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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,025

    Default Kill pile outside entrance I can't figure: mostly drones! Please play Clue with me...

    OK, so I had a bear kill three colonies in two nights due to a fence failure. I re-stacked the two remaining and removed them: one was mostly just pushed over, bottom off, and I reapproximated the boxes. The other was untouched. Moved them a week ago; they were fine 4 days ago. Today my host at the new yard calls me up saying there's piles of dead bees on the ground. There sure were, but 4 of 5 (at least) were drones! Both colonies had a pile, larger around the colony that had been knocked over. All had been dead a bit; they were faded and dessicated. Two other colonies 20' away had not a single casualty in front, tending to discourage a pesticide kill (as does the drone prevalence).

    What's going on? My best guess so far is that I brought a lot of robbers and confused drones (there were two totalled colonies' survivors and a skillion robbers in the air and on the comb when I cleaned up) along in at least the one colony, and it took them a while to re-organize into polyethism structure and have enough undertakers? But why would the unharmed colony have such a kill too?
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,497

    Default Re: Kill pile outside entrance I can't figure: mostly drones! Please play Clue with m

    Ben,

    Are you getting much of that smoke from the front range??
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Hampton CT
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: Kill pile outside entrance I can't figure: mostly drones! Please play Clue with m

    Sounds like robbing and or starvation. Its hard to reestablish a hive after bear damage.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,025

    Default Re: Kill pile outside entrance I can't figure: mostly drones! Please play Clue with m

    Yeah, we're getting some smoke for sure. But it's nothing like a couple years back when I had several colonies right in the plume (I mean like 200 yards from the fireline) that did fine. I'm still puzzled by the overabundance of drones in this kill... I know, get used to not gettig an answer . Anyway the ground in front of the entrances hasn't re-manifested deadies (I raked), so maybe they're back on all cylinders. I've been wanting to give them some time to reorganize before I examine them.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    dadeville, alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,163

    Default Re: Kill pile outside entrance I can't figure: mostly drones! Please play Clue with m

    Ben, I have seen this behaviour before. We have a lot of VSH genetics in our bees. At the first sign of stress, the bees have the tendency to pull out all the drone larvae along with running off any adult drones. What is even more bizarre, is when the bees even over react and pull out even the worker brood. Thus throwing the baby out with the bath water. I have seen that is some of my yards that are not near any crops, so pesticides can be ruled out. My operation is not a treatment free beekeeping operation and mite levels are in control. Because of the genetics, the bees for some reason take out their troubles on the next generation before it hatches. Like stated the smoke could be stressing them out. The mixed up colony scents from so many different drones or even the new location with the move could cause the brood pull. Bees today are not the bees I had when I was a boy. They act and react differently. Good luck with your beekeeping. TED
    ALABAMA BEE COMPANY-A member of the Sioux Honey association -*Sweetening a golden tommorrow*

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