Observation of colony collapse disorder in my beehives July 2010.

    I was able to see my hives collapse from what I believe was first onset to complete collapse. I am one of those beekeepers that can tell a lot from what’s going on at the entrance of the hive. And that’s where I saw that there was something wrong with the first hive. It was a clear sunny day about 101 degrees out and this hive had no bees taking flight. I knew there was something going on so I opened the hive it was well populated with 2 deeps and 6 shallows they where all covered with bees everything seemed ok except the lack of flying bees. The other hives where very active mostly haling water to keep cool but this hive had no activity at the entrance not even any guard bees. I closed it up went home.


The next trip to the bee yard I went to check the hive. It was full of honey but in just 3 days it had lost about half. It was a strong hive so it should not have lost any. There was now a lot of activity at the entrance they would come out in large numbers circling like they where new bees or when you move a hive but the numbers where more like they where swarming. I thought maybe they had swarmed taking the honey. So I took the hive apart when I got to the brood there was some that had died out on the edge of the frame it looked like it was from the heat. I found the queen and she seemed ok she was the same marked queen I put in so they did not swarm. There was still a lot of bees in the hive the mite level was low I could only find 2 in drone sells. Now I know something is wrong I put it back together and saw the same thing starting in the next hive. It was always a bit aggressive the queen had mated with Africanized bees so they where aggressive but still workable just took a bit more smoke. So after putting on my veil I started taking it apart it was also a good size hive with 2 deeps and 3 shallows. The first thing I could see was the same lack of flight but this hive still seemed to have guards although they did not seem very aggressive this time. There were a lot of bees and they had both brood and a queen. They were very gentle so it seems to change there behavior some how. They did not seem to defend there hive at all. Although there was strange things going on I still did not think it was CCD.


I was very busy at work and could not get out there for a week and in that time the first hive had lost its fight it had collapsed to the point where it was only a few bees and the queen. It was no longer able to defend itself from bees and wax moths. It had most of the honey robbed from the supers but still had plenty in the 2 deeps. It’s like the other hives around just stopped robbing it or by now they were too sick. There were only about 2 frames with bees and they seemed to act like a starving hives in winter except there are no dead bees in cells. There was a small amount of eggs and live brood and there was a lot of caped brood that died in there cells I think it was from not having enough workers to keep them cool. The other hive was still active with lots of bees flying in circles in large numbers they still was able to keep cool but there numbers had dropped. By this time I saw the same no flight thing in a hive at my house that is about 25 miles away from the other yard I think it came from my hive tool. I used the same one on it. By this time it was getting real hot out about 109 so the hive melted with all the new come on top running down suffocating most of the bees no brood survived there was a few bees that survived the meltdown along with the queen but they did not last long.


      I have kept bees in for over 35 years and I have only seen hives melt like that after they where sprayed or died out some how. This time there was enough bees to keep the hive cool but they still melted. Although this hive melted the lack flight the day before makes me think it was the same thing just bad time to get sick on a 109 degree day.


The next time I went out to the bee yard the first hive had met its demise no bees any where no dead bees no live bees just a few wax moths and they did not look very healthy either a lot of them seemed to have deformed wings. The second hive was doing better it was a mixed hive the queen was cordovan that mated with both African and cordovan and some black bee drones. So it used to have a mix of bees you would see cordovans and the grumpy ones would have well marked bands and some with no bands now only the black bee and some of the grumpy bees survived there were no cordovans. The queen is still there so I guess her mix of jeans seemed to save the hive although it lost a lot of its work force it did recover.


Well I did learn I want to try to get queens from survival stock and hive tools are cheep buy one for each yard. Use disposable gloves so nothing goes from one yard to another. If anyone knows how to kill it on tools besides eradiation email me and I will post it.


Scott Clark Beesville Bee Farm LLC
PO BOX 30785 Phoenix AZ. 85046




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