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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First, thanks for all the help you all have given me on this forum.

I was disturbed to find when I visited my colony a lot of feces all over the surrounding area (the bees are kept on a membrane roof). NB there wasn't any feces on the landing area/entrance, so at least it appears to occur in flight. The worst find appears to be 8 to 10 dying 80% formed bees lying around outside. bad bees1.jpg this is only the third day above 60 we've had in a long time.
I haven't searched inside yet (no time until Saturday). There appears to be a lot of overall good healthy activity going on, but the sudden zillions of fecal spots on the roof along with the premature bees has me worried.

So what should I be looking for when I inspect this weekend?

Rich
 

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Its Deformed wing virus. It is normally caused by a high mite load. You need to do a quick mite count to confirm and most likely treat.
 

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Well, I wondered about that. Last September I found a young bee crawling around with one deformed wing, so I did a mite count and found exactly zero. So I did another a week later and came up with only one per cup-o-bees. Is it normal for them to evict the deformed?
 

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Eviction is normal
 

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how did you do the mite count? is it a scientifically proven method such as an alcohol wash? Other methods are unreliable,, and deceiving
 

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I don't know how the weather is up there in Maryland, but it strikes me as odd seeing drones this early.
Being farther south than you OP I haven't seen any drones yet. (I am sure I will see them soon)
I wonder if these aren't clean ups from last year?
 

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So what should I be looking for when I inspect this weekend?

Rich
A pooper scooper.:D

Look for bees, lots of bees and make sure they have enough to eat until the nectar flows.
 

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I don't know how the weather is up there in Maryland, but it strikes me as odd seeing drones this early.
Being farther south than you OP I haven't seen any drones yet. (I am sure I will see them soon)
I wonder if these aren't clean ups from last year?

I wouldn't say its totally unusual. I have newly hatched drones and alot of drone brood in Louisville.
 

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I wouldn't say its totally unusual. I have newly hatched drones and alot of drone brood in Louisville.
I've got drone brood.
Not many if any drones, but I do understand that some hives do allow a few drones to overwinter.

I just saw in another thread a poster out of Maryland saying that they had drones.
I thought it would be colder up there and their hives would be behind in development.
 

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First, thanks for all the help you all have given me on this forum.
I was disturbed to find when I visited my colony a lot of feces all over the surrounding area (the bees are kept on a membrane roof). NB there wasn't any feces on the landing area/entrance, so at least it appears to occur in flight. The worst find appears to be 8 to 10 dying 80% formed bees lying around outside. View attachment 9894 this is only the third day above 60 we've had in a long time.
I haven't searched inside yet (no time until Saturday). There appears to be a lot of overall good healthy activity going on, but the sudden zillions of fecal spots on the roof along with the premature bees has me worried.
So what should I be looking for when I inspect this weekend?
Rich
I've seen the fecal spots as well recently. They're just relieving themselves. As for the few dead malformed bees, it could just be chill brood, or something else.

When you do open them up for inspection, if you haven't alreadyswept off the bottom board, do it into some kind of a container to look for mites.
 

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be a southern bee keeper I am not sure I qualify as advisor to a northern keeper but-Even here in florida the bees may stay in the hive for two or three days if its really cold. Then on a warm day they all run outside to drop their loads. If your bees have been inside for weeks then the first warm day I am sure everyone made a beeline for the out house so a lot of feces would not surprise me. Back when people used to hang out their laundry we had a neighbor with bees and his wife made him move them because she would hang out the sheets to dry and the bees would lose their loads over the clothes line.
As for the deformed wing virus-the virus is transmitted by varroa. Most if not all hives have some varroa so they all probably have some level of virus also. It is only when the varroa/virus load gets to a critical mass that you have a problem. I have heard all sorts of figures quoted as to mite counts. Somewhere around 10 mites to a half of cup (about 300) bees using the sugar shake method is cited frequently as a cut off point.
We are small time keepers and our personal feelings are that the only real solution to varroa is for the bees to evolve to tolerate the mites so we do not treat. but it is heartbreaking to loose a hive to mites/and virus. So far we are having survival rates better that the averages we see published in bee journals. We use screen bottom boards, we do splits to interrupt the brood cycle, and we are using feral stock. We also use drone frames to trap the mites.
I would not worry if you see a few deformed wings and your mite count is low. If you see a lot try non chemical methods. Remember the mites reproduce in the brood cells if you have no brood because you broke the brood cycle the mite population with drop. Good luck.
 
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