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Hive autopsy

Posted: January 15th, 2019, 8:55 pm
by slightmadness
Lost one of theee hives this winter and I’m trying to figure out why. I believe that the poor bees starved to death. I didn’t take any honey this season as they started from nice in late May but this hives population had dramatically crashed in the fall and the cluster was so small I don’t think they could move to another frame once they had eaten all the home on their frame.

I’m trying to figure out if the small cluster is the result of a queenless colony or disease. I noticed in late sept/early October that there was no brood present in the hive and instead the bread comb was filled with a clearing liquid. (Could have been honey... could have been...??).

Anyway at that point it was too late to find another queen and I watched as the colony dwindled and finally died last week. :( I’m attaching a photo of the brood comb. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Re: Hive autopsy

Posted: January 16th, 2019, 2:32 am
by BadBeeKeeper
I lack sufficient psychic ability to make a determination from your description and one small picture. I think you need to do more frequent inspections so you can keep up with what is going on in the hive.

Re: Hive autopsy

Posted: January 16th, 2019, 9:12 am
by Allen Dick
I don't know where to start since we don't know your location or the origin of the colony -- or details of the other ones.

The comb shown is sagged and distorted and full of pollen suggesting it is from a cutout.
If you can give us a lot more information, we'll be happy to make suggestions.

Re: Hive autopsy

Posted: January 16th, 2019, 3:22 pm
by BDT123
Allen, in a December post, Slightmadness indicated they were on Long Island NY.
Asking about OA dribble.
I got nothing from the photo.

Re: Hive autopsy

Posted: January 16th, 2019, 8:43 pm
by slightmadness
Sorry yes I’m out on Long Island and it’s been cold but not excessive. I have much better pictures but the file size makes them too big to attach. Let me try again.

I’m not sure infrequent checking was the problem. I checked them every week-10 days over the summer. I think more likely is that I didn’t really know what I was looking for during my check ups as it’s my first season as a bee keeper.

Re: Hive autopsy

Posted: January 22nd, 2019, 4:34 pm
by BDT123
Slight madness, I see a lot of stored pollen but no capped honey. Your assessment of starvation is possibly correct, (probably?).
Did you grab enough dead bees to have a sample analyzed?
I didn’t see signs of mite frass but might have been because there were no pics of empty brood comb. What did the empty comb look like?