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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I visited an outyard with 2 hives today. One of them had a bunch of dead bees out front of the hive and no sign of queen cells from a split that I did 2 weeks ago tomorrow. Queen cells may have been torn down already if there is a virgin walking around in there.The other one had about 1/3 of the bees that it had when I dropped it off but no dead bees out front.

To my knowledge, there are no major agri operations around these hives. The amount of dead bees in front of one hive and the loss of bees in the other make me wonder if there wasn't some sort of vandalism in the form of spraying happening between now and when I dropped them off.

Thoughts?

TIA
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
actually both the hives were pretty strong. one was a split from mid-april that had filled out a single deep with a second deep just added. i saw the queen in that one (wasn't hard to do since there were so few bees), so it shouldn't have swarmed.

the other one was an over-wintered double deep hive that i decided to split before i moved it because they were drawing out lots of swarm cups. i removed only the queen and the frame she was on for the split, leaving them to raise a new queen on their own.

i suppose the hive that was split in mid-april could have tried to rob out the bigger hive. that would explain the dead bees out front of the stronger hive and the lack of bees in the smaller hive, but i would expect it to be the other way around (bigger robbing smaller).
 

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If the possible vandalism might have taken place within the past week, you might still be able to smell the pesticide. Sure, there are many ways to kill bees, but the average Joe is going to think about using wasp and hornet spray, not soapy water or the like.

It does sound more like robbing is the likely cause.
 

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take a picture, what some people think is alot of bees vary quite a bit. Its possible you had some drift especially if one hive was queenless for a period of time, also populations can fluctuate quite a bit. Usually the effects of a split and population loss arn't realized for a month until the old foragers die. For example I split in April now those hives are just rebounding but not back up to full power. Also time of day you check a hive, usually only in early morning or dusk can you understand the true population size. So during the day, a good way to judge a hives size is by frames of brood, eggs etc. Usually robbing is not a problem this time of year, but if conditions have been dry its possible. We are on a strong clover flow thanks to recent rain.
 

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How many dead bees? Are there proboscis extended?
I had a hive get into some poison last year, there were lots of dead bees in front and on the landing board of the hive...fortunately they recovered, however they were a strong hive, not a new nuc.
It doesn't take big ag closeby, in my experience home owners are spraying and dumping more toxins than many farms.
 

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I visited an outyard with 2 hives today. One of them had a bunch of dead bees out front of the hive and no sign of queen cells from a split that I did 2 weeks ago tomorrow. Queen cells may have been torn down already if there is a virgin walking around in there.The other one had about 1/3 of the bees that it had when I dropped it off but no dead bees out front.

To my knowledge, there are no major agri operations around these hives. The amount of dead bees in front of one hive and the loss of bees in the other make me wonder if there wasn't some sort of vandalism in the form of spraying happening between now and when I dropped them off.

Thoughts?

TIA
a friend of mine lost 2 hives in his yard do to neighbor spraying sevin dust. dead bees in front of hive. this could be a possability
 
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