NZBF: Two hives robbed and gone.

Welcome to NZ Beekeepers+
Would you like to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.
Sign up
40
29
Wellsford
Experience
Beginner
Am entering my 3rd season now as a novice BK with 2 hives. Coming up to harvest last year one hive suffered deformed wing and was decreasing in numbers. I managed to resurrect from the strong hive and had a good harvest. The strong hive started to loose numbers and things just started to get worse from there. One mistake was I only treated the sick hive which was soon after normal spring treatment. Of late both hives were low on numbers. Recently I noticed increased activity around my wrapped up stored suppers. Was trying to establish if this was my bees or not and observing the hives today there was much activity. More than I would have thought seeing as both were declining hives. I have a hive buster on one of my hives with the trap underneath when I checked this it was full of dead bees. That was all I need to know. I shut down both hives and checked again at dusk. Both hives are empty. A very sobering and sad end to my apiary.
 

Alastair

Founder Member
Platinum
8,758
9,968
Auckland
Experience
Semi Commercial
One mistake was I only treated the sick hive which was soon after normal spring treatment.

Therein the cause. In NZ, beehives need to be treated spring and autumn, or they will die. Many have tried to do it different, and failed. What fools people is the death is not immediate, they think not treating is working. Until the inevitable day they discover they have no bees.

Other thing, some treatments are not working as well as they used to. So mite numbers should be monitored after the treatment to ensure it actually worked.

Since you have all the equipment, just have it checked to ensure AFB is not present. If not, the equipment is safe to use again. My suggestion is put some more bees in but this time be religious about controlling the mites.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CHCHPaul
40
29
Wellsford
Experience
Beginner
Therein the cause. In NZ, beehives need to be treated spring and autumn, or they will die. Many have tried to do it different, and failed. What fools people is the death is not immediate, they think not treating is working. Until the inevitable day they discover they have no bees.

Other thing, some treatments are not working as well as they used to. So mite numbers should be monitored after the treatment to ensure it actually worked.

Since you have all the equipment, just have it checked to ensure AFB is not present. If not, the equipment is safe to use again. My suggestion is put some more bees in but this time be religious about controlling the mites.
To learn by your mistakes is cruel but a lesson you will not forget. I did do both spring and autum treatments but was advised to do another when the first hive had a lot of DW. That was when I didnt treat the other hive at the same time. Came back to bite me that one.

I have frozen some of the frames which I was going to completely clean - Which I will still do. This would eradicate any varroa but not possible AFB contamination. Will get it all checked regardless. Start with everything cleaned.

I also fear the hives were in a very damp spot - (with low numbers the mould and wax moth were moving in too) particularly with the weather we have been having in the Rodney area. I was in the process of migrating the hives to a sunnier location. Had to get them across a driveway which was going to be a challenge. Can now start in a better location.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Alastair

Alastair

Founder Member
Platinum
8,758
9,968
Auckland
Experience
Semi Commercial
If by cleaning the frames you mean scraping all the comb off, personally I would not.

It takes the bees way more effort to rebuild a scraped frame, than an unscraped, even if in fairly bad condition. What I do in similar situations is start the new bees off on the best of the brood frames available to allow them to get established, then gradually feed in the worse combs. Your hive will get up and running much faster than if the combs are scraped.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CHCHPaul
39
18
Takapuna
Experience
Hobbyist
To learn by your mistakes is cruel but a lesson you will not forget. I did do both spring and autum treatments but was advised to do another when the first hive had a lot of DW. That was when I didnt treat the other hive at the same time. Came back to bite me that one.

I have frozen some of the frames which I was going to completely clean - Which I will still do. This would eradicate any varroa but not possible AFB contamination. Will get it all checked regardless. Start with everything cleaned.

I also fear the hives were in a very damp spot - (with low numbers the mould and wax moth were moving in too) particularly with the weather we have been having in the Rodney area. I was in the process of migrating the hives to a sunnier location. Had to get them across a driveway which was going to be a challenge. Can now start in a better location.
I lost several hives in the first years back at beekeeping after a 40 year gap - there was no varroa and very little AFB. It sure a learning curve - the best investment is a scoop and shaker that you can do a test run - I use meths to drown the bees and skimp on numbers usually around 120-150 because I dislike killing 300 at a time and count the varroa and the bees to get a %.... still lost 1 of 4 but think it is location as I have lost the others there so no hive there next yea even though I got the most honey harvest from it
 
  • Like
Reactions: Alastair
40
29
Wellsford
Experience
Beginner
Thanks Eeb. At our club meeting last month Kim Kneijbers gave a very informed talk. She gave a good example of testing and time spans of mites on a sticky board. One was almost black with so many after several days when she thought there would not be many.

What she stressed was good management of hives, keeping dry in winter, location and constantly testing for varroa at least four times a year with four different types. Even if was oxalic staples - better than not doing it.
 
349
449
Bay of Plenty
Experience
Commercial
and skimp on numbers usually around 120-150 because I dislike killing 300 at a time and count the varroa and the bees to get a %.... still lost 1 of 4
Why for truck sake would you do this, do the job properly and get it sorted? Bees are dying all the time through the season, 300 bees will not make any effect on your hive.
 

Dansar

Founder Member
BOP Club
6,224
5,708
Putaruru
Experience
Commercial
I lost several hives in the first years back at beekeeping after a 40 year gap - there was no varroa and very little AFB. It sure a learning curve - the best investment is a scoop and shaker that you can do a test run - I use meths to drown the bees and skimp on numbers usually around 120-150 because I dislike killing 300 at a time and count the varroa and the bees to get a %.... still lost 1 of 4 but think it is location as I have lost the others there so no hive there next yea even though I got the most honey harvest from it
I can’t remember the reason, mathematics etc, but 300 bee sample is a statically number. 300 will definitely give you more certain results than half or a 3rd of that amount.
 
37
41
UK
Experience
International
I haven't tested since I don't know when. I just keep the oa up.
Yep, Treat and be damned is my view - the biggest risk time is as the days get shorter and brood-rearing reduces. So the brood numbers fall and the varroa numbers continue to increase. As varroa is in every hive, there's little point in counting them to see if there are lots or little in various hives before treatment as they will all need treating in any case.
The general reccomendation is to treat all colonies in an apiary at the same time.
In the years before varroa got as far as NZ, in the UK we had a large amount of varroa resistance to the original treatments that were avaiable to us - Bayvarol and Apistan so colonies started to die again. Or some beekeepers thought that they were saving money by using a 1/2 dose (!). Now that those treatments have not been used much for some years, it's OK to use them now and again.
One beekeeper I am in contact with has used Oxalic Acid and had to do multiple vaping treatments as it didn't work on some colonies sometimes - hence why it's worth checking afterwards.
 


Top