Headless bodies

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by brendantm130, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. brendantm130

    brendantm130 New Member

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    I cleaned out and reduced a hive today. There weren't many bees left in the formally strong hive, it has been dwindling over the last month. I just thought it was mites, or nosima, probably is. But, all of the dead bees on the bottom board were headless. I noticed a few on the landing first, didn't know what it could be, then saw that they all were. What could it be? I'm in CT.

    I gave it a frame of brood, and reduced it to one box. I hope they make it. Otherwise I'll be down to one from twelve.
     
  2. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    How many headless bodies are you talking about?- three dozen? Hundreds?
     

  3. brendantm130

    brendantm130 New Member

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    I'm talking about the whole bottom board covered with them, 1/2 inch deep.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    sounds a bit odd...

    I would think way to early for any kind of insect predator. the thread should produce some curious hypothesis making.

    hopefully you have some entrance reducer in place?
     
  5. afterburn001

    afterburn001 New Member

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    Zombie drones? mmm, brains... :eek:
     
  6. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Can you possibly take a closeup photo of a handful of them? This sounds really strange.
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I myself would suspect the bees on the floor starved with their heads and bodies in a cell and then froze fairly solid. any movement or rocking motion of the hive then broke the individual bee's head from their bodies. <if so??? you would think some frames would still have the head still somewhat intact within the cells.

    as my wife's old mentor Conrad Lorentz (<spelling likely all wrong) suggest.... this is the hypothesis I will toss out with my first cup of coffee in the morning.
     
  8. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    That sounds reasonable tec.
    I thought maybe ants? If the bodies were on the bottom board and in slight stage of decomposition, perhaps the heads are easily removed, providing some kind of special meal?
    Pure hypothesis on my part.
     
  9. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    That was my first thought also Perry, ants.
     
  10. Jacobs

    Jacobs New Member

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    I don't know about your location, but we have some very tiny ants that will go into the bottom boards of hives and dine on the remains. A lot of the ants work at much lower temperatures than the bees and are active at times the bees are not (not really an aspect of this past winter). Heads will be removed or fall off. I haven't counted or taken particular notice of the percentages of headless. We also have very small insects or mites that dine on insect carcases. If I leave a beetle carcass on my back porch in warm weather, over time, it will be hollowed out and will fall apart segment by segment. My guess is the headless situation is not involved in the cause of bee death, but is a consequence of the dead bees being available for consumption or just drying out and becoming brittle after death.
     
  11. brendantm130

    brendantm130 New Member

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    I can't say if I can get a picture. I just scraped them onto the ground, so there may be some. But, my chickens scratch there, so maybe not. Also, I can't say that all of the bees on the bottom board were headless, it looked like it, but I didn't check them all. Ants? maybe, I did see two kinds of wasps or hornets in the hive. One was very small, and the other not much bigger than a bee.
     
  12. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    What came to my mind was the parasitic fly that was recently discovered to attack honey bees. The larvae from the eggs that are laid in the bee's body is said to emerge at the head of the bee. I hope this is not the cause because it could point to a very big problem. If you can find any remaining bees to scoop up and send them to a lab to be checked out it might at least give you an answer to move forward with.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012