I have lost one of my bee-hives! 🐝

WannaBeHillBilly

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Ants are unsightly and bother the beekeeper more than the bees. You could put some ant bait traps under cans and cups, the ants will get under them and get to the bait. When a hive dies out and ants move in new beekeepers assume the ants caused the hive to fail.
Looking at the video the ants dont bother me so much as the hive population does. To be honest it looks weak. Get your smoker lit, take your time and count how many frames of brood are in the hive. Start at frame 2. Record what is on each frame. Is it all eggs, capped brood, or mixed? What does the brood pattern look like? Spotty or solid? If you see all or mostly eggs on the frames you have a new queen and the colony swarmed 3 to 4 weeks ago and needs to build back up. If you have no eggs and all capped brood, your new queen hasn't started laying yet. Swarming puts a big ding in honey production because even after the new queen completes mating flights and starts laying it's another 21 days before the new round of brood emerges.
Thank you very much for sharing your pictures! - I'm unable to do anything with that hive right now due to the severe weather we have, i live somewhere in that blue spot and we have Thunderstorms the whole day long, some with hail, some with torrential downpours and some with scary wind gusts:
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But i have checked all the frames in both brood boxes yesterday:
Lower Box: The two center frames were almost completely filled with capped brood, some open cells in the center, which i assume have hatched that day. Then came two frames on each side with capped brood in the center, open cells around with larvae and further out cells with eggs, followed by pollen and honey cells. The whole thing looked like a target board with rings. The outside frames were filled with pollen and honey, no eggs, larvae or pupae.
Upper box: Looked pretty much the same, except the bees have only used the lower half of the frames and kept the uppermost cells empty. Maybe this is a work in progress?
It looked pretty much like the textbook hive structure, everything in concentric sphere-layers.

What is the purpose of the wax structures that the bees are building between the upper and lower frames and those dangling from the lower frame? Those were neither swarm- nor queen cells, it looked more like they tried to build frames between the frames.
I have definitely seen drone cells however. They literally stick out of the frame. 🤣 Little phat boyz!

I have ½ pollen-patty in the fridge, should i give that to them to help them feed their brood?
Also, i have harvested some wax from the other hive's remains. It has been cooked and cleaned, does it help the bees if i give them some of it?
 

Field Bee

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What is the purpose of the wax structures that the bees are building between the upper and lower frames and those dangling from the lower frame? Those were neither swarm- nor queen cells, it looked more like they tried to build frames between the frames.
I have definitely seen drone cells however. They literally stick out of the frame. 🤣 Little phat boyz!
There's burr, bridge, and brace comb. The wax between the frames is bridge comb so they can walk to the next hive body. They will sometimes fill it will honey, other times drone brood. Burr comb is wax that they fill areas that are larger than 3/8" or just random comb like on the inner cover. Brace comb is all the little pieces of wax connecting the comb to the cavity (hive body or tree). It keeps the comb secure from hitting each other during a windstorm if they are in a tree.
I have ½ pollen-patty in the fridge, should i give that to them to help them feed their brood?
Also, i have harvested some wax from the other hive's remains. It has been cooked and cleaned, does it help the bees if i give them some of it?
Pollen subs and patties were developed to artificially boost brood production for pollination contracts. It's usually fed in late winter. I tried them once and didnt see any difference between hives I fed the patties and hives I didnt. Some research has shown it can shorten the life of workers. I dont feed them. During a nectar and pollen flow they won't use them anyway, and they're like candy bars to hive beetles. Some beekeepers claim bees will recycle wax cappings others say no. I never saw bees recycle wax of any kind; they definitely won't use processed wax.

With a strong nectar flow and your hive description, which sounds very good, I have no idea why they are losing honey. Im stumped. I would requeen.
 

WannaBeHillBilly

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I have dumped the reject from the wax cookout into my future berry garden, so the bees can decide if they want to recover some of the wax. They were pretty interested in that stuff before the next round of Thunderstorms came through… What they don't want will be used as fertilizer when i have the time to dig up the strawberry rows.

So the bees are actually lazy! 🤣 - Building bridges between the boxes as shortcuts.

