Lots of Dead Bees?? Anyone Help?

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Ando 

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Hi

I'm a newbee and am doing a beginners course, hopefully you won't get bored reading this but I wanted to give as much info as I could about what has happened with my bees and what I found this morning.

I had my bees now for 4 weeks and the nucs have been increasing in size over this time, I had the bee inspector out 3 weeks ago today to give them the once over, mainly to satisfy the other local bee keepers in the local association, as I was getting them from out of town, anyway on the inspection Varroa was noted to be quiet bad, so I immediately, on the advice of the bee inspector, put on some Apiguard in the hope that this would sort it in the coming weeks before I had to put on a super, I only have one Varroa floor at the mo and the hive (1) that this was on I have been monitoring, there has been loads of them drop off and each day the screen cleared, over the last 2 weeks since the Api has been on I have noticed this hive (1) getting bigger than hive (2) so last week I swapped the floor over to the other hive (2) and each day have look at the screen to see how many there have been, lots of them!!.

With the weather being so hot I have been told about api slowing down the queen as it obviously evaporates quicker than in the autumn, I checked the screen on Saturday night about 5ish and could hear very loud buzzing from within Hive 2, but hive 1, 3 feet away was not making this noise, I just thought they must be hot, I was the same on Monday night but later about 8 ish.

Anyway so this morning I do my weekly inspection and start on Hive 1, this colony is growing nicely and I spotted the queen and lots of eggs, larvae, capped brood and stores, I have made the decision to take off the Apiguard a week early and add a super so they can expand.

When I came to hive 2 I took off the roof and on the crown board were lots of deads bees maybe around 30-50, I took this off and saw bees on the frames and then noticed some dead ones around the edge of the frames, I have had an empty super on the top with a feeder on since I've had them, they have not took down the syrup like hive 1 has and there were load of dead bees in this also, I started to remove frames, on the outside of the BB there are 2 frames each side that are still foundation with them only just starting to draw out on the other frames next to these, I then saw some stores and pollen and then spotted the Queen, I did notice a few eggs but no larvae and there was capped brood, on some frames there were dead bees in the cells on removing these they were Varroa damaged, I also noticed some cells with slipper brood in.

The bees were quite calm and I didn't use much smoke after I had first blew some in the front of the hive. I did spot some bees that had died on the edge frames and it looked like they had brown substance coming out their backsides and this had stuck them to the frame. As I took out more frames I could see loads of dead bees on the floor of the hive, I decided to take all the frames out the BB and take a closer look and some pics, there were thousands of dead bees...

I really have no Idea why they all have died, has anyone come across this before, I'm really hoping its not a newbee error and I haven't made a school boy error with them!

Below are some pics I took from this morning any feed back or theory's would be great as I'm a bit gutted as hive 1 is doing so well, seems really strange that one can be so strong and the other something like this can occur? I did think maybe nosema but they wasn't any poo on the outside if the hive.

One last thing, On one of the frames of foundation at the edge of the BB I noticed a Caterpiller/Maggot thing that had ate it's way in to the foundation, could this have been a Wax Moth larvae? Meant to take a pic but forgot, it was a whiteish cream and had a black head.

Anyway thanks for reading.

Cheers

Mark.

The Queen


This is a pic of the dead bees in the cells I have circled them.


Dead bees


Brood Box


Floor


On this one I hate to think how many there are here as it shows how deep the layer of bees is.
 

Mission 

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Sorry to say this, but that could be a wide range of problems, but it is serious. I would suggest to you get the bee inspector in ASAP to try and ascertain the reason for these deaths.

Another thing to be aware of is that by removing chemical varroa treatments early you can be adding to the resistance of the varroa to such treatments. Like taking antibiotics, you need to complete the course.
 

Ando 

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Hi

I have spoken to the bee inspector and he wants a sample of the dead bees and has recommended taking off the Api, I guess to try and get the queen laying strongly again and add some feed, in case most of the dead bees are foragers.

The only reason I took the Api off hive 1 is they were ready for a super.

Cheers

Mark
 

Mission 

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A few dead bees at the bottom of the hive floor would be OK, but you have half of your hive on the floor there!

It could be a O.D of the Api, or over heating, or insecticide poisoning, or any other range of problems. But if left unchecked, you may find you are very lucky to have any bees left to help rear you new young.

If you can't get the inspector in, then at least try getting a more experienced local bee keeper in to have a look. If its a wider scale problem then your other hive could also be at risk.
 

jon 

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It must be some form of intoxication or poisoning as bees do not die in large numbers like that from varroa or any other bee disease I know of.
I have never used apiguard so I don't know if it is capable of suffocating bees in hot weather.

