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Thread: Bee feces

  1. #1
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    May 2012
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    Somes Bar, California, USA
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    Default Bee feces

    Ok I'm not terribly concerned about this but I figured it wouldn't hurt to check with you guys. One of my hives has feces all over the front below the top entrance and I was wondering how normal this is? It has been too cold to crack open the hive to see if its on the frames or not but they have been flying lately. Also, is 30-50 bees dead on the landing board normal for about every 2-3 days? Just trying to get a feel for what an average is. Good news is its Jan. and I just saw bees bringing in pollen!

    I have a picture but for some reason the forum won't upload it from my tablet. I'll add it later.

  2. #2
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    Aug 2011
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    KC, MO, USA
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    Default Re: Bee feces

    How much are you talking about? 10-20 spots? What color is it? If it dark brown or black it could be nosema. If it’s yellow, tan its normal. 30-50 bees sounds normal, depending on the size of the hive. Especially if it’s warm enough there and they have started brood.
    Last edited by FlowerPlanter; 01-18-2013 at 02:10 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bee feces

    Here is a picture.photo.jpg

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bee feces

    I have the medication for nosema but if this IS nosema is it too late? I also have the issue of it being too dang cold right now at night to medicate, any liquid would freeze overnight.

  5. #5
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    Feb 2011
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    Imperial, MO, USA
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    Default Re: Bee feces

    I can't quite tell from the photo - do you have a top entrance that the excrement is running down from?
    "Teach your kids to hunt and fish, and you won't have to hunt for your kids"
    Four Ridge Apiaries www.fourridgebees.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bee feces

    Yes, there is a top entrance directly above the feces. You can see the bottom edge of the entrance just below the green top cover.

  7. #7
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    Jackson, MO
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    Default Re: Bee feces

    Wow, can a bee crap that much in 1 squirt??

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bee feces

    It doesn't look dark enough to me to be nosema. They are obviously taking cleansing flights and it maybe they can't hold it long enough to clear the runway. I've had several hives with nosema and it was much darker.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  9. #9
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    Peace River, AB Canada
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    Default Re: Bee feces

    I have never heard of diagnosing nosema by the color of the feces. Could anyone give a link to where I could look for this info.
    I was under the impression that you could only tell by checking with a microscope.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bee feces

    Depends on which variety -- the old one caused dysentary, with dark feces all over the front of the hive, and inside as well. The new variety won't cause dysentary anywhere near as much, and you have to look for the parasite.

    Other things can cause excessive fecal matter, though -- pollen substitute, cornstarch in fondant, etc.

    And yes, bees can store up quite a bit of fecal matter. They don't defecate in the cells, so the entire amount of waste that they produce during development is held until they get out of the hive. I watched a drone make his first trip out last year, deposited a surprising amount of yellow/brown material and then flew back in.

    Peter

  11. #11
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    Jan 2012
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    Jefferson County, WA, USA
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    Default Re: Bee feces

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post

    And yes, bees can store up quite a bit of fecal matter. They don't defecate in the cells, so the entire amount of waste that they produce during development is held until they get out of the hive. I watched a drone make his first trip out last year, deposited a surprising amount of yellow/brown material and then flew back in.
    Peter
    How long can a bee hold it during the winter time when they are unable to fly?

  12. #12
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: Bee feces

    I'd say it is no problem at all but what do I know.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  13. #13
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    Jackson, MO
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    Default Re: Bee feces

    Mine had a good day to get out and take a dump. But I did not see any stains like that today. Temps reached 57 today.

  14. #14
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    Oct 2012
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    Vancouver, B.C., Canada
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    Default Re: Bee feces

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDCole View Post
    Ok I'm not terribly concerned about this but I figured it wouldn't hurt to check with you guys. One of my hives has feces all over the front below the top entrance and I was wondering how normal this is? It has been too cold to crack open the hive to see if its on the frames or not but they have been flying lately. Also, is 30-50 bees dead on the landing board normal for about every 2-3 days? Just trying to get a feel for what an average is. Good news is its Jan. and I just saw bees bringing in pollen!

    I have a picture but for some reason the forum won't upload it from my tablet. I'll add it later.
    This is not abnormal in cold climates. I have seen much worse in my hives and they have recovered fine. The dead bees and defecation are normal in winter and I wouldn't be at all concerned unless it continued into the warmer months.

  15. #15
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    syracuse n.y.
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    Default Re: Bee feces

    If the cluster is large enough I wouldn't worry about that amount of defecation. if the cluster is to small, you will see alot more as the cluster gets smaller.
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

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