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Today I noticed a large number of dead and dying bees around one of my two hives (I hived the bees on the 12th). I would guess 100 to 200 bees. Many, maybe 35% had lots of pollen as if they had been foraging, made it back to the hive area but not up to the hive. Most were still alive, just not able to fly. It has been cold here (highs in the 50s and rainy) but the bees have been actively foraging. Is this just package bees getting old? Or is it the cold weather? Both my inspections have looked good with lots of capped brood and queen sightings each time. Pollen was varried colors as the bees must have been foraging in different area so I would think its not poisoning.
 

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If in a urban area I would suspect poisoning.watch and see if the dead count increases, shut them down for a few days, open them back up see if it repeats.If it repeats you may need to relocate the hive.Have you noticed a strange odor, bright red or pink propolis or unusual colored propolis?What type of bees are you keeping?
 

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This often happens when its cold.

The bees head out foraging and any bees landing short of the landing board cant get going again because they chill quickly are loaded down with pollen and dont have the energy to take off from the ground.

Can you lean a board or something up against the landing board and the ground so any bees that land short land on the board and can walk up and in the entrance
 

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This often happens when its cold.

The bees head out foraging and any bees landing short of the landing board cant get going again because they chill quickly are loaded down with pollen and dont have the energy to take off from the ground.

Can you lean a board or something up against the landing board and the ground so any bees that land short land on the board and can walk up and in the entrance
I observed exactly this a few days ago. The amazing thing was that in the morning they were still alive but very sluggish (lows mid 40's). As soon as the sun hit them they all woke up and flew in.
 

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@tpbees, I came searching for this very condition. I have four hives and noticed it most around one of the four. I'm about 45 minutes north of you, and noticed about 100-200 bees last night in the same condition. My first thought was poisoning, but then I realized how cold it was. I think they got chilled and couldn't make it in. It's 33 degrees this morning, so I'm not holding out hope that they'll warm up and go in, but we'll see.

My hives face east and catch the morning sun. Usually I find this an advantage as they arise and shine earlier and get going. Question for more experienced beeks: Can this be counterproductive when it warms them up enough in the sun to go out, only to discover it's a bit colder than they thought?
 

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>I would guess 100 to 200 bees. Many, maybe 35% had lots of pollen as if they had been foraging
Sounds like you got chilled bees, are yours hives in full sun facing south?

Collect the bees in a jar and bring them in, wait 1/2 hour they will come back to life. This will rule out alot of other things like poison.
 

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Thanks for all the info. The problem bees are carniolans and the other hive is Italian. I swept up all of the dead bees this morning. So far today very few dead bees but I did notice some strange feces. Some was 3/8" to 1/2" and thin like a worm. The rest was spiral shape and dotted runny feces. I think something is wrong but not sure what. Any ideas? Nosema maybe, or maybe they were poisoned? Luckily I should have new brood which should be emerging in about 5 or 6 days.
 

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Either or.Send them out for testing to confirm.There's another thread today where I described Nosema.I'll look it back up and tell you which one it is,one gentleman gave the info where to send the specimen for free testing.
 

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stwinward doesn't make much difference.Hive boxes have for sides,no matter which direction the entrance is the east side of your hive will get sun from the east first.Now where I keep a majority of my hives the prevailing winds come from north south and west.I chose the east,less wind blowing through the entrance.Ventilation is good to much is not.The bees have to work to hard to control their environment which will use up more stores.Sure honey on the outside frames act as an insulator,but the hive will warm up much the same.If you need to relieve yourself would you wait until the temp is just right for you?What most fail to keep in mind is Russians,Carniolans,Buckfast and Caucasians will fly at lower temps than Italians.At 50 degrees Italians are reluctant to leave the hive,at 38 degrees Russians,Carniolans,Buckfast and Caucasians are reluctant to leave the hive.Now think about which type of bee you have.If it's 50 degrees and you have Russians,Carniolans,Buckfast or Caucasians and they're dropping in front of the hive and just crawling on the ground and it's above 38 degrees it's not the outside temperature giving them the chills.It's one of three things.#1bad pollen #2poison #3Nosema.That's been my experience.Caucasian and Italians are the two that are most suceptable to Nosema.They're all suceptable to poisoning.Nosema is highly contagious and easily transferrable.Italians are notorious robbers making it easy for them to spread Nosema throughout your apiary or outyard.Testing for either is free.Get them tested is what I'd do.Check out the thread about bee poop.To find out where you can get them tested for free!
 

