Author Topic: Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior  (Read 835 times)

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Online The15thMember

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Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior
« on: May 02, 2022, 04:10:58 pm »
I had a colony be usurped by another early this year, and I've been loving the new bees so far, so I split the colony on 4/21.  I moved Queen Ravenna, a frame or two of pollen, and all the capped worker brood to a new hive, and I left the original hive with all the open worker brood and several frames of pollen, and I gave both colonies the last of my stored partial honey frames from last fall since our spring flow didn't materialize.  On 4/29 I checked the original hive and reduced their queen cells from 12 to 2.  I didn't notice anything unusual during this inspection, although I was predominantly focused on find queen cells.  Before I did the split I checked their mites via sugar roll and it was 0.  I've done a sugar roll on them every month since the beginning of the season and haven't found a mite yet. For reference my other colonies are around 0-1% right now.   

Yesterday or maybe the day before, I noticed a small crowd of foragers on the landing board of the original hive.  They were kind of just standing around, a few were sharing food via trophallaxis with each other, I noticed it but didn't really think anything of it.  Today at about 3:30 I went out to look at the bees and both halves of this split have a decent pile of dead bees out front, maybe 100-200 bees, many of them drones, just right off the landing board in front of the entrance.  Also the crowd of bees on the landing board of the original hive was conspicuously larger today, maybe 20-30 bees.  Still some engaged in trophallaxis with each other, but some of them were walking around almost on tiptoe, vigorously trying to clean themselves although none appeared to have anything on them.  Many of them looked overgroomed, with hair on their thoraxes and/or abdomen missing, and few were almost entirely bald.  Most of them were older-looking foragers, and several had pretty tattered wings.  The new hive with the queen had normal looking traffic, although a bit lighter than the other hives since their forager force is still pretty small, but that would be expected.  All the other hives in the yard look normal.

Any thoughts?   
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Online Zweefer

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Re: Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2022, 04:30:05 pm »
I read a while back in bee culture how certain pesticides can affect grooming behavior?  The only problem with that theory is how it is only affecting one hive….

Bakers usually is able to pull up all things bee culture - do you remember the article I am referring to?

Also the additional frames from that hive - where did they come from?
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Online iddee

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Re: Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2022, 05:31:25 pm »
Sounds like the new queen is mated and the excess drones are getting booted out, along with a few of the older bees..
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Online The15thMember

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Re: Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2022, 06:37:50 pm »
I read a while back in bee culture how certain pesticides can affect grooming behavior?  The only problem with that theory is how it is only affecting one hive….
Well it could if for some reason these two were the only hives that found the affected floral source.   

Sounds like the new queen is mated and the excess drones are getting booted out, along with a few of the older bees..
Unless I missed a queen cell (which is possible) that doesn't time out, as the cells I left weren't even capped.  I hadn't thought about booting drones though.  Both these hives are the first new stock I've had in my yard in years, and perhaps they are more sensitive to the dearth, and the overgrooming was unrelated.  There were a lot of drones in the piles of dead bees.
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2022, 11:21:05 am »
I read a while back in bee culture how certain pesticides can affect grooming behavior?  The only problem with that theory is how it is only affecting one hive….

Bakers usually is able to pull up all things bee culture - do you remember the article I am referring to?

The only thing I found was an April 2019  Bee Culture article.  It refers to exposure to low dosages of clothianidin and the honey bees reaction is reduced grooming behavior.

I don't know if it would help, but I would be inclined to feed this split to give them a boost. 
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Re: Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2022, 12:00:36 pm »
The only thing I found was an April 2019  Bee Culture article.  It refers to exposure to low dosages of clothianidin and the honey bees reaction is reduced grooming behavior.

