How Did This Beehive Die? Help Me Figure It Out


  1. Any farms nearby? Possible chemicals they use? I thought I read of that happening to other hives. So sorry! Hope things improve.

  2. I have always been curious as to why you have bees on a Brooklyn rooftop when you have such a nice countryside place. Haha! I think your hive swarmed as there are no bees in there. When did you last check it in the fall?
    I think after the swarm left the yellow jackets found the remaining bees and with no queen the end result happened. This opinion is worth what you payed for it!😁

  3. Need to reduce moisture as much as you can. Just a little can ruin it. Check out the crazy Russian hacker Taras Kul YouTube channel, he had the same problem.

  4. May have been under attack many times and just drove them away or the queen was killed in 1 of these attacks late in the season and they could not make another queen before the cold set queen no army to fight back..terrible loss I lost 4 hives this winter 2 to bears and 2 to moth infestation..

  5. here is what I think happened u had a hive that was weak in population do to weather or other circumstances and then was robbed from a combo of other honey bees and hornets or wasps. my guess is u got robbed by hornets considering they left a lot of honey but no bees or larva. fall is a bad time for robbing always reduce entrances to ur hives and put on hornet gaurds. but even thoughs will not help with the small hornets so try making traps to catch them in. hope u have better luck with ur next hives.

  6. Maybe you should try to place the original foam on the side that would be the coldest and place a thinner one on some of the other sides.

  7. Sometimes when a queen dies and the new queen goes out for the mating flight she doesn't return she takes the hive to a new location. That could be what happened.

  8. I see this exact scenario all the time. Very few bees, lots of stores and no real evidence of what went wrong. You can rule out pesticide poisoning, with poisoning you all ways get thousands of dead bodies in and around the hive, and I mean thousands. One thing you didn’t address, on some of your brood frames there were quite a few singular patchy brood cells , I sometimes find AFB in those odd cells , I would certainly be having a poke around in them for evidence of AFB of any other brood disease for that matter (probably fine but just a precaution) However, this is what I often put these loses down to. Particularly with colonies that were nice and strong during the active season , because of its size and strength it builds high mite levels during late summer/fall , then all through the fall bees start gradually leaving the hive to die (as bees do), you end up with a sharp decline in population, the yellow jackets and hornets also start in, the colony gets very weak and eventually can’t sustain itself. What mite treatment did you use, if any, just curious. Also when was this hive last known to be alive, I would guess it died quite a while ago. (Early/mid winter perhaps) keep up the good work, I enjoy watching 👍🏼

  9. Eric: A weak hive is EVERYTHING. Like in all forms of life, it's the survival of the fittest. You can consider that the yellow jacket (which is a wasp) is like a hyena on the Serengeti. Once weakness is detected…..end of story. A strong hive will survive most anything.

    I thing we spoke about this particular issue previously. The majority of packaged bees originate from much warmer climates (Georgia, Florida, Texas, etc.). The queens, and resultant offspring, aren't genetically accustomed to northern states' climates. Throw in the Varroa mite on top of this and the downward spiral begins.

    I think "winter survived" NUC bees with some kind of Russian/Asian genetics is the way to go now for us northern climate (New York, Michigan, etc.) beekeepers. In all of this some day someone will figure all this out and win the Nobel Prize in entomology. Hoping sooner than later!

  10. Looks like an abscond or possibly a dwindle out depending on when you checked last in the fall. Don't worry about yellow jackets. They don't kill hives.

  11. Your yellow jackets are your clue. A queen being attacked will take her hive and leave. The small numbers of bees suggest they were fighting but most left. A healthy hive will produce queens but the resident queen will remain. The only time a new queen takes over is when the old queen is nearing the end of her life, then the new queen will come back and set up housekeeping. I had two hives do this, just up and leave. Again I believe the yellow jackets prompted a mass exodus. Just my observation.

  12. I don't see any cluster. It looks like the bees took a runner (absconded) earlier and what was left was robbed and yellow jackets won the fight. I had one last year that looked identical. Are you doing packaged bees or a nuc?

  13. Hi Eric. Always enjoy your videos! I think you’re certainly correct that it was a weak hive, that fought robbers losing even more of its already small population. The question is now maybe “what weakened it in the first place?”. In minute 6, you held a brood frame that didn’t look good. Bit of an older comb, super shotty / spotty pattern, some of the capped cells looked sunken and / or pricked open. This is not good…. and may hint at what caused the bees to dwindle. Sometimes a heavy varroa infestation will lead to this appearance (pms). These are also pretty classic symptoms of an AFB infection, though I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion yet. Maybe give that frame some extra attention. Look for white flakey guanine deposits in the upper edges of cells (sign of high varroa). Look for dark crusty scale in the bottom edges of brood cells (afb). prick open the capped brood cells and gently swirl a dry twig / toothpick and see if the dead pupa is gluey / mucousy/ ropey (also afb signs). I’m not jumping to this extreme at all, but I’d rule it out. Was that comb bought used from some other operation?? Didn’t see anything else like it in the rest of the hive… thanks as always for what you do. Andy

  14. Hypothesize a moment, What would the colony do if you subjected it to smoke long enough? They would gorge(rob their own stores) and leave. If the smoke continued long enough, they would stay gone long enough to die in the cold. The LACK of bees is a major clue, you can't say the colony died without evidence of them dying. There is evidence of them leaving and a PARTIAL robbing. Any other colony robbing those stores would've took everything and kept coming back till it was gone.

  15. Queen cells on the bottom of a frame are swarm cells. If they lost the queen, the cells would be on the surface of the frame where they attempt to make an emergency queen out of fresh larva. Hive may have swarmed last year and the new queen was poorly bred or never made it back to the hive after her mating flight. Something may have caused them to abscond late in the fall as well. Is the chimney beside the hive operational? The exhaust gasses may have driven them out. What was the condition of the hive when you last inspected it? We lost 9 out of 10 hives this year ourselves, but they all had clusters of dead bees in them as you would expect. The winter in Oho was long and harsh, and it still doesn't seem to be over.

  16. Either they absconded, which is part of the colony collapse disorder that is not yet understood or possibly they were attacked by yellow jackets as food though that is less likely that late in the season the yellow jackets should have already finished rearing brood and the queens would be setting up for hibernation. Definitely not a starvation or freeze out issue.

  17. last fall, the beekeeper should have come and sat for an hour or two, during the nectar flow. The beekeeper could then have decided if he saw, an ingress of yellow jackets attacking his hive. Thus the beekeeper should have seriously narrowed the entrance, to afford the bees the opportunity to guard the hive seriously. I believe when the beekeeper introduced the winter stores, (sugar), while still slightly warm, he could have sat by the hive and watched the activity for an hour to decide if his bees were going to go into winter ok or not. the bees absconded when under attack by a plethora of yellow jacket wasps, and felt no need to spend the winter under really adverse conditions. the bees could not see the wasps decreasing, but increasing because of the really plentiful honey stores, which in this case worked against the bees. also, the insulation on the sides is counter productive in boston, causing the bees to be active all winter using stores that would not be used if in torpor. Even in Siberia, they do not insulate the sides of the hive, but put a pillow in the top for insulation and condensation from metabolism. you do not have to have a leak for moisture, the moisture comes also from metabolism also. are his bees worth an hour of his time, for just watching and doing nothing? well yes in this case. thanks, just a lover of honey bees.

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