Hives dead & dying: what reasons, what to do?

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cwinte

Field Bee
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Joined
Sep 5, 2017
Messages
957
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Location
West Wickham/ N Kent BR4
Hive Type
National
Number of Hives
3
Since last year I believe there may have been some new disease here, or am I plain stupid?

EFB was in the area last year, had the regional inspector visit my 3 hives last summer. No problems found, tiny bit of chalk brood, 15 Qcells in the best hive. At that time I had one hive that had way way more dead bees out front than the other hives, we left it last in case of some disease there but nothing identified.

That one just made it through the winter but dwindled away by late May. Stores and pollen coming in in March and April. I think there had been no queen for some long time, stores in plenty, no sign of starvation, no sign of attempts to create new queens (no cups), a few drones, no wing disease, no Nosema steaks, no verroa seen in this hive since early April. Mood remained fairly calm throughout.

This pattern then moved to the hive next door, start of many dead bees below the front from May on, no verroa since late April, no Queen, no cups, no obvious known disease, no brood, still some stores and pollen arriving early June, I think there might be a very few bees now but colony essentially dead since 15 June. SAMPLE of 40 or so bees sent for N. ceranae examination at 400x under a microscope at local BKA by 3 people. N.c seemed to fit many observations and comments in these forums.
NOT N.c was the answer. (A shame as I might at least have something to try for that, thymolated syrup)

My last hive, which had put on 25-30Kg of honey is now loosing almost 1 litre of dead bees outside the front every day, started around 12 June. Still some training flights but diminishing and I suspect the masses of sealed brood I saw mid June will now be empty space. Mid June same pattern of Q-, no cups, no eggs or larvae, no verroa (since late April I suspect). Plenty of life but doomed!

I have word of some new viruses suspected "around" but nothing I can use or even contribute to finding out more about it would seem.
I have contacted SBI who came last year and they have moved on but made useful comments and pointed me to the new SBI. I sent a summary 2 weeks ago without response to date.

SUGGESTIONS?
I'm off to shovel more dead bees! :(
 
almost 1 litre of dead bees outside the front every day
Describe the dead and dying bees: trembling, crawling, shiny and black? If so, likely to be CPBV, or Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus.

You say no varroa, by which I assume you mean that you have seen none. Trust me, varroa will be in your colonies. What did you use to treat late last year?
 
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Have you not inspected since mid-June? Have you performed an alcohol wash to test for Varroa and not just casually looked in the hive? Are the Qs present and laying?
 
Sounds like CBPV
One of our forum members mentioned it to me and I have reports subsequently from a couple of people who have tried a way to circumvent the infection of house bees and it seems to work provided the colony can build up again.
If you still have a queen and there are sufficient bees then it's something you could try
 
Have a link Dani?
Sounds like useful information, worth sharing with people in the same predicament. :)
 
No link. It's what some people are trying.
The bees get infected from contact with dead and dying bees as they remove them from the hive
You need an open stand. Remove the floor so that bees just drop to the ground
Here is a shot of a mate's colony rigged up to prevent robbing

Screenshot 2021-07-14 at 17.59.28.png
 
Describe the dead and dying bees: trembling, crawling, shiny and black? If so, likely to be CPBV, or Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus.

You say no varroa, by which I assume you mean that you have seen none. Trust me, varroa will be in your colonies. What did you use to treat
late last year?
Dead bees look normal, they spend a while dying in the pile. Hairs, not black, not trembling (I had worries about a few last year but these move OK. They try to climb back to hive but fall back among the dead, part buzzing & crawling pile).
I always saw verroa up until the dwindle started, vaped oxalic at approx 5 days until counts well down.
Whatever it is might just kill verroa too...

Thanks
 
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Have you not inspected since mid-June? Have you performed an alcohol wash to test for Varroa and not just casually looked in the hive? Are the Qs present and laying?
I don't see much point inspecting moribund hive, to what end? I could not conceive what to look for or do!
There was no queen of anything younger than capped brood last time, can't imagine one will appear. No queens, no Queen cups, fun cups etc in every hive in turn; as mentioned in first posting.
Thanks!
 
I plan to have a look on Friday to snapshot the extent of collapse, probably take honey stores from super 1.
I may remove empty areas and condense any active frames and stores into a smaller space if the dwindling (from packed full brood and a half) is anything like I expect to find. I have removed over 10 frames of dead bees from below front door so far (at a guess) so I expect less than half full now.
If there are any specific suggestions on what to look for or try...

I'm resigned to/expecting to gradually remove and acetic treat frames and boxes, then restart next year if I get a chance/swarm etc.
 
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Sounds like CBPV
One of our forum members mentioned it to me and I have reports subsequently from a couple of people who have tried a way to circumvent the infection of house bees and it seems to work provided the colony can build up again.
If you still have a queen and there are sufficient bees then it's something you could try
I thought I maybe saw a tiny bit of CBPV last year but not since.
However queens seem to cease lay or die pretty early on in this pattern/syndrome... "they're all doomed, doomed I say!" (pardon my Scots)
My queens have always been very elusive, I just went by BIAS - which just stopped being there in every hive in succession.

Not sure I am experienced enough to tell if the bees are dying of normal age/wear-out or are younger.
They look fairly fresh haired to me rather than "thin", is there a good web site for images on that?

Thanks to all!
 
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Pest controlers poisoning bees in buildings. could be being robbed out?
 
My bees had CBPV last year. It was devastating. There are a number of threads on it, if you want a bit more info.
 
I discount any poison/insecticide causes as it has been present over 12 months now, not in all hives yet has progressed from hive to hive.

Will read up more on CBPV, but had read about it last year and suspected a few bees but I don't see that 'short film loop oscillation stickiness' I think of as typical in any of the bees, dying or not. If it were not for the huge pile by the door I'd say the fliers and foragers look fine, even the dying can make progress about the pile for a while. They are also not shiny/dark/hairless but look normal.

What I was wondering was who might be interested to look further: university? NBU? researchers?? and how to contact them...
Is it worth making a few sample pouches of frozen bees?
 
There's more research being done on CBPV that seems to be identifying different strains of the virus. Some of which are more virulent and display classic symptoms while other strains don't. I'll see if I can find a contact. But you should definitely take a sample from the dying bees and freeze them. So they could be used.
 
That seems aimed at research. So there is something out there, but how to access? Again the university or veterinary bee specialist might be able and interested?
Yeah, that kit's for using with a PCR machine - for labs, not individuals. I don't believe there's an easy use test for CBPV like a serological kit.
 

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