When checking on the hive through the window everything looked OK, but I saw a bee that was acting like an insect that had been poisoned. Erratic, flipped over onto its back and then righted itself a couple of times, eventually moved out of view. Nothing out of the ordinary seen from the other bees in view. Decided there wasn’t anything I could do but wait and see what happens.
Quick look in, everything looks good.
Bees are flying in and out, returning with saddlebags full of pollen.
Rhonda goes out to look in on the bees as she’s been out of town all week. Comes back and tells me there’s a bunch of dead bees on the floor of the hive. Stunned, I go out to look and document.
Things look normal around the entrance, with bees coming and going. The bees do not seem to be agitated at all.
I open up the top bars above the feeder, and sure enough, there are dead bees all over the hive floor, as well as what appears to be live bees grappling with possibly dead bees. On such pair the bee holding on to another bee lifts off and flies out of the hive, carrying the other bee with it. The opening was over the feeder, which I’ve removed because their using it had slowed way down after the first day.
The bees on the comb look to be doing OK.
And a video:
Other than the dead bees, everything looks good. I’m puzzled and worried. My wife and I suit up so we can lift up the bars with comb and see how things are going, hoping to see the queen or possibly larva as it’s too soon to see any capped brood. We even remembered to have smoke ready, but we didn’t really need it.
The bees were very calm. We didn’t see the queen (Rhonda thought she had a glimpse but decided it had been a drone.) We did have one instance of crossed comb, with comb from one bar curving over from another. We gently parted it and I straightened it out.
Using my finger to gently nudge bees over on a couple of combs I saw that we had nectar and pollen but I didn’t see any eggs or larvae. Mind you, I didn’t make a lot of effort to find any, such as brushing all the bees off a comb or anything like that. The bees are calm and working away. From everything I’ve read if they were queenless they’d likely not be happy campers by now and I’d know it.
There’s nothing for me to do right now but wait and see. We’re expecting rain tomorrow; I may try to look in the window when I get home from work but if not, Tuesday.
The only thing I can think of is that they got into a pesticide somewhere. If anyone has any ideas as to what may have happened here I’d love to hear them!
On a related note, we hived our second package after this inspection of our first.
P.S. I’ve gone back out and watched the hive for a bit; saw bees carrying dead bees out of the entrance and to the ground, so they’re cleaning up the hive.