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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This morning at 7 it was 59 degrees and overcast. At 930 it was 62 and still overcast so I go to check on the bees. All four hives are flying in and out and seem to have good numbers coming and going. I notice between and below the hives this cluster of bees hanging on some onions. I thought it was odd so I took a picture.

beecluster.jpg

I left for church and returned about noon. During this time it had been drizzling rain and the temp had dropped 30 degrees to 32. I'm curious about the bee cluster and go check on them. All dead.

1. What were they doing clustered there in the first place?
2. Why didn't they go back in the hive as the temp dropped and it started to rain?
 

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Did you check for a queen? I have seen clusters on the ground but only with a queen or one near. Check close by and see if she was anywhere near there dead also. I would look for a queen inside when you get the first chance to.
 

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I would sure look hard in that dead pile for a queen and then in your hive.
and queen cells. I've only seem them do that on a queen and some predators inside of the hive like hornets or carpenter bees. The balls of bees cook there victims to death, tear at them etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
i need to clarify my last post. When I said I broke up the cluster on top of the hive I meant that I pulled that dead cluster that was hanging on the onions and layed them out on the outer cover to break them apart and look for the queen. they were all dead and I didn't see the queen. It will be too cold all week to get into them. We are currently getting ice and snow tonight. 62 this morning. Crazy.
 

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couple of weeks ago, when it first started to warm up and my bees were flying, some did the same thing. They were on the ground and never went back in the hive. For some of them, I would pick them up and put them in the sunshine and they'd warm up and fly back to the hive. Others stayed there and died. I figure they were the oldest winter bees and it was either their time to go, or they got chilled and were not able to make it back in the door of the hive.
 

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edymnion, Your not to far from me. Is this ice and snow going to get you too?
No, its warm enough here that its staying above freezing while the moisture comes through. Was 73 today, forecast low for tonight is 44, high tomorrow of 43 (aka, its going to drop continuously), then hit 27 tomorrow night.

The rain is coming in tonight and will be done tomorrow morning.

So I've got it pretty lucky here. Just going to be wet and then cold, but no more ice or snow.

ruthiesbees, thanks, thats what I'm hoping. When I saw them the second time after it rained and got cold I intended to pick them up and put them under the inner cover real quick but after poking them it was obvious they were dead.
Maybe, maybe not. Insects are funny that way. If they get cold enough, they will completely stop moving and be unresponsive to anything you do to them. After they warm up they start acting normally again.

A lot like people, they're only dead when they're warm and dead.
 

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They are suffereing from onion breath and the rest of the colony won't let them back in.:D
 
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