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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Carrollton va
    Posts
    47

    Default hive with bees on the ground.

    We had a warm day so the girls were flying. In front of the hive was a bunch ~100 bees that were sitting on the grass. This is occurring in front of both hives. Now that night is here I checked again and they are still there. They don't show signs of DWV ie they have normal wings. I don't think they are drones. This is the first warm day in a couple of weeks. Is this normal or is there a problem I should look for in the hive? The bees on the ground will freeze tonight and they are not going back in.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Columbia, Maryland. U.S.A.
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: hive with bees on the ground.

    tough to recommend inspection in winter, sounds abnormal to me, that said I'll leave it for others to decide if it could be a situation in need of or with hope of remedy.
    Cheers,
    Drew

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Carrollton va
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: hive with bees on the ground.

    I have one hive at another location about 6 miles away. I checked that hive and I am not seeing the same thing. It is not a huge amount of bees but is it something to be worried about? Any other ideas about what it could be?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,983

    Default Re: hive with bees on the ground.

    This is obviously not a normal sign for the bees. 200 is a lot of bees on the grass at this cold winter days. My little hive has normal 200 bees flying around in a sunny 50F degree. When you have many bees then not a concern but when your hive just have fewer bees then it is a big concern for me. Reading from other folks aobut their abnormal bee situation makes me very concern about mine too.
    So I have not much idea what it is. Might suspect something wrong inside the hive though. In winter time the small moth larvae can hatch too. I just picked off one and took out the frame last night. But will definitely scoope up the bees to put back into the hive if no known problem I seen. Because when temp drop into the 30s they will die outside. Try to find to see if there is a queen bee in that pile the next time it happens. Definitely not a normal sign I think. Hope this helps.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Huntersville, NC
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: hive with bees on the ground.

    It is probably too late now, but I would not put the bees back into the hive. They left the hive and did not return for a reason. Forcing them back into the hive could put sick bees in with the rest of their sisters and spread disease. If they die in the hive then it will be more work for the bees to get them out and dead bees will be in the hive for weeks or months, depending on the weather.

    Good luck and let us know what happens.
    Thanks,
    Will

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Huntersville, NC
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: hive with bees on the ground.

    Reef10, I am interested in an update on your situation if you care to give one.
    Thanks,
    Will

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: hive with bees on the ground.

    My HO is they are out for a reason as well. Bees that are sick and or in the process of dying, will evict themselves from the hive if possible. If not, the house girls will do this. Just a thought, if the bees are starving, bout to die, this may be happening???? Any robbing on warm days?? Weak hives getting robbed can have a pile of dead and dying bees. It's tough to tell sometimes between bees flying cause it's warm vs robbing or both going on at the same time. Thinking out loud
    Rick

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Accomack County, VA, USA
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: hive with bees on the ground.

    Reef10, You are not alone. A couple of weeks ago I also saw at least a hundred or so bees outside one of my hives on the ground scattered and also a small cluster (tennis ball size) right under the hive stand. I really need to start taking pics. I did not see any deformed wings from this hive, but I do have varroa mites in all of my hives and have not treated. There was no queen in that small cluster and the hive was still humming. All of the bees that were on the ground died. Popped the lid and took a quick look a few days later and there is still a pretty large cluster moving around in there so I closed her back up. This hive is 2 deeps, 10 frames each. I have screened bottoms, so I took a look underneath and see the girls also cleaned up the dead that were lying there prior to this activity and felt like that was a good sign.

    Keep us posted. This will be my second winter with bees, so I am curious and hopeful (-: Thanks for sharing.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,513

    Default Re: hive with bees on the ground.

    sounds like pesticide poisoning to me
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Carrollton va
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: hive with bees on the ground.

    They were still active enough to send out a bee to sting me. I think the hives are doing ok. I brought some of the bees inside to look them over and I did not find any varrolla mite. As they warmed up they were coming back to life. Neat to watch. Both hive are new this year and have some but not many mites. I had the same thought about not returning sick bees to the hive. I don't think its pesticide because I don't think anybody would be spraying, but you never know. If it stays warm enough I will take a quick peek just to see.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,513

    Default Re: hive with bees on the ground.

    ya, not likely ,
    not really sure what kind of weather your having or your seasonal growth.

    If I come across a hive that has a pile of bees out infrount of the hive, dead and alive, that is a sure sign of pesticide poisoning.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,238

    Default Re: hive with bees on the ground.

    Sounds like chilled bees. Put them in a container bring them inside warm them up.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Kefalonia Greece
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: hive with bees on the ground.

    Hi, I have a similar problem:
    Around 3 o'clock in the afternoon bees started to come out of the hive (which was weak and troubled from robbers in the last weeks). They hovered around the area for around 15 mins and then started to enter the hive. Initially I was glad because I thought they were young bees that were orienting and my hive was getting stronger. When things calmed and there were not a lot of bees outside I approached the hive and there was a cluster of bees on the ground. After a couple of hours I opened the hive to see what is going on and there were very few bees ( I assume robbers) and a few yellow jackets as well.

    What should I do?Assuming the cluster is still there tomorrow, should I try to put it inside the hive?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Bourbon, Missouri
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: hive with bees on the ground.

    Is the queen clipped? Not sure what season you are in now over in Greece.
    But they may be either trying to swarm or probably abscond.

    You could load them into a nuc with drawn comb and stores. And move them away from the robbing if possible.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Kefalonia Greece
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: hive with bees on the ground.

    Thanks for the reply. This is my first year as a beekeeper and I have 2 hives.
    The queen is not clipped (if still alive). Greece is in the north hemisphere as the US and we have fall (in theory at least).
    The weather is still pretty warm and I'm geussing that is the reason that so many yellow-jackets are still around.

    I kind of followed your advise: Since I didn't have a nuc, I emptied the hive (which was mainly occupied by yellow jackets today) cleaned it, installed 4 frames (The 2 middle frames had fresh drawn comb,the one on the side had nothing and the other one was half with some honey stores) and filled the remaining empty space with newspapers and aluminium foil. I also put a small tray of pollen that I extracted from the frames and one with water. I picked the cluster (around 200 bees) with a sheet of paper and throwed it inside. I didn't make out the queen - there were a couple of dense spots of bees, but I didn't actually see the queen.
    After making sure that almost all of them were inside I completely closed it and I plan to leave it closed for at least 2 days.

    The frames in general didn't look vandalized and a couple of them had good amounts of honey. I checked the brood frames and there was no brood. I opened some sealed cells and they were either empty or had a little bit of some yellowish semifluιd - didn't smell good.
    Last week when I checked the hive the queen was there.

    Is it posible that the cluster had no queen - would they still form one if there is no queen?

    From the above information are there any chances of these bees to survive and how can I help them?

    Thanks.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Bourbon, Missouri
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: hive with bees on the ground.

    I don't think 200 bees have any chance at all to make it through the winter. If it were me, I wound write the hive off, clean all the
    equipment and store it all to use next spring. Sorry, but sometimes it happens. Concentrate on your other hive. And next spring it should
    build up enough to split it and use the equipment then. Don't give up!!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Carrollton va
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: hive with bees on the ground.

    This is a fairly old thread. I would say that your bees had a problem and they were robbed out. I only say this because of the yellow jackets. My hive was fine and I think that it was clearing out sick old bees during a warm day during winter. If you have other hives you can newspaper combine. If not then just give them the smallest space you can (to defend) and offer feed. I don't have a clue about your season or where you are in any flows so the correct answer may be different.

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