Hi folks, I'm in a panic. The last two days we've had large rain events. My new colony (came in a nuc, strong! put into a 10 frame Langstroth, already had to add an additional box) have massive (at least 100) dead bees sprinkled around the hive last night. I'm going to return tonight to check on them again but won't be able to get into them until Sun if the weather turns. Is this normal for a rain that might have caught workers in transit or should I be worrying about insecticides
Difficult to say from what you write . How long have they been in situ ?
Remember that most bees only live 6 weeks therefore for a large colony a thousand may be born and die each day .
If it is pesticides what can you do ? damned if I know maybe others can chip in
Living in Anjou , France,
For the many not for the few
Fair enough, I 'installed' them on June 9th with 5 frames. Basically what I can do if its insecticide then I might move them. They are strong though so it might be normal mortality, I'm just so new at it that I'm left wondering.
I too am a new bee keeper just starting. I had a swarm of bees in my old bird aviary, took up residence in the nesting box. They have lived there quite happy for between four and six years now, untouched and uncared for. Last winters bad weather finally put pay to the aviary and that combined with the weight of the bees and their honey it collapsed to the floor.
Still the bees lived on quite happily in the semi broken box. They seemed healthy, happy and hard working and having survived six winters must be reasonably healthy and free from disease.
however I was concerned that they may not survive another winter in such a condition so I called in the local bee keepers for help. they very kindly helped me to re-house the bees in one of their borrowed hives whilst I ordered my own new hives. All seemed well, despite the huge upheaval of cutting out all the comb and transferring it to the new brood box, the bees just continued on regardless in their new home, gathering honey for all they were worth. However, about three days later, I awoke to find that there were a huge amount of dead bees all around the hive, Probably a few hundred or more.
My bee keeper friends tell me it is natural that bees die every six weeks or so, but this is a new hive, so they would not be clearing it out yet. I think most of the bees were drones, but I cannot be sure of that as I am so inexperienced at the moment and it is hard to tell when they are dead. Bees seem to be coming and going all the time and still gathering although the weather has been wet and cold again so less activity than normal. the bees are very gentle and despite all the disruption they have put up with, they have never thought once of going on the attack as they would well be entitled to have done.
If as some of your comments suggest this is a normal cyclical death pattern, am I to expect a load of dead bees every six week then? or can anyone think of any other reason for the dead bees. If they are drones is there a reason for this? I thought they did not kill the drones until the autumn.
Thanks folks, I was relieved this morning to see the sun shining on a bustling busy hive. Massive bee traffic coming and going, so whatever it was it wasn't fatal for the colony. David Livingston, I suspect you were correct about the drones, a local bee keeper who I also respect gave me the same feedback, he referred to the weather as a possible cause for their 'eviction'. Thanks for all the feedback!