I don't know if it would help, but I would be inclined to feed this split to give them a boost. 
Thanks, I was planning on it anyway, since our spring flow hasn't come in yet.  I saw some multiflora rose blooming today and the blackberries look about to start, so hopefully that will help turn things around. 
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Re: Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2022, 01:05:35 pm »
Also the additional frames from that hive - where did they come from?
Sorry, Zweefer, I realized I never answered this question.  They were frozen last fall and stored over the winter and were just partially filled frames that the hives abandoned as they condensed for the winter.  They were from my hives only, but I'm not sure which ones came from which hive anymore.  I did have a few frames from a deadout in Feb., but I don't think any of the frames I gave them were from that hive.   

The hives look the same today, although there are less bees grooming on the landing board.  I put some syrup on the hive that is exhibiting the grooming behavior, along with the other hives I'm feeding right now. 
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Re: Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2022, 04:43:01 pm »
I just went up to look at the bees again because this is the same time of day I noticed them yesterday, and there are just as many bees grooming on the original hive as yesterday, and one of my other hives had a few bees doing it today where they weren't before.  This new hive doesn't have the pile of drones, so I'm going to say that is unrelated, as this new hive is genetically unrelated to the other two.  The affected bees' behavior looks like a panicked grooming.  They are not stumbling around or gyrating incoherently, they are just grooming as if something is really irritating their cuticle, something that I can't see and they can't seem to get off.  It really makes me wonder if they didn't get into a something (pesticide/herbicide/etc.).  On the hives that are acting normal, sometimes the bees fly in, they groom themselves for a few minutes, especially if they are carrying pollen, and then they go in, and their grooming is casual.  These bees look like a person would if you dumped a load of ants on them, and they were trying to brush them off while screaming "GET THEM OFF ME!"   
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Online iddee

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Re: Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2022, 05:15:45 pm »
Do you use diatomaceous earth for anything around the area.
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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2022, 07:29:59 pm »
What were they treated with and when? If I was worried I would look inside and see whats going on with the frames...  Are they angry? If they are riled or hurting they WILL be angry and not happy with you.....
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Re: Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2022, 09:45:20 pm »
Do you use diatomaceous earth for anything around the area.
Nope.  The only thing we use that for is my sisters use it when they do a deep clean of the chicken barn, and they haven't done that in a while. 

What were they treated with and when? If I was worried I would look inside and see whats going on with the frames...  Are they angry? If they are riled or hurting they WILL be angry and not happy with you.....
They aren't acting upset with me when I watch the landing board, and they acted totally normal when I checked them last.  I mean they were a little fussy, but it just seemed like how a queenless hive acts, it wasn't like they were bumping me or chewing at my wrists or anything.  A little extra smoke and they were perfectly manageable.  I treated them with OAV on Valentines Day and I'm planning on treating them again while they're broodless.  I'm hesitant to inspect them again since I'm waiting on a new queen.       
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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2022, 10:52:20 pm »
Understood... no strange smells when you were in there either? How does their comb look? Is it older comb or have you rotated it?  Not sure where your at but gardens are JUST starting here, people are out spraying and getting ready....
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Re: Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2022, 11:13:00 pm »
We have some early luck tulips and that’s it - not even a dandelion in sight yet.  :'(
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Re: Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2022, 11:17:55 pm »
Understood... no strange smells when you were in there either?
Not that I noticed.

Is it older comb or have you rotated it? 
I try to rotate my combs out every 5 years or whenever they have no yellow wax left on them.  Some of combs in this hive are getting up there, as this hive has been consistently occupied by bees for probably 3 years. 

Not sure where your at but gardens are JUST starting here, people are out spraying and getting ready....
       
I know, I'm thinking it too.  The way our landscape is, it'd be impossible for me to find whatever it was they could have gotten into, but it'd be SO easy for someone within three miles of me to have sprayed something on something, but it's impossible to prove or disprove.  Especially with the dearth I've been in, they could be foraging on some weirder plants in different places.  Normally this time of year they are mostly on the cherries and other flowering trees, but they just aren't producing anything but pollen.

