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Hello everyone. Just joined, not sure what I'm doing, so bear with me.

I have 2 homemade top bar hives, one on its 2nd year, the other populated from a secondary swarm from my original hive this (2020) spring.
My bees seem to know what they are doing (let nature take its course kind of thing,) even if I don't. However, I am having some curious beehavior, and would like any input I can get.

Some of my bees started to crawl around on the ground and grass (mostly in the evenings) near the (original) hive, and generally act as if they don't know how to fly, or lost the ability, or, as they say about crazy people in the south, "they're tetched." I don't know. I've seen a few just nosedive into the grass below the hive and sometimes get up and fly, sometimes not.

The first few days I just noticed several individual bees just kind of moseying around alone. Now I've noticed some are gathering in small groups, and seem to be grooming each other. Am I losing my mind?

I have not looked closely for mites, but am wondering if that may be a possibility; I have not heard of bees acting like monkeys and grooming each other, but what do I know? Not much.

The hive seems generally normal from outside observation; bees coming and going, some loaded with pollen that makes their beehinds look like taillights as they enter the hive, others just coming and going doing whatever.

In late spring, both of the hives exhibited a strange, but I think probably an overall healthy beehavior, where the bees were tossing larvae off the hive landing board. From what little I have researched, that could indicate some smart bees, and they are making infested larvae walk the plank,
so to speak.

Anyhow, I hope I am not having a serious problem leading to a colony-collapse event.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I think you need to treat for mites immediately. The behavior you are observing sounds like parasitic mite syndrome or PMS, specifically Bee Paralysis Virus. The grooming on the other hand is normal.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Easiest thing at this point is to insert the appropriate number of Apivar strips according to package labeling. They come in a 10-pack, so that is what I would buy. You will need approximately two strips for every five or six frames of brood. Lang hive directions are for two strips per brood box with a minimum of three frames of brood between strips. I assume the TBH will be similar. Strips are designed to hang in a deep box so you may need to trim them to fit. The cut off pieces can be strung together and hung also so you do not waste any.
 

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I went through this my second year as well. Apivar, applied too late did not save the hives. I suggest doing what Mr Palmer suggests and doing it now. Don't wait! It will only get worse and the hive will be dead by fall, if you are seeing so many crawlers now.

Have you torn apart any drone comb to see if it is heavily infested with mites?

Do you have any hives currently unused? One thing you might try is to move the queen with a good number adult bees into a nuc box. Leave all the brood in the old box with Apivar and the rest of the bees. As the brood hatches out it will release the mites into the hive and the Apivar will kill them. After a month there will be no more brood hatching and all the mites will be free and hopefully dead. The queen will begin laying in the new hive and so you will not completely lose production of new bees, though there will be some lag time.
 

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What they said.

And for future reference, you will almost never "see" mites. A hive can be overrun with them, and you will not see them. Treat now, but it is also time to learn how to sample for mites. Or make a reasonable treatment plan that doesn't rely on sampling.

Best of luck to you. Treat now.
 

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It's mite season again and you need to treat NOW so winter bees can be healthy. You generally won't see mites on a bee unless you give her a complete physical as they are attached in between the plates feeding (underneath).
 
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