DIY





Why Did My Bees Die?


| 3/3/2015 8:27:00 AM



Dead-outs.

That dreaded event in a beekeeper's world when an entire colony of bees dies in the hive.

It was a very sad day in mid-December when we found one of the colonies had died out. Every few weeks through winter, a warm enough day (50 degrees F) rolls around and there is an opportunity to check the hives. Typically we add candy boards during these checks as a supplemental food supply. Two of the three colonies were thriving but the third contained only dead bees. A sad day indeed.

After taking a moment to apologize to the queen, feel sorry for ourselves and the bees, I decided to learn from this unfortunate experience.

Deadout

What Happened?

It seems this is a winter malady. It can be related to the cold weather or evidence that the colony was weak. The best way to find out is to take the entire hive somewhere that you can do a thorough post mortem examination. Here are some things to look for:



Varroa Mites or Tracheal Mites

Look for bees with deformed wings. A "k" shaped wing deformity may indicate tracheal mites. Pick through the layers of debris on the bottom board and watch for signs of Varroa mites.



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