Upside down, can't turn over, fly in small circles on ground, death ??
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    Arp, Texas, USA
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    98

    Default Upside down, can't turn over, fly in small circles on ground, death ??

    Hello

    A swarm moved into my trap a week ago.
    I moved them into their new hive last Thursday morning.
    Have tried to feed them - don't seem interested.
    I noticed something strange in the actions of the few bees on the IC where I had the feeder sitting.
    Some were upside down and couldn't turn over. Walking around like they were drugged/drunk.

    Saturday they and the hive next to them tried to get robbed out.
    So I noticed a lot of dead bees.
    Not as many dead bees yesterday.

    Today early afternoon I checked on them and saw wad of bees at the reduced entrance.
    Had a 9" + handle screw driver with me so I stuck it inside to open up the gap - dead bees, reached in again and more dead bees - again and again - then I pulled the reducer blocks and started scooping across the bottom screen with the screw driver and unbelievable amount of dead bees are coming out - a few live bees too.

    Some of the live bees are acting like the bees on the IC above the hive. Get upside down and can't turn over. Or they fly in a small circle close to the ground.

    I spread a handful out on the top to inspect to see if I could see any problems. Nothing - wings normal - bodies seem normal.

    I have no idea the size of the swarm - except they are a lot smaller now. The trap had medium frames in it and I added more wax to make the new foundation more to their liking. Last spring I purchased my first 2 hives. I have not read anything about anything like this.

    Only clues - maybe - 1st feeder had sponge material in the dish. They didn't seem interested. Yes, sometimes they might not be I understand. 2nd try I substituted the sponge material for dead weeds/grasses in my back field (no pesticides here or neighbors).
    I remembered I had added 2 drops of Rosemary oil to the qt of 1:1 syrup. Thought maybe that was the problem - so I dumped it and put in fresh 1:1 syrup.

    I cracked the IC 1" to peek into the hive to see if bees on the frames. YES.
    I cracked the upper and lower supers 1" to see if bees on the frames. Yes.

    Trap had 6fr med. Installed in a hive with double medium boxes - to be closer to the size of the trap they had chosen to move into.

    Does anyone have any idea what is maybe going on ??? Thank you.

    Natilie

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Marshall county, AL
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    3,404

    Default Re: Upside down, can't turn over, fly in small circles on ground, death ??

    I don't know but I wonder if they might have been sprayed with some sort of insecticide prior to you catching them? Maybe the clustered, got sprayed, moved into your trap? I have no idea really, just speculating.
    The more I learn about bees, the less I know.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Bergen County, NJ
    Posts
    907

    Default Re: Upside down, can't turn over, fly in small circles on ground, death ??

    Do they act like they are hyper ? Do you see any bees fighting or trying to chase other bee inside the hive (on IC for e.g) ?

    September 2016, I had a hive that got robbed out, LOTS of dead bees - so much so I had piles covering bottom entrance and then some. The saga continued about for 3 days and at the end I lost that hive and another one.

    I posted pictures here and opinions varied from pesticide to varroa & virus.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    charleston, wv, usa
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: Upside down, can't turn over, fly in small circles on ground, death ??

    Last year one of my hives, hundreds of bees on the ground doing as you describe, for three days. Lost the hive. Most probably insecticide.
    "SERENITY is realizing that the bees know what they are doing, even when you don't..."--thenance007

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Arp, Texas, USA
    Posts
    98

    Default Re: Upside down, can't turn over, fly in small circles on ground, death ??

    Daisy

    No the bees were calm - maybe slow, drugged - and no fighting or chasing. Sorry you lost your hive. Lost a hive last year too due to robbing.

    Hive+

    Thank you for your help. I guess I can always hope some of the bees inside that looked like they were moving OK didn't get much if any and will be able to make it.

    Wonder if there is anything I can to do help them.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA
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    262

    Default Re: Upside down, can't turn over, fly in small circles on ground, death ??

    Was it a anti mildew or antibacterial sponge?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Arp, Texas, USA
    Posts
    98

    Default Re: Upside down, can't turn over, fly in small circles on ground, death ??

    No, was just sponge like material - like would be from sofa.
    Was new never used - tried to rinse it out before using as it had dust in it no doubt from sitting in our shop for several years.
    Good thought - thanks for making me think about something like that - future brain hopes to remember. grin

  9. #8
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    Jan 2012
    Location
    charleston, wv, usa
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    187

    Default Re: Upside down, can't turn over, fly in small circles on ground, death ??

