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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    294

    Question Large number of bees crawling out of hive and freezing to death

    Hi, today I noticed a large number of dead bees in front of one of my hives. I thought it was unusual, but I left and didn't think much about it until tonight, when I saw that the number grew to very abnormal levels, hundreds of them, all in one big mass. The bees were crawling around the top entrance and falling to the ground and freezing to death. I suspect dysentery to be the cause, as I saw some feces around the entrance. So, my question is should I block the entrance with screen or let them be? I'm not sure if it would change the outcome of the hive, but I want to save them if I can.


    Nathan
    Good enough is perfect - Joel Salatin

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,933

    Default Re: Large number of bees crawling out of hive and freezing to death

    Hi, Nathan. This is still a mystery as I have read on several posts regarding this situation. Did they came out to potty but too cold for their body to handle? Bees just came out in the middle of winter and freeze to death in numbers is strange it seems. And what have you been feeding them inside the hive? I guess they cannot hold it in any longer. When they have to go then they have to go, right. Oh, too cold and too confused to go back inside the hole. Blocking them in will make them explode. How would you feel about that? I wonder how many days they can hold on without taking it outside? I am worried about them after 3 days of continuous raining.
    Here is an idea. Make a small square box and cover the hole entrance so that they can cluster inside the square instead of exposing to the cold outside. You think that will work? It is like a small hive shelter area hanging/stacking within a bigger hive. Maybe you can improve on this idea.
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    Last edited by beepro; 02-09-2013 at 04:36 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,538

    Default Re: Large number of bees crawling out of hive and freezing to death

    Take a sample of bees that just died, and send them to your provincial apiculturist. Have them checked for Tracheal mite.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,960

    Default Re: Large number of bees crawling out of hive and freezing to death

    I agree with Michael - this is a classic indication of Tracheal mite infestation.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    294

    Default Re: Large number of bees crawling out of hive and freezing to death

    Thanks for you replies, I am starting to think it is tracheal mites because I see another hive had a cleansing flight and they didn't have a big die-off.


    Nathan
    Good enough is perfect - Joel Salatin

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