We have some early luck tulips and that’s it - not even a dandelion in sight yet.  :'(
Our dandelions and clover have really kicked it into gear lately after we had a little rain, so I'm hoping that will help too.  The blackberries should take care of the dearth, and the way they looked, they'll open any day.
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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2022, 12:02:46 am »
Talking with Marla Spivak years ago, she stated that with the advent of the MANY different kinds of herbicides, insecticides, fungicides etc etc... that she struggled to keep colonies with older comb. I know I have also seen that other places as well, but if your comb is rotated at least every five years you should be good...   ALl I can do is try to think of what I would do in your situation...  and..... nothing else comes to mind... so I guess i would just keep a close eye on them and see what develops....  I know thats not a great answer, but its all I have atm....     No clue how the topic got there, we started talking originally about mite resistances, then we kind of got carried away and off topic...   not that... i have ever done that here.....    :-[
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Re: Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2022, 09:57:25 am »
I like what LazyBkpr says about older comb.  I believe it is recommended that you rotate out comb 5 years or older.
I would also look for entombed pollen.  https://www.panna.org/sites/default/files/styles/blog_lead_image/public/user1/entombed-honeycomb.jpg?itok=anoOdrx3
This is a relatively new condition in which the forager brings back pollen tainted with pesticides and/or herbicides.  The colony simply entombs it with propolis to protect the colony from using it.  We started seeing this is our area in the last few years.  Entombed pollen could be a good indicator of what is happening.  Could you close them up with some feed for a few days?  In a few days the source might be done blooming.  The weather here is still cool and might be possible.

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Re: Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2022, 10:20:59 am »
Talking with Marla Spivak years ago, she stated that with the advent of the MANY different kinds of herbicides, insecticides, fungicides etc etc... that she struggled to keep colonies with older comb. I know I have also seen that other places as well, but if your comb is rotated at least every five years you should be good...   ALl I can do is try to think of what I would do in your situation...  and..... nothing else comes to mind... so I guess i would just keep a close eye on them and see what develops....  I know thats not a great answer, but its all I have atm.... 
I know, it's just kind of a wait and see game at the moment.  If it's a virus it'll just need to run its course, and if it's a pesticide they just kind of have to deal with it. 

No clue how the topic got there, we started talking originally about mite resistances, then we kind of got carried away and off topic...   not that... i have ever done that here.....    :-[
I honestly don't feel like we're off-topic at all, but I also don't care if we are.  :)

I like what LazyBkpr says about older comb.  I believe it is recommended that you rotate out comb 5 years or older.
I would also look for entombed pollen.  https://www.panna.org/sites/default/files/styles/blog_lead_image/public/user1/entombed-honeycomb.jpg?itok=anoOdrx3
This is a relatively new condition in which the forager brings back pollen tainted with pesticides and/or herbicides.  The colony simply entombs it with propolis to protect the colony from using it.  We started seeing this is our area in the last few years.  Entombed pollen could be a good indicator of what is happening. 
I read about that too recently, and I've been keeping an eye out for it simply out of curiosity.  I'll definitely keep an even closer eye out for it in this hive. 

Could you close them up with some feed for a few days?  In a few days the source might be done blooming.  The weather here is still cool and might be possible.
It's up in the high 70's/low 80's here so it might be a little warm, although with a screened inner cover it would probably be okay.  The biggest issue is I'm waiting on a new queen to mate in this hive, so I'd rather not lock them up.  I mean, based on the ages of the queen cells, I could probably get away with it, but you know how it can go if you've missed a queen cell and then all your timing is off.  Also, if it's NOT a pesticide issue, and it's a virus, now I've locked them all up with each other in there, and that doesn't seem like a good idea, as we've all learned from COVID.  :-\
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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior
« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2022, 12:20:34 am »
I honestly don't feel like we're off-topic at all, but I also don't care if we are.

   I was referring to talking with Mrs. Spivak...   Not you.. I havent dragged you off course YET i don't think?????
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Online Zweefer

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Re: Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior
« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2022, 08:28:34 am »
Mods haven't jumped in yet, so it must be good  :yes:
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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Dead Bees and Strange Landing Board Behavior
« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2022, 09:27:56 am »
whew.....   scary.. memories of Riverbee spanking me came to mind....    ;D
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