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  1. #1
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    Mar 2011
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    Default Lots of dead bees around my hive

    I check my hive almost daily and last week I've found lots of dead/alive bees over the ground. So I brushed them all away with a broom. Today, I come back and there's even more dead bees! Like a blanket. So I recorded a quick video to share this, is this unusual? You can see a lot of them are dead and some are wandering around. Also, I saw the queen fly out of the hive today and flew in circles about 10 feet up above the hive. Mating? I see drones.

    EDITED VIDEO:
    http://youtu.be/vSpHAc5Tstg

    EDIT: This is a overwintered hive by the way.
    Last edited by BugBoy; 04-13-2012 at 05:06 PM. Reason: new video
    "Tart words make no friends; a spoonful or honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar." - Benjamin Franklin

  2. #2
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    Feb 2006
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    Massillon, Ohio
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    Default Re: Lots of dead bees around my hive

    Yes this is unusual. It looks like a lot of staining on the front of the boxes, indicating possibly Nosema or some other problem.

    I see a lot of bees crawling around on the ground. Do their wings look unusual? Any with crinkled deformed wings, or wings spread out in a K shape? If so, there may be a problem with Tracheal or Varroa Mites.

    Just curious if you have checked for mites or used any mite treatments.

    Do you have any farming nearby where pesticides may have been applied?
    To everything there is a season....

  3. #3
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    Mar 2011
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    Genesee County, Michigan
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    Default Re: Lots of dead bees around my hive

    Hi Mike, thanks for the response. I looked very closely, most of the wanderer's wings are indeed K-shaped. Thge overall hive seems very strong, but should I treat them for nosema? I never treated them for mites because this hive was a package last year, I've heard it wasn't very necessary. I will inspect them though in a few days for mites to be safe.

    And about farming, not that I know of, I live right in suburb near a busy business district. In fact, there's a massive bee farm is just a few miles away.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    I see a lot of bees crawling around on the ground. Do their wings look unusual? Any with crinkled deformed wings, or wings spread out in a K shape? If so, there may be a problem with Tracheal or Varroa Mites.
    "Tart words make no friends; a spoonful or honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar." - Benjamin Franklin

  4. #4
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    Feb 2006
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    Massillon, Ohio
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    Default Re: Lots of dead bees around my hive

    The K-Wing indicates you probably have a Tracheal Mite infestation. Nosema could also explain the dysentery type feces staining on the boxes.

    Short term, if the temperatures are right, you may want to treat them right away with Formic Acid which will kill both kinds of mites and clean the colony up. If that saves them I would recommend replacing the queen with one from a reputable breeder. Hope everything works out for you.
    To everything there is a season....

  5. #5
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    Mar 2011
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    Genesee County, Michigan
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    Default Re: Lots of dead bees around my hive

    I have an update. I borrowed my brother's HD camera to keep some real close ups. I'm not sure if these wings are K-wing or not. I do have a question too, if this is nosema, how do you treat them when the honey flow has already started?

    NEW VIDEO: http://youtu.be/vSpHAc5Tstg
    "Tart words make no friends; a spoonful or honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar." - Benjamin Franklin

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Rowley, MA
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    251

    Default Re: Lots of dead bees around my hive

    a lot of them seem to be carrying pollen, I would guess that its some type of insecticide

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
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    4,884

    Default Re: Lots of dead bees around my hive

    Looks like insecticide to me. A lot of fecal staining also for some reason.

  8. #8
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    Mar 2011
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    Genesee County, Michigan
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    Default Re: Lots of dead bees around my hive

    That's throwing me off, too. Seems like mixed signs here. I contacted the state apiarist to see what he suggest I do. I really hope I can save this colony.

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    Looks like insecticide to me. A lot of fecal staining also for some reason.
    "Tart words make no friends; a spoonful or honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar." - Benjamin Franklin

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    richmond, ca usa
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    9

    Default Re: Lots of dead bees around my hive

    Quote Originally Posted by BugBoy View Post
    I check my hive almost daily and last week I've found lots of dead/alive bees over the ground. So I brushed them all away with a broom. Today, I come back and there's even more dead bees! Like a blanket. So I recorded a quick video to share this, is this unusual? You can see a lot of them are dead and some are wandering around. Also, I saw the queen fly out of the hive today and flew in circles about 10 feet up above the hive. Mating? I see drones.

