All were taking sugar water good then gone. It looks like they froze in place.
Did you treat for Varroa? If so, what method and when? Sorry for your loss.
I did Dawn it was June or July. I used oxalic acid and a propane fumer as the delivery method. Worked well enough.
Thank you. As I see it, there are 2 main possibilities (and a lot of other rare ones).
- The cold snap caused condensation which dripped on the bees. Bees can take cold if they are dry. If they are wet, cold kills them. The prevention of this type of demise is insulating the hive with some kind of wrap and placing a moisture quilt box on top of the hive under the roof.
- PMS (Parasitic Mite Syndrome) due to varroa.
Your hive isn’t typical, because you found a lot of dead bodies, but it looks like there may be a lot of guanine crystals (mite poop) in some of the cells in your photos - it may just be the light, but it could be relevant. I know you treated, but I actually treat around 4 times per year. This year I treated in March/April, again in June and October/November. I may need to treat again when the hive starts building up in January, but my season is a little different from yours. Even for you, I definitely recommend a late season treatment in September/October, unless your mite counts are really low.
Sorry you had this experience. I lost a hive to mites this year, so I truly hate them with a passion.
From what we dealt with in rain this year as in it was the rainiest year on record. I agree with #1. I think they got wet and froze period. Thanks Dawn… time to order bees and start over.
Or do a split with your other hive in spring.
I lost a number of hives early last winter that looked similar. I question whether all the uncapped cells contribute excess humidity into the hive and exacerbate the condensation problem.
This year I’ve avoided feeding as much as possible and will see if my survival rate improves.
I am hoping there is no color distortion in the pic’s you have posted as what I am seeing is mauve color on the frames in most of the pics. That to me says mold on the frames from dampness. So what I will suggest is that there was heavy rains and high humidity over too long a period of time and the colony became wet and cold to a point they couldn’t recover.
Bees can cope very well in cold but when a high humidity is a part of the weather bees seem to suffer chill very easily. As the hive chills the heat generated air flow is reduced making the colony even damper.
You will know your present past climate over the period your hive died better than anyone but I think it worth considering because of the color in your pics.
Sorry for your loss.
Hi Simon, read my answer to Rye above in this posting and it might explain your losses. With high humidity from heavy rain over a prolonged period and low temperatures can ‘snow ball’ into a chilled colony that looses its body heat and dies from the cold.
Bees cope very well with cold in low humidity but with condensation getting the bees damp they seem to collapse very easily.
We can’t control freaky climate conditions but in your situation, if I am right, I would look at wrapping the hive in black plastic to get the best from any sunshine to increase the hives heat, reduce the entrance to slow air flow(cold damp draft) through the hive.
In those conditions I would feed the colony with sugar syrup, as is done with a human that has been subjected to exposure to cold with a high energy food.
Right there with you, Ryan. One of my colonies looked pretty much the same, a heap of dead bees on the floor and a few still stuck on cells, as if the colony died all at once. Mold on some combs too, but I couldn’t be sure if that happened as a result of nobody living in there or as part of the lethal problem.
I gave up after several attempts to reach the Ag Extension - disappointing, because I’d have liked to see a test done. Just in case of an odd disease.
Anyway, hang in there & try try again…
You know the USDA will do that free, right?
Hi and thank you all for your responses. I did wrap the other hive with insulated foam board but like the black plastic idea. Numerous dead also found outside of this hive and it has low numbers. I have a feeling this one also is not going to make it. I will do my best to keep them alive.
On a side note for those that do not know. Brush Mt. Bee has closed it’s doors, here in PA and NC. Now I have to find a new spot and this place was only 45min. from me. Jeez.
Now I do! Thanks girlfriend