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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Harrisburg, PA
    Posts
    35

    Question Bees throwing larvae out the front of the hive!

    As I watched the hive yesterday I saw two different bees, at two different time, dragging larvae about their own body size, out of the hive and disposing of them in front of the hive on the ground. I have watched them dispose of other debris before but never this.
    Both larvae seemed fresh and appeared viable, one even seemed to move when I touched it.
    Can anyone enlighten me on what they are doing and why?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default Re: Bees throwing larvae out the front of the hive!

    the two things that come to mind are 1) hygenic behavior or 2) starvation. hefting the hive should say yea or nay to 2).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Harrisburg, PA
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Bees throwing larvae out the front of the hive!

    They have LOTS of honey and pollen as well as sugar syrup and are foraging actively. I see them bringing in pollen. There is plenty of brood in all stages of development and they seem happy. The hive is heavy so I do not think they are starving.

    So, that leaves hygenic behavior. I have not read of this behavior. Could these be larvae that have been infested with varroa? (The bees are Russian/Carnolian.) What else could cause the workers to decide these larvae are not good?

    I am reading everything I can get my hands on but obviously have a great deal more to learn. I appreciate any and all insight. It is obvious that there is a deep reservoir of knowledge here and I am glad folks are willing to share.
    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Frederick, MD
    Posts
    167

    Default Re: Bees throwing larvae out the front of the hive!

    I've had this happen before, actually it was an accident that I saw it. I had a few frames out and happened to look down and a larva had just fallen down to the screen. I saw a worker grab the larva and attempt to get it up to the brood nest and it just couldn't do it. So the worker pulled the larva right out to the edge and seeeeeee ya! I guess the bee figured if it couldn't get the larva back into the cell it was pointless.

    Again this was just my observation on what happened with my hive. If you had only 2 larva than it doesn't seem like a big deal.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    knoxville, tn
    Posts
    647

    Default Re: Bees throwing larvae out the front of the hive!

    I have seen them carry out larvae after doing an inspection, most likely I mashed some or tore open the cap.

    Keep us posted as to what you find.

    G3

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ovid, New York, USA
    Posts
    134

    Default Re: Bees throwing larvae out the front of the hive!

    Wow. I will watch for this. Thanks for your observations. We all learn from them.

    Nancy
    Ovid, NY

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    CapeCod MA
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: Bees throwing larvae out the front of the hive!

    2 is nothing to worry about as your hive sound healthy, chalk brood can cause removal as can other issues but I think you would see more like 50 +

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    155

    Default Re: Bees throwing larvae out the front of the hive!

    I saw this happen when my hives had varroa mites. A few is not a big deal, but you may want to check your mite population.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Sawyer, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,115

    Default Re: Bees throwing larvae out the front of the hive!

    This is exactly the kind of behavior that queen breeders are trying to develop. The bees sense the presents of varroa in the pupating larva and remove them. This behavior will keep varroa population under control. Where did you get your bees form?
    The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lee\'s Summit, MO
    Posts
    1,321

    Default Re: Bees throwing larvae out the front of the hive!

    You ought to see the amount of larva and pupa thrown out front when you re introduce a frame of thawed drone brood back into the hive. There's a pile of white (larva) and black (pupa) out front the next day. It's normally gone by the next morning though. Critters come by for a night snack but don't bother the hives otherwise.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    155

    Default Re: Bees throwing larvae out the front of the hive!

    To Brent Bean. I am not sure if you were asking me about my bees, but that was 4 years ago. I had lost those colonies some time ago. They were packaged Italians from Willebanks. They didn't make it though a very tough winter that first year. I was brand new to beekeeping and didn't know much.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Harrisburg, PA
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Bees throwing larvae out the front of the hive!

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Bean View Post
    This is exactly the kind of behavior that queen breeders are trying to develop. The bees sense the presents of varroa in the pupating larva and remove them. This behavior will keep varroa population under control. Where did you get your bees form?
    I was blessed to get a nuc from Bjorn Apiaries.

    http://www.bjornapiaries.com/

    Mike has quite an impressive operation and is a terrific guy as well.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Greenville, NC, USA
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Bees throwing larvae out the front of the hive!

    I see this is an old thread but it's new to me. I did a hive inspection yesterday and everything looked great; lots of brood and eggs. This morning @ 0800 I checked the Bee Yard and saw lots of white specs. When I looked closer I saw about 60 larva and pupa on the ground in front of the hive. Has anyone got ideas beyond hygienic behavior? I don't remember banging any of the frames but I did remove every one and take a picture. Do I need to collect some and check for mites and will mites be on pupa?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cary NC
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Bees throwing larvae out the front of the hive!

    I have observed the same behavior this week. Workers removing larvae and pupae? Inspected last night and frames full of eggs and larvae, nothing unusual.
    I suspect it is good hygenic behavior. A week of constant rain may have caused some issues.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Carlton, GA, USA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Bees throwing larvae out the front of the hive!

