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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

I set up my first hive, with a single deep brood chamber, on with a package on april 17.. Yesterday, I noticed a lot more bees flying around than normal, and several of them were darker in color than the other italians.. Also, many of them kind of "stumbled" off the landing pad when they took off and I saw several bees in places around the property where I hadn't seen them at in the past month.. They appeared "confused"- checking out objects that were clearly not flowers or even remotely near flowers, such as my propane tank for example.... In addition to that strange behavior, I saw that many of them, when they flew back to the hive, were landing on the face of the hive box and not on the landing pad and they would crawl around there a bit and then slowly crawl down the hive face and into the hole.. I also noticed one that landed on the pad, and then dropped about 6 little individual drops of what I assume to be bee poop (little droplets of goldish/brown liquid) out of her abdomen on the pad before she walked in.. and today I noticed more "poop" smears on the face of the hive, in the same general area where they were landing yesterday. So my questions:

#1. Is it normal for bees to poop "on" their hive?

#2. Will younger bees be a different color than older bees?

#3. With the strange behavior, does it sound to you guys like these were young bees?
 

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I had very similar questions...package installed on the first of May with direct released queen...There are some bees that come out to the landing board and seem to have a tough time stretching their wings..these are also slightly lighter color than the distinct brown to black striping they're more light brown stripes..after struggling for a while they seem to be able to stretch their wings and take off...also appear to have more fuzz around their neck (probably not right terminology)..Was assuming that this was the new generation...But would appreciate any pointers from other experienced entrance watchers as to how they can tell the new bees apart....
 

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Bees smearing feces on the face of the hive may be a sign of disease or bacterial infection. Do a search for "nosema" on the forum and you will learn a lot. Bees that are confused, dazed and disoriented are a concern. You should seek out professional advice immediately.

I was doing a cutout yesterday and had the great honor of observing bees hatching out of their cells while I was holding the comb. These bees tended to be very muted gray in color and fuzzy looking. Not the bright yellow/black of the other bees. Perhaps the color of the new bee will depend upon the species, Italians, Russians, Carnolians, etc.

The bees I watched hatched were feral bees.
 

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#1: It is not normal for bees to poop on the front of the hive, they are extremely tidy creatures, Bees will usually cleanse during flight, there is a possibility your bees may have Nosema, in which case you should medicate immediately.

#2: It is possible the color of some of the bees will vary, depending on how many Drones the Queen mated with, these may be half sisters. Mating with several Drones ensures genetic diversity.

#3: The behavior you are describing sounds an awful lot like you may have a weak colony and they are being robbed by another more stronger one. As for the other things they're checking out, bees are naturally curious and will check out almost anything.

I hope you get your situation settled and your hives balanced back, it sucks fretting over your bees.
 

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Color will darken in many sub-species as they age and lose hairs. There are also up to 20 male sperm donors in your queen so all the kids do not look alike unless she was artificially inseminated and cost you about $300.
Feces on the hive is not good. Nosema is the likely suspect.
 

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Bees landing on the front of the hive rather than the landing board is normal. Bees checking out strange things is also normal. During the honey flow bees coming in heavy and landing in front of the hive, resting and then flying up to the landing board or hive front is also normal.

Streaking on the front of the hive is a warning. I wouldn't do anything about it right now if your flow is on or near though.

What kind of queen do you have? You probably got Italian bees in the package with your queen which might be a Carni or Russian.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, the whole nosema thing has me quite worried, then.. This is my first attempt at beekeeping and when I received my package bees 6 weeks ago, I was told they had been fully medicated and I didn't have to worry about anything.. Is it possible that my hive is indeed being robbed by another colony (hence the different colored bees) and they have brought nosema into my colony? I noticed several more brown smears on the front of the hive today..
 

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You know there are a number of poop streaks on my latest hive also and the neighbor lady mentioned that her bees had dysentery. Is that mainly caused by Nosema? Wasn't too worried about my newly installed bees because package bees are usually medicated so I assumed that I was good for awhile. Inside the hive looked, smelled normal and the colony looked strong at my last inspection. Does Nosema have a characteristic odor like FB?
 
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