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Author Topic: My bees are killing themselves faster than I can..  (Read 3105 times)
Doorman
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« on: June 11, 2007, 10:46:31 PM »

Has anyone got any expalanations for this:

This afternoon about 3:00 I came home from work and I noticed alot of bee activity around my ac condenser. At first I didnt pay much attention But then I got to looking and there were about 200 bees actively flying into the condenser unit (It was running) and I kept hearing this ping ping ping sound. They couldn't fly into it because of the force of the wind but they would land on the edge and walk in. Well the dumber ones would forget and try to fly out. PING PING PING. I figured out what the sound was... little dead bees, thoraxes and abdomens littering the yard. About one per square inch for about 2 feet around. Fewer as you looked farther out. I looked inside the unit thinking a swarm might have moved in this morning before the unit started running. Didn't find a swarm but there were about a thousand (Not exaggerating here) dead bees inside on the bottom. Then I thought maybe there is such a thing as an afternoon swarm, and they're trying to move in . so I set a recently used nuc on the unit and told my son to turn the ac off. I went back to work and came back about 2 hours later. The boy, 16Yr old didn't turn the ac off (shocking I Know!) and the bees are still at it, ping ping ping.. I went in and turned the ac off and went out back to watch the action. After about 15 min no more bees.  OK that was weird. As we were leaving about an hour later, the other ac unit around the corner of the house had come on and the bees were doing the same thing to that one.

I'd like to hear some theorys on this. anyone?... anyone?..

P.S.
For you far northerners: ac=air conditioning not alternating current.
                                            and
                                 AC = AIR CONDITIONING but we save that for the really hot days.

Greg
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Some call me a bee farmer, I prefer rancher. What
with millions of tiny livestock foraging the open range, spring and fall round ups. Boy howdy branding their little butts sure is tedious.
doak
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« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2007, 10:53:58 PM »

Is there any where they can get water.
The only thing I can think is they are after water.
Fill a pan or something about 2 inches deep, with pea gravel, then fill with water.
Place about 10 ft in front of the hives.

You may want to cage your ac in with some #8 mesh wire.
Hope this helps.
doak
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Understudy
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« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2007, 10:54:52 PM »

Turn the AC condensor unit off. See what happens.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Doorman
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« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2007, 10:59:59 PM »

I did turn it off and they dispersed over about a 15 min.period. but an hour or so later when the other unit came on they started doing it to that one.

Plenty of water everywhere. rain last night, dog bowls, puddles, an extra lid resting rim up full of water after the rain plus their usual water source is a pond across the street.

Greg
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Some call me a bee farmer, I prefer rancher. What
with millions of tiny livestock foraging the open range, spring and fall round ups. Boy howdy branding their little butts sure is tedious.
Understudy
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« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2007, 11:05:23 PM »

The bees sound like they are attacking the AC unit.

If may be giving off a frequency that irritates them.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Understudy
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« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2007, 11:06:27 PM »

Put a robber screen over the top of the unit. Or a smaller screen so the bees can't get through but the fan can still circulate.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Doorman
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« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2007, 11:10:53 PM »

I plan on the robber screen but Im just curious about the attraction, and why all of the sudden?
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Some call me a bee farmer, I prefer rancher. What
with millions of tiny livestock foraging the open range, spring and fall round ups. Boy howdy branding their little butts sure is tedious.
Doorman
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« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2007, 11:20:22 PM »

By the way understudy, that eye ball always reminds me of peter gabriel in the sledgehammer video. 80s flashback are never pretty. grin
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Some call me a bee farmer, I prefer rancher. What
with millions of tiny livestock foraging the open range, spring and fall round ups. Boy howdy branding their little butts sure is tedious.
doak
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« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2007, 11:26:02 PM »

How close are your hives to the ac. Could be the vibration. They cannot stand vibrations, or highfrequency.
can't think of anything else, unless they're kamikaze rolleyes
doak
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Doorman
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« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2007, 11:36:49 PM »

Theyre about 20 ft away but It's not like I just moved them there yesterday. But I think you all are probably right. I'ts got to be something  about the vibration I'll watch again tomorrow and see if I can tell which hive or nuc is doing it. come to think of it I'll bet its just one colony with a bitchy queen. (can I say that?)

Greg
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Some call me a bee farmer, I prefer rancher. What
with millions of tiny livestock foraging the open range, spring and fall round ups. Boy howdy branding their little butts sure is tedious.
Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2007, 06:59:18 AM »

I'm sure they are after the water because it's a hot day.  #8 hardware cloth will close off anything that needs air coming through it and no bees.  Chalk can fill spots that don't need air going through them and bees are getting in.  Just make sure the water can run out.  Smiley
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Cindi
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« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2007, 10:01:18 AM »

Greg, now that is the wierdest story I have ever heard.  I hope that you figure out what on earth is going on.  Let us know, as I am sure you will.  Have the wonderful day, great life.  Cindi
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Doorman
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« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2007, 01:44:46 PM »

There is no water associated with this part of the unit. The water is produced at the evaporator coil inside the house, and it drains directly to the sewer. I looked inside again just to see if there was some water pooled in there after the rain but there was none to speak of. I just checked them again today and they're still doing it, although not to the extent of yesterday.  I think doak and understudy are probably on the right track with the vibration thing. 
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Some call me a bee farmer, I prefer rancher. What
with millions of tiny livestock foraging the open range, spring and fall round ups. Boy howdy branding their little butts sure is tedious.
Greg Peck
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« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2007, 03:31:24 PM »

I read somewhere online that bees some times like the cooling fins inside ACs to start hives on. The article said it was more wasps but sometimes honey bees. It probably would be a good place for a hive, so long as the AC never came on and chopped everyone to bits. I wonder if maybe you got a swarm that went in there when the unit was not running then when it came on they were screwed.
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rdy-b
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« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2007, 09:12:18 PM »

Go through your colonys and see if one is queenless.bees may have gone a littel stupid. I have seen scout bees atracted to runing ac.  pepole have phoned and belive they have a bee problem.just bees maybe 10 or so hovering where the warm air comes out.I have never seen Kama-Kazie. new one for the books.  cool RDY-B
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rdy-b
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« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2007, 01:02:22 AM »

can we get an update Smiley RDY-B
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Doorman
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« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2007, 09:33:35 AM »

UPDATE:

Checked hives and nucs last night. The populations seemed really low on the nucs.
 The bees were attracted to the condenser that is much much quieter than the other so I tend to think its not the noise or vibration.
 The one they were most interested in has about a gallon of wet (from the rain yesterday) dead bees and boy do they STINK!!!  Yesterday afternoon there were only a few bees hovering around the unit when it was running. So heres my current theory: I think a small swarm or some scouts moved into the unit before it started running for the day. When the bees started fanning after the unit started running the massive airflow multiplied the effect. even after most of the bees were dead the unit was still fanning pheromones and drawing in new victims.
I have one question though. Will bees from other hives be attracted to bees from another hive fanning?

Thanks for all the input.
Greg
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Some call me a bee farmer, I prefer rancher. What
with millions of tiