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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Mount Sterling, KY. USA
    Posts
    110

    Default Bees on the ground ?

    While out doing my (daily) evening walk around my two hives I noticed a few bees on the ground in front of both hives. They seemed like they were struggling trying to get back to their hives, almost like they were unable to fly. I am going into my second week of having them. This is the first time I have noticed this. Is it normal ? or do I have an impending problem ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Gordonsville,VA USA
    Posts
    114

    Default Re: Bees on the ground ?

    Could just be older bees wearing out and dieing off, They will work up until they just fall over.
    Could be other things too, are the wings deformed? (verroa mite) Were the wings (all 4) exposed? could be nozema, Do a mite drop test, i use the sticky board method, this will tell ya if the mites are a problem.
    Overall I would check all of above and then take it from there, but I bet they foragers just finishing their days.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    7,104

    Default Re: Bees on the ground ?

    A few is usually normal and it is normal not to notice everything as the bees are training you. We always think our first child is sick with every sniffle, warm feeling and cough. the second kid we want more symptoms before rushing out to wait in the doctor's office fulll of sick people.
    If they are this sick after a couple weeks you really got taken for a ride by whoever sold the lot.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Camino, CA
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Bees on the ground ?

    I'm a first year beek so take this for what it's worth...

    I agree with all the other responses but have also found that in the evening when orientation flights are going on or just ending I've found that there are a few very young bees that end up on the ground. As I've watched the bees I always notice a few youngsters that just don't seem strong enough, land on the ground and buzz around there until they eventually take off. For me this is a late afternoon/evening event but the ones I see doing this during the day usually appear to be bees that have just worked themselves to death.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Mount Sterling, KY. USA
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: Bees on the ground ?

    I went out this evening and sat beside the hives for observation for about an hour and discovered what is going on. This is what I saw. Three bees came out of the hive with a fourth bee in tow. They drug it to the edge of the hive and dumped it overboard. Two of the bees turned loose and the third bee held onto it untill they hit the ground and then flew back into the hive. I notied that the fourth bee (the one that was being extracted) looked like its wings were chewed off and it appeared to be darker in color than the other bees. Could these be robbers that the bees are warding off ? Or are the bees getting rid of the sick ones ? I am planning on putting a screened bottom board on tomorrow so I can begin to check for mites. Again I look forward to some expert opinions here and appreciate the help.
    Last edited by Sam Fugate; 08-10-2012 at 07:47 PM. Reason: removed some words

  6. #6

    Default Re: Bees on the ground ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Fugate View Post
    Three bees came out of the hive with a fourth bee in tow.
    Sounds to me like your hive is probabll either getting rid of some old workers (they will literally forage until their wings are too messed up to fly) or your hive could be ditching it's drone population because of a nectar dearth. Both of these scenarios are normal. If you see a war going on at the hive entrance, it could be robbing, but in this case it doesn't sound likely. I wouldn't worry too much unless you start seeing a pile of dead bees, or other symptoms.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Catlettsburg, KY, USA
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Bees on the ground ?

    Look closely at the extracted bees wings and see if they look shriveled up. I had the same scenario and it was bees pulling out other bees with deformed wing virus which was caused by a varroa infestation.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Bees on the ground ?

    If that is the case - and you have a varroa problem 2 weeks into keeping bees then you need to find a new bee source!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Mount Sterling, KY. USA
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: Bees on the ground ?

    They didn't really look shriveled up, more chewed off, I will look closer tomorrow, and if I can I will try and get a picture. I also should add, I have only seen two of these particular instances, in the past week, If this is a varoa problem, how do get rid of them ?
    Last edited by Sam Fugate; 08-10-2012 at 11:01 PM. Reason: Added verbage

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    JACKSON OHIO
    Posts
    486

    Default Re: Bees on the ground ?

    Quote Originally Posted by activematrix View Post
    If that is the case - and you have a varroa problem 2 weeks into keeping bees then you need to find a new bee source!
    all hives have mites and i mean all of them some just handle them better than others

  11. #11

    Default Re: Bees on the ground ?

    Absolutely! But if he has a varroa PROBLEM after two weeks then his source obviously sold him bees with a very high mite count, which is irresponsible to say the least.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Mount Sterling, KY. USA
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: Bees on the ground ?

    I put my screened bottom board on today, how long should I wait to check for mites ?

  13. #13

    Default Re: Bees on the ground ?

    You can do it after the sticky board has been under the screen for 24 hours. Here is a link to an article explaining how to do a mite drop count.
    http://www.littlehouseonthebighill.c....php?detail=43

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Toronto, ON Canada
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Bees on the ground ?

    There's a bit of a range in how tattered bees with deformed wing virus will appear. Sometimes the wings are not actually deformed at all, but I'd expect at least some would be very shrivelled if you had a serious case of it. I have a few different photos here.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Mount Sterling, KY. USA
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: Bees on the ground ?

    I checked my white sticky board this evening, I do have an infestation of some kind of critter. They are a tiny brown looking football shaped looking thing and I saw several of them. I need to get rid of these things somehow, Help !

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Catlettsburg, KY, USA
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Bees on the ground ?

    How many?

  17. #17

    Default Re: Bees on the ground ?

    If the sticky board has been on for 24 hours and you find 8 or less of them, dont worry. 8-15, you should consider treatment. More than that, and you have a serious problem and need immediate intervention. They definitely sound like varroa mites.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Mount Sterling, KY. USA
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: Bees on the ground ?

    There was as near as I could count 10, they are so small almost like a piece of dirt. Positive on 10. What is the consensus on the BEST way to treat these ? I will add at this point, my second hive isn't showing any symptoms of mites , However the bee population is not as big as the infested hive.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Bees on the ground ?

    There are several methods, ranging from powdered sugar dusting (dislodges mites) and using drone sized foundation to organic formic acid based miticides, and traditional miticides. Whichever option you choose, you can search the forums because there are many detailed posts explaining each option. Only you can decide whether to take IPM procedures, organic, or conventional. I personally recommend that you read this article for future reference. It is too late for this year, but it works well and you can do it for free, every year, and it required no pesticides.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Mount Sterling, KY. USA
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: Bees on the ground ?

    Quote Originally Posted by activematrix View Post
    There are several methods, ranging from powdered sugar dusting (dislodges mites) and using drone sized foundation to organic formic acid based miticides, and traditional miticides. Whichever option you choose, you can search the forums because there are many detailed posts explaining each option. Only you can decide whether to take IPM procedures, organic, or conventional. I personally recommend that you read this article for future reference. It is too late for this year, but it works well and you can do it for free, every year, and it required no pesticides.
    Thanks for the link, I had rather NOT use chemicals and the article you point out is a must read,something I will put to good use.

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