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What to do with a collapsed / absconded hive?


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I opened one of my hives yesterday to find it was basically empty! (I did some experiments on the dozen odd bees that remained and none of them appear to be capable of flying).

 

So I assume the hive swarmed and the non flyers got left behind.

 

The hive definitely did not have AFB/Sack Brood or foul brood. (I got it inspected by a respected member of my local club).

 

It was suffering from a high Varroa population - so I can only assume they swarmed because the Varroa numbers became unmanageable. I had fitted Bayvarol strips a week earlier, but it must have been to little to late.

 

Anyway my question is, what should I do with the now empty hive/frames?

 

I understand that transferring disease is a big concern, but if I know it only suffered from Varroa can I just take steps to deal with all the Varroa - then I could put the drawn out frames in my good hive to save them some work.

 

My understanding is freezing the frames until they are solid (2-3 days) will ensure any remaining Varroa is killed off. Can I then just defrost them and put them in the good hive?

 

My other thought was, if I just close the hive up and treat it with oxalic acid a couple of times over winter, could I then just open it in the spring and wait for a swarm to turn up?

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What to do?

 

Get your money back.

 

As you were told in your last thread, that nucs chances of survival were virtually zero even with treatment, and you were advised to ask for your money back or new bees. Now it has happened I am surprised the seller has not done the right thing.

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@Mr Takahashi I am not up to date.

 

Do you have plastic frames?

Plastic frames are easy to clean from unwanted comb(i.e. patchy, dead brood).

 

Assuming as you say your empty colony had no other disease then varroa problem so you can use those frames.

You do not need to freeze the frames. The varroa mite lives on the bees' haemolymph. No bees on those frames = no food for the mites. So they will die soon from starving, ...if any.

 

Maybe you can use 1 or 2 frames with pollen or honey for the other hive/s and if not just store those frames and the gear till spring.

In spring you can split your other hive and fill this box again with bees.

 

If you have too much food in those frames and you do not have room in any other hive here is a tip.

-chose the hive you want to give some food to and remove the lid and the hive mat

-make a hole in the hive mat(my ones have a 28mm hole in the corner) or alternatively put away the hive mat and cover the frames with a plastic sheet. At the rear end(opposite to the entry) leave a 60-70mm gap(I mean to do not cover the rear end of the hive)

-add the box that you have from the empty colony

-put in this box the frames with food(use your hive tool to scratch the comb many times if capped)

-if you used your hive mat with a hole in it then now add a plastic sheet to cover this last box. If you used a plastic sheet and you still have the hive mat then use the hive mat now and cover this last box. Add the lid.

 

The bees will move up to the food and will bring it down into their "home". They will not consider "home" the top box.

 

Put those strips(treatment) into the other hive/s.

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What to do?

 

Get your money back.

 

As you were told in your last thread, that nucs chances of survival were virtually zero even with treatment, and you were advised to ask for your money back or new bees. Now it has happened I am surprised the seller has not done the right thing.

 

The BK who supplied the nuc is going to supply a replacement in spring. That still leaves me with an empty hive that I can try an use to improve the other hive.

 

@Mr Takahashi

 

Do you have plastic frames?

Plastic frames are easy to clean from unwanted comb(i.e. patchy, dead brood).

 

Assuming as you say your empty colony had no other disease then varroa problem so you can use those frames.

You do not need to freeze the frames. The varroa mite lives on the bees' haemolymph. No bees on those frames = no food for the mites. So they will die soon from starving, ...if any.

 

Some plastic some wooden.

 

I was under the impression that Varroa could "hibernate" for months without food.

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The BK who supplied the nuc is going to supply a replacement in spring. That still leaves me with an empty hive that I can try an use to improve the other hive.

 

 

 

Some plastic some wooden.

 

I was under the impression that Varroa could "hibernate" for months without food.

Bio security peps say 5.5 days max away from the bees.... FAQs related to Varroa Mite | MPI Biosecurity New Zealand

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OK well once the last of the bees in the nuc have died the varroa mites will die within a few days. The combs will be infested with DWV but if put into a varroa free hive the bees can gradually clean it up. During the winter the combs should be stored in the open not an enclosed box so wax moths will not destroy them. If you do get any wax moths in them, yes deep freeze.

 

Your "good" nuc, do you have any pics specially showing the brood, and how many bees?

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Mr Takahashi, you're far too trusting.

 

 

Kinda brave waiting till spring with no hive and no money....

