Bees Dying Outside the Hive

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by HisPalette, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    I know I am new here but got a concern.
    We are fanatic about checking our beeyard daily just to say hello...to the ladies. We notice a change immediately.
    About two weeks ago, something that looked like brown sewerage from a white tanker (and smelled much worse) was sprayed on the commercial rye/corn field about 300 yards up the road. It stunk so bad we had to close the windows. We thought it was just liquid manure. I know our ladies were in the field. It was about 1 pm and it was about 80 degrees out. Then it rained that night. The owner of the field doesn't plant it, he rents it out. The owner and the planter both know we have honey bees for our hives sit directly on our front lawn. We live so rural and there are commercial fields for a 15 mile radius, so there isn't much I can do to stop or change their routines...
    The reason I mention this spraying, specifically, is the very next morning, the front porch was littered with what I thought were about a dozen dead bees, when there is normally 2 or 3. Upon closer examination, I see them wiggle every time a hive mate flies over...Since each day there are a few more. Now, this morning 2 weeks or so after the first incident, we have about 30 all over the ground struggling on their sides or staggering or dead. It was cooler last night, but we never saw this in the winter.
    Never saw this before these two weeks. Other than maintain our numbers, we feel our hands are tied here. Hive condition seems really great, we inspected 3 days ago. It is our original stronger colony. We made a split on March 20th from this colony. Are we missing something else, and blaming the spraying...since we go organic, we worry.
     
  2. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Kind of sounds like some type of poison was sprayed, but usually a pesticide kill shows up with hundreds or thousands of dead bees at the hive entrance. You said they wee on your porch, do you keep a porch light on or is there a light in a window where they had fallen?

    Best thing to do is ask what was sprayed, that is the only way to settle your mind.
     

  3. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    I mean their front porch :grin: in my avatar the one on the right. Now there are only a few (normal) dead in the young split. and non on the ground in front of that hive, but they don't have the numbers yet.
     
  4. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    I did ask the one who farms the field beside that field in regards to us raising honey bees. Last year he said "we only use roundup..."
     
  5. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    I am going to a meeting (neighborhood church meeting) , I will ask more questions...
     
  6. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    :lol: thought you were talking about your front porch!
     
  7. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    As your Queen has probably been laying now for over 6 weeks , you could be losing up to 1000 bees a day, so seeing a few on the "porch" is probably not of major concern.

    Sounds exactly like they sprayed sewerage slurry probably from as pig farm, which in of itself shouldn't kill the bees. This is a typical field dressing in Europe and stinks for weeks, so i know what you mean.
     
  8. Medic1259

    Medic1259 New Member

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    This is when I love Being a Yankee from the city. lol
     
  9. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    I asked questions at the church meeting, tonight (about the local farms). Most notable,
    One lady who lives just a half mile away said, "Boy did it stink last night we could not stay outside! Someone must have sprayed the fields."
    Now we could not smell it at our home, but the bees could travel that far. I do think what you say is right, Zulu about aging out May have made it look worse, too. The wings weren't tore up on the ones staggering, that may be the fertilizer. If it burns our noses - poor honey bees! We are only in our second year and making sure we may not be over looking any other common illnesses cause those symptoms.
    Gosh thanks everyone!
     
  10. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    When you have a case of poisoning you see many hundreds of bees collected in front of the hive and you'll often see house bees carrying out dead bees that died inside. I used to have that situaition when the cotton fields were sprayed. Your description sounds more like normal end-of life issues. After all, normal bees do die at some point. Working hard helps bring them to their end.
    What are they growing in the sprayed field? Is it presently flowering and drawing the bees to it?
     
  11. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    They had 2 years of soybeans, but now appears to be a rye planting - I am assuming corn...and the fertilizer spray. I think some the honey bees were crossing that field to the field of mustard in bloom beyond the rye, and of course the poplar blooms and blackberries are everywhere. From reading about corn it is probably urea (less harmful) or ammonia based? I read it can make them inebriated, loose their navigation capabilities or worse, if some levels are higher. The study I read said if they spray on a day over 65 degrees, the evaporation is denser and more toxic. I will post a video on our blog.
     
