Weird swarm, dying
Got a call for an easily accessible swarm on the porch of a suburban home a couple of days ago. It was the largest swarm I've ever encountered. Massive. They had already started building a few palm sized combs under a small bench and against the house wall.
I set up a hive, two deep, including a comb of honey/pollen, and they started going in, and I saw the queen. I picked her up and ushered her to the entrance. The bees were rather slow in entering, and sluggish.
Then I noticed that there were a lot of crawling and dying bees scattered across the porch. Something odd was going on. I asked the homeowner if anyone had sprayed them, and she said no.
Anyway, I went and picked up the hive to take to the home yard early this AM. There were more dead and crawling bees around the porch, and a few small clusters of bees that could barely move at all.
I set up the hive in the yard and let them settle down. When I checked them this afternoon there was a pile of dead and dying bees out front, maybe equivalent to 1-2 pounds in a package, and dozens scooting around and spinning, unable to fly, in the grass. I opened the hive and the bees were very sluggish, many falling off the combs and crawling all over the ground, unable to fly, or curled up and dying. There were more, seemingly half dead, in clumps on the walls or floor I didn't see the queen on this inspection, so figure she is in the pile of dead bees.
It's quite a waste, and a shame they are dying off like this but I wish I knew why. I never seen anything like it.
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