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Help! Moldy comb, dead bees.

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  • David O.
    I bought some hives from a guy who is going to move from the area (Snohomish County, Washington). He said he checked a month ago and hive five hives were fine.
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 2, 2007
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      I bought some hives from a guy who is going to move from the area
      (Snohomish County, Washington). He said he checked a month ago and
      hive five hives were fine. When I bought them, we found three
      completely dead, and two had entrances with numberous dead bees.

      Some of the hives had a large super full of honey on top. We removed
      them from the dead hives and found some mold on the comb and pollen.
      In the dead hives, many bees were head first in the cells.

      What should I do with these frames of honey?
      - Extract it. (Not appealing.)
      - Feed it to the bees. (Will it make them sick?)
      - Clean them off and start over in the spring. (Seems like a waste,
      as much of the honey is still capped.

      The guy had homemade entrance reducers of aluminum bent at 90
      degrees. The entrace holes were only two 3/8" holes right next to
      each other. My guess is that the bees did not get enough air
      circulation, and condensation got to them.

      Temperatures have been freezing most nights, and in the 30s most
      days. And lots of rain. The hives were in a large pasture under a
      pine tree. It looked like a good location.

      I've cleaned out the dead bees from the entrace of the two hives and
      removed the entrance reducer, so there is an entrance full-width of
      the box. I did make sure the bees are facing slightly down to prevent
      rain from entering. They have solid bottom boards, not screened
      bottom boards.

      Any other recommendations? The hives with the dead bees are rather
      wet. I plan to dry them out and use them in the spring. Can I reuse
      the brood comb?

      Thanks much.
    • Dan&jan
      Possible causes: Foulbrood= destroy colony Mites= clean out dead bees and damaged comb, put honey supers on good hives, consolidate frames with honey into
      Message 2 of 5 , Jan 2, 2007
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        Possible causes:

        Foulbrood= destroy colony
        Mites= clean out dead bees and damaged comb, put honey supers on good hives,
        consolidate frames with honey into supers, check and treat for mites in
        spring.
        After cleaning extra hives and frames, store inside with PDB.
        poor ventilation= place 1/4 inch shims under outer and inner cover and leave
        hive entrance open. Consider screened bottom boards..
        Place hives in sunny drier location, especially if in coastal wet area.

        Ask seller for some $ back.

        Build up existing hives in early spring with pollen substitute and if
        colonies get strong split.

        Just some ideas- you will get many more I am sure

        Dan Veilleux
        in the mountains of NC
        zone 6a
      • Kalia Kliban
        ... That head-first thing sounds like the bees were too cold to move up to the stored honey in the supers and starved out while trying to get the last little
        Message 3 of 5 , Jan 2, 2007
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          David O. wrote:

          > I bought some hives from a guy who is going to move from the area
          > (Snohomish County, Washington). He said he checked a month ago and
          > hive five hives were fine. When I bought them, we found three
          > completely dead, and two had entrances with numberous dead bees.
          >
          > Some of the hives had a large super full of honey on top. We removed
          > them from the dead hives and found some mold on the comb and pollen.
          > In the dead hives, many bees were head first in the cells.

          That head-first thing sounds like the bees were too cold to move up to the
          stored honey in the supers and starved out while trying to get the last
          little bits of honey close to the cluster. Were the areas right around the
          dead bees completely cleaned out?

          It's worth looking for signs of foul brood on the brood comb that's still
          in the hives. I bought used gear and got stuck with foul brood my first
          time out. Not fun. Check for those little irregular perforations in the
          brood caps, and old dead brood with the tongues sticking out.

          > What should I do with these frames of honey?

          Somebody else may have suggestions for you on this one.

          Kalia
        • David Browder
          Yup, there s some rascals in the Bee Business. I m not there to see for certain, but maybe the mold is moth smegma?? If ya can t find any evidence of em
          Message 4 of 5 , Jan 2, 2007
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            Yup, there's some rascals in the Bee Business. I'm not there to see for certain, but maybe the "mold" is moth smegma??  If ya can't find any evidence of em being treated for mites I'd ASSUME the mites are what killed em. Put some strips in for mite (NOW!!) control and hope it isn't foulbrood. Couple of years ago I got some FREEBEES that resembled your situation, but like I said, I'm not there to see. Threw away all of the old comb, brood and super, wire brushed out the insides, brewed up a batch of Mead with the honey (Boiled that batch, turned out pretty good.).  Just hope it isn't foulbrood, guess you'll know by Spring. Maybe your state has a Bee Inspector in it's Ag. department??
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: David O
            Sent: Tuesday, January 02, 2007 11:26 AM
            Subject: [beekeeping] Help! Moldy comb, dead bees.

            I bought some hives from a guy who is going to move from the area
            (Snohomish County, Washington). He said he checked a month ago and
            hive five hives were fine. When I bought them, we found three
            completely dead, and two had entrances with numberous dead bees.

            Some of the hives had a large super full of honey on top. We removed
            them from the dead hives and found some mold on the comb and pollen.
            In the dead hives, many bees were head first in the cells.

            What should I do with these frames of honey?
            - Extract it. (Not appealing.)
            - Feed it to the bees. (Will it make them sick?)
            - Clean them off and start over in the spring. (Seems like a waste,
            as much of the honey is still capped.

            The guy had homemade entrance reducers of aluminum bent at 90
            degrees. The entrace holes were only two 3/8" holes right next to
            each other. My guess is that the bees did not get enough air
            circulation, and condensation got to them.

            Temperatures have been freezing most nights, and in the 30s most
            days. And lots of rain. The hives were in a large pasture under a
            pine tree. It looked like a good location.

            I've cleaned out the dead bees from the entrace of the two hives and
            removed the entrance reducer, so there is an entrance full-width of
            the box. I did make sure the bees are facing slightly down to prevent
            rain from entering. They have solid bottom boards, not screened
            bottom boards.

            Any other recommendations? The hives with the dead bees are rather
            wet. I plan to dry them out and use them in the spring. Can I reuse
            the brood comb?

            Thanks much.

          • David O.
            Thanks all for your suggestions. We did negotiate a fair price after finding that the bees were dead. It did not look like foulbrood to me- -at least the
            Message 5 of 5 , Jan 3, 2007
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              Thanks all for your suggestions. We did negotiate a fair price after
              finding that the bees were dead. It did not look like foulbrood to me-
              -at least the photos that I've seen. I've not seen an actual case. I
              did look like starvation from not leaving the cluster, which I have
              seen before. And I am certain there was insufficient air circulation.

              Here is my current plan:

              - Keep entrances clear in the existing two hives.
              - Add a shim to top cover for additional air circulation.
              - Add screened bottom boards as soon as I can make them.
              - Treat for mites when I start feeding.

              --- In beekeeping@yahoogroups.com, "Dan&jan" <montveil@...> wrote:
              >
              > Possible causes:
              >
              > Foulbrood= destroy colony
              > Mites= clean out dead bees and damaged comb, put honey supers on
              good hives,
              > consolidate frames with honey into supers, check and treat for
              mites in
              > spring.
              > After cleaning extra hives and frames, store inside with PDB.
              > poor ventilation= place 1/4 inch shims under outer and inner cover
              and leave
              > hive entrance open. Consider screened bottom boards..
              > Place hives in sunny drier location, especially if in coastal wet
              area.
              >
              > Ask seller for some $ back.
              >
              > Build up existing hives in early spring with pollen substitute and
              if
              > colonies get strong split.
              >
              > Just some ideas- you will get many more I am sure
              >
              > Dan Veilleux
              > in the mountains of NC
              > zone 6a
              >
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