Q – Three of the hives that died displayed PMS symptoms, the fourth I dropped while moving it on a cold evening- it lived for a little while and then died.
A – You included a comment and appreciate it as it helps with our tally. My favorite on one survey was lost 5 colonies when I backed my truck over them. Dropping them is also a good “reason”. Thanks for sharing comment.
Q-CCD is a serious problem!!!!!! Besides bee loss, the cost of beekeeping continues to rise which makes it difficult for most to continue or start.
A – You commented on CCD and the seriousness with rising costs of beekeeping. Beekeeping has never been ‘cheap’ and you are correct in that losing nearly 1/2 of the bee colonies each year due to CCD and other factors only adds to the cost by our need for replacement bees. As we started our work on CCD back in 2007 (when we defined the term) – and began to realize the extent and seriousness of overwintering (and active seasonal) losses, we thought there might be a single cause – that has proven to not be the case. Syndromes of losses like CCD and Bee PMS have been especially troublesome in our search for what might be the underlying factor(s) in the symptoms we see in the dead colonies.
With the heavier losses supply and demand factors of the marketplace have kicked in and people selling bees have realized with the demand that they can (and should) raise prices. I have been doing this for over 50 years – the pendulum has swung in one direction — it will swing back – if we live long enough to see it repeat past history. Bees and hive equipment will never be inexpensive but maybe more reasonable in the future.
Q-Some additional information that does not come up in the questionnaire: I lost 2 colonies last summer (around end of July, August). At first I thought it was due to AFB, but I have since come to the conclusion that it was due to mite infestation. An experienced beekeeper examined my hives and said he didn’t believe it was AFB. I didn’t treat for mites last spring, and I never did a mite count. But 2 of my colonies gradually got smaller and weaker and eventually just sort of disappeared. After that, I have since determined that I need to monitor for mites on a regular basis and did my first one a week ago – a powdered sugar roll.
A – You had a comment on your colony losses. It does sound like the situation (syndrome) we call Bee PMS – ugly (termed snot or cruddy) brood that can mimic some of the symptoms of AFB and population going downhill – it is indeed due to mites. You had a good read on the condition it seems. Hope this next season is a better one.