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MikeyJB

What has gone on here?

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Hello All

Im a semi commercial beekeeper who sent a hive to Auckland after the Northland flow had slowed. Tonight i get a call from the landowner to say that the bees are all gone and there is some sticky dark brown stuff out the front. Ive told him to bag the whole unit and not touch the honey til i can get there. 

Ive never seen anything like it.

The hive is in a central suburb location

Does anyone have any theories/leads/suggestions?

Thanks

IMG-20190228-WA0009.jpg

Edited by MikeyJB

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I’m trying to work out what is in your photo.

Is the hive sitting directly on concrete or something ?

does it have no bottom board or any kind of riser ?

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3 minutes ago, frazzledfozzle said:

I’m trying to work out what is in your photo.

Is the hive sitting directly on concrete or something ?

does it have no bottom board or any kind of riser ?

I think that’s painted rough sawn floor , with sealant to reduce entrance size 

I have no idea what the wet coffee stuff is 

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I think the brown stuff is some sort of dead organic matter like dead ants or Mites etc
There may be some moisture involved also

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3 minutes ago, M4tt said:

I think that’s painted rough sawn floor , with sealant to reduce entrance size 

I have no idea what the wet coffee stuff is 

Yes thats exactly right. Its sitting on standard risers to have it elevated. I make my own hiveware

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2 minutes ago, Philbee said:

I think the brown stuff is some sort of dead organic matter like dead ants or Mites etc
There may be some moisture involved also

The landowner said its gooey and of no noticeable smell

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12 minutes ago, frazzledfozzle said:

I’m trying to work out what is in your photo.

Is the hive sitting directly on concrete or something ?

does it have no bottom board or any kind of riser ?

On concrete but is a standard hive (homemade) roughsawn timber with risers.

Thanks

 

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At a guess it looks like wax moth faeces and the white oval thing looks like a wax moth cocoon.

 

you won’t know until you open it and have a look it’s too hard to say from the photo 

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6 minutes ago, frazzledfozzle said:

At a guess it looks like wax moth faeces and the white oval thing looks like a wax moth cocoon.

 

you won’t know until you open it and have a look it’s too hard to say from the photo 

Yes that does look like a cacoon. Do the wax moths come out of the hive to deposit faeces?

Ive only ever seen eggs not faeces and to get to this number in a hive would seem like it would have to be stuffed full of moths but i appreciate your consideration.

Id never expect bees to leave faeces this close to their doorstep. The bees were around a few days ago. My friends left home for a few days break and came back to this.

Thanks

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1 minute ago, frazzledfozzle said:

Maybe also nosema ?

Ive seen that before, im sure it was yellow watery droppings.

Can it be brown and gooey? 

 

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17 minutes ago, frazzledfozzle said:

At a guess it looks like wax moth faeces and the white oval thing looks like a wax moth cocoon.

 

you won’t know until you open it and have a look it’s too hard to say from the photo 

Ive just had a look at a photo of waxmoth droppings and it looks like they indeed can get very numerous but they still seem to be deposited inside the hive. The droppings seem to be a dark black in their photo and in ones ive seen in person, whereas this picture from my friend has it all gooey brown.

In case its of relevance i should also mention that a neighbour came over complaining about bees taking water from her bird bath last week and that she wasnt happy about it

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Looking at the photo there also appears to be some brown droplets on the front face of the hive.

If anyone has any suggestions on how i can get my friend to preserve the scene until i can open it like Fozzle says then that would be appreciated.

I told him to put it in a big plastic bag. It could be a few weeks before i can get there.

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1 hour ago, MikeyJB said:

Ive seen that before, im sure it was yellow watery droppings.

Can it be brown and gooey? 

 

 

Yes it can 

 

 

Edited by frazzledfozzle

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6 hours ago, frazzledfozzle said:

 

Yes it can 

 

 

Thanks. Im hoping thats the reason

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Is that white sealant across the entrance, and if yes, which one?

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It's hive dirt. To find out why it's there you gotta open the hive.

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9 hours ago, MikeyJB said:

In case its of relevance i should also mention that a neighbour came over complaining about bees taking water from her bird bath last week and that she wasnt happy about it

 

It’ll be interesting to see what’s on the base inside. 

How long between the hive being out there and the absence of bees being noticed? Or between the neighbour complaint and absence?

 

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6 hours ago, Sailabee said:

Is that white sealant across the entrance, and if yes, which one?

Its a white filler called Parfix Gap Filler, its used via a caulking gun

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4 hours ago, cBank said:

 

It’ll be interesting to see what’s on the base inside. 

How long between the hive being out there and the absence of bees being noticed? Or between the neighbour complaint and absence?

 

The elderly lady neighbour complained last tuesday that there were too many bees in her property trying to get water from her bird bath. She came over to ask them if they knew where the bees were coming from. She was shown the hive. (Im unsure of how this discussion ended as my friend is currently on a plane overseas but i will find out more). They have had disputes in the past with them- they chopped a hedge down without asking.

My friend and family went away for a long weekend, the weekend following the Tuesday complaint. When they went to check on the hive on Wednesday it was in this current condition with no bees.

The hive has being there for over two months

 

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11 minutes ago, MikeyJB said:

The elderly lady neighbour complained last tuesday that there were too many bees in her property trying to get water from her bird bath. She came over to ask them if they knew where the bees were coming from. She was shown the hive. (Im unsure of how this discussion ended as my friend is currently on a plane overseas but i will find out more). They have had disputes in the past with them- they chopped a hedge down without asking.

My friend and family went away for a long weekend, the weekend following the Tuesday complaint. When they went to check on the hive on Wednesday it was in this current condition with no bees.

The hive has being there for over two months

 

That seems too fast for waxmoth to have done much, as they move in after the bees or when bees aren't doing well in my (limited) experience.

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7 minutes ago, cBank said:

That seems too fast for waxmoth to have done much, as they move in after the bees or when bees aren't doing well in my (limited) experience.

 

It will depend on when the bees were gone, if they died soon after being shifted then it’s plenty of time for waxmoth to take over. 

at this stage no one knows so it’s all a guessing game for now. 

 

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1 hour ago, MikeyJB said:

Its a white filler called Parfix Gap Filler, its used via a caulking gun

Thank you, as it is acrylic, not likely to be giving off any toxic fumes much.

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53 minutes ago, frazzledfozzle said:

 

It will depend on when the bees were gone, if they died soon after being shifted then it’s plenty of time for waxmoth to take over. 

at this stage no one knows so it’s all a guessing game for now. 

 

The bees were seemingly good up til last thursday before the landowners went away. I would of expected with such large numbers of bees that they were annoying the neighbour they would of being keeping the moths at bay.

Any ideas on how to do more forensics? Would MPI do sampling? There is puddles of the gooey stuff

It would be a criminal offense if they had deliberately poisoned the hive.

 

Im hoping to get there next week. Its my understanding wax moth eggs take a week to hatch and then one to five months to complete their larvae stage. This hive was strong with no waxmoth infestation at last inspection at Xmas. I would not of thought numbers could build up in that short time to leave such a mess but perhaps you all can tell me somehow otherwise in practice.

At present from all your inputs especially you Fozzle, im thinking its nosema or a severe sudden onset gut dsyentery type disease caused by poisoning thats forced them to suddenly flee and die.

Im wondering if ant posion mixed in water may be to blame, with ants and bees sharing the same insect order of hymenoptera

Thanks

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As a hobbist often helping newbeeks, if last inspection was Christmas, I would be suggesting PPBK was the problem - its March for goodness sakes and I would never use a gap filler instead of a bit of wood to close down an entrance.

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