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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Puxico,Mo, USA
    Posts
    53

    Sad many dead bees and unusual behavior

    I need some help on trying to determine what is going on. I got 2 - 5 frame nucs installed may 22. one is fine, one slow and weak from beginning.

    noticed hive beetles within a couple of weeks and intalled screened bottom board with beetle trap. Weaker hive got a couple of beetles in trap and few larvae of something ( not sure whether it was beetle wax moth larvae- I think some of both) have kept trap in place all summer and have not had any evidence of SHB or any larvae.
    I am very concerned about slow growth of hive and have contacted company I got nucs from several times and they have not offered any solutions to help. they only suggest feeding sugar water.
    Finally, as it is getting so late in season, august 6 added second brood box to weaker hive. One weak later I took a frame of brood from the stronger hive and installed in the weaker on to help increase bee population. I have been feeding sugar water pretty frequently all summer and have stepped that up a bit in past couple of weeks, We have had 95 -100 degree days for 2 solid months and very little rain.

    since adding second hive box started getting many dead bees on the ground at entrance of hive has dramatically increased in past 2 days. several bees on the ground that are obviously in distress. exhibiting very strange behavior. they are struggling, severe shaking, turn round in circles-buzzing- and fall over on back. struggle to get upright and continue this. wings and bodies look normal, I do not see any mites on the bees that are behaving this way.

    on 8-6-10 added a super using super frames that were used to extract honey last year with comb left intact.-today bees are starting to work on those frames.

    hive box was new, had 5 new frames and 4 frames that were in hive I lost to a mouse last year. these 4 frames had been stored in freezer since april. they were partially drawn out and some had pollen in cells. I did not completely clean old frames-nuc supplier told me it would be okay to leave the comb and pollen for new bees to clean up and use and they said storing in freezer would kill anything harmful to bees.

    I am looking for anyone who can help me determine what is going on and what to do to correct it. Please if anyone can offer some advice-I would appreciate it.

    I am also very concerned about hive strength for winter. I am concerned they will not be strong enough to keep hive warm nor have enough honey stored.

    after reading many posts i am concerned about poison from the old frames I used? Except for the fact that I used 4 of the old frames in the second hive box put on the stronger hive installed about first of july on that hive and did not have this problem.
    Last edited by slwethrs; 08-15-2010 at 09:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,697

    Default Re: many dead bees and unusual behavior

    more than likely this hive will not survive.
    At this point, I can not guess what is wrong. It could be mites-have you done a count by either drop or alcohol? Just cause you can not see them does not mean they are not there.
    Another problem, especially if they are not taking feed properly is nosema. Fumagillin B and some pollen patties will help.
    It could also be viral. Maybe the person you got the nucs from had a bad mite problem, cleared it up, but now you are seeing the effects of viruses because of a mite problem earlier on.
    It could also mean a weak and failing queen

    either way....

    If this were my hive, I would not consider treating. At this stage of the game it is money down the drain. What i would do is shake the bees out in the field away from the hive, and let the healthy ones find their way back to your other hive. As for the brood in the weak hive, you have two choices, combine with the strong hive and hope it is not a viral problem which will make your healthy hive sick, or you can destroy the brood, clean up the comb and use next year.

    I am a firm believer in looking ahead. When the honey flow is starting, I am already looking for winter survival. When the bees come out of winter, I am looking at strength for the honey flow. At this time of year, if i look at a hive and question its winter survival based on how it is, or if i know it will not survive based on numbers, I shake the bees out, kill the queen and let them find a new home. Or I combine two weaker but heathy hives.

    Success in beekeeping or in any other farming venture is rarely measured in the $ you make. But rather the ability to make the hard decisions to keep your livelihood afloat. Culling is never easy but it is necessary.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,697

    Default Re: many dead bees and unusual behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by honeyshack View Post
    Success in beekeeping or in any other farming venture is rarely measured in the $ you make. But rather the ability to make the hard decisions to keep your livelihood afloat. Culling is never easy but it is necessary.
    Actually I lied...sort of. In the beginning culling is hard to do. You feel like a failure and you question your reasons for doing it. You question your ability to do the job proper. You also question your motivation for culling...for example, "if i fed a little more", "just one more chance" However, over time, culling gets easier. Especially when you see the benifits from it a few months or a few years down the road. The trick to doing it is not humazing the bees or cows (we have cows too) like we do our pets. Remember, that while the bees are "cute" they are livestock. They are not pets.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Puxico,Mo, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: many dead bees and unusual behavior

    Queen is supposed to be a young one, but I am thinking maybe she is not strong. Neither hive queen has been laying eggs as consistantly as I would have expected, but I wonder if the extreme heat this summer would affect her behavior. I thought mites would fall through the screened bottom board and I would find them in the bottom trap under the screen when they fall of the bees.

    they have been taking sugar water quite well when provided, consuming a quart within 1 1/2 days.

    thanks for your input-will check for mites asap

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,068

    Default Re: many dead bees and unusual behavior

    "Another problem, especially if they are not taking feed properly is nosema. Fumagillin B."

    As a rule I think it is best to treat all new arrivals of bees in this way. It is a slow killer and hard to note uuntil the hive is weak. Then it is an uphill fight.
    Do it when they arrive from the start and that is one thing you don't have to worry about.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Windham,Me,USA
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: many dead bees and unusual behavior

    I am just curious and am not expirienced with these symptoms,is it possible that this hive could have a high infestation of tracheal mite?
    this hive is taking syrup and not building.we do not know how the brood patern is or if there is evidence of brood disease.
    Do they have honey in the hive? Are they being robbed?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Ulster County, NY
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: many dead bees and unusual behavior

    We need some more info to help you diagnose. While it could be a variety of issues including nosema and poisoning, we need to know some more info. What does the brood look like, ect.? It sounds to me some of your bees may have found themselves in some pesticide, but that does not rule out other diseases.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Puxico,Mo, USA
    Posts
    53

    Cool Re: many dead bees and unusual behavior

    I appreciate all the input, the brood is fine, no evidence of any disease with brood, no evidence of any mite infestation. they take the sugar water just fine. Now I do not see the unusual behavior of the bees on the ground that are abviously dying, although there still is an accumulation of dead bees on ground it seems to be subsiding. May be due to pesticide. I guess time will tell if hive is to survive.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: many dead bees and unusual behavior

    When you say you see 'many dead bees' accumulating on the ground in front of your hive how many are you talking about? 15? 50? 300?
    how many new dead bees are there each day do you think?
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    431

    Default Re: many dead bees and unusual behavior

    Being hot and dry for two months there is a possibility the pollen they are gathering is of poor quality. Have you tried feeding a pollen sub also?
    Worth trying even though it is late. If it helps you won't see any improvement for about a month.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,299

    Default Re: many dead bees and unusual behavior

    If there is cotton or soybeans near your hives, have they been sprayed recently? I lost all my field bees 2 weeks ago to soybean spraying... heartbreaker, but discovered too late to help. Hives are finally rebounding.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

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