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Some odd bees

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Not really enough info there from the photos @Debi Jacka The front of my strong hives look like that when the foragers come home late and literally fall from the sky in front of the hive, due to chilling. Just remember that 1000's of bees die a day in a normal functioning hive and are being replaced at the same or higher rate. If it is looking all OK inside the hive I wouldnt be stressing yet.

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I agree with @dansar alot of winter bees will be dying off right now add to that the concrete and stones out front and the dead bees are alot more visible than if it was grassed.

If the bees are poisoned you will start to see dead and dying brood.

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I agree with @dansar alot of winter bees will be dying off right now add to that the concrete and stones out front and the dead bees are alot more visible than if it was grassed.

If the bees are poisoned you will start to see dead and dying brood.

Thanks for the advice. I cant upload for some reason the other photos, the piles of bees dead, some in piles about 4inches high. She is going to sweep each day, then count each day and re sweep to see if numbers decreasing.. Inside the hive, nothing to worry about.Brood healthy, So we will just watch and observe.

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Hi Debi and others,

I just read your post. How did your friend's hive going?

i have found some dying bees outside one hive of mine in particular. Not sure if it is just the winter bees dying off . We used to have the hives on a grassed area , but now it is on gravel and therefore it looks possibly worse than what it is?. I am noticing bees in the range of half a cup-3/4 cup per day dying outside the hive. All adult bees. They are curlin up dying slowly and some have tongues out. Some contort their bodies as they die.

Its obviously not thousands of bees so i am not worried too much but just want some ideas?

I always thought winter bees just scurry away from the hive and die, but these ones are dying straight under the entrance.

Everything looks perfectly fine inside the hive. Young bees are fine and brood is healthy. Drone brood checked for varroa and none found.Sugar shake etc done. So very clean for varroa. Heaps of honey and pollen. Hive is thriving inside.

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dead bees around the hive is never a good sign and the symptoms you describe sound a bit like poisoning to me.

since it's a strong hive they hopefully will overcome it.

could be a neighbor spraying fruit trees?

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I have one hive with lots of dead bees being added to slowly, and I think they are being subtly robbed.

I am going to use a robbing screen and see the effect it has.

Could this be your problem ?

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Hi Julia, you mention a drone brood check and sugar shake, but say nothing of an actual mite treatment being done.

 

If no treatment has been done since last autumn, I would suggest varroa mites will be at least a part of the problem if not all, and a treatment, done properly, will help clear things up provided the hive is not already past the point of no return.

 

There could be other things causing the symptoms you describe also, but before getting into that, are you able to give details on when the last mite treatment was done and how?

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There are usually always some dead bees out front, but not that many new ones daily, and certainly not dying en masse out front.

Varroa is the first thing to question because a strong hive will collapse fast if overcome by mite transmitted viruses. Unbelievably fast. Good spotting, and thanks for posting your concerns

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do those bees look like adult field bees? do you see any with pollen on there legs among them(home coming bees)

that would rather point to nosema or poison.

in connection with described symptoms i wouldn't think nosema.

 

or is there a lot of like freshly hatched bees or even not quite fully colored/develpoed? any pupae outside the entrance? any deformations on the wings or crippled abdomen?

that would point to varroa

 

IMO would much rather trust a drone inspection + sugar shake than a treatment history when it comes to varroa but some may disagree.

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Thanks for posting back.

They had a winter mite treatment with Apistan( I checked all the hives in apiary in august and a couple required further treatments as resistance was found in a couple- one got Apivar and the other MAQS)and I did a sugar shake in August 20th in all hives. Today i rechecked this hive again for signs of varroa as of course this is the often cause of dying bees. I checked carefully through the Hive, did sugar shake all great and looks very good.Checked drone brood thoroghly to look for mites. Huge population of healthy bees. But i dont want to rely upon my findings solely as I know that sugar shakes can't always be relyed upon. I started doing MAQS treatments with the remaining hives a week or two ago anyway and this one is next on the rack. (as I have only a few spare solid bottom floors that i am using for treatments and i have to rotate them as i go.. )

My gut feeling is that this it is not mite related in this particular case. But in saying that I am no expert like and value your experience. There is No DWV at all,( I checked thru them all) no hairless shaky bees in any dying bees. A couple had pollen. No defication streaks on the hive body but the weather has been bad as of late?