    Unfortunately in this case, bees will keep returning to a nectar source.
    You could try feeding, but they do prefer the field, so may ignore. It could keep the hive alive till whatever they are gathering quits blooming.
    Good luck.
    "SERENITY is realizing that the bees know what they are doing, even when you don't..."--thenance007

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
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    Bergen County, NJ
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    907

    Default Re: Upside down, can't turn over, fly in small circles on ground, death ??

    OP - another lesson I learned is .. stop robbing immediately. Otherwise, whatever is affecting that hive will spread and result in more casualties.

    I would provide a small top entrance (so the dead bees on the bottom dont clog) AND move the affected hive as far as possible, possibly few miles away from the original location.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Arp, Texas, USA
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    98

    Default Re: Upside down, can't turn over, fly in small circles on ground, death ??

    Hive+
    Thank you - but I doubt it is something they are feeding on. Of my 5 hives, this is the only one affected.
    The workers cannot get out to feed on anything - they can't fly right now. very sad.
    They rub their eyes a lot.
    While some are doing better today - am more of a mind that they got sprayed before they got here.
    I took the advice this morning of a local man I respect and sprayed the bees with sugar water to give them something in the mean time. Only a very few can climb up to the feeder. Can only wait and hope that enough bees can survive to save the hive and the queen is ok or will recover and they can rebuild the hive.

    DaisyNJ
    Yes, robber screen is on to protect them from others wanting to take advantage. I am watching for that now. Windy and Rain tomorrow so other bees most likely stay inside.
    I do have small entrances - was going to open up the top air vent to let bees come and go in case the bottom got clogged again as you said. However, when I was in there - I chose to only clean it out and put it back on as I felt the hive did not have enough healthy bees to defend the extra entrance.
    Moving the hive away for protection for all is a good idea, just in case it is come disease or to give them more peaceful time in case the robbers want to see if they can get some free food.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Champaign, Illinois
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    2,461

    Default Re: Upside down, can't turn over, fly in small circles on ground, death ??

    Does the circle of death spiral flights happen before or after you jam them with the 9" screwdriver?
    By any chance are they flying in nine-inch upside-down circles?
    Internet credibility is an oxymoron

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
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    Hotlanta, GA
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    Default Re: Upside down, can't turn over, fly in small circles on ground, death ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Bee View Post
    I don't know but I wonder if they might have been sprayed with some sort of insecticide prior to you catching them? Maybe the clustered, got sprayed, moved into your trap? I have no idea really, just speculating.
    This was my thought as well. Someone probably sprayed them when they clustered initially
    Ask two beekeepers, get three answers

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    Arp, Texas, USA
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    Default Re: Upside down, can't turn over, fly in small circles on ground, death ??

    Branman

    This seems to be the consensus of opinion because of their actions or lack of.
    That they must have gotten sprayed before they moved into the trap.
    The trap caught 2 swarms last year - so I don't believe there is any problem there either.
    Right now I am hoping more of the bees will either survive or get better. Fingers crossed.
    I have noticed many rub their eyes. Also making me think they were sprayed. Not a lot of homes in my area, but it only takes one and where they came from is also unknown. Moved no forwarding address.

    Aunt Betty

    Not sure how to take your comments, but will answer anyway.
    1. The bees are NOT flying upside down.
    2. The bees can be upside down in any location - above the IC in the feeder area where there is some syrup on part of the board that leaked last night so they don't even have to get up to the feeder to get any syrup.
    3. The bees can be upside down on dry board, on the landing board, on the ground where they ended up after trying to fly. Today some of the bees were able to flip back over onto their feet. Sometimes they ended back on their backs again.
    4. The circles are smaller, maybe 4" across.
    5. The bees are walking or doing the best they can to walk in any location.
    6. The bees are often rubbing their eyes or antenna as if trying to rub something off - or are irritated like allergies do us.
    7. I Am Absolutely NOT Jamming or Jabbing the bees with the 9" screw driver. I am gently scraping a pile of dead bees off the screened bottom board and out the front onto the ground. I slide the screw driver down the side wall and make a sweeping motion from there. I believe 5 or 6 that came out were still alive and doing their drunken walk.
    It has been quite sad to see them struggle and not be able to help them.
    Hopefully the sprayed sugar water will provide some nourishment for them as they try to recover.

    Hopefully they will recover.

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