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Blackened combs

 
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Tash
New Bee


Joined: 06 Jun 2019
Posts: 3
Location: UK Herefordshire

PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:54 pm    Post subject: Blackened combs Reply with quote

Hi lovely bee friends! I’ve been away for a couple weeks and come back to find combs black and most of the bees dead ☹️ Some cells have nymphs in that are also dead, no sign of Queen and I’m just wondering what’s been going on?!? Any ideas please?
TIA
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1856
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

So sorry that your colony has declined.

Depending upon how old the colony is blackened comb can be normal. What was the history of the hive? Do you inspect regularly? When was the last time you inspected them? Were there any stores ie honey or pollen? What do the dead larvae look like? By nymphs I assume you mean larvae or maybe pupae?
Id there any significant debris on the hive floor which would indicate that they had been robbed. It is common for bees and wasps to target weak colonies at this time of year and rob them of their stores. The honey combs will usually show signs of damage where robbing insects have plundered them whereas a starving colony does not damage the comb. If they are an older colony and you haven't inspected for a while the darkened comb may just be natural maturation as generations of cocoons build up in the brood nest. If it is sudden darkening of the comb, I would ask if it smells bad? Dysentery and nosema cause diarrhoea which results in the bees soiling the inside of the hive but you will smell it if that is the case.

The most likely situation is that they swarmed earlier in the season and were left too small to survive and got hit by robbing and that finished them off and the blackened comb is just normal darkening and aging, but if the combs were new and pristine a few weeks ago and this was a swarm from this year then something more concerning may be afoot. Photos would help and a history of the colony.
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Tash
New Bee


Joined: 06 Jun 2019
Posts: 3
Location: UK Herefordshire

PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Sad
They were a swarm I found earlier this year and a month ago the combs were lovely and clean. Despite a slow start they seemed to be doing well. I’ve just read that the slow start maybe due to nosema. The combs do smell. There are very few bees left so I guess there’s nothing I can do?
It’s a shame, I really enjoyed watching them and I’ve learned so much.
Thanks for your help
Tash
(Sorry can’t post a pic yet)
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