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Possible insecticide kill!

Hi everyone,

Stopped by a small satellite Apiary I started earlier at my daughter’s home about 15 miles from my home Apiary !

As I approached the two hives I noted the 5 frame three deep Nuc on the right was less than active. I paused to observe (it was cooler today) … Nope the hive on the left (an 8 frame hive) was still fairly busy. Then I observed the ground in front of n beneath the smaller Nuc style hive.

I quickly did an inspection to the left hive (Alder Hive) … the bees inside n out were active n healthy. So on the the smaller Nuc hive (Hemlock).

What had been a bustling health n rapidly growing colony … three deeps High was oddly quiet n empty in the top super … I layed it aside to reveal the second super equally as lifeless n empty. I set that super aside too … now some bees on top of the frames looked dossile n not so healthy.

Conclusion: Hemlock has found some possible insecticide. It was sad cleaning a pile (in places on the SBB 1” plus deep) … not sure the rest of the colony will pull thru from this possible environmental hazzard.

Here’s several pix’s of what I found today:


I believe you can send a sample of bees to Beltsville, MD and they’ll tell you cause of death.


The lab won’t check for pesticides but they’ll rule out disease:


sorry for your loss Gerald- it’s no fun at all cleaning out a hive like that. :cry:

So Sorry Gerald, and I agree with Ed, get them tested, at least you should be able to determine whether it was some sort of agricultural spray or something closer to home like a neighbour with a can Mortein.

Seeing that would bring me to tears if the hive was mine. You really should get answers as to the cause. Whatever it was it was potent. Let us know ok…

So sorry, Jerry. Human beings can be so irresponsible. I hope the other colony does well for you. :disappointed_relieved:


Alder hive directly next to it appears not effected by the conditions. It helps prove each though inches or few feet apart do not always share flowers :bouquet: in the same area.

Hemlock was a walk away split of Alder Hive. Hemlock had the original Queen of the split. It was doing so well in its triple deep 5 frame Nuc castle. Oh well :pensive: if I loss Hemlock totally I’m back down to 8 hives. Im going to recheck it in about one week to see if the remaining lathergic girls survive!

Lessons learned: 1) Don’t count your harvest before it happens, 2) mites are the only predictors out there or yellow jackets, 3) Easy come easy go, 4) Colonies next door to one another don’t alwsys forage same plants n flowers.

Conclusion: if the colony rebounds or survived this mishap I probably will add some brood … plus I need to find the queen ! Without her the colony is doomed anyway.

I’m going to colaberate with my mentor Danny the antomologist from one of our local colleges. I’m also alerting two other beekeepers that live within a mile of my small Apiary.

Moving on,


Hi everyone:

Moving on with the damaged colony ! Possible insecticides.

Yesterday I drove down to my daughters house where my small Apiary of two colonies exist. I’d prepped my thinking looking over the photos I took. It seems I’d lost most of Hemlock colonies foragers to the cause. Estimating better the remaining capped brood n no eggs or larva … I’m guessing I’ve lost a great queen also. (Carefully checked each but not queen or evidence)…

I’m again estimating 7 to 10 days back they got into the poison after I’d visited a vibrate healthy growing hive. I notice the nectar n honey supply had dwindled to nesr nothing due to kill off of foraging age workers.

Yesterday I started a emergency restoration plan. 1) inspected entire hive, 2) affirmed I might be able to save n possibly requeen or combine after pumping up a few weeks, 3) added a full frame of honey n nectar to give them food resources (I will also return with a food pattie as backup food), 4) I search Alder Hive next to it (which had 4 to 5 capped n mixed brood frames … thus borrowed one great mixed frame to try n pump the struggling Hemlock colony.

At least I’m not giving up on the hive n see what actually happens positively n negative after a couple weeks wait.

Here a couple pix’s: the yellow circle frame is added honey n nectar n the blue circle is the frame of added brood. I’ll see how it goes.


. Pulled the empty n added full frame of honey n nectar with dab of pollen.

See how it goes. I hate giving up on a colony as long as I have extra resources.



