Small bees in dead hive
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Auburn, Kansas
    Posts
    2

    Default Small bees in dead hive

    Hi guys, last year was my first year keeping bees. This winter I lost a hive in some cold weather about a month ago. I wasn't able to go in and get the hive to go through it until two days ago. While going through the hive it was evident that they died from starvation. All the cells where the cluster was were filled with bees headfirst. The bees looked healthy, wings looked normal, but hey were VERY small. I've searched all over the internet and BeeSource but can't find anything about small bees. I inspected for diseases and pests, but didn't see anything negative. No mites on the bees or the bottom board, no evidence of foul brood, etc. So, my question... What's with the small bees??
    Like I said, they looked healthy other than their size, I'm talking a little over half the size of what I'm used to seeing. I'm not using small cell foundation. Do bees get smaller from starvation like humans do? I guess the abdomens could get smaller. Or could it have been the month out in the cold somehow caused their bodies to shink some?
    Any answers / experiential input is greatly appreciated!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
    Posts
    1,468

    Default Re: Small bees in dead hive

    In my experience, most colonies bees vary in size depending on their age. Could it be that they were just young? And surely they would appear smaller after a month of death
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,942

    Default Re: Small bees in dead hive

    Newly emerged bees are fuzzy and noticeably smaller. Dried out bees are also smaller than live bees. Underfed bees are smaller then well fed bees. Any or all of these factors could be involved.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Auburn, Kansas
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Small bees in dead hive

    This all makes a lot of since. I've just never seen any of the information in any of the various bee books or websites. It was quite a surprise seeing the small bees and nevery hearing anything about it. To make things worse, try searching for "small honey bees", lol, all you get is small hive beetle info. Thanks for your help!

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