There was no comb on the inner cover, my inner cover (particle board) has two different surfaces, a rough and a smooth one and i was told to put the rough one down. The explanation i was given is that any condensation forming on the inner cover at night would not assemble into drops and drop down into the hive but will be absorbed into the particle board and then evaporate during the day.

Re-Queen? - That would require to buy a new queen, hunt down the old queen, kill her and install the new queen, right? I have not been able to identify the queen yet. 😣 And i'm not sure if i can. And can you buy queen-bees right now at this time of the year?

I still stick with my ant-war theory, as said there were piles of dead ants on the bottom-board before i dropped it on top of the brood box… I will install some ant-traps (when the weather allows m,e to leave the house) and examine the hive again in two weeks. The bees seem to be very happy with the screened hive bottom, so far no bearding and it is hot and humid here like in a sauna even though we have one T-storm after the other.
 

Field Bee

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There was no comb on the inner cover, my inner cover (particle board) has two different surfaces, a rough and a smooth one and i was told to put the rough one down. The explanation i was given is that any condensation forming on the inner cover at night would not assemble into drops and drop down into the hive but will be absorbed into the particle board and then evaporate during the day.
I just put about a 1/4" pitch foward on the hive. The only time you get a lot of condensation is in the winter.
Re-Queen? - That would require to buy a new queen, hunt down the old queen, kill her and install the new queen, right? I have not been able to identify the queen yet. 😣 And i'm not sure if i can. And can you buy queen-bees right now at this time of the year?
Yes. You can buy queens until fall. Packages and nucs are generally early season.
 

WannaBeHillBilly

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OK, i must correct the result of my sugar-roll test from Saturday: I cleaned up the last stuff today, and when i dissolved the remaining powdered sugar in the mason-jar i found two varroa-mites.
I will repeat the test in two weeks and depending on the result will do a powdered sugar treatment with the hive.
 

WannaBeHillBilly

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I just put about a 1/4" pitch foward on the hive. The only time you get a lot of condensation is in the winter.

Yes. You can buy queens until fall. Packages and nucs are generally early season.
Not here! - We have something like 34° (90F) and 70-80% humidity during the day and then the temperature goes down to 20° (68F) overnight, knocking the water-vapor out of the air. Everything is wet in the early morning hours, even the ducks act as condensation-cores. 🤣
And yes, i have the hive-stand pitched forward a little bit so that rainwater would drain out. Now with the screened bottom that is not so important, but i didn't change anything with the hive-stand on Saturday. One of the beekeeping neighbors visited and told me i should build a different type of hive-stand: Build two cinder-block stacks and run treated-wood landscaping posts between them, like so:
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The treated wood keeps the ants and other pest insects away. Also my hive stand is to low. Here in WV the soil is so wet, the hive should be at least 1½' off the ground.

Still learning…
 

Honeybee Hill

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Sorry I'm late to the thread!

I use food grade diatomaceous earth in copious amounts under my hives to avoid ants and earwigs. (ugh earwigs give me the heebeejeebees) Dearth is a good time to give your bees a little help, I'm in NY and many of my friends feed their bees at this time of year, I give pollen patties just lay one over the top frames. The girls seem to like them, and the lack of available resources seems to have little effect.

I lost one hive this year about a month ago, It was not a really strong hive to begin with, so I expected issues, but the true cause of the demise was birds. Guineas and turkeys apparently sat in front of the hive like a kid at the candy counter. I saw the Guineas, my neighbor told me she saw turkeys at them as well.

I don't spray anything around my yard, and as far as weeds go, I mow around the hives with a push mower, in my bee suit. Yes it's hot, yes it takes forever, and yes, I'm a little crazy...but it works, and mowed weeds look like lawn (to me :lol:)
 

R2elk

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I lost one hive this year about a month ago, It was not a really strong hive to begin with, so I expected issues, but the true cause of the demise was birds. Guineas and turkeys apparently sat in front of the hive like a kid at the candy counter. I saw the Guineas, my neighbor told me she saw turkeys at them as well.
My guineas are separated from my hives but the bees do get eaten when on the milkweed and sweet clover in the guinea pen..Fortunately there are a lot more bees than the guineas can eat.

My turkeys will sit on top of the beehives but are not eating the bees. In the past I have had problems with Western Kingbirds, a single minded Mountain Chickadee and some Northern Flickers. The latter tried enlarging the hive entrance.
 

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