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I have an OB hive which has been doing fine since I started it a month or so ago. The hive was increasing, healthy, the queen has been laying nice patterns. Last week I noticed the hive starting to thin out I went outside to find some crawling around on the ground outside the entrance, about a dozen or so, later the same...Since there has continually been bees wandering on the ground -- the yellow jackets have come to feast on them. There aren't YJ's attacking the hive. There are not any deformations or K-ing of the wing...Any suggestions as to what may be happening and how to save this hive? This is the hive -- it's not a small OB and has gracious ventilation...



 

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they could have been exposed to a pesticide during their foraging. i had a similar thing happen at my hive in the spring and was told that it was due to someone spraying their garden or fruit trees. it cleared up after about 2 weeks or so but during that time you could see 10 to 30 bees crawling on the ground by the hive at any given time. the would try to fly but could not take off
 

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I've got a similar size 5 frame OB hive as well. http://s196.photobucket.com/albums/aa190/Drew454/Observation Hive/ Are the bees taking syrup? Is the queen laying well? Assuming yes on both from what you are describing you may have some tracheal mites. I've not dealt with those, but you could search the site to learn how to deal with them. A possible requeen may be in order. In the short term, to boost your population you might consider putting a frame or two of capped brood and attendants in there. It's kinda like a camp fire, you have to have enough fuel (bee population) in there to hit critical mass for it to continue on with minimal intervention. If it gets too low it takes a lot of work to keep it from going out and get it back up to critical mass for overnight (winter) survival.
 
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