Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
132 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Trying to help a friend diagnose a large bee die off in a nee colony.

Sunday at noon, he captured a nice sized swarm in his suburban yard and put them in a nuc and fed them a little sugar water. Bees were foraging Sunday and Monday.

Tuesday, there was no activity. When he opened the nuc, it was filled with dead and dying bees. The remainders must have absconded away.

Check out his video (posted on YouTube)
Dead bees from swarm

hypothesizes:
A scared neighbor sprayed the swarm which relocated to his house.

They foraged on poisoned field- his other hives Nearby were fine

maybe his sugar water was contaminated with toxic mold.


It was a cold evening (40F) in a very thin plastic nuc box and maybe some bees couldn’t get in the swarm to stay warm.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
587 Posts
Only the first one really checks out, the other two don't make a whole lot of sense if you have other hives. It could also have been a weak or old swarm. Swarms are made of mostly older forager bees and if the swarm has been out for a long time, you can see pretty significant die offs. I'm sure the 40F night did not help them much, perhaps they failed to cluster and died that way.

Typically when we see a poison kill, the bees leave the hive because they feel sick (vomiting and diarrhea) and die right outside the entrance.
 

·
Read Only
Joined
·
0 Posts
Only the first one really checks out, the other two don't make a whole lot of sense if you have other hives. It could also have been a weak or old swarm. Swarms are made of mostly older forager bees and if the swarm has been out for a long time, you can see pretty significant die offs. I'm sure the 40F night did not help them much, perhaps they failed to cluster and died that way.

Typically when we see a poison kill, the bees leave the hive because they feel sick (vomiting and diarrhea) and die right outside the entrance.
From what I have read swarms have more young bees than old.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,050 Posts
From what I have read swarms have more young bees than old.
Yes:
It will take at least a month before a swarm can draw comb, lay new eggs and emerge new bees. Old foragers cannot be the backbone of a swarm. They need a high percentage of younger age groups to carry them through.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
618 Posts
one possibility is that the nuc and/or frames had been stored in an area that was contaminated with some insect poison. Think roach or ant poison or some agricultural insecticide. Don't bother to ask me how I know that.
 

·
Moderator - In Memorium
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,882 Posts
Pro nucs are notorious for cooking bees in bright sunshine, even when ambient temps are in the 80's. My guess is that the dead bees are the non flying nurse bees and the foragers took off for a cooler locale.
 
  • Like
Reactions: wildbranch2007

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,675 Posts
Pro nucs are notorious for cooking bees in bright sunshine, even when ambient temps are in the 80's. My guess is that the dead bees are the non flying nurse bees and the foragers took off for a cooler locale.
'Pro nucs'?

As opposed to what other sort of nuc? (Just curious, not contentious.) (I use the corrugated plastic nucs, in the middle of my field, no shade. I'm looking to buy something sturdier because these have a limited lifespan and wondering if there are some types I should avoid...or, otherwise, make arrangements for shading.)
 

·
Moderator - In Memorium
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,882 Posts

The pro nuc is a great temporary box for swarm collection. It is not, in my opinion, very good as permanent housing and needs to be kept in a shaded location if the bees will remain it for any length of time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,675 Posts
The pro nuc is a great temporary box for swarm collection. It is not, in my opinion, very good as permanent housing and needs to be kept in a shaded location if the bees will remain it for any length of time.
Ah, thank-you sir, good info to know.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top