an eke] or, more preferably an empty super on top of the brood chamber). Close the hive. After 2 weeks repeat with a second tray and leave in place for 2 – 4 weeks.

so they say for the final treatment which has more gel left to leave the tray and not to smear what's left but this is often confused as they also say at two weeks

After 2 weeks there is still some Apiguard left in the tray/on the dosing card.
What is happening and what should I do?
A: Sometimes as the gel dries, the bees lose interest in it. Empty and spread theremainder onto a flat surface (wax foundation, cardboard no larger than about 10 cm x10 cm). If there is only a small amount of gel remaining, smear it over a small area onthe top of the brood frames. This is active Apiguard and will be removed by the bees,which will further help in the control of mites.

b} So thymol in eccess makes them cluster outside, you will get a bit of chill brood near the thymol past and the queen will go off laying for a few days but all should recover

C] If calculated, a hive, apparently according to Yates BBKA module, needs 35-40lbs (16-18kg) of stores to overwinter. 'stores' is the weight of sealed liquid feed, i.e. equivalent to honey. Honey is 80% sugar, 20% water. So, 10lb of stores would contain 8lb of sugar.

In order to calculate how much feed you need to give your bees, you have start by gauging how much stores the bees already have. E.g. If your brood frames have about 10lb in the brood box to start with, just after homey extraction, they'd need another 25-30lb of stores to overwinter (altho, this does not seem to allow for the fact the bees use these stores thru autumn too, as local forage tails off, so the amount left for winter might be less than you think).

One standard national brood frame full of sealed liquid stores apparrntly weighs 5lb, so the hive would need 7 or 8 brood frames full of sealed liquid stores.
 
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Gardenbees 

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:grouphug:Hi there! Definitely don't panic. Your bees have clearly had a strong reaction to the thymol treatment - some do, some don't. But it's not a complete disaster, and I'd be surprised if the queens have died. They're tough ladies, and it's easy to be fooled into thinking you've lost one when actually they're just sulking.

One of my colonies was hit rather hard by this year's thymol treatment, and the queen stopped laying for three weeks. The bees seemed demoralised, and had to be protected from robbing as they weren't defending themselves very well and became temporarily depleted in numbers. However, they are fine now, the queen is laying again and they're having a bit of an end of year catch up session, foraging so busily that I've removed the entrance guard completely as they were piling up on their way in and out.

My other colony didn't seem to mind the Apilife var treatment as much, but they did shred a small amount of brood from the corners of the frame which I put the Apilife var strips onto, for about a two-inch radius around it. The queen didn't stop laying, though.

Mine didn't cluster outside but I've heard of them doing that in response to thymol. When clustered they're pretty good at keeping themselves warm (after all, they survive bitterly cold winters that way).

I will try to avoid such treatment next year if at all possible, but having seen the devastation that a winter build-up of varroa can cause, I'd want to be very sure of low varroa numbers before leaving out the thymol treatment altogether.

Hivemaker's recipe for thymol syrup seems to be well-recommended; I wasn't aware of it in time to try it this year, but will next year. Perhaps it would work for your bees too in future, without upsetting them as much as Apiguard? Meanwhile, if they are weakened, there's still time for a bit of feeding, and you could perhaps splash out on a bee tonic to add to syrup, such as Vitafeed.

I'm afraid they do need almost a full brood-box when it comes to stores, and I would probably err on the cautious side and try to ensure about 20kg of stores. If they're hungry and have the space, they'll demolish a huge amount of syrup very quickly, so provided it's not too cold for them to concentrate the syrup, they still have time to pack some stores away. There's one other line of action which might help them through the winter, which is to combine the two colonies. Bigger colonies tend to survive better. You would have to be sure of where the queens were, though, and be prepared to remove one of them if they're both still around. If only one of them survived, then combining is probably a good idea as it is getting a bit late to risk trying for a new, mated queen.
 

