Dead bees in front of the hive

Discussion in 'Pests and Diseases' started by efmesch, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I'm passing this question on indirectly. My grandson, who has taken up beekeeping, asked me and was not satisfied with my answer so I said I would pass it on to the forum for more opinions. His english is very limited so he can't do it directly.
    This morning he visited two of his hives in an area populated with a lot of eucalyptus trees. Looking at his hives from the outside he saw large numbers of dead bees spread out in front of the hives. The bees are mostly dried out and with their tongues extended. While watching, he saw (about every 2 minutes or so) some bees from in the hive emerging with a another one they were attacking and stinging and throwing away.
    My first thought was poisoning. He felt that this waas highly unlikely since he knows of no cultivated fields in the near vicinity. My second thought was starvation (tongues out) but he says the hives have adequate reserves. The hives seem not to be weakened and look like they are functioning normally. Could it be a disease? :confused:
    Any suggestions would be suggested.
     
  2. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    ef,
    my thought would be chemical or pesticide poisoning.

    also, are the eucalytus trees genetically modified?
     

  3. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    A neighbor could be spraying there garden or flowers with a pesticide, it don't take much. Jack
     
  4. Mosti

    Mosti New Member

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    Maybe he should open the hives and have a good look to what is going inside no? Are the eucalyptus trees in flower yet? If no I would rule out the possibility that something is happening to the bees due to the trees. Do the bees have a known water supply near by or do they drink from sources unknown? If they drink from unknown sources maybe he should supply water himself.

    Just trying to rule out things, I am a complete novice too...!
     
  5. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    What exactly is meant by 'large numbers' ? Thirty? Three hundred? We need to know.

    If the bees were stinging them while tossing them out....robbing? Try reducing the entrances if they are wide open.
     
  6. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    He didn't count them, but from his description ("spread out in a layer over the ground, from the entrance to a distance of about 40 cm") I would assume several hundreds.
    He insisted it didn't look like robbing. Aside from throwing out the bees, all was calm and quiet with normal activity coming and going.
     
  7. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Sounds like his bees held their own, but I'd be reducing some entrances if they were mine.
     
  8. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    I had a look at the Pests and Diseases section of Beebase. I could not find anything to match you symptoms.

    You may wish to check yourself. www.nationalbeeunit.com

    Hope you can find an explanation and successful solution. .:smile:
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    experience can be a cruel teacher from time to time? MAY sound like something I have seen here.

    look inside the hive and see what the population looks like and most especially how the bees move about inside the hive.

    if what you describe matches what I have seen here on most occasions the bees being drug out are still alive but but they appear to be uncoordinated. some significant number of adult bees in the hive will also look uncoordinated and the brood nest looks somewhat unpopulated. if yes??? likely suspects are any of the various paralysis viruses. lab diagnosis is difficult since any specimens needs to be frozen (cryogenic I believe).

    when I noticed it here although the reading stuff seemed to suggest the disease was not contagious the affected hive were side by side on a pallet.

    at the time I noticed it here there was really nothing I could do for the victims except watch them weather to nothing. there now may be some remedy via a company in Isreal (can recall the name right now but I saw their presentation at one of the Bee Federation yearly meetings two years ago).
     
  10. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    ef, if i was a betting beek,
    my money is on poisoning, whether it was sprayed on crops, for pest control, or from a contaminated water source, from your description "he saw large numbers of dead bees spread out in front of the hives. The bees are mostly dried out and with their tongues extended." also the description of the aggression. i have seen this behavior in hives whose foragers brought something back to the hive......the tongues sticking out, to me, is a giveaway (with your entire description). as jack said, it doesn't take much. poisoning does cause agitation or aggression in the hive, and other abnormal behavior patterns, whether it is through contaminated nectar or pollen,

    to tec's post, an inspection of the hive may give your grandson some clues, "look inside the hive and see what the population looks like and most especially how the bees move about inside the hive.", and all the other things we look at and for when their is a problem, brood, queen, etc....

    hope for your grandson's sake it is not a disease/virus. keep us posted.
     
  11. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I'll speak to him again today and pass on the various opinions expressed here. He gave me a call late last night saying that he had spoken to the head inspector of bees in Israel. He told my grandson that it is apparently a virus in keeping with Tecumseh's suggestion. I'll try to get my grandson back to the hives for an examination and further reports.
    Thanks for the meanwhile, more to come.
     
  12. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Prepare yourselves! I got an email leaflet from the head bee inspector for the Israel Dep't of Agriculture. It's almost as if I had asked him the question. He tells of several beeks who have reported this same problem, same description but adds that often it has been reported in only one or two of several adjacent hives. This pretty much rules out poisoning.
    After much discussion, he claims that we are experiencing a new virus disease of bees about which we know very little: Where did it come from? How is it transmitted? Why does it kill the way it does etc. The article included pictures of a hive with the dead bees spread out in front and another with a frame from the affected hive. I tried but wasn't able to copy them to show them to the forum.
    Bottom line: This is a new and potentially serious problem and requires research for us to get the answers. Presently only the questions are around, the answers have yet to be found. :|
     
  13. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    gee ef,
    so sorry to hear this, how many hives of your grandson's were affected?
     
  14. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    Gosh, So sorry for your Grand son and beeks in general. Poor honey bees can't catch a break it seems. Please update when news is available.
     
  15. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    as illogical as this might sound efmesch I would look into Randy Oliver's web site and look at his method of delivering fumidil... if that product is available to you. I suspect much after the fact that although a virus was the primary culprit other clues related to the appearance of the comb suggested to me that nosema may have played a part in the hives (2) that I previously mentioned.

    in the 2 hive of mine I also ruled out poisoning since only 2 hives in 20 were in anyway affected.
     
  16. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Riverbee: " how many hives of your grandson's were affected?"
    Efmesch: So far, "only
    " two out of five at that location.

    Tecumseh: "...
    delivering fumidil... if that product is available to you".
    Efmesch: All his hives were treated with fumidil in the fall.

    Hispalette: "...
    Poor honey bees can't catch a break it seems."
    Efmesch: How right you are. From one year to the next, we're always surprised by a new pest or disease that appears in the hives. One sometimes wonders how bees managed to survive this long on their own. :?:
    That last statement is made half in humor, half in seriousnes. When I first started with bees, there was something known as "let alone beekeeping". No more! It's a long lost phenomenon.

    Thank you all for your interest and good wishes. I'll pass them on to my grandson.
    :smile:


     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2012