    Thanks for reviving an old thread. I noticed the same thing with my hive yesterday.

    A little back story:
    This is my second year as a beekeeper. I only have one hive which I purchased after the honey flow last June. It built up well over the summer and I had one full honey super by late October. Everything was textbook. I took one frame out for me and left the rest for the bees to overwinter.

    My first mistake, which I didn't realize until this spring, is that I left too many honey supers on top through the winter. I didn't check the bees until February and found the population had greatly diminished. I've read that it is normal for that to happen. Upon inspection, I couldn't find a queen or any new eggs... only large larvae and capped brood. No queen cells to be found either. I was told by another local beekeeper that it is possible that there might have been a new queen that didn't survive the mating process. He sold me another queen and things started looking up.

    My next mistake is that once the hive got built back up again I decided to try a split. At this point I had two brood chambers and one super on top. I took one medium brood chamber, purchased a new queen and made the split. The queen and her workers didn't survive. I found them dead in their cage the following day and all of the bees had left. The guy I got the queen from said if I could get up a hive body of bees together, he would take them to his bee yard and load it with more bees and let them raise a queen there. I did it and all of my bees vacated the box in his yard. At this point my hive has dwindled down to barely enough bees to fill one hive body and I still have two medium brood chambers and one super on top. The problem now is that there weren't enough to defend against wax moths. I lost the two upper hive bodies completely to them and had to condensed the hive down to one brood chamber. The bees rebounded and took control of the hive once again.

    And now:

    I am now back up to two medium brood chambers and they are full of bees

    I had checked it about a week ago and didn't notice anything unusual. Most of the frames had been drawn out and filled with eggs and all stages of larvae with honey and pollen on the outside. After seeing lots of dead larvae lying on the ground in front of the hive yesterday evening I got concerned. I checked it this morning and found that the entire upper brood chamber has been almost completely torn down and 90% of the brood have been removed. It looks like the bees have taken down most of the drawn out comb down to the foundation with only a few patches of capped brood left which I imagine will be removed soon. The honey and pollen remained untouched. I moved to the lower brood chamber and found it to be intact. The only problem is that I couldn't find the queen, which isn't unusual for me, and no new eggs. Only small curled larvae on up to emerging bees. There are still lots of workers. Almost all of the frames were covered. And like bbkeeper mentioned above, we too have had a lot of rain lately. Do I need to re-queen? Or is there something else I should be doing? (like basket weaving or model airplane building)

    Please help this frustrated and discouraged new beekeeper.

    Thanks in advance for any pearls of wisdom anyone has to offer.

    Threesons

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Orangeburg,South Carolina,USA
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Bees throwing larvae out the front of the hive!

    I noticed the same thing today. Yesterday I installed some SHB traps on the brood super because I noticed a few SHBs the last time I inspected. Today I went back to the hives to watch the bees coming and going (therapy) when I saw a bee drag out a larvae and dump it over the edge. Upon closer inspection in front of the hive I saw the remains of five other larvae. I don't intend to do anything just yet except monitor that hive. Otherwise the hive seems fine. It is only one month into a five frame nuc transplant but the bees are very active and pollen loaded upon returning from foraging.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Carlton, GA, USA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Bees throwing larvae out the front of the hive!

    Now that you mention it, I had installed a SHB trap in mine about 2 weeks ago for the same reason. When I opened my box Saturday there were quite a few hiding in the nooks and crannies. Do beetles attack larvae or have some affect on them to make workers eject them from the hive?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Greenville, NC, USA
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Bees throwing larvae out the front of the hive!

    I went back into my hive yesterday (15 days since last inspection) and everything looked good except high population of SHB. I added another trap and fresh oil to the first trap... this morning I'm seeing larvae on the ground again. I'm thinking that I might have spilled some oil that contaminated the brood below and now the housekeepers are throwing out everything that is contaminated. Bee careful lifting/setting down the SHB traps to prevent oil spillage... and pray that's what it is.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Orangeburg,South Carolina,USA
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Bees throwing larvae out the front of the hive!

    Thanks for the tip regarding care in placing traps. I suspect you are correct in that spilling oil on brood cells would cause the housecleaning crew to start over. I placed my traps on the outer side of the outer frames in case I spilled the oil inserting them onto the frame. If the picture uploads correctly you can see my trap mounted. I am going to check the traps tomorrow weather permitting.

    SHB trap.jpg
    BeeRanger

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Amherst Virginia USA
    Posts
    146

    Default Re: Bees throwing larvae out the front of the hive!

    I too have had a few (2-3 at a time) of aborted bees on the ground just in the past week or so....lots of rain here off and on for the past month. Hive seems to bee doing well...had shb in the beginning of the season but the hive has taken care of them and I haven't seen anymore. I only have 1 hive and this is my first year

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