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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a new keeper wit 2, 8 week old packaged hives. I have recently added the second deep to both hives. It seems that everything is going well according to what I have read in books and this forum. This evening I noticed what appeared to be at least a hundred bees dead and dying outside the hives. Many were lying on their backs still moving. I haven't seen this before so was hoping someone could let me know if this is anything to be concerned about? I understand the lifespan of the bees but have never witnessed this many casualties at one time.
Also, one of the hives has recently started sitting on the landing board in large numbers I'm guessing just to get some fresh air. Tonight they are doing that but also 50 or so are bearding (?) on the side of the hive box. Are they just cooling off?
Thanks for are comments.
 

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I'll let someone with more knowledge talk about the dying bees.

The bees moved outside to keep the interior from overheating from their body heat. It's common in hot weather with a strong hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your thoughts, that makes prefect sense. It's been hot all week and this is my strong hive.
Thanks again.
 

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Pretty hot out. Are your entrances wide open? Forecast over here tomorrow at 105 plus...

If you hived them 2 months back you might be a little late on the second box...

Any pics of the dying bees possible?
 

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Bearding, I think, is when they need to get more space in the hive for airflow.
For drying out incoming nectar to cap as honey, does the air smell sweet around the hive?
For Temperature control, by placing water drops throughout the hive and fanning for evaporative cooling.
For Keeping brood cool during hot days and nights, needing the space for airflow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'll take and send some pics in the morning. I added the second boxes 3 weeks ago. I took a look inside today to see if I needed to add a super but only 6 frames are drawn out. It seems like it's not overcrowded because the undrawn frames didn't have many bees on them. I did notice what I think is a queen cell though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I visited my hives this morning and took some pics. I'm having a little trouble figuring out how to post them. I'll get some help this morning from my son.
Anyway, I would say over 100 dead on the ground in front of my weaker hive. Also the weaker hive has dead on the entrance board. There are worker bees coming and going from the strong hive but only a few from the weaker one. Each hive has a bottle feeder and at the time I witnessed this last night, both were empty. It doesn't appear to me any robbing is going on now.
If this is robbing do you think that the robbing bees are from my 2 hives or from a hive some ware else?
Both of my hives have screened bottom boards and entrance reducers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I just checked the hives and it looks like business as usual. Bees going out and in (with lots of pollin). Do you think I should put a white screen guard on both hives? I could leave an opening on one end of each so my bees can come and go.
 

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Do the dead bees have fully formed wings etc..? It's not unusual to seed dead bees, but a couple hundred bees dying in front of the hive is not typically normal. It could've been a one time thing, I artificially swarmed a hive a few weeks ago, and a few mornings later someone was trying to rob it, I think commercial bees, I only noticed it in the morning when I stopped by. Never saw it again, but there was a good ring of dead bees around the entrance area later that day and everything has been normal from there on out.
 

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In NC (but all beekeeping is local), a hive that is strong enough for bearding, should be strong enough to prevent robbing from getting started. If you are sure the dead bees are not from robbing, I would take off the entrance reducer to allow more ventilation. But if they are being robbed the reducer will definitely help protect them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ray it does smell sweet and yesterday I did see a lot of uncapped honey.
JRG, I looked at the dead ones and it looks to me like they have developed wings but I can't be sure. It's difficult for me to tell because it's so hot by the time I read your post they have shrunk up. That could be the case because there were so many on the ground and it appeared they were trying to fly while they were rolling around on the ground. I hope it doesn't but if I see it again that will be the first thing I check.
Thanks heaflaw. I'm going to watch for robbing the next few days and if none I'm going to pull the reducer.
Thanks everyone. Oh yea and still trying to download the pics
 
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