Bee People: PLEASE HELP! Almost all bees in hive are dead :(

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by jettgirl24, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. jettgirl24

    jettgirl24 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2010
    Duvall, WA
    Hi BYC Bee People - I'm having a bee emergency and need to figure out what to do to save them if that's even possible at this point. I started my first top bar hive in April of this year. Everything was going great - TONS of bees, 8 full bars of comb plus the 9th one started, bees all over the yard and garden at the house we officially move into tomorrow... Then the badness begins. I'm not sure if my hive is salvageable at this point but if it is I want to make every effort to save my bees.

    Quick back story - I set my hive up on my parents property in April as I knew we would be moving in and taking over the farm this summer after my dad retired. The farm in located in the cascade foothills in Duvall, WA in case that helps diagnose the problem. After installing the package in April I was driving out there and checking on them two or three times a week at first, then when food consumption slowed I checked once a week. Sometime in mid to late May they had pretty much quit eating the sugar syrup and were out foraging in force as things started to bloom. I stopped feeding at the end of May when they stopped consuming the jars. Looking back I'm worried that this may have been the wrong thing to do... I'm thinking I should have kept food available for them just in case. I did start to have some mold growing on the end farthest from the entrance that didn't have comb but I read about it and everyone seemed to say not to worry about it, that the bees would clean it. I also noticed some ants on top of my hive but again read not to worry too much about them. There weren't very many ants so it didn't seem to be an issue.

    Everything looked great, lots of comb building and capped brood and the hive population was clearly growing. Then I go to check on them last weekend. It was cool with some drizzle so I just went up to see what they were up to and didn't open the hive. I didn't hear a lot of noise which I thought was a bit odd but I saw some bees coming in and out of the entrance and crawling around on the side of the hive so I didn't worry about it too much. On Monday of this week we had some sunny and very warm weather and my dad mentioned to me that he didn't see a lot of activity in the hive and that he couldn't hear any noise in there. I started to get very concerned so I checked on them last night when we brought a load of stuff out there. I opened the hive to find a HUGE mound of dead bees. Almost every bee in the hive was dead. I pulled some comb and I still have capped brood and some live bees crawling around but there are so few (maybe a couple hundred tops?) that I don't know if I can save the hive. I didn't know what to do and it was almost dark so I closed the hive back up, made sure the entrance was clear of dead bees until I could deal with it today. Like I said, it was dark so I couldn't see to find the queen but I have to assume she's dead. I will look again today when it is light out and see if I can find her but I don't have a lot of hope.

    My question is, what do I do from here. I know I need to clean the hive out. but is there any way to salvage this hive? My thinking was that maybe I should put the comb with live bees in a box today, get the hive cleaned out, then put the bars back in and make sure they have plenty of food so they don't have to forage? Please help, I really want to save my hive if at all possible!

    Thank you!
     
  2. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    Are you familar with Snohomish at all? There is (or was, I have been outta state for 6 yrs) a wonderful bee lady there - close to where the new library was built, one street up from pine (up towards town), the one McDaniels is on (the bee place is a couple blocks "behind" McDaniels), of course I cannot remember the street name or the cute name of her tiny store.


    She has all kinds of bee supplies, sell orchard bees in the spring......any way, she was fantastic when my step-dad started having troubles with his bees. One time it was ants, another time a fungus.


    Wish I could be more helpful.. I would offer food/syrup to whomever is left.


    Good Luck! And I hope you have a swift turn around.
     
  3. jettgirl24

    jettgirl24 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2010
    Duvall, WA
    Thank you HorseFeatherz! I will see if I can find her. I put a call in to the guy I took a beekeeping class with earlier this year too... I'm hoping he might be able to help!
     
  4. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    ?? Have you figured out what is causing the problem?
     
  6. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

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    Could they have been sprayed? A friend had one of her hives in a corner of her property and her neighbors sprayed the nearby plants with pesticide and she lost pretty much the whole hive. She moved the box and put in a new swarm and they have been doing very well since then.
     
  7. maple

    maple Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2010
    I've contacted reinbeau about your post...she has bees and I thought maybe she could help.

    I had bees for a bit and if I were to make assumptions about your hive...it sounds like a) they could have gotten into a farmers pesticide...lately, it doesn't matter if you cover your hive during spray times because it stays on the plant for a number of days...too long to keep the hive covered and protected.

    Call your ag. extension and ask for the apiary inspector to come out and look at your hive. He should be able to diagnose your problem and check for mites...

    Do you see any brood left? Are there any queen cells there--larger cells then the normal cells? If so, you will have a new queen born if the old queen has in fact died. If you know of other bee people...there's a chance they can raise a queen for you if that's the case. When a hive is queen-less one of the bees starts acting as queen but there's more to this and you'll want to read up for yourself. Good time to google.

    Hopefully, reinbeau will pipe in here sooner than later.

    At this time, I'd sweep out the dead bees and keep them in a shoe box or something for your apiary inspector to look at...the rest of the bees will clean out the rest. And I'd leave them to do thier foraging until further notice...for all you know the queen is still alive.
     
  8. maple

    maple Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2010
  9. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Colony collapse disorder is another possibility.
     
  10. jettgirl24

    jettgirl24 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2010
    Duvall, WA
    Well, I was lucky enough to have someone from our local beekeeping association come out yesterday and take a look at my hive. When I originally discovered the dead bees it was almost dark so it was very hard to inspect well. Upon inspecting it during they daytime we found several bees dead head first in the comb so it was clear they died from starvation. I felt really terrible about that since I had taken their food away. I thought they didn't need it as they had stopped consuming the sugar water but apparently I was wrong [​IMG]

    On the upside we did find the queen alive so that was promising. He told me how to get them emergency food and they already sounded better when I got home last night. I heard buzzing in there for the first time since last weekend. I'm adding the jars of food this afternoon when I get home to see if we can replenish the population. He wasn't sure if there are enough bees left - the population is really small - so he told me to try to get a bar of brood and bees from someone to help give them a better chance. I'm going to call the guy who I got the plans from to see if he can spare a bar since it should fit in my hive. Otherwise he said he could probably bring me a frame from his Langstroth hive and we can shake it in. He said that's not ideal since they could fight and kill the rest of the bees and the queen without brood to attend to but it's worth a shot I figure if my hive isn't salvageable.

    Anyway - this is super depressing but a very good lesson for me I suppose. Hopefully everything will turn out ok. I'll post an update when I see how things are shaping up!
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011

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