Home | About | Products | Blog

Hive 1 Day 6 - Dead bees on floor of hive!


#1

Day 4

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.

Day 5

Quick look in, everything looks good.

Hive1InteriorDay6.jpg

Bees are flying in and out, returning with saddlebags full of pollen.

Day6ReturningwithPollen.jpg

Day 6

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.

Hive1Day7DeadBees2.jpg

The bees on the comb look to be doing OK.

Hive1Day7DeadBees4.jpg

And a video:

th_Hive1Day7DeadBees.jpg

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.

Thanks,

Tom

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.


#2

Tom,

Sorry about the dead bees. The only things I can think of are A) Pesticides or B) Robbing. If the feeder was attracting other bees, and if they had a way in the “back door,” it could have been fighting that caused the deaths. Otherwise, I’d leave the feeder out and monitor it. If it’s pesticides there’s a decent chance it would affect the other colony (depending on whether they go to the same forage). The bees should clean out the dead ones as you witnessed.

Best,

Matt


#3

Matt,

Thanks for the confirmation. When I first opened the hive robbing was the first thing that came to mind. There is a back way in, through a gap between the last bar and end wall on the end away from the colony and between the follower board and the observation window. I’d seen my own bees go into that space between the window and the board. If it was robbing I think that it had ended by the time I opened things up as the bees weren’t agitated at all throughout my entire inspection. So my next thought was pesticides.

I’d rather it was a brief robbing incident than pesticides! I’ll monitor the situation with both hives and we’ll see how it goes. It’s raining here today so I imagine most of them will be staying home today.

Thanks!

Tom


#4

My warrae’ with Italians did the same Top bar with Russians only had less than a dozen . Some bees are older when we get I think and it’s just their time. Russians went to work right away building cons and sucking down syrup. Italians have been slower getting established .