    EDITED VIDEO:
    http://youtu.be/vSpHAc5Tstg

    EDIT: This is a overwintered hive by the way.
    Hi, I just collected a swarm showing these exact symptoms as your video...a couple of hours ago some started flying in circles then crash landing. Some seem to have cramps, bending the abdomen almost in half. In general they all seem completely disorientated & weak they are taking a long time to die some the whole 3 days I have had them.
    Thanks for posting your video
    A

  10. #10
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    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,368

    Default Re: Lots of dead bees around my hive

    Some sort of insecticide is the only logical guess. Any noticable odor on the bees?
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  11. #11
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    Nov 2011
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    Winhall, VT
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    Default Re: Lots of dead bees around my hive

    Boy this doesn't look good. I would think pesticides to make bees act that way..
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  12. #12
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    Mar 2011
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    Genesee County, Michigan
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    Default Re: Lots of dead bees around my hive

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    Some sort of insecticide is the only logical guess. Any noticable odor on the bees?
    Quote Originally Posted by Keth Comollo View Post
    Boy this doesn't look good. I would think pesticides to make bees act that way..
    The only smell I sense is pollen, very strong pollen smell. I don't know what's worse, disease, pest, or pesticide. If it's pesticide, not sure what I can do about that, or how to find the source. This sucks.
    "Tart words make no friends; a spoonful or honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar." - Benjamin Franklin

  13. #13
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    Jul 2011
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    Bon Aqua, Tn USA
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    Default Re: Lots of dead bees around my hive

    I would ask the owner of the apiary down the road if he has any problems and let him see your video. I would not take any with me to his place though. Or just get his name and try to find his phone and call him.

  14. #14
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    Genesee County, Michigan
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    Default Re: Lots of dead bees around my hive

    Good idea, he's always in the local paper, so I bet I can get great advice from him. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Nantom670 View Post
    I would ask the owner of the apiary down the road if he has any problems and let him see your video. I would not take any with me to his place though. Or just get his name and try to find his phone and call him.
    "Tart words make no friends; a spoonful or honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar." - Benjamin Franklin

  15. #15
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    Feb 2006
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    Massillon, Ohio
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    Default Re: Lots of dead bees around my hive

    Good suggestion. I would bet he has a very good idea of where all the local orchards and local farming activity is taking place. Looks like you have a couple of different things going on here but poisoning appears to be hitting them the hardest at the moment.

    You should also take a look around your immediate area for anyone with a small orchard who may be spraying while the fruit trees are in bloom. Any golf courses nearby? Nurseries?
    To everything there is a season....

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    florence sc usa
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    137

    Default Re: Lots of dead bees around my hive

    you don't have a nasty bee hating neighbor that would have access to your hive do you?

  17. #17
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    Mar 2011
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    Default Re: Lots of dead bees around my hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    You should also take a look around your immediate area for anyone with a small orchard who may be spraying while the fruit trees are in bloom. Any golf courses nearby? Nurseries?
    Quote Originally Posted by stevedc View Post
    you don't have a nasty bee hating neighbor that would have access to your hive do you?
    There may be an apple orchard nearby. My yard has several fruit trees, including one 4 feet from their hive. Wouldn't they collect this pollen instead, though?

    And I actually thought about the neighbors as well. I spoke with them and they are aware of my hive and promised they are not harming them.

    It's funny though, because this hive was moved here from another city during winter, last year they were no problems like this. Maybe I should move them back to their original location.
    "Tart words make no friends; a spoonful or honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar." - Benjamin Franklin

  18. #18
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    Feb 2006
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    Massillon, Ohio
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    Default Re: Lots of dead bees around my hive

    Any blooms within a mile radius could be worked by your bees, sometime much further. I would suspect somewhere close by you have a bonehead neighbor who is spraying pesticides on their blooming trees or flowers. The bees will pick up the residue on their legs and also will collect contaminated pollen and bring it back to the hive. Hopefully you will get some rain soon to clean the blooms up a little bit.
    To everything there is a season....

  19. #19
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    Mar 2011
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    Genesee County, Michigan
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    Default Re: Lots of dead bees around my hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    Hopefully you will get some rain soon to clean the blooms up a little bit.
    I definitely think you're right, I keep seeing a lawn care truck drive down my steet every 2 days. Good news is, tomorrow and most of the week is rain! Thanks everybody for your advice. =)
    "Tart words make no friends; a spoonful or honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar." - Benjamin Franklin

  20. #20
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    Jul 2008
    Location
    Limestone Co, Alabama
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    1,674

    Default Re: Lots of dead bees around my hive

    This looks a lot like those bad old days when everyone just prayed and sprayed and trusted in god or good luck to decide which insect lived or which died.
    The second bee shown in the second video (the bee with full pollen baskets) seems to have some type of fine powder or maybe crystallized material on her head and this material is a different color from the pollen on her back legs. This makes me think this is a poisoning incident. What kind of crops if any are planted within say 2 miles of you? The bees carrying pollen were un-doubtable homeward bound and in my opinion they were in reasonably good shape until they got there. Do you have good relationships with all your neighbors or are some of them shall we say, bee phobic or "un-neighborly?"

    Remember just because something is natural don't mean it's good for bees. Not all plants are bee friendly. Some natural nectars and or pollens (in great enough amounts) will kill bees almost as fast but just as dead as insecticides do. Yellow jasmine is one such plant and there are others, but I think you are too far north to be worried much about yellow or Carolina jasmine even though it is an early or cool season bloomer.

    One other thing that quickly comes to mind is T mites.
    Another is a robbing frenzy. What are the stores like? Has the combs been picked clean?

    Research the temps and other weather, like wind directions before this happened? Good luck.
    Scrapfe---Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.--Otto von Bismarck.

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