They are all adult flying bees. No nurse bees no pupae etc.

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what was the actual mite count of the sugar shake?

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zero mites in this one. The other hives that got Maqs treatments first had mite count of 2 and three in other.

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interesting photo. I don't like the bee with no wings but as far as hairless shiny bees go I have always blamed it on robbing. I may be completely wrong but I am convinced that at least some of the time bees that habitually rob other hives end up hairless and polished like the bees in the photo. Fortunately I very rarely see this type of bee and I hope it stays that way.

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zero mites in this one. The other hives that got Maqs treatments first had mite count of 2 and three in other.

i doubt varroa with count like that.

not sure if the MAQS could be causing it.

sounds like they are getting into something toxic. see if you can take a pic, also put a sample of the dead/dying bees in the freezer.

kowhai are out in flower, some sub-species are known to be toxic to bees.

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I have a kowhai out the front but no bees seem interested in it. But don't know about what the neighbours have. Is Karaka flowering at the moment?

To me it looks like something nasty in their system as they are dying in such an awful way.

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My Husband just mentioned that a council truck was driving up the main roads around here spraying the gorse and side of the road. A week or two ago? Could this be the source

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If you look up "Weed spraying- Auckland Transport" it lists us as weed spraying for September Too. GREAT

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collect a few samples and put in the freezer, please.

if it really turns out to be the roadside spray this could be an important help for changes with these spraying practices. it's bee awareness month after all.

don't think karaka would be out yet.

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Thanks Tom,

 

I will put them in a zip lock bag in freezer, who do you recommend i send them to?. Would Analytica Labs do pesticide analyses or noseama test all in one?

I don't mind paying the price.

It will be interesting.

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@JohnF or @Don Mac will probably give you the best advice on what to test for and where you send it.

 

i think it's great if people go all the distance to find out what the trouble is. and please let us all know. also if you get any new clues.(y).

sometimes people around here spray fruit trees in flower for some bug.

not sure if this could be a possibility where you are?

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@julia C what's the weather been like? If they're cooped up in the hive then you will see increased numbers of dead bees out front. All those that would have died in the field die at home instead.

 

How is the queen going? Given Auckland temperatures I'd expect her to be laying somewhere in the low hundreds per day if not more. That's about a cup of new bees per day so your numbers of dead are about right if they all died at home.

 

Sounds like you've moved the hive, onto gravel? Perhaps the local hedgehogs haven't found it yet and this is why you're noticing more dead bees than normal.

 

So lots of possibilities that what you're seeing is completely normal. Keep up the varroa monitoring. Regular brood inspections. Post back here if anything changes. Your girls will do fine.

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Hi Rob,Thanks

I would like to think you are right and these are just winter bees dying, which I posted originally as a possibilty. And i am worrying over not much.

The weather yesterday was a stunner and days prior were good just very windy. Bees were getting out in strong numbers

 

All my hives are on gravel with the odd weeds coming thru and have been there for a year plus now. Prior to that they were in a grassy spot in the Bush for a few years. Maybe i have become more observant with them on the gravel!

 

The Queen is going strong and about 9 frames of brood

 

The other hives are also similar strengths.

 

I am seeing dead bees in front of the other hives but not in the same manner. ie there are less dead bees and in different stages in decay which i expect, spread out and further away from entrance. Some freshies with older decayed bees . In comparison This hive seems to have steady flow of fresh bees dying slowly directly in front.

I will freeze them anyway in case and like you said it might just be nothing to be concerned about.(y)

The overall health of the hive inside is good but i will put in the treatments this week and check the hive floor.

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you seem to have a good sense of observation. @julia C

Rob is probably right that your hive will overcome this.

but as you realized yourself, what you experience with this one hive is not "normal", so it's up to you if you really want to know.

there might be little you can do about it but maybe you can avoid it to happen again next year if it is sprays of any sort.

toxic nectar of some sort is definitely an option as well.

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Are the hives close together?

Could there be some drifting of bees and this particular hive is fighting them off?

Is there ant fighting at the entrance or in the ground in front ?

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