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Lots of BLACK MOLD on my entry board and wall around entry

Can any one offer advice? I left for the weekend and came back to find an errily quiet hive and entry board was covered with this back goey droppings. Is this mold? Is it poop?

Here is a photo: thumbnail_IMG_0939|240x320

What does the inside look like?

That does look like mold…

I think you should do a brood inspection & take more photos. What’s inside your tray? Errily quiet doesn’t sound good after just one weekend. I’m wondering if your colony absconded.

First of all I want to “THANK” those who have replied. I have never used a Forum before so I was usure of proper protocol. I very much appreciate the input for the bee community. Thank you again.

To answer JeffH’s question:

My tray is full of beautiful golden pollen mixed with typical debris. I am also going to do a full hive inspection today.

i pondered last night that is may be dysentry from the hive feeder I installed about 10days ago? Adding to that… I did a 1:1 ratio which I have learned is too much water for the Fall… that could have exacerbated things??

First of all I want to “THANK” those who have replied. I have never used a Forum before so I was usure of proper protocol. I very much appreciate the input for the bee community. Thank you again.

In response to Chau06’:

My tray is full of beautiful golden pollen mixed with typical debris. I am also going to do a full hive inspection today.

i pondered last night that is may be dysentry from the hive feeder I installed about 10days ago? Adding to that… I did a 1:1 ratio which I have learned is too much water for the Fall… that could have exacerbated things??

Hi Michelle, dysentry looks different to that. I copied this image which shows streaking as a result of dysentry
.image
cheers

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Keep us posted.

Most would say to concentrate the syrup so that the bees don’t have to - not sure how much this matters in San Diego, maybe some fair-weather folks or @DawnSD can shed some climate specific advice…

I use 5:3 white sugar to water year round when feeding is needed. There is plenty of water around me, so bees don’t need any extra water in their food. At this time of year, I would definitely use 5:3 or 2:1. I use 5:3 because our water is hard, and 2:1 is difficult to get to finish dissolving. I also add about a teaspoon of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) per gallon once it has cooled, to acidify it and preserve it from mold.

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Hi Jeff,

Thank you for the phtoto. I believe you are are correct… my hive did not have dysentry.

I just came back from an inspection of both my hives and this is what I found: (Hive #1 is the one with mold on entry board/entrance which I posted on. Hive #2 is healthy) :

Hive #1

  1. Bottom Board: not full of pollen as I thought… it is full of was cappings
  2. Hive Frames: packed full of fresh pollen. Honey gone. Brood Cells are mostly opened or empty with just a few capped cells remaining. (SEE IMAGES BELOW)
  3. Only about a 20 bees inside the hive. :frowning:
  4. About 100+ dead bees on the screen above the bottom board…
  5. No Queen, No Supercells, No Queen Cells.
  6. Hive appears abondoned

Hive #2

  1. Well drawn frames, no mold, lots of honey, pollen and brood cells.
  2. No supercedure or queen cells found
  3. But… couldn’t find the Queen even after 2 passes over frames.
  4. Didn’t see larva either
  5. Feed them with fresh 2:1 mixture via a top feeder

ODDLY, When I returned about 20min later to break down the empty Hive #1, a small swarm had developed around it with bees trying to enter at the roof where the prior top feeder was. So… I re-filled the top feeder at Hive #2 with fresh 2:1 syrup. Do you think these are bees from the healthy Hive #2 investigating the abandon hive for food sources? Or do you think the original bees from Hive #2 returned???

Stumped


Here is another frame… all pollen.


Last but not least… another frame from the same Hive #1… caps eaten off. No Colony left at all.

Oh so sorry Michelle, that was surely a hard discovery. Glad you still have a healthy colony. My guess is that the queen and many workers were killed in a robbing event, and maybe the rest took off? You’re probably right about the bees interested in your feeder coming from your other hive…which could’ve been this one’s robbers too :confused: Better make sure they have enough food too. I had a few close calls with robbing this year - it was intense for awhile and I wasn’t sure if one of my colonies would recover.

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I agree with Eva.

@Eva I have a question. How long does the robbing last? The reason why I ask is because, if it lasts for a few days, you could relocate the hive during the first day. I never see any robbing in my area, I’m sure that a really weak colony would get robbed out. Maybe in my area the honey dearths are not bad enough to encourage robbing behavior.

Native bees are a different story. They don’t get robbed, the hive gets taken over by a different colony, resulting in “fighting swarms”, where thousands of bees lock in battle, leaving the ground littered with them, not giving up, where both parties die. These fighting swarms last for quite a few days, therefore my advice is to take the hive away during or after the first day.

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Fighting swarms, wow! I didn’t know about those, they sound incredible.

About robbing, yes it’s typical to see in late summer and early fall around here. It can be set off by inspections, or just going in and adding feed.

My strategy is to use a robbing screen, and if that isn’t enough I hang a large damp towel over the front of the hive. The dampness helps keep it hanging down and tucked around the corners, and also masks the scent somewhat. I arrange it so it’s blocking one side entrance completely and restricting the other to a long tunnel around the corner. Returning foragers are momentarily thrown off as are the robbers, That gives the guards inside the extra time they need to bounce intruders and mobilize forces at the entrance. So far this has quelled a robbing event within the same day. I usually remove the towel later the following day. This year I had to put it back on the one hive again a few days later. Now that the nights are cold it isn’t likely to happen anymore.

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Hi Eva,
Can you add a photo next time you do this?
Thanks in advance :stuck_out_tongue:

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Thank you Eva, That makes a lot of sense. Any advise on how to prevent robbing?

Thank you Eva and JeffH for terrific insight and advise on how to prevent robbing. Now I will know to be particularly watchful for it in the Fall and try the damp-towel technique if I see it in action.

Thank you again for all the support…

Michelle

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Hi Eva, fighting swarms happen with AustralianTetragonula native bees. I did some more reading about them after posting my comment, just to make sure I gave the correct information. Apparently through university studies, it was discovered that 20% of the bees locked in battle are from the same colony, brought on by the confusion. They don’t recommend moving the hive away on the first day, however to my mind it seems like the simplest solution. I would go one step further & place some brood in an empty box so that the raiding colony can move into that - that’s my theory anyway.

Eva and Jeff,

An update… you are correct about the battlefield that took place and decimated my Hive #1. You may recall my Hive #2 was not attached and was still healthy… until this afternoon.

The battle has now moved tomy last remaining Hive #2. I can see the flight pattern… the maurading swarm is coming somewhere from the woods near our home andis aggressively attacking my last colony.

I have taken wet towels (as Eva mentioned) and covered my hive. I have also blocked the only hive entrance (my colony was small so they will have no defense unless I can block the entruders).

I have also delivered a syrup bucket near the woods… hoping to distract the swarm away from my colony.

I suspect I will know by tomorrow if I have any survivors. … or even a queen.

Any other advice I will gladly take.

Michelle

Gosh Michelle, this is bad news. I hope the towel works, but be aware not to keep the entrance closed for too long - your bees still need air to circulate inside and I don’t know how warm your daytime temps are. Your colony’s guard bees should mobilize and fight off the intruders with the advantage you’ve given them.

I wonder if it might be good to have an experienced beek locate and remove the aggressive feral colony?

About the syrup, I will be interested to hear if it helps distract them. I hope so!