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I have a bee buddy that I have been helping out to learn bees and he lives about 35 miles away. He sent me this email today...

"Hi Bud, Checked out my hive again yesterday and there was a pile of bodies outside. Wasn't like that 2 days before. Are they house cleaning after being snowed in? Little black dots all over the outside of the hive,too. Ants? Give me a call"

My best guess, the bees are spring cleaning and this is normal. Any input or ideas? What the heck are the black dots, SHB?

We are in central Ohio and we are finally seeing some mid 50 - 60 degree dry days.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Here is what I replied back to him...

"Sounds pretty normal to me. I posted a message on BeeSource (attached) to see what others think.

I'll call later in the week, as its supposed to get warm (maybe rain, which will keep the bees in) and you can check for flying bees in the meantime. It is pretty normal for many bees to die inside the hive during winter. Usually, you'll only have a softball sized mess of bees survive. I'm sure they are just cleaning the hive since it started getting warm. But the black dots concern me".

I'll work on him again to join BeeSource!

Thanks!
 

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Sounds like spring cleaning...but erase all doubt...open the hive and see how they look. It's more than warm enough. Spots on the hive? Ants? I am laughing...was this guy looking at his hive through binos from a distance or something? :lpf:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Actually that's a good observation Alpha6. Either they are ants or they aint? I'm not an entomologist or anything, but I do know what an ant is when I see one!
 

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Haven't seen any ants yet, tho it has warmed to nearly 70 over the last few days. Black on the outside of hives that ain't ants (or another living creature) is a sign of dysentery or bee diarrea.

You might not be an entomologist, but like most of us, I'm sure you know what an ant ain't (couldn't resist it).
 

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After being cooped up for about a month with no cleansing flights, the bees have been flying the past couple of days.

The black dots on the hive is likely normal fecal spotting.

We still have snow here. Some bees (older and ready to die?) land/fall on the snow near the hive where they die. I am guessing these bees are the bees outside the hive he is referring to.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hoodswoods - I can't figure out where that miss steak come from? I have a spelling checker. It came with my PC. It plane lee marks miss steaks. Even miss steaks I can knot sea

;-) I couldn't resist either.

By the way, he emailed me back.. He thinks the black spots are ant poop??? I haven't looked, as the hives are 30+ miles away. Probably dysentery? (I really don't know how to spell that word)!!!
 

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Budster....it really does sound like normal cleansing. When the bees can't fly for a month or two over winter, they will void lots of it when they do get to fly. He shouldn't need to worry unless he it looks like someone has spread feces over the front or top of the hive. Little spots are normal in northern climates.
 

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Exactly!

I am in West Michigan and have been watching them clean out the dead. And the smudge type spots or dots are bee poop.

I try and keep the pile of dead bees to a minimum as to keep Skunks from thinking my hive is a buffet. Cleaned up the pile and today had a new pile. Cracked the hive to put a top feeder on and they were doing just fine inside. Actually got my first sting today!

I guess they did not like the shaking of the hive.
 
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