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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Long Beach, Ca
    Posts
    66

    Default Dead bees and a fermenting smell

    Over the past three or four days I'm finding a lot of dead bees around the base of my hive stand. More so, dying bees. Many of them are loaded with pollen, but just seem to be sitting there slowly dying. Also, on a hive inspection a week or two back I did find what looked like a patch of mold, along with a fermenting smell. Thinking bees know best I figured I'd leave it for them as opposed to swapping out the frame for an empty one (I don't have any drawn frames).

    I'm in Southern California where days are in the 60's and nights down to the low 40's at night so they are still going out and about during most days.

    I quickly popped the lid 2 days ago and there were still plenty of bees inside, but I didn't do a full inspection.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,481

    Default Re: Dead bees and a fermenting smell

    I would always inspect a foul smell unless its too cold (which it does not sound like it is). It could be you're just smelling the yeast from the bee bread. I could be that you have small hive beetles sliming things. It could be that you have some honey fermenting because of high humidity and not enough bees...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,467

    Default Re: Dead bees and a fermenting smell

    I would recommend a full inspection as well. Can't hurt and maybe it will point you in the right direction by answering your questions.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Long Beach, Ca
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Dead bees and a fermenting smell

    I can easily do that tomorrow, however, what do I do with the problematic cells/comb or whatever it is? Just toss it out?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,481

    Default Re: Dead bees and a fermenting smell

    There may not be any problem. But if it's SHB I would trash the infested combs and wash the frames. Then I would "compress" the hive. Meaning, I would remove any empty comb, and hopefully some boxes and give them less comb to guard. Crowd them down to what the bees can cover well with bees.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,101

    Default Re: Dead bees and a fermenting smell

    Quote Originally Posted by codyjp View Post
    I can easily do that tomorrow, however, what do I do with the problematic cells/comb or whatever it is? Just toss it out?
    It would depend on the problem and how bad. You need to know what AFB looks like, along with wax month damage and small hive beetles damage. Also take pictures and post them here. Members here are really good at finding things by pictures. A Screened Bottom Board can also help you find what’s going on in the hive.

    "Over the past three or four days I'm finding a lot of dead bees around the base of my hive stand. More so, dying bees"
    How many dying bees are you finding outside the hive per day?

    "Many of them are loaded with pollen, but just seem to be sitting there slowly dying"
    Is it cold/cloudy when you are finding them? Could they be chilled? Put them in a clean container bring them in warm the up, if they come back to life let them go they will retain enough heat to make it back to the hive. Sometime during nice days and quick cooling afternoons bees will get chilled right outside the hive.

    Could be someone is spraying flowers/crop with a pesticide, ask around. if it’s a neighbor let them know what it is doing to your "honeys bees", if it’s a crop ask if they can inform you when they spray so you can close your hives.

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