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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Sad day - Colony Collapse Disorder devastation to my beloved girls
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:07 PM   #1
OCT
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Default Sad day - Colony Collapse Disorder devastation to my beloved girls

Woke up to a beautiful Saturday morning yesterday which turned into a nightmare in a matter of minutes. As I walked out back to check our garden, hops and beehive, I noticed the reassuring hum from the hive was quiet and none of the girls had made it out of the hive, yet it was early morning and bees are known for sleeping in (can't blame them). As I approached the hive closer, it was eerily quiet and no sign of life. I quickly opened the hive and my heart immediately sank as I stared down into an empty, lifeless hive.

My father was a hobby beekeeper back in the 80s. My wife and I have been talking for a while now about starting a hive, mainly to help pollinate our large garden, as well as the hopes of making some great mead in the years to come. We spent early spring preparing a spot and hive and gathering all the necessities. The day came when we got our girls; it felt like we had a new member of the family. We even named our queen, Queen Vernadette Greenleaf. It was amazing each day going and sitting next to the hive and watching the little creatures. If you have never been around a hive, you are missing out on a beautiful thing. Their dances to each other to share food locations, the sweet smell from the hive, having one of the girls land on your hand and just stare up at you, it is truly an honor to be a part of their lives. Honeybees are very tame and gentle. Although they had a few setbacks throughout the summer, they were building a good colony to make it thru the winter. Then yesterday happened.

Will we give up? No. Although we are still fighting back tears of sadness from losing a family member, we are talking plans of establishing a new colony, or possibly two, next spring. I just want to let you guys know that CCD is a real problem we are facing. Without honeybees, there will be no mead. I want to encourage all of you to look into this devastating issue. There is much literature out there, along with some great documentaries which can be streamed online. We all love our mead, let us not forget who is really behind that sip of mead, the bees. Thank you for your time and good luck to all the other beekeepers out there fighting to keep these beautiful creatures thriving.

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Old 08-26-2012, 03:48 PM   #2
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Sorry for your loss.

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Old 08-27-2012, 06:18 PM   #3
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I too am sorry for your loss. I too am a bee enthusiast and run a company dedicated to improving the health and welfare of honey bees worldwide. If you don't mind, I am interested to learn a little more about the circumstances of the bee disappearance. Specifically, were all of the bees gone, including the queen bee? and second, when was the last time you checked the colony?

We have done a reasonable amount of research on CCD. It is a real and devastating phenomenon. CCD is essentially where the bees go off to forage, and never return. The bees that do not leave the hive, such as the queen, should still be present. If the queen is not present, the hive died because it was queenless, which is not considered CCD. If your entire population of bees disappeared, you have an issue, but it is not CCD. You need to be careful if you plan to reuse the same structure and make sure there is not a contamination issue there.

Good luck.

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Old 08-28-2012, 10:51 AM   #4
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newdwt said a lot.

You need a good inspection of your hive remains to determine what went on. Tennessee has an inspection program through the State. Contact the State Apairist and ask for a referal to a good inspector. Do this before the evidence is destroyed by wax moths.

CCD has become a catch phrase for hive die off, when actually there was other problems in the hive.


I hope you plan on continuing to keep bee's. If you do, develope a plan of action that includes taking a beginners beekeeping class from a group with a good success ratio from their graduates. Buy your bee's from someone who raises them near you. Ask around and you will find that beekeeper. I suggest a NUC hive with 4 frames of bee's and brood.

Remember to personally inspect your hive every 10 days through swarm season. Then reduce the inspections to every 2 to 3 weeks as the summer progresses.

Get to know the signs of Trachea Mites, Nosema, and brood disease's. Learn how to monitor for Varroa Mites and Small Hive Beetle.

If you want to succeed in bee's, you have to know them and what is going on in the hive.

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Old 08-28-2012, 12:09 PM   #5
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Sorry for your loss....:-(

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