How wide was the entrance? Could it have become blocked?
 

Finman 

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What I see is that there dead bees on bottom. How much are dead bees on field?

In the edges of brood area it seems that it is so cold that bees could not emerge. Perhaps too few bees to keep the hive warm.

It seems to be dead larvea in cells= white collapsed.

I know nothing which do this excpet heavy robbing and figtning or poisoning.
 

Ando 

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A few dead bees at the bottom of the hive floor would be OK, but you have half of your hive on the floor there!

It could be a O.D of the Api, or over heating, or insecticide poisoning, or any other range of problems. But if left unchecked, you may find you are very lucky to have any bees left to help rear you new young.

If you can't get the inspector in, then at least try getting a more experienced local bee keeper in to have a look. If its a wider scale problem then your other hive could also be at risk.
Bee inspector is coming but not for a week or so, got to check what hes got on when he gets back to the office, he thinks it may be the end of a bad case of varroa?

It must be some form of intoxication or poisoning as bees do not die in large numbers like that from varroa or any other bee disease I know of.
I have never used apiguard so I don't know if it is capable of suffocating bees in hot weather.

How wide was the entrance? Could it have become blocked?
Entrance is normal width, I have thought whether the build up of dead bees has restricted the airflow and this may have made more die?

If it was some sort of poisoning surely the other hive would have been affected as well?

Cheers

Mark.
 

Brian Bush 

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Hi

I think you may have asphixiated the poor things accidentally with the Api. The fumes from this would have been overwhelming in the heat of the last few days. I am surprised the bee inspector said use Api at this timer of year. I would recommend a heavy dusting of icing sugar every time you open the hive. This will remove the mites or at least keep their numbers down and the bees would benefit from a quick sugar hit.
Remove all the remaining syrup in the feeder, down the drain. Sterilise the feeder and replace with a weak solution of 1 sugar to 2 water.
If possible move all the bees but just the frames with brood and 1 with pollen to a new sterile hive and sterilise the old hive. Remove the wax and sterilise the frames in boiling washing soda before use again.
Place a new super frame near the centre of the brood for them to build drone cells on. When drone cells capped cut off drone brood and dispose of.(this will remove even more mites)
make sure both hives have varroa floors and keep monitoring drop.
Keep positive. We all learn from the bees. They don't read the books and use the forum. Remember it is not a mistake by you it is just a set of circumstances only some of which you can control.
It may be nothing to do with the Api at all. This hive may have been foraging and got a dose of insecticide from a farmer or gardener.
 

BKF Admin 

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Any chance Bcrazy could also have a few bees to sample ?
He maybe able to get some results a little faster for you.
 

jon 

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If it was some sort of poisoning surely the other hive would have been affected as well?

Mark.
Not necessarily. Each colony searches out its own source of nectar. I had a single one of my colonies with a few hundred bees poisoned at the entrance last year.

If you imagine, a gardener or farmer could spray a few fruit trees in the middle of the day when bees are foraging. Not every colony will be foraging from the same source especially if it is a few miles away.

Something going wrong with the apiguard had got to be a strong possibility. if I had seen a picture of that floor in winter I would have guessed starvation as that is usually what you see on the floor.

i would rescue what is left of the bees and brood and put them in a nuc.
 

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Do you have any frames of stores that look torn and ripped ?
If not you could rule out robbing.
 

Ando 

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Hi guys

Thanks alot for all your help.

Admin I have got a small cup of the dead bees so could send some to Bcrazy as well, could you send me an addy?

The only thing I noticed yesterday being sprayed first thing in the morning was a wheat field (I think, I will ask the farmer next time I see him) I have asked the farmer previously what he sprayed and he said they need bees so othing that would hurt them, but then I guess he would say that?

I did not notice any torn stored in the frames, most of what they had got wasn't capped. I have counted 6 frames of bee when I went back to take off the Api, there were some bee bringing in pollen.

I took home the feeder to clean it out and sterilse it, I'm going to put it back on and make the Hive entrance smaller.

Would you suggest putting a frame of store from the other hive in so they have food instead of using the feeder?

Cheers

Mark.
 

BKF Admin 

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Maybe it was one of the Insecticides that has a BBKA logo on it.

I will get my coat..
 

Ando 

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Maybe it was one of the Insecticides that has a BBKA logo on it.

I will get my coat..

Taxi for Admin!!

Just had a call from the bee insp, he's coming over on Monday for a look.

Mark.
 