KayJ 

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The brood area was over 5 frames, but I put feeders on today and had a quick look in one hive and there didn't seem to be any brood left, just empty cells where it used to be. I shall keep feeding now for a couple of weeks and hope they have enough stores for the winter. Thanks for your help
 

oliver90owner 

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As MM says, likely you will lose some brood but HM will be with the workers and will commence laying as soon as they sort out the mess, or soon after, I would think.

I had bees outside the entrance last night at about 2300h. I was surprised at how many. It was quite warm and they had been hard at work foraging whenever possible.

Time yet to get some more brood although things are pretty chilly compared to the last two years. You may need to close them down more tightly in the brood box but you will sort that out in the coming few weeks. They are certainly not yet ready to cluster, and after all, the bees usually know best....

Regards, RAB
 

Worker Dave 

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Hiya Kay
All i can say is that i have done exactly the same. I did my apiguard and what was left in the trays after 4 weeks i scrapped on to the top bars. What i have found this year though is that the Queen more or less stopped laying while the apiguard was on. Also i started feeding straight after apiguard and it took them several days to start taking the feed even though i dribbled some down on the frames. It was as if they had to remove all of the smell of the apiguard before they started on the sugar. All i can say is i think they will sort themselves out so i wouldn't worry too much,
By the way where are you in North Wales, i'm in Anglesey
Regards Dave
 

KayJ 

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Hello Gardenbees,
Thank you for your good advice. I shall certainly be more careful with the Apiguard next year and hopefully I can get the stores up by feeding them now. The bees are back in the hives now but all is not peaceful yet. There are a lot of what seem to be sleepy bees on the floor around the hive and the wasps are attacking / eating (?) these bees and the dead ones. The bees on the flight board also seem more techy and I've watched them either attacking each other or cleaning each other up. I'm not sure which.
 

KayJ 

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Hiya Kay
All i can say is that i have done exactly the same. I did my apiguard and what was left in the trays after 4 weeks i scrapped on to the top bars. What i have found this year though is that the Queen more or less stopped laying while the apiguard was on. Also i started feeding straight after apiguard and it took them several days to start taking the feed even though i dribbled some down on the frames. It was as if they had to remove all of the smell of the apiguard before they started on the sugar. All i can say is i think they will sort themselves out so i wouldn't worry too much,
By the way where are you in North Wales, i'm in Anglesey
Regards Dave
Thanks Dave. Its nice to know I'm not the only one to do such a thing. I've read Bill Turnbulls book, The Bad Beekeepers Club, and that made me feel better too. Its a light hearted look at beekeeping and quite funny.
 

Gardenbees 

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It's a rocky time of year for bees: robbers, ups and downs with nectar flow, and (;)most lethal of all) the mothering instinct of the beekeeper!

:willy_nilly:Whatever we do, they'll always find a way of confounding us.

BTW, your girls have probably started kicking out drones, so it's normal to have a few dazed, cold & disgruntled bees hanging around outside the hive and/or being dismantled by wasps.
 

drstitson 

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stores

I thought a national brood frame was 4lb and super frame 2.5lb?
That would mean you need 10 full frames worth if just using a single brood box.
 

Black Comb 

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I thought a national brood frame was 4lb and super frame 2.5lb?
That would mean you need 10 full frames worth if just using a single brood box.
Hooper says a brood frame full both sides will hold 5lb.
A piece of brood comb 3 x 4" full of sealed honey holds 1/2 lb.
 

KayJ 

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Hooper says a brood frame full both sides will hold 5lb.
A piece of brood comb 3 x 4" full of sealed honey holds 1/2 lb.
I see... so if I add up the corners of the brood nest I could estimate each side would hold about 3/4 lb , 1 and 1/2 lbs to a frame. That makes the stores seem better. Thanks for your help.
 

Hivemaker. 

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Standard brood frame dn1 narrow spacing for brood is around 5lbs or more full. Super frame weight would rather depend on what spacing is being used. How much stores needed rather depends on the size of the colony and strain of bee.
 
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