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>one gentleman gave the info where to send the specimen for free testing.
here is the info
http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?296993-Bee-poop-question&p=1098053#post1098053

>So far today very few dead bees but I did notice some strange feces. Some was 3/8" to 1/2" and thin like a worm. The rest was spiral shape and dotted runny feces.
What color? Pollen colored? Sounds normal, your bees just started eating pollen and they are trapped in the hive cause of cooler temps. This can also force them out for cleansing flights, which can give you chilled bees. Feed pollen paties too earily can cause this too.

>Hive boxes have for sides,no matter which direction the entrance is the east side of your hive will get sun from the east first.
It does make a difference, you want your hive facing south in full sun, this will reduce chilled bees the most. (full sun will also reduce beetles and moths) If you point your hives east then your entrance will be shaded in the afternoon when it starts to cool. Bees coming back warmed by direct sunlight can be chilled in the shade of the hive. If your hives faces south the front of the hive will get sun every part of the day.
 

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Best part of this forum many different methods,thoughts,beleifs and opinions.It doesn't get any better than thls.I'm older than dirt but very open minded,not commited to just one way of doing things,always changing,always adapting.Just speaking from many years of experience and try to share that.I have learned more from those who know less and some from those who know more.One year or one hundred I haven't found anyone I couldn't learn something from.I pay attention to where the prevailing winds are coming from just the way I like to do it.That's why I like facing east.I face hives south also I'm not stuck in a rut as to which direction they face,they.re faced in all directions with me.I find fewer problems for myself in the areas and regions I have out yards.Never limit yourself to direction of your entrance.Beetles and moths prefer dusk to darkness that's when most enter the hive.I keep close tabs on what goes on with my hives, for me and the areas and regions I operate in I've notice less problems with a majority of my hives that are facing east..Some areas they do better facing south some do better facing west and so on.That's why in my opinion it doesn't matter.Who's right who's wrong doesn't matter.What's right is dependent on a lot of variables the most important how are my bees thriving.If not what can I do to help?There are very few set rules in beekeeping.I'd get them tested I wouldn't gamble but that's just what I do if I suspect something doesn't look right.Take a hive set it up where the ground is flat,where there are no trees,where there isn't any windbreak.Now on days with identical weather conditons temperature. humidity,wind speed, point the hive north.At the same time every day you have said weather conditions take the internal temp of that hive.Now change direction do the same all gver again.You'll find it very interesting.Please take all I've written with an open mind and from a positive note because that's where it comes from and that's how it's intended!
 

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T Seely performed many tests and he proved bees prefer a swarm trap that is facing south. The reasons why only the bees know. And I don't speak bee. But for the most part their selection pretenses are based on what is best for their survival over the past 100 million years.

I had an open mind when it came to hive direction, so I didn't face all my hives south or in full sun like everyone says to. I learned for myself hives in shade have 10X more beetles in them and more moths luring outside the hives at night. Last year I had 4 hives facing east and picked up thousands of chilled bees that spring, due to afternoon shading.

Beeks very seldom agree but most beek will tell you hive should be facing south and be in full sun.

But some beek will just have to learn on their own, I know I did.
 

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Looking through my removal records east is the dominant direction most entrances are found.Something I keep tabs on just because it's interesting to me.I'm not arguing direction it doesn't matter to me.This is my experience.If you notice other commercial beekeepers don't really care which direction the entrance is pointing.I speak from years of experience not from something I've read.When going to a removal whether on a tree or a building most people aren't home to show me where the hive is and rarely accurately describe where it is.I always examine the east side first.Might be a good thread to start where others predominantly find the entrances at.I would figure I have encountered this more than the average Joe.The hives facing east rarely have hive beetles. that's something else I've and still keep records on.Height of the hives average 17ft 9 inches.Does that mean I should put my hives on stands to avoid hive beetle?I agree reason why the bees only know.Don't be blinded by studies some are accurate some are not.I doubt Seely perform more tests than I've done removals.I doubt he's run more test than I have hives.Did Seely record the dominant direction the hive entrance faced?Doesn't sound like it.Again not arguing just sharing my honest experience and what I've found in my records.My records span several decades was his study spanned over decades?I don't know I haven't read his article yet.I'll probably try to find it at some point in time today.If you know the site where I can find it I'd really be interested in reading it.This a very stimulating conversation we're having I hope we can continue to enlighten one another!Much appreciation for the stimulation.
 
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