Sunday, 21 March 2021
  8 Replies
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Last fall I had one hive that was particularly strong with ample honey reserves. I was in the hive 2 weeks earlier giving them one last treatment with Formic before things shutdown. 2 weeks later, casually inspecting my hives, this hive was silent! I opened the hive up to find ZERO bees, dead or alive and no eggs or uncapped larvae. The temps were fall like, so the idea of the Formic driving them out doesn’t seem to be plausible. Any idea of what would have driven them all out?

Also, post-mortem on another hive this spring. All dead bees were on bottom board - none on frames which were full of honey. 95% of the dead bees were headless. No signs of Nosema.

1 year ago
Probably Apivar would work best at this point
1 year ago
Thanks for the reply and good to hear from you! What are you using to control Mites? I have been disappointed with Formic for 2 years now ... need to change it up. Also, trying to get a handle on beekeepers around me ... unregistered who are newbies and not treating much, if at all. Maddening
Rick Stoner
1 year ago
Mike, no doubt it was Varroa.
With your comment about Formic I was wondering what you use for treatment ? There are a lot of alternatives but they all seem to have their +/-. .
Thanks, Peter
1 year ago
Hey Rick. Both losses were probably due to varroa. You treated with formic which really isn't very effective. I know people treating three times a year with formic and losing huge numbers. I could give you a better diagnosis if you posted photos of any dead brood left over. The first colony crashed during the warm season. Sick bees left the cluster as is their nature. Colony depleted of bees. Second colony crashed after cold weather when bees died in hive. Just my opinion
1 year ago
I agree, this has been a strange Winter for sure. I think a big part of the loss problems stem from the dearth from last Summer. Although the hives somewhat recovered food stores in the Fall, with supplemental feeding, I fear that they consumed a lot of their Winter food in late Fall because it stayed fairly warm and the bees were out longer. More flying more food consumed.
Constant testing and a good treatment schedule is important. I use a combination of Formic Pro and and Oxalic acid vaporizer at certain times. No matter, I still lost hives. I might add a dose of Hop Guard this coming Summer????. Have to do some research.
Good luck and keep trying.
1 year ago
Virus is the only thing I can come up with too. Talking to other beekeepers, it seemed to be a strange winter with many unexpected losses (more virulent viruses?). I’m going to treat some hives more vigorously this year and see if there is a difference.
On to Spring!
1 year ago
OOOPS !!! That's Roseanne Dana Dana !!! Duh !!!!
1 year ago
Hi, you are not alone....I feel your pain !!!

I understand that when a hive becomes infected with a virus the bees leave in order to not infect the rest of the hive. I suspect this may have occurred. Although you treated with Formic it may have been too late. Remember mite loads increase while bee numbers decrease in the Fall.
The other hive could have been a virus, freezing or robbing. The decapitated bees point to robbing but the large quantity of honey contradicts robbing ???? If robbing occurred there should be a large amount of wax capping residue on the bottom board. I would say it points more to virus and freezing .
"It's always something", Rose a dana dana !!!!
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