  12. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    sounds like starvation. how are the stores in the hive is it light When opening the hive do things look normal or are the bees lothargic. 30 bees out front of a hive is not an abnormal number my concern is the ones that are still alive on the ground.
     
  13. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    i suspect you have tracheal mites from this description, bees dead in front of the hive, struggling, staggering or dead. Are they crawling around, or climbing blades of grass and falling over, all unable to fly?

    to riverrats post:
    "my concern is the ones that are still alive on the ground."

    to g3's post:
    " usually a pesticide kill shows up with hundreds or thousands of dead bees at the hive entrance."

    if it helps, i do keep my bees in a very rural area. I have two farmers that rent my land for corn and soybeans (no more soybeans, although good for the bees the asian beetle population is not fun). The corn is sprayed with roundup, no liquid manure or slurry. am very familiar with farming practices in my area.
     
  14. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    There is so much honey and pollen and bee bread in the hive. Big thing we found today - no eggs, no larva no brood! I know there was a queen last week, we even photographed her, but she is not laying. So this is a big problem, I took a frame of eggs and other various stages of brood from the split which is laying very well. Made absolutely sure the queen was in the split and they went from lethargic and angry to happy. By mid afternoon they were foraging like they had not in three days... I thought about the tracheal mites as well. Is that not common in this area anymore? Thank God the numbers in this colony are good, but I am in panic mode here...What is the treatment for tracheal mites that is natural? if any.
     
  15. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    Oh the hive in concern... is the one that went from lethargic, angry to happy. They had nothing to do with no brood. All the old brood just hatched last week. Do we have time even to let them raise a queen? This colony is in trouble...if we have tracheal mites a double whammy are we doomed?
     
  16. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    Yes climbing grass falling backward, front legs rubbing their face... running in circles.

    Just discussed with hubby, he said get on it and fix ... We are going to call our club mentors in the morning and we will treat however we must and requeen with a laying fertile queen.
     
  17. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    your description would fit a tracheal mite infestation. you need to treat them with menthol or grease patties, tracheal mites.....in short, the bees cannot breathe, this is treatable. you need to re queen as you said. what breed of bees are you keeping?
    some lines, are more susceptible to tracheal mites than others.

    the menthol crystals are called mite-a-thol, i am uncertain as to what is in this product, but is effective, i have never used it, but know keepers that have.

    home made grease patties:
    combine 2 parts saturated fat, like crisco, or vegetable oil, with 1 part sugar and mix. you can add an essential oil to this mixture. a commercial keep friend of mine does and uses, for example, wintergreen, eucalyptus or peppermint oil in his grease patties.

    place the patty over the brood chamber, like you would for a pollen patty.
     
  18. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    They were MN Hygienics, but I have had a sneaky suspicion she swarmed late January early February just before my first inspection....in March numbers were kicking and I had 23 queen cells! I made a split with the best one, day later we checked - queen cell gone, vanished (we marked frame) found a very dark queen (we had not seen her before) but she was laying an awesome brood in the split. We thought we carried her over, but we found a new queen in the original hive too! (this spring weather!!!!!) We do not know what we have now! - closest beekeeper 1/2 mile away has carniolans.... (but the new queen in the big hive is not laying). What a nightmare...I can't sleep, ya know?
     
  19. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Menthol is one way to treat for tracheal mites, formic acid is another and has the benefit of killing varroa at the same time. Not sure what to advise regards your queenless situation, am a bit confused as to what you actually have going on. Would be nice to "pop" over and have a look (if I was close).
     
  20. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    mn hygienics are susceptible to trachael and varroa mites, anyone i know that has these bees treats for both. i wouldn't be to concerned about what queen you have or what bees you have now, as long as the queens are laying and they are healthy, like perry said, i am not to sure about what you have going on. carniolans tend to be darker in color.