Hi Gerald, I remember reading on this forum that bees die with their tongue out when poisoned. Is that the case with your bees? I couldn’t see any dead bees with tongues out in your photos.

I wonder if the carnage was the result of a huge robbing event? Just a thought.


Hi :wave: again,

Update on Hemlock hive … the addition of honey/nectar frame n mixed brood frame seems to have stabilized n encouraged the colony to try n make it.

We’re not out of the woods on this salvage operation by any mean but the girls were starting to go about the internal jobs more than being totally lethargic 24 hrs earlier. As a safety net I added two food patties with pollen added. This should help until the worker numbers increase for a small n increase foraging force.

I need to figure also if I want to add a queen or add a frame with eggs in a week or so (after I’m sure they will keep on keeping on) …

This Nuc hive isn’t going to be able to take advantage of the blackberry season now starting. If it keep going I’ll requeen n prep for a winter over Nuc …


Thanks for the update, Jerry. Sorry they are weak, but at least they have made it so far. :sweat:


Dawn n others,

Been thinking :thinking: of reverse these two colonies (switching position) now I think the plague (poisoning is over) … That would buff/raise the worker population in poor old Hemlock. I think :thinking: it’s @Jeff does this when adding a frame of mixed brood (w eggs) to get the colony to take interest n requeen… I believe he wrote about this within last couple days. But my morning sleepy :sleeping: brain :brain: can’t find his notes :memo:… I need another cup of coffee :coffee: maybe.

Still in the thought :thought_balloon: process. But it’s funny how quickly I can go from thots to action mode !

Cheers :clinking_glasses:,

P.S. Blackberries are on !


Hi :wave: Dawn n friends,

I completed step #4 to help my poor Hemlock recover today. What I did to beef it up …

I did the “Ole Shell Game”. I swapped position of the two hives. My idea that returning Bees/forager would return from the fields n come back to the spot but different hive.

I switched places of Alder n Hemlock on the hive stand. Alders fair returning with loads of pollens n nectar seemed a bit confused but a number of the foraging gang finally started entering Hemlocks enterance. I really don’t care if some figure the switch puzzle n move over. I just want enough foiled to pump up n help the poor poisoned colony.

I also popped the lid/crown board n saw the bees are happy with the gift :gift: of pollen patties. Maybe I’ll pull this step by step process yet.

Here’s a couple pix’s.



Looks good, Jerry. Keep us posted, please! :smile:

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I will ! Here the happy bees devouring the new patties too.

so they should be getting nurishment !

Oh man :disappointed: sad. Thanks for sharing you theory

Hi all,

My Hemlock colony (one poisoned :nauseated_face:) seems to be strong enough to possibly survive the long damp winter here east of Puget Sound . I’m now serving 2:1 syrup to fatten up the colony. It’s still a busseling bunch of bees finally ! I’m trying to get five or more frames of sealed food in my double deep Nuc’s for winter. For backup I’ll toss a couple of winter patties on top just under my moisture absorbent pillow/box with wood chips.

Time will tell … hoping to see it in the Spring.

Gerald Uploading… Uploading… Uploading… Uploading…


Good to hear, but there doesn’t seem to be any photos @Gerald_Nickel

Faroe, Yaaah … I saw that issue too. Some probably glad for my lack of photo show. I been having access issues again but got back in today using google account n passwords.

Been under the weather up here … Dealing with some cancer issues, sciatic nerve pain n now pulmonary edema. Turning 73 years wasn’t too cool … but I’m still Beekeeping up here.

I have a young lady that bought two of your latest development hives. She’s coming by tomorrow to see mine. I’m going to walk her thru a few thing showing her my older Flow-supers. Then she’s going to be my muscle helping me check my 8 hives for winter pattie needs n whatever. Should be helpful for both of us.
Hope you had a great Christmas :christmas_tree: n now wishing you an early New Years.



Hey Gerry, glad to see your post! Sorry to hear you’ve not been feeling so well. Sending you and Vera warm wishes this new year - hang in there, bee-friend :blush::+1: