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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    369

    Question How many dead bees on bottom board normal?

    I decided to sweep my bottom board this afternoon. The hanger I was using was a little too bent to go all the way back, but I got in about 8-9 inches. The end result is pictured below. My question for you more experienced beeks is: does this look like fairly normal winter attrition?

    Dead_bees.jpg

    There's still an active buzz coming from inside the hive. I've given the hive a good whiff from both in front of the entrance, and the top. There is no smell of rotting, and the dead bees look quite dry. While clearing them away from the hive entrance (with my boot) I crushed some, and they obviously had a decent amount of fecal material in them (yellow/tan stains on the snow).
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,232

    Default Re: How many dead bees on bottom board normal?

    I have a couple dozen dead bees in front of both hives, which I take to be a good sign of life (there have to be live bees in there to carry the dead ones out).

    Don't know what the ratio is, but significant portion of the bees in the cluster are going to die during the winter, so some dead bees are OK. Worst problem is if there are so many the entrance gets clogged up and the bees can't get out.

    Peter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,691

    Default Re: How many dead bees on bottom board normal?

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post
    I have a couple dozen dead bees in front of both hives, which I take to be a good sign of life (there have to be live bees in there to carry the dead ones out).

    Don't know what the ratio is, but significant portion of the bees in the cluster are going to die during the winter, so some dead bees are OK. Worst problem is if there are so many the entrance gets clogged up and the bees can't get out.

    Peter
    Pete is right on here. It also is quite normal to see dead bees out on the ground in the winter, especially on the snow, but you don't normally notice them without snow there because they blend in with the soil.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    369

    Default Re: How many dead bees on bottom board normal?

    Thanks, guys, I appreciate it. I still see dead bees in front of the hive (thank goodness), I just wasn't sure if there were supposed to be this many dead bees inside the hive. But I guess it makes sense, since it's been so cold here for so long they probably haven't been able to break cluster long enough to take care of proper housekeeping.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,035

    Default Re: How many dead bees on bottom board normal?

    Many bees naturally die through the winter but it takes warmer weather for the bees to break cluster and clean them out. If the bottom board was full of them I would be concerned but not just a couple of handfuls.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

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