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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Hartford, CT
    Posts
    597

    Default dead bees in front of entrance

    We had our first snow in CT last night and this morning there's a few dead bees outside and a few at the entrance is this normal? I haven't put any wrap on the hives because they're against the fence in the corner and the house protects so they can only get a easterly wind.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Sutton,Ma
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: dead bees in front of entrance

    The snow made you notice. That's all.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Peace River, AB Canada
    Posts
    454

    Default Re: dead bees in front of entrance

    I worry if I don't see any dead bees in the snow.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    arvad, colorado, usa
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: dead bees in front of entrance

    I've noticed that when it's below 50 F and cloudy, the bees will drag out their dead and just push them off the landing board. I assume it's just too cold for them to carry off the dead like they usually do, so they just do the minimal.

    I spend way too much time just standing in front of the hives, watching the bees. :-)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Hartford, CT
    Posts
    597

    Default Re: dead bees in front of entrance

    There was a pile about 10 infront too. They're so smart it's amazing.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Brownsburg, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    123

    Default Re: dead bees in front of entrance

    I've had around several hundred die hanging around the hive on the outside, like stuck to the outside when it's warm, then when it gets cool, like around 45 their dead.
    Is this normal?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: dead bees in front of entrance

    That worries me, too. We had a cold snap last night and snow all day today (currently it's exactly 32 degrees). There were almost 30 on the landing board this morning. My neighbor assures me his hives are doing the same. If I press my ear up against the hive I can hear a continuous buzz, so I guess everything's OK.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Belews Creek, NC, USA
    Posts
    272

    Default Re: dead bees in front of entrance

    Dave...if I understand you correctly, one of my hives did the same thing the other day, but not as many as yours. It looked like they died exactly where they landed. In the picture, every visible bee, except the cluster at the entrance, is dead. Only happened once and there hasn't been any more dead ones since, but it sure seemed odd to me.

    Dead.jpg

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Hartford, CT
    Posts
    597

    Default Re: dead bees in front of entrance

    I don't think they're dead. I think the cold has slowed they're level of activity.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    302

    Default Re: dead bees in front of entrance

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBuzz View Post
    I don't think they're dead. I think the cold has slowed they're level of activity.
    So, they're only "Mostly Dead?" - Miracle Max

    Tony P.
    There must be a harder way to do that... let me find it for you.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    615

    Default Re: dead bees in front of entrance

    Any insights and thoughts from experienced beekeepers as to why bees are trying to fly when too cold?

    Are they older foragers still heading out for pollen/nectar?

    Are they being helped out of the hive as they are of little value over winter, similar to drone expulsion? Or do they leave on their own accord for betterment of the hive?

    Hive is too warm inside and bees think flying is still on?
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,068

    Default Re: dead bees in front of entrance

    Typically a healthy pop of bees is able to keep the hive rather warm. They have no idea the actual temp outside until they fly in it. I'm guessing these are cleansing flights that were unable to make it back as well as older bees. It all depends on how far from the hive they are when they perished.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: dead bees in front of entrance

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Beeman View Post
    TI'm guessing these are cleansing flights that were unable to make it back as well as older bees. It all depends on how far from the hive they are when they perished.
    I observed some of that today. Unfortunately, the bees I saw wouldn't listen when I tried to talk them back into the hive.

    Frankly, around the front of my hive it looked like "beemageddon" to me. I wonder what kind of attrition rate they can sustain.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    797

    Default Re: dead bees in front of entrance

    Last year I went around the hive after the temp went down and gathered up as many bees as I could find that seemed still alive and put them either in my hand or in a dish to warm them up. I was feeding them so that is the reason why I think they flew out when it was too cold for them. Once they warmed up they were good to go. So I put them back in the hive. What I've seen is if they're not able to make it back in and get stuck on the outside they'll starve to death if it's too cold and they don't have a belly full. This year I'm not doing that because last year they did this regardless of what I did. So I'm letting them go. One hive I have on my driveway and there's proabably about 100 or more bees dead there from that last couple days. When the temp yesterday was over about 55 I was shocked and excited at this hive seeing all of the bees flying out for cleansing and orientation flights. It was great!!! I wasn't concerned about the "few" bees on the driveway at this point. I also put my hand over the entrance and was also surprised to feel the heat coming out. Unless you have a pile of several hundred then I wouldn't be concerned. It takes too much time to go and pick them up and warm them up and put them back in. Oh btw this hive that did this last year was a great and strong hive this year. It was one of my best. I split it about 4 or 5 ways and it overwintered as a 5 deep frame nuc that only had about 4-1/4 frames drawn.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: dead bees in front of entrance

    Quote Originally Posted by delber View Post
    One hive I have on my driveway and there's proabably about 100 or more bees dead there from that last couple days.
    I had 28 one day, 20 the next, and just a handful this morning. The beeks I know here have told me that their hives are doing the same thing. I think I'll take a deep breath and let it go.

    UPDATE:
    Having re-read delber's post, I decided to conduct a little experiment. I went out and collected a bunch (~20) of the bees that were in the snow and put them in a screen-top canning jar. I put the canning jar on the hearth, and within minutes all of them were active and buzzing around. I released them on the deck and up they went!
    Last edited by Splatt; 11-11-2012 at 03:14 PM.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,415

    Default Re: dead bees in front of entrance

    Bees anticipate their energy needs and sometimes they mis-calculate and don't make it back or land short. If they get caught out in the cold they will have to shutdown and wait for it to warm up as they're mainly exothermic in nature.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    seattle, washington
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: dead bees in front of entrance

    Quote Originally Posted by Splatt View Post
    I had 28 one day, 20 the next, and just a handful this morning. The beeks I know here have told me that their hives are doing the same thing. I think I'll take a deep breath and let it go.

    UPDATE:
    Having re-read delber's post, I decided to conduct a little experiment. I went out and collected a bunch (~20) of the bees that were in the snow and put them in a screen-top canning jar. I put the canning jar on the hearth, and within minutes all of them were active and buzzing around. I released them on the deck and up they went!

    In my other post I wrote about messing with the bees when it was too cold. I went out this morning and they were clustered just outside the hive. Looked dead to me, if I had let themn remain they would have either certainly died or been lunch for some lucky bird. I put them in a jar, placed the jar in warm water and they are starting to come to life. It's not something I would do everyday for every bee, but interesting none the less.

    edit-After about 1/2 started moving about, I emptied the jar onto the inner cover, that will warm them up and the dead ones will be carted off.
    Last edited by rwilly; 11-12-2012 at 02:18 PM. Reason: update

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Belews Creek, NC, USA
    Posts
    272

    Default Re: dead bees in front of entrance

    Now I feel guilty for assuming they were dead. Fortunately there wasn't too many... I just hate to lose any of my girls... Especially due to my ignorance.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Pickaway/Fairfield Cty, OH
    Posts
    108

    Default Re: dead bees in front of entrance

    Quote Originally Posted by delber View Post
    What I've seen is if they're not able to make it back in and get stuck on the outside they'll starve to death if it's too cold and they don't have a belly full.
    I wonder how long they can survive like that?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,040

    Default Re: dead bees in front of entrance

    maybe they were just being altruistic. better not to have more than needed this time of year.
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

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