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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was watching my backyard hive this morning (and over the last few days) and noticed on the one hive, the "undertakers" were pushing out live bees and then, after a brief struggle, grab them and flew off like they do with dead. This hive is overwintered twice, split 3 x in the beginning of last May from triple deeps and now has 4 supers on it. Other than being somewhat ornery during inspections, it has show great honey production (+150 #), strong populations and very unusual hygienic Beehavior. They suffered a mite bomb in late August in year 1 that was treated with Formic Pro (2 pad) and shut down for a couple of weeks, only to rebound immediately and produced two more supers of fall honey, ending up at 125# in store going into winter. Whenever the weather shuts down foraging, overnight they seem to use the opportunity to clean out their hive, with unviable larvae and dead littering the landing board only to be immediately cleaned off **** and span. They seem much more organized than any of my other hives with bees fanning, foraging and raising young. The queen is now three year old, unless I missed a subordination, but is still laying like a just mated queen. They have never swarmed to my knowledge.

Is this carrying off live bees normal Beehavior or a sign of concern?
 

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Is this carrying off live bees normal Beehavior or a sign of concern?
What concern????
Sounds like good bees to have.
I would definitely make as many daughters of this queen as I possibly can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
They're great bees and are one of the few hives that will not have the queen replaced later this summer-so far two daughter hives and more to come later this summer. Just never saw them drag off a live and kicking worker.
 

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drag off one worker, 10, or 100's?

they apparently did not like its smell, or behavior. could be it is sick, or the bee dragging it off is messed up.

1 or 5 not an issue,, many a day would be something to look at.

I did have a funny political comment but I guess 1/2 the folks would not think it is funny so I'll just smirk and keep it to myself.

GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
drag off one worker, 10, or 100's?

they apparently did not like its smell, or behavior. could be it is sick, or the bee dragging it off is messed up.

1 or 5 not an issue,, many a day would be something to look at.

I did have a funny political comment but I guess 1/2 the folks would not think it is funny so I'll just smirk and keep it to myself.

GG
Just went out to watch the hive between some calls- seems like there's a few. I'm going to go out later and if it's still going on. If it is, I'm going to catch a few in a glass jar and examine-I've seen 6 or 7 so far today and that's over a total of a half hour on two trips.

No matter what you say, you're gonna offend 1/2 the populations-just the way things are now a days. Except me-I truly just don't care any more. As they say, at 62, life imprisonment isn't the deterrent it was at 20.
 

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Just went out to watch the hive between some calls- seems like there's a few. I'm going to go out later and if it's still going on. If it is, I'm going to catch a few in a glass jar and examine-I've seen 6 or 7 so far today and that's over a total of a half hour on two trips.

No matter what you say, you're gonna offend 1/2 the populations-just the way things are now a days. Except me-I truly just don't care any more. As they say, at 62, life imprisonment isn't the deterrent it was at 20.
I've not seen them drag off live bees but I have seen them drag off dead bees plenty.

seems odd behavior unless the bee being dragged off has a virus or something.

let us know what you discover

GG
 

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Queen producers selecting for hygienic behavior may be making the biggest mistake since AHB and varroa hit our shores.
Here's an article to read.
Should queen producers change their ads to read, "We select for enhanced horizontal viral transfer in honeybee hives".?
Are beekeepers, researchers, and others in our industry capable of announcing, "We made a big mistake. REVERSE COURSE!"?
Ever wonder why viral levels skyrocket in the fall even when mites are brought under control?
Read carefully:
Honeybee 'Trojan horse' virus relies on bees' habit of cannibalizing their young | Live Science
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Interesting paper but my girls are not cannibalizing's the young ones, it seems like a bee, worker and occasionally a drone, are deemed persona non gratis in the hive and pushed out, then grabbed and flown off to points unknown just like normal dead bees are. While the victim bees does orchestrated some resistance, inevitably lose and are carried off kicking and scream-well maybe not screaming. I am currently soaking a label off a pickle jar and intend on using it to catch some some these bees this morning. I am also armed with a pair of forceps, Raybans and a NY Mets ball cap. My trust assistant, "Hey get back here you" has decide to stay inside in the air-conditioning and observe from a window. After a visual, I am hoping to do a small wash to see if there's any mites on the bees collected and examine them with a magnifying glass for DWS or other visual madidities (It appears that I am relegated to trash pick jars as momma has around 30 quarts of strawberries, with more coming today and is canning like an apocalypse is just around the corner and 200 jars of jam is an absolute necessity. I have been threatened with bodily injury if I touch any canning jars and have been tasked to go to TS for a few more dozen jars. Please notify public safety if I'm offline for more than 2 days.)
 

