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Hive Loss HELP!


I noticed one of my two hives seemed to show considerably fewer bees and activity. Upon inspection the hive had been killed off by moths laying slugs that seemly killed off the hive.
I inspected the other hive and no moths or slugs but seemed like a ton of empty cells and I could not find the queen. I could not inspect totally every rack because some were stuck together to the degree I was concerned about hurting the remaining bees or queen if present.
I restricted the entrance to 1 1/2" opening and blocked off the rear totally. I noticed several meat bees buzzing the front and rear trying to gain entry.


Maybe, but more likely is that wax moths moved in as the hive weakened. If they were SHB (small hive beetles) rather than moths, I would buy the killing theory, but unless you smell fermenting honey and see slime everywhere, that is unlikely.

This is prime time for losses to varroa. Did you treat in August, or do a varroa count? In your part of California, the bees would be winding down for winter, but that makes them even more vulnerable to varroa wipe out.

Sorry for your loss. I lost a hive this year too (but in SoCal). We have a long term drought plus we had very hot weather a month or so ago, and I think the queen just didn’t survive that. No queen cells, plenty of food stores in the hive, no AFB, EFB or chalk brood. The hive was fine in August and the queen was a VSH strain. I have several diagnoses based on our “autopsy” for my own hive:

  1. Heat death of the queen
  2. Varroa (or secondary consequences like DWV etc) death of the queen and colony
  3. Colony absconding/swarming (but lots of food stores left behind, so that seems unlikely)

My other hive (different location) is fine, but my friends’ 2 hives have also died out. Seems like it was a tough season in California for some people.


By the way, if you leave them like that, it will only get worse. If you want to manage your bees actively, you need to clean up the bridge and burr comb. Once it is clean, the bees will stop making it if you go into the hive regularly. Then you won’t hurt them with your next inspection. If you only go in once a quarter (not saying that you did this), all bets are off, of course! :blush: