Tagged: Failed hive
May 29, 2014 at 8:58 am #8572
We have had a great hive for about 8 months now, and just this last month something happened to it. There was another colony that seemed to be attacking our bees and we think they came from a neighbors yard who tried to torch them. One day we saw this huge black swarm moving from tree to tree and we thought it was the bees from next door protecting their queen and eventually they disappeared. We shortly after noticed that a lot of our bees were gone and when my boss opened the hive, he saw that the queen was gone and there are only about 1,000-2,000 bees left. He saw larvae looking sacs in some cells, so we researched and thought they were breeding a new queen. Now we are seeing this residue all over the base of our hive . Is there any way to save the colony? How can we find out what is going on?
Thank you!June 7, 2014 at 3:53 pm #8657
When you see residue like that on the landing board it is often a sign of hive beetle, or SHB infestation. They breed in the honey cells (and also in the bee bread) and cause it to rot and ferment. The stores then spill out onto the floor of the hive, or “leak”. This is why it’s a good idea to get a look at your bottom board every now and then during inspections.
When you say “He saw larvae looking sacs”, it tells me that he doesn’t actually know what bee-larvae look like, and may have been seeing Small Hive Beetle larvae instead. That would explain all the detritus on the bottom board.
The way to save the colony is to open it up, take out every frame and look for “frass”, or the webbing of the hive beetle larvae’s feces. Cut with a serrated knife everything that does not properly belong to the bees in the hive, including rotten/infested stores of their food. Compress what is left down into the smallest space that they can occupy without including the pests, or their left-behind garbage, and hopefully you will still have enough workers, nurses and queens for a colony.
The swarm that you saw may have been readying to take over the hive in the case that it was queeenless. This is called a “usurping swarm” and our local bees can be quite opportunist when they sense that a hive is in trouble.
You will find out the answer to your question you need to do a thorough inspection.
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