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tidymeup 

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Hi, I have just checked my hives today and most are doing fine bar one which seems to have suffered over the last week.

Last week when I checked they had enough stores to last them a short while but today they had none. And their was also dead brood everywhere and no queen to be seen.

I would have put it down to the fact that they didn't have any stores at all and starved but I would have expected to fine more dead bees than I did.

Outside the hive their is probably about two handfuls of dead bees but inside their is still a brood box of bees however their numbers have been drastically reduced as last week I had a super full to.

I was wondering if most of the flying bees had been poisoned by some one spraying to kill weeds and the rest suffered as the flying bees did not return with extra pollen and nectar an I they did return they could have poisoned some of the others.

Does anyone have any experience of this ?
 

Hivemaker. 

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Sounds like plain starvation ,and many absconding to try and escape starvation.
 

Leigh 

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Well, here is a strange thing - discovered today.

I had a good strong colony with 3 full supers, drawing out a 4th. They were persistant in making swarm queen cells. I really didn't want to lose a swarm especially this late, so tried a method which was new to me, but which others have had success with:

Block up the entrance, put an eke with an entrance above the BB and QE, with the rest of the supers above that. It was an experiment, and whatever happened, the queen wouldn't have got out.

Went to the hives today to put on clearer boards, and the hive outlined above had fewer bees in the supers than I expected....wondered if somehow they had managed to swarm. Once I got down to the brood box, I was met with a floorboard that was deep in dead bees (an inch deep across the whole area)....enough for a decent swarm. Queen was there and laying. Plenty of stores....on a mesh floor. No signs of robbing. No other colonies in the apiary affected.

I wondered if they had overheated, but it simply hasn't been warm, and they are on a full ventilated floor....and plenty of space above the QE.

Sorry about the quality of the photo - new phone and hadn't read the instructions. I won't let slip that I make my living as a photographer....that would just be embarassing!

So, this is a mystery to me - any ideas, anyone?
 
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Mike a 

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Sorry to hear about your colony, there is four possibles that I can think of that could cause that

Poisoning - little you can do to prevent it
Over heating - Possibly they got stressed because their entrance changed and they couldn't find the new one but I expect you feel some what guilty enough without any of us reminding you.
Starvation - Is there any stores left in the hive at all? supers cleared as well?
Hornet attack - check them close up to see if they are dismembered. I see a wasp or hornet at the bottom of the picture.

If there is honey in the supers I doubt they starved, I would put my money on poisoning and I would collect 50+ and send them to be tested.
 
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oliver90owner 

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What a disaster. My first thought is poisoning - queen laying normally, presumably house bees relatively unaffected.

Question would have been are there any other colonies close by? I would expect your other hives in the apiary to be foraging on the same area, so that seems to have ruled out pesticides.

Also have to ask about the size of the new entrance.

What time of day did you make the change? Could that have been a part of the problem? I would have thought not, but am clutching at straws here.

Is the open brood normal?

How did you block off the entrance?

In a word. Mystery. But certainly not something you will want repeated. Sorry to see a mess like that. Only the one plus is that they will likely recover before the autumn a she is still laying.

Regards, RAB
 

tidymeup 

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Their were fresh eggs in my case so I guess the queen is their. I don't have any other bees where they were.

The house bees seem largely unaffected apart from being hungry. I have other bees which are a mile away and they have no problems apart from running low on stores to.

It's just as if none of the flying bees returned. Home.
 

Hivemaker. 

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It's just as if none of the flying bees returned. Home.

If they leave the hive on empty stomachs and can find no forage to sustain them......then they may just die trying.
 

the beehive lodge 

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I'm slighty confused Tidymeup is the originally the first post(many dead bees) and Leigh (with the Picture is another beek with another back case of bad luck my heart goes out to you both hope you get down to the problem
Alan
 

Midland Beek 

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Hi, I have just checked my hives today and most are doing fine bar one which seems to have suffered over the last week.

Last week when I checked they had enough stores to last them a short while but today they had none. And their was also dead brood everywhere and no queen to be seen.

I would have put it down to the fact that they didn't have any stores at all and starved but I would have expected to fine more dead bees than I did.

Outside the hive their is probably about two handfuls of dead bees but inside their is still a brood box of bees however their numbers have been drastically reduced as last week I had a super full to.

I was wondering if most of the flying bees had been poisoned by some one spraying to kill weeds and the rest suffered as the flying bees did not return with extra pollen and nectar an I they did return they could have poisoned some of the others.

Does anyone have any experience of this ?
Robbing?
 

Midland Beek 

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Well, here is a strange thing - discovered today.

I had a good strong colony with 3 full supers, drawing out a 4th. They were persistant in making swarm queen cells. I really didn't want to lose a swarm especially this late, so tried a method which was new to me, but which others have had success with:

Block up the entrance, put an eke with an entrance above the BB and QE, with the rest of the supers above that. It was an experiment, and whatever happened, the queen wouldn't have got out.

Went to the hives today to put on clearer boards, and the hive outlined above had fewer bees in the supers than I expected....wondered if somehow they had managed to swarm. Once I got down to the brood box, I was met with a floorboard that was deep in dead bees (an inch deep across the whole area)....enough for a decent swarm. Queen was there and laying. Plenty of stores....on a mesh floor. No signs of robbing. No other colonies in the apiary affected.

I wondered if they had overheated, but it simply hasn't been warm, and they are on a full ventilated floor....and plenty of space above the QE.

Sorry about the quality of the photo - new phone and hadn't read the instructions. I won't let slip that I make my living as a photographer....that would just be embarassing!

So, this is a mystery to me - any ideas, anyone?
Is this just a simple case of bees not working out that they have got a new entrance?
 

Silly Bee 

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I'm with Mike A

Collect some and have them looked at.

I'd go for poisoning. :(

Very sad.
 

admin 

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I am going with overheating/suffocation.

I have seen it before were a hive goes into swarm mode and they all try to exit at once with a QE in place.
 

Hivemaker. 

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I am going with overheating/suffocation.

I have seen it before were a hive goes into swarm mode and then all try to exit at once with a QE in place.
So would i,in a mad panick to get out of the entrance that is not there,so they piled up onto the mesh floor and overheated.
 

admin 

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Thats it Hivemaker,in poisoning you get a pile of bees outside the entance,I bet in this case there was less than a dozen bees on the ground.
 

tidymeup 

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I guess it's a lesson learnt on when to feed and keeping a good eye on the wether.

Shame as they were doing so well. I have given the remaining bees plenty of feed and hope they do ok before winter.
 

Leigh 

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Thanks for the input - with my bees, it looks like panic was the cause....or at least panic was the effect of me blocking up the entrance and giving them a new one without advance notice! Maybe it would have worked had it been done a few days before they actually went over the top..

For the record, the "eke" was an old super with a 1" 1/4 hole drilled in a side as the entrance. There were no combs in this, and the rest of the supers were above it. The thinking behind this is that combined with very careful QC destruction, it buys time until the urge to swarm has gone (yeah, right!), with the advantage that the majority of foragers go straight to the supers with their loads, only going downstairs to pay homage and get a fix of phermone. I've had colonies attempt swarming with a QE in place, with no obvious ill effects - they realise they are missing someone important, then return to the hive. Possibly not great for morale, but a workable last resort.

As it looks like they did try to swarm, I'm wondering if the death of so many flying bees will dissuade them from trying again.....if beekind's general enthusiasm for swarming so far this season is anything to go by, then the answer is "probably not"!

As there is little flow left, and I think I've a spare queen or two coming up in mating nucs, I might just A-S, give the remainder a new queen, and feed the bejeesus out of both of them.....at the very least, it should make two viable nucs to overwinter and build up in the spring. If I've learned anything this season, it is that if they REALLY want to swarm, they'll ignore everything we take as Gospel ref capped QCs or even ANY Q cells and find a way of doing it anyway. I'd rather end up with 2 potentially good colonies from this one than 1 weak one.

My brain and keyboard seem to be rambling as I think here....instinctively it seems a little late in the season, but how do you rate my chances of an AS getting to grips with a 14"x12" BB of foundation...with ad lib feeding?

I think I'll give it a go - nothing to lose now....no balsam up here!
 

oliver90owner 

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Leigh,

Aready got combs, all you need is bees. Feeding now will simply result in a full brood box and bees diverted from brooding to storing duties. I would not feed any more than necessary, until winter feeding time, unless they are short.

20kgs of sugar honey and no pollen will not help brooding. She is a good laying queen, so let her get on with it - no problems with introduction, poor mating, supercedure soon after introduction etc. I would simply keep an eye on progress wrt stores and brood and change her later if that is the plan. Doubt she will be swarming again this season - well not for a while, anyway.

tidymeup,

Apologies, you rather got hijacked. After seeing the pic, I forgot it was not the thread starter.

Regards, RAB
 

Leigh 

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RAB - I think it was I who did the hijacking - apologies for that....not too up on forum etiquette yet!

The feeding I suppose would be more for the AS on foundation, the comb being with the remainder of the colony moved a few yards away. Normally, I'd assume that the colony if left complete wouldn't try to swarm again, but this season has been the oddest one in terms of "normal" bee behaviour, or lack of it.

My thinking is that although there is a reasonable amount of forage around, there isn't a heavy flow on, and neither is there likely to be now....so whatever happens, this colony won't make any more useful amounts of honey. If left to their own devices, they might well build up to strength and go into the winter well....I agree that this is the most likely scenario...in a "normal" year...whatever that is! However, if they still go ahead and swarm, I'll lose a good queen and be left with a nuc sized colony without a queen. So, if I do an AS, introduce a mated queen to the non-AS part, and (having thought a little more about it and noted your last post) feed the AS on foundation to help them build comb, I'll then at least end up with 2 good nuc sized colonies to overwinter....or maybe slightly stronger ones. I'm not decided yet, but despite the horrendous death-toll, there are still plenty of bees there.

I figure I either leave alone, hoping all will be well, but risk losing a swarm, or end up with two viable stocks....in neither case will I have any more honey from them this season, so there isn't much to lose. This all depends on there being a mated and laying queen hanging around for me....haven't checked yet.

Undecided- will go and have a chat with them, and ask what their intentions are!
 

oliver90owner 

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will go and have a chat with them

I like your style. Always good consider the bees to do what the they would want.

Are you going to do a waggle dance?

Regards, RAB
 

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