Quantcast

Lost colony

Beekeeping Forum

Help Support Beekeeping Forum:

Bakerbee 

Field Bee
Joined
Sep 22, 2017
Messages
504
Reaction score
5
Location
Dorset
Hive Type
commercial
Number of Hives
5 commercials no more😭
Hi all, i went to pop some fondant on today to my hives. One was completely empty of bees. I had given them a last syrup feed at beginning of oct, they had been treated for varroa snd were all tucked up for winter with plenty of stores bias and queen seen. Today i realized quickly as i put fondant on there was no one home. No dead bees, no bottoms in cells, empty cells, but still plenty of pollen and capped honey. Im thinking as this was a strong hive on db that i had a very late swarm which then couldnt rsise new q or lost the queen and they dwindled out. Any other ideas? I have never lost a hive before and hadnt expected such a ghost town.
 

Apple 

Drone Bee
Joined
Jan 15, 2014
Messages
1,227
Reaction score
515
Location
South of Watford
Number of Hives
140
Fact of life.. you will loose 10%
Never the less life is a bugger! ( As my dear ol Gran would have said!)
Chons da
 

Erichalfbee 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
19,916
Reaction score
1,797
Location
Ceredigion
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
7
Hi all, i went to pop some fondant on today to my hives. One was completely empty of bees. I had given them a last syrup feed at beginning of oct, they had been treated for varroa snd were all tucked up for winter with plenty of stores bias and queen seen. Today i realized quickly as i put fondant on there was no one home. No dead bees, no bottoms in cells, empty cells, but still plenty of pollen and capped honey. Im thinking as this was a strong hive on db that i had a very late swarm which then couldnt rsise new q or lost the queen and they dwindled out. Any other ideas? I have never lost a hive before and hadnt expected such a ghost town.
There is more than the odd report here recently of exactly the same.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
24,814
Reaction score
2,110
Location
Glanaman,Carmarthenshire,Wales
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
Too many - but not nearly enough
this was a strong hive on db that i had a very late swarm which then couldnt rsise new q or lost the queen and they dwindled out.
Sounds plausible - supersedure or late swarm with a failed mating or lost queen. It can happen that you are left with them dwindling down until not one bees (dead or alive) remains
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2012
Messages
11,645
Reaction score
1,581
Location
Fareham, Hampshire UK
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
6
A read through this thread may give you some comfort that you are not alone.....

 

elainemary 

House Bee
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
357
Reaction score
328
Location
Yorkshire
Hive Type
wbc
Number of Hives
10
I had a similar situation with a double Nuc last winter. Bees all the way through winter then first spring inspection hardly any bees. BUT the queen was still there with a few (less than a handful) loyal bees. Along with plenty of stores. No brood. I dispatched the queen. This particular colony had some slightly lighter markings than my other dark bees and lo and behold they were all in the hive next door. Clear from their markings. This experience convinced me that the queen must have ‘failed’ so the colony absconded to the hive next door.
Shocking when it happens but I'm sure the bees in my case survived, so pls console yourself in the belief that yours have too.🐝
Elaine
 

madasafish 

Queen Bee
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
9,238
Reaction score
494
Location
Stoke on Trent
Hive Type
langstroth
Number of Hives
8x Langstroth, a few Lang nucs,1x TBH, and about 17 mating mini nucs
I have had a couple this year/ I put it down to badly mated queens (due to weather).
Excrement happens.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2015
Messages
347
Reaction score
265
Location
Dorset
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
4
I had a similar situation a few years back in my second year of bees, when I found only one bee at home - the queen.
At least on that inspection I found her.
I was too inexperienced to fathom what had occurred.
 

Bakerbee 

Field Bee
Joined
Sep 22, 2017
Messages
504
Reaction score
5
Location
Dorset
Hive Type
commercial
Number of Hives
5 commercials no more😭
Thanks for all your thoughts. I was just surprised to find literally no bees, not one dead or alive. I suspect theyve gone into another hive next to them in desperation, as it seemed very full from peaking in the two holes in crown board. So Ive given this hive extra fondant and will keep my fingers crossed that this one hive is the only one i lose this winter.
Im not entirely dure what to do eith this empty hive storage wise. Its got an arc of capped stores and of pollen on alot of the frames and full capped frames also. The middle cells are all open and empty. Ive noticed a small beginning of mould and would like to try to save the frames and stores. Would freezing them be sufficient before stacking/storing or are they not worth saving?
 

Boston Bees 

House Bee
Joined
Oct 13, 2020
Messages
231
Reaction score
195
Number of Hives
10-20
Thanks for all your thoughts. I was just surprised to find literally no bees, not one dead or alive. I suspect theyve gone into another hive next to them in desperation, as it seemed very full from peaking in the two holes in crown board. So Ive given this hive extra fondant and will keep my fingers crossed that this one hive is the only one i lose this winter.
Im not entirely dure what to do eith this empty hive storage wise. Its got an arc of capped stores and of pollen on alot of the frames and full capped frames also. The middle cells are all open and empty. Ive noticed a small beginning of mould and would like to try to save the frames and stores. Would freezing them be sufficient before stacking/storing or are they not worth saving?
They sound great frames, assuming they aren't too old and black, and that there is no sign of disease in the hive - I would stick them all in the chest freezer and forget about them until spring personally.
 
Last edited:

Bakerbee 

Field Bee
Joined
Sep 22, 2017
Messages
504
Reaction score
5
Location
Dorset
Hive Type
commercial
Number of Hives
5 commercials no more😭
An update: i went in to do my usual drizzle fot varroa today and realized both my other hives have been lost the same way. I now csnt brlieve i lost 3 hives from a failed queens. So my next immediate thought is infection, virus or bacteria. I had a look through both remaining dead hives and again found very very fews bees, all empty cells of brood , with perhaps a dozen capped a couple with dead emerging bees. Loads of honey stores, not so much pollen stores, of which is now covered in mould. I feared AFB or EFB but as the brood had emerged n fled thought not. There was some cells with what looked like nectar/sugar syrup stores but really no ther unusual signs.