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Larry:

Hopefully I am wrong, but based simply on the symptoms you describe I wonder like Gray Goose whether it might be signs of a virus like CBPV. Here is a good video from Stewart Spinks going through a strong colony struggling with CBPV. If nothing else, his sanitization tips starting at about the 14:15 mark seem like a prudent course of action when suspecting a viral problem:

 

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Well I have not researched this, but from my personal observations along with the common theory is that things like DFW virus and other viruses have a correlation with mite load. So it is very possible that it is spread through the cannibalizing of brood, yet typically such as in the case of VSH (varroa sensitive hygenic) bees they tend to uncap and remove pupae that has an active laying mite inside. They do not eat the pupae, they may eat larvae but not pupae. So they are not spreading it that way, the mite on the other hand that is feeding on the larvae and later pupae is spreading it, I have personally witnessed a bee emerging from a cell with DFW.

In your situation, I have seen a hive recently exibiting the exact same behavior. This hive had a very high might load. I saw multiple bees with mite on them and opening up drone brood found many mites. This was an untreated colony and the other 3 had died over the winter. I believe the bees were nearly dead that were being drug out. I saw some movement but they certainly were not putting up a fight. I think they were sick and the colony was trying to purge that sickness. The mites themselves do not typically kill the bees, it is the viruses that they transmit to the bees. I would recommend doing an alcohol wash to see what your mite load is. If you don't have the stuff to do that, then order the stuff. https://www.amazon.com/Blythewood-B...d=1&keywords=mite+check&qid=1623372621&sr=8-1

in the mean time look up and do a sugar roll, it is not as accurate but will give you an idea. If you have a lot of mites, more than 3 mites per hundred bees, then treat the hive immediately and hope for the best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I was just about to update this-we did a wash this afternoon with a hefty 1/2 cup of nurse bees and the count was zero. We also did the hive next to this one (about 2 feet away) which also, from a hefty 1/2 cup of nurse bees showed zero counts. Both hives had at least 10-12 frames of eggs and brood , the balance was honey with reasonable pollen belts. There are almost 2 full mediums above both double brood, white comb building with some capped honey in super 3, super 4 occupied with new propolis building/sealing. Hive is vented through an inner cover with entrance reducer shim below tel-cover. Scrapped about 50 drone cells from outer frames which upon examination with a hand held magnified glass showed no mites in drone larvae. Noticed very large and apparently health population of drones exiting and returning. Did not, nor have I ever seen this queen. Caught two sets of undertakers with live "victims" both of which were well worn worker-frayed wings and balding. I am pretty much in belief that this is a strong hive (50K bees +) and is showing good hygienic behavior. It's last OAV was in late March April. The girls were, lets say, extreme agitated during my visit.

This was a triple deep that was split into three hives (mother with 16 frames-2 7 frame deeps. Both daughter hives are now building out second deep-both have mother hive's bad attitude (for Italians) but are in a separate yard about 7 miles away. . I plan on spending some time over the weekend doing external inspections on behaviors.
 