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Taxi for Admin!!

Just had a call from the bee insp, he's coming over on Monday for a look.

Mark.
Thats good news,give us an update on what he say's.
 

Ando 

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Hi All

Here is an Update from when the Bee Inspector came yesterday.

First of all we started with Hive 1 and had a look through that, he said it was like "Chalk and Cheese" from the last time he looked at it, nearly 4 weeks ago, there was very little sign of Varroa, every Drone cell opened didn't have any in and the colony is expanding very well. The Queen had been off lay with not to much larvae, but she has come back on lay and there were lots of eggs. 7 frames of brood and 9 frames of bees. With this news I was chuffed but still thought it strange with what had happened to Hive 2.

Hive 2 as were were working Hive 1 I kept looking over and couldn;t see any bee's coming or going from Hive 2, when we took off the Roof and Crown board of Hive 2, the bees were all round the side of the empty super on top of the brood box (this used to have the feeder in and the Apiguard) they all started flying about, which is no real surprise. We looked through the hive found the Queen, they were a few more dead ones on the floor not a real sign of Varroa in the Drone cells, not many eggs at all, no uncapped brood and not to many uncapped brood, not overly loads of stores either.

The bee Insp collected the fresh dead bees off the floor to send off to York(?) for analysis and I'm waiting for the results which should be about a week. The cocnclusion at the end of the insp was that he hadn;t really sen anything like this before and he thought they may have been coming out of a bad case of varroa as it was very bad the last time he came. But he also thought it may be Nosema somethingorother that you don;t know you've got till it's to late.

Later last night the Bee Insp called me and said when he got home there was a very large ammount of Bee Poo on his suit and the more he looked at it the more he found, I remember him commenting about how much was on mine as well when we fininshed, he said it reminded him of when a hive is closed in, in bad weather and asked me to check the entrance hadn;t become blocked, I thought about it and didn;t think it could've, but this morning I went down to check and tried to slide in a twig and bingo it was blocked all the way along, I slide the Hive forward on the floor and out popped some bees. Now I didn't have this problem when I had the varroa floor on the other hive and even when I swapped it over to this Hive they were in and out all the time, and then I remembered one day in the few hot days we had the other week I turned the BB 90 deg, so more air flowed through it, but didn't take in to account the double thickness of the wood in the box,(modified National)

To say I feel a complete W******R is an understatement, when I checked on the bees at lunch they were flying in and out, and when I looked at the construction of the floor it became obvious why they had been trapped in, the floor is flat with mesh on top and has a 45 deg angle on one side for an entrance, the double thickness of the brood box side didn't clear this and bingo no door for them to get out.

In a strange way it would be a nice answer to all the bee dying even if it is my greenness as a bee keeper that has caused it and not some strange infection, poison or disease, but I still have to wait to see if the lab finds anything wrong with the sample.

Please go gentle with me!!

Cheers for reading if you did make it this far.

Mark.
 

Haughton Honey 

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Go gentle with you?

I suggest that you deserve a medal for being so honest actually - irrespective of whether a silly mistake caused your dead bees, you have been man enough to admit that it may have been your fault.

I hope that it's nothing worse than suspected.
 

Poly Hive 

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Cause of death suffocation.

I once did for 8 colonies, the strongest of course by shutting them in after they had had rape cleared off. It came as a shock to me there was a nectar flow on from goodness knows where (and it flowed every year after the rape on that site, a very profitable one too) and as I shut the bees in they got excited and the comb above drooped and the nectar wet the bees which dropped on to the ventilated floor and blocked it and so they died.

The bottom line is not to assume and to double check.

PH
 

jon 

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Ando.
You have a good bee inspector for working out the problem.
If the queen is still alive you will be able to pinch a frame or two of emerging brood from your other colony to kick start it again.
I think it is most common to see suffocation with swarms. People collect them in all sorts of containers and boxes and they can die very quickly if there is no ventilation.
 

Ando 

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Cheers Guys

It seems so easy to figure out now I've thought about the construction of the floor, basically a frame with the mesh on top, I brought off a guy when I got my first hive off ebay and didn't think about how it could restrict the access for the bees. Now when I get 5 I'm goin got remove it and put a lip around the edge, I was thinking of some 10mm strip wood, will this be ok or what size is the recommended? the bee space is at the bottom on this hive.

I am going to wait until I've had the report back from the Bee Insp untill I move anything between hives.

Another quick question for you, I want to try and replace the frames the nucs came on, is it ok to put a frame of foundation in the middle, move one to the edge and how often can this be done?

Thank again

Mark.
 

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