Im gutted, but am firstly concerned with any type of desease that i need to deal with before starting again in the spring. Any ideas or suggestions please. Ive got 3 hives all that were on db with empty cells capped stores and mouldy pollen. Do i bin the lot of frames? And for safety run my hand blow torch over the boxes to cleanse them, in case of serious desease.

Any thoughts would be welcome. Thanks.
 

Boston Bees 

House Bee
Joined
Oct 13, 2020
Messages
231
Reaction score
195
Number of Hives
10-20
An update: i went in to do my usual drizzle fot varroa today and realized both my other hives have been lost the same way. I now csnt brlieve i lost 3 hives from a failed queens. So my next immediate thought is infection, virus or bacteria. I had a look through both remaining dead hives and again found very very fews bees, all empty cells of brood , with perhaps a dozen capped a couple with dead emerging bees. Loads of honey stores, not so much pollen stores, of which is now covered in mould. I feared AFB or EFB but as the brood had emerged n fled thought not. There was some cells with what looked like nectar/sugar syrup stores but really no ther unusual signs.

Im gutted, but am firstly concerned with any type of desease that i need to deal with before starting again in the spring. Any ideas or suggestions please. Ive got 3 hives all that were on db with empty cells capped stores and mouldy pollen. Do i bin the lot of frames? And for safety run my hand blow torch over the boxes to cleanse them, in case of serious desease.

Any thoughts would be welcome. Thanks.
Very bad luck. What varroa treatment have they had this year?
 

elainemary 

House Bee
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
357
Reaction score
328
Location
Yorkshire
Hive Type
wbc
Number of Hives
10
So sorry to hear this & difficult to say re disease when you're not there. But as no brood think unlikely AFB (kills sealed brood so there would be evidence with stringy gluey melted brood) or EFB (kills unsealed brood so again evidence would be there, contorted, twisted larvae in cells). You would have spotted either long before now. Sounds either queen failure or a varroa bomb. If you have a pair of tweezers pull out the remaining dead / emerging bees, do they shrivelled wings? Is there lots of white specs in the empty cells (varroa poo)? You don't need to worry about viruses now as they won't survive on uninhabited combs. I would keep any good combs (lighter in colour), ditch any dark ones and fumigate the light ones with acetic acid. This will kill off any wax moth eggs and nosema spores. Alternatively save any good food combs (freeze) and bin any / burn you're uncertain of.
See hive cleaning & sterilising & fumigating comb fact sheets on Beebase link below which explains about the acetic acid treatment
Hope this doesn't put you off for starting again next year. Just have to put it down to experience :(
Elaine
 
Last edited:

Erichalfbee 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
19,916
Reaction score
1,797
Location
Ceredigion
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
7
An update: i went in to do my usual drizzle fot varroa today and realized both my other hives have been lost the same way. I now csnt brlieve i lost 3 hives from a failed queens. So my next immediate thought is infection, virus or bacteria. I had a look through both remaining dead hives and again found very very fews bees, all empty cells of brood , with perhaps a dozen capped a couple with dead emerging bees. Loads of honey stores, not so much pollen stores, of which is now covered in mould. I feared AFB or EFB but as the brood had emerged n fled thought not. There was some cells with what looked like nectar/sugar syrup stores but really no ther unusual signs.

Im gutted, but am firstly concerned with any type of desease that i need to deal with before starting again in the spring. Any ideas or suggestions please. Ive got 3 hives all that were on db with empty cells capped stores and mouldy pollen. Do i bin the lot of frames? And for safety run my hand blow torch over the boxes to cleanse them, in case of serious desease.

Any thoughts would be welcome. Thanks.
Can you post some pictures of frames where brood had been.
 

Bakerbee 

Field Bee
Joined
Sep 22, 2017
Messages
504
Reaction score
5
Location
Dorset
Hive Type
commercial
Number of Hives
5 commercials no more😭
Hi thanks for your advice. Erica i will take some photos tomorrow and post them as the light has gone now. And i will collect any bees to examine also. It certainly hasnt put me off beekeeping and will start again in spring. Ive made it through 4 previous winters with no loses and wonder if i missed something with reduced visits/inspections this year because of covid, though they seemed good late summer early autumn while i fed them. I used apitraz strips this year as i was unable to get any apiguard.
 

Somerford 

Drone Bee
Joined
Aug 24, 2009
Messages
1,672
Reaction score
113
Location
Wiltshire, Somerset, S Glos & S Oxfordshire
Hive Type
national
Thanks for all your thoughts. I was just surprised to find literally no bees, not one dead or alive. I suspect theyve gone into another hive next to them in desperation, as it seemed very full from peaking in the two holes in crown board. So Ive given this hive extra fondant and will keep my fingers crossed that this one hive is the only one i lose this winter.
Im not entirely dure what to do eith this empty hive storage wise. Its got an arc of capped stores and of pollen on alot of the frames and full capped frames also. The middle cells are all open and empty. Ive noticed a small beginning of mould and would like to try to save the frames and stores. Would freezing them be sufficient before stacking/storing or are they not worth saving?
No one has mentioned varroasis

Varroa are the biggest cause of unexplained colony deaths by and large...to the untrained eye a colony that seems to be ok in the Autumn months can swiftly dwindle and expire.
 

Erichalfbee 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
19,916
Reaction score
1,797
Location
Ceredigion
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
7
It’s why I suggested a closer look at the frames for varroa guanine in the brood cells.
 

Latest posts

Top