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Thread: Sick bees

  1. #1
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    Default Sick bees

    I have a hive with bees that appear to be sick. They leave the entrance and fall to the ground then thrash around, unable to fly. Their wings look normal. It is like they have been poisoned by some type of neuro toxin. Has anyone seen this type of behavior before?


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFWMRAO3eX8

    Vince

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sick bees

    My first thought is pesticide exposure. Gather a sample of dead bees and call your State Apiarist.

    Your description and your video don't jibe. If the bee in the jar came off the ground I'd say you don't have a problem. That looks like a healthy bee to me.
    "Most of my exercise comes from wrestling with pigs and beating dead horses."
    Mark Berninghausen



  3. #3
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    Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Sick bees

    What do your mite levels look like?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sick bees

    Just one hive?
    How many in that yard?
    How many dead bees?

    It does sound like some kind of poison, if it's only one hive I would be suspicious that some one wasp sprayed it, anyone around that might do that? Any smell coming from the entrance? Maybe a back yard gardener spraying.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sick bees

    I have 9 hives in my backyard behind a locked gate with dogs. No one could spray just one hive. I would guess there are about 300 dead bees. When I inspected it today I saw two more above the brood chamber flopping around on their backs. The bees symptoms are they can't fly, it looks like they lose all sense of up and down. When they come out of the hive they are rolling on their backs, sides, fronts etc. They try to fly, but just flop around like they are missing one wing. I will try and get a video of the inside of the hive tomorrow. When you see hundreds of them acting normally and a few flopping around on the top of the frames its obvious.

    Vince

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sick bees

    Quote Originally Posted by e-spice View Post
    What do your mite levels look like?
    This was a swarm capture a month ago, almost no detectable mites.

    Vince

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Sick bees

    I'm just guessing...
    It could be toxin of some kind.
    It might be IAPV (Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus).
    It might be Trachael mites.

    Like I said, just guessing here.
    "A good day is when no one shows up and you don't have to go anywhere." - Burt Shavitz (Burt's Buzz)

  8. #8
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    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
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    Default Re: Sick bees

    "Has anyone seen this type of behavior before?

    I have not. Apocephalus borealis, a parasitic phorid fly, may cause symptoms like you describe. If I were particularly curious, I would gather a few of the dead or dying bees in a ziplock and see if something hatches from the carcasses in a couple of days.
    That is, unless your bees are Russian.

  9. #9
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    essex, ma, usa
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    Default Re: Sick bees

    This sounds like pesticide poisoning. Call your states pesticide inspector and have them come take a sample of the bees for testing.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Sick bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    This was a swarm capture a month ago, almost no detectable mites.

    Vince
    What does "almost no detectable mites" mean? Just curious.

  11. #11
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    creek county oklahoma
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    Default Re: Sick bees

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    I'm just guessing...
    It could be toxin of some kind.
    It might be IAPV (Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus).
    It might be Trachael mites.

    Like I said, just guessing here.
    I had something similar back in 2009. It almost looked like seizures, on the ones inside the colony. Outside, bees were crawling away from the hive. I sent some off to Beltsville and tracheal mites and varroa mites were found. So probably a virus vectored by mites.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Sick bees

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    What does "almost no detectable mites" mean? Just curious.
    No mites on a stickboard after 24 hours. It does not mean there are no mites in the hive. I did not do an alcohol wash or a powdered sugar test.

    Vince

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Sick bees

    Whatever it was it seems to have passed. It's a long story but I re-queened the hive last week and added two frames of brook and some nurse bees (I used the newspaper introduction method). I don't know if it was pesticides or something they brought back, but I have not seen any sick bees in two days.

    Vince

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Sick bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    but I have not seen any sick bees in two days.
    That means you, we have no idea what it was. Well we have a hundred ideas but nothing conclusive.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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