 

Exactly. And given the quality (not) of what you were supplied, you might be waiting six months to get another dud.

 

Get your money back and buy in spring from a different beek.

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Perhaps I am too trusting - but the guy wants to make things right and I would like to give him a chance.

I've told him that if the weaker hive doesn't make it through winter then he will be expected to bring two new nucs in spring.

If those nucs were not up to scratch then we will have to have a discussion.

 

For those who are interested, here are photos of all the interesting frames from the dead hive:

frame2b.jpg.8c9f4c1d13ae6f4136c85eda3a9e73f7.jpg

 

And the bottom board:

base.jpg.2a1db504fcd43191ba87b3fbc29c3770.jpg

 

This is the least drawn out frame from the other hive, I'm thinking I should swap this for one of the honey frames above...

frame3a.jpg.7259f4ca6fb4ec030becf7848b76a1fa.jpg

frame1a.jpg.ec1b2add88a6b4fa1a851c1d9b97bb77.jpg

frame1b.jpg.3833052ff85851251f0cc2e481baf0f0.jpg

frame2a.jpg.3ee8dfa550ca2e7950ccf955332277d0.jpg

base.jpg.2a1db504fcd43191ba87b3fbc29c3770.jpg

frame1a.jpg.ec1b2add88a6b4fa1a851c1d9b97bb77.jpg

frame1b.jpg.3833052ff85851251f0cc2e481baf0f0.jpg

frame2a.jpg.3ee8dfa550ca2e7950ccf955332277d0.jpg

frame2b.jpg.8c9f4c1d13ae6f4136c85eda3a9e73f7.jpg

frame3a.jpg.7259f4ca6fb4ec030becf7848b76a1fa.jpg

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Every single nuc that leaves our property for sale is inspected the day it goes out the door. This nuc should never have been sold.

The seller has either sold it knowing that it was stuffed, or not bothered to check it before it went, which in book is just as bad.

 

It annoys me intensely that people can advertise and sell bees under the guise of beeing a " pro" beekeeper when in fact they are shonky dealers making money off unsuspectng new keepers.

 

I hope it all works out OK for you in the end.

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@Mr Takahashi, I already detailed an easy way to feed back that honey to the other hive. Those plastic frames with honey are 3/4 while the other brood frames are FD. This is pain, use one size only in the future.

The wooden frames with the dead brood have to be rendered as soon as you can. And later in the winter you can rewire and fit new wax sheets in them.

The good news is, you have a nice bottom board.

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@Mr Takahashi, I already detailed an easy way to feed back that honey to the other hive. Those plastic frames with honey are 3/4 while the other brood frames are FD. This is pain, use one size only in the future.

The wooden frames with the dead brood have to be rendered as soon as you can. And later in the winter you can rewire and fit new wax sheets in them.

The good news is, you have a nice bottom board.

 

thanks for your answers Kiwi Bee, while I think I follow what you are saying, I have three questions:

1. Why do I feed the honey to the bees instead of just putting the frame in the box with them? If not the 3/4 ones then why not the full depth one?

 

2. Why do the brood frames need to be rendered down asap? Why can't I put them in the other hive?

 

3. Why not just put the whole empty hive on top of the good one, then they can just expand into it? And if that isn't a good idea now due to winter, would it be a good idea in spring?

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1. Offering food the queen will keep laying and the other hive will stay strong. If you just put the frames into the other hive they will consider it as a store however if they will have to process it(move from one frame to another) then it will be considered as a foraging so the queen will keep laying. Read the method in my earlier post - the bees will have to move the food through the hole in the hive mat so from outside to inside of their home.

 

2.Those frames have dead brood in there. You do not want to keep/store that for too long. It is autumn and the honey flow is over so the colonies do not have the power to deal with that mess(too much now in autumn and even in the spring it will take time and can cause disease), especially not a nuc. So I will not put those frames in the other nuc.

 

3. same like #2. The good hive can deal with the end of the season and prepare for the winter but do not expect now in the autumn to deal with more rubbish frames. They will not expand into it now because their instinct says it is time to reduce the size of the colony and get into winter. I will not keep those frames with dead brood till spring.

 

Reading other threads too you will see how as right now some of the other bkpers have colonies where the bees kicked out their drones. It means the bees are preparing for winter, they do not have plans for expanding. So you do not want to give them a large home made from 2 or 3 or 5 boxes. If it is one box full of bees that is fine.

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