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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Boone County, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Mass Bee suicide?

    My hives have been doing well so far this spring: lots of bees, lots of activity on warm days, honey in the hives. The hives are set up on a large concrete pad and today despite it being only 45F with a 13 mph wind, there were a lot of bees walking around on the concrete, clearly dying off, not going back to the hives. It's clearly a very small percentage of the overall population in the hives but what's that all about?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Western new york
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Mass Bee suicide?

    I am new to this but it is my understanding that older bees would rather die outside the hive if the weather permits it it being colder outside they may not get as far so you notice more also could be they were fooled by warmer hive temperature if you have them painted dark or wrapped in something dark they think it's warmer than what it is take this with a big grain of salt because of my newbeek status it could be something different nosema possibly

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    1,081

    Default Re: Mass Bee suicide?

    How do their wings look? Crawlers is typically a sign of varroa. I think trachea mites (acarine) cause behavior like this as well? I had an entire hive almost die off last summer doing similar. I have no idea the cause. Their wings were fine but their abdomens were tucked under them so they looked kind of hunched and were crawling in the grass. I pulled the queen to put her in another hive that was queenless. Eventually, the death wore off and after emptying thick layers of dead bees for a few days straight they quit dying. Combined them with another hive and the queen I pulled out successfully overwintered. No idea what happened. It was a queenless swarm that I purchased a queen for...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Whitla Ab. Canada
    Posts
    556

    Default Re: Mass Bee suicide?

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    I had an entire hive almost die off last summer doing similar. I have no idea the cause. Their wings were fine but their abdomens were tucked under them so they looked kind of hunched and were crawling in the grass.
    You've described the symptoms of HMF poisoning. Did you boil your sugar syrup or HFCS or add some acid to change the ph?
    Colino
    But every sunday afternoon he is a dirt track demon
    In a '57 chevrolet- Jim Croce

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Hopkins, MI USA
    Posts
    217

    Default Re: Mass Bee suicide?

    HMF= hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) produced when High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is heated. (I had to look it up )
    Genetic Hackle Feathers http://www.ihgf.org/cf/
    Beginning beekeeping www.beekhq.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    1,081

    Default Re: Mass Bee suicide?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colino View Post
    You've described the symptoms of HMF poisoning. Did you boil your sugar syrup or HFCS or add some acid to change the ph?
    Colino
    Didn't feed them. They were a swarm and I put in a comb with some brood to anchor them and capped honey up top. At the time there were six hives in the same yard, no other showing any symptoms at all. Didn't seem like it was a "swarm" of sick bees that had absconded either.
    I caught the swarm in early June and this started happening about a month later.

    Thread:
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...icide-bee-kill


    Quote Originally Posted by thehackleguy View Post
    HMF= hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) produced when High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is heated. (I had to look it up )
    I know what it is. But I don't think it's just HFCS that can be the issue.
    Last edited by jwcarlson; Yesterday at 07:24 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,911

    Default Re: Mass Bee suicide?

    Perhaps there's another explanation. I've found that bees returning to an observation hive whose entrance tube is positioned such that the bees are forced to land on brick often get super chilled by the brick that retains the cold much more than grass, dirt, or wood. In your case, the high wind may have made the landing upon return less than ideal, which may have led to many more bees on the concrete where they could have gotten too chilled to fly again.

    Just a theory.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Hopkins, MI USA
    Posts
    217

    Default Re: Mass Bee suicide?

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post


    I know what it is. But I don't think it's just HFCS that can be the issue.
    You did but I find acronyms all the time on BS that I don't know so I figure there are others that don't.....I just decided to look it up and spell it out for those that don't
    Genetic Hackle Feathers http://www.ihgf.org/cf/
    Beginning beekeeping www.beekhq.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Whitla Ab. Canada
    Posts
    556

    Default Re: Mass Bee suicide?

    Quote Originally Posted by jwcarlson View Post
    Didn't feed them. They were a swarm and I put in a comb with some brood to anchor them and capped honey up top. At the time there were six hives in the same yard, no other showing any symptoms at all. Didn't seem like it was a "swarm" of sick bees that had absconded either.
    I caught the swarm in early June and this started happening about a month later.
    Things that make you go Hmmmm! Another one of those bee mysteries.
    Colino
    But every sunday afternoon he is a dirt track demon
    In a '57 chevrolet- Jim Croce

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Boone County, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Mass Bee suicide?

    The wings on my bees are fine. I think varroa is not likely as they were treated vigorously in Sept and Nov with OAV. Can't tell you about thoracic mites or nosema. There were a few out walking around on the concrete today but not many and I opened the hive tops to check stores and the hives are humming with lots of bees. One even stung me on the wrist, the ungrateful wretch.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,861

    Default Re: Mass Bee suicide?

    If the hives look fine I wouldn't be concerned, most likely just old bees. Having them on a concrete pad allows you to observe what you wouldn't have noticed had they been in a yard or pasture.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

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