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well that is awesome, did you do an alcohol wash? I don't know for sure why they are hauling off those bees. your OA must have worked really good, were they broodless when you did it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
With 34 hives this year consisting of 5 mini-yards of 2 to 4 hives and 2 larger yards of 10 to 12 hives, we do alcohol washes once a month on one hive per yard per month -usually. The qualifier for usually is that a few hives are small swarm hives and I don't feel it's worth reducing their population by 300 bees until they've established in a second deep. We also reduce washes as we move into summer flows as my IPM is to, if needed, use formic Pro pads in August/Sept. In October, I do a 5 x 4 day OAV and then a final shot between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last winter, we had a few groups of days where we had flying weather so usually they got a shot or two during January and February with a few hits in March and April as Spring flows start here. I also use 1" foam insulation and a quilt box over winter and I don't think we went brood less last winter-the hives had big enough populations that I added 3rd deeps in early march to support the splits we did in early May. I'm still expecting to buy nucs next Spring in addition to splits as we further expand. Hoping to learn queen rearing this year. My nuc supplier uses 2 strips of Apivar in his 5 frames so we leave them in the 10 frames until we're looking a supering. I'm semi-retired so I have too much time on my hands. Now as you know, all beekeeping is local and I'm in western NJ near the Delaware River but at the northern edge of the Atlantic Coastal Plain so my winter weather is more like Maryland/Virginia. I see you're in Colorado and having worked for a Company based in Montrose, Co, I know your winters are a lot colder, rainfall is a lot less and you have your own challenges at altitude.

I think now from the few that I captured and looked at, they were hauling off the old, worn out, frayed wing, bald foragers, maybe a little early than needed. These hives are 3 years old, very strong and still booming with brood, eggs and a big producers.
 

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With 34 hives this year consisting of 5 mini-yards of 2 to 4 hives and 2 larger yards of 10 to 12 hives, we do alcohol washes once a month on one hive per yard per month -usually. The qualifier for usually is that a few hives are small swarm hives and I don't feel it's worth reducing their population by 300 bees until they've established in a second deep. We also reduce washes as we move into summer flows as my IPM is to, if needed, use formic Pro pads in August/Sept. In October, I do a 5 x 4 day OAV and then a final shot between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last winter, we had a few groups of days where we had flying weather so usually they got a shot or two during January and February with a few hits in March and April as Spring flows start here. I also use 1" foam insulation and a quilt box over winter and I don't think we went brood less last winter-the hives had big enough populations that I added 3rd deeps in early march to support the splits we did in early May. I'm still expecting to buy nucs next Spring in addition to splits as we further expand. Hoping to learn queen rearing this year. My nuc supplier uses 2 strips of Apivar in his 5 frames so we leave them in the 10 frames until we're looking a supering. I'm semi-retired so I have too much time on my hands. Now as you know, all beekeeping is local and I'm in western NJ near the Delaware River but at the northern edge of the Atlantic Coastal Plain so my winter weather is more like Maryland/Virginia. I see you're in Colorado and having worked for a Company based in Montrose, Co, I know your winters are a lot colder, rainfall is a lot less and you have your own challenges at altitude.

I think now from the few that I captured and looked at, they were hauling off the old, worn out, frayed wing, bald foragers, maybe a little early than needed. These hives are 3 years old, very strong and still booming with brood, eggs and a big producers.
I am curious about your OAV program. I am going to start doing that this winter. what do you mean 5x4 days. Is there a particular temperature you wait for it to be. I was thinking of doing 2 treatments 7 days apart in November and then 2 in March 7 days apart.
 

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I am curious about your OAV program. I am going to start doing that this winter. what do you mean 5x4 days. Is there a particular temperature you wait for it to be. I was thinking of doing 2 treatments 7 days apart in November and then 2 in March 7 days apart.
OAV doesn't kill mites in capped brood cells. If you have brood, you want to hit them every 3-4 days for a full brood cycle in order to get the most bang for your buck. He's doing 5 treatments 4 days apart.

If I were going to do OAV I'd do them every 3 days and cover a 24 day cycle to include drones...but that's more work than I want to do. I'd rather just put Formic strips in and be done with it.
 

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I didn't see this elsewhere about the dragging off live bees, so I will add it.

Are you sure the ones being drug off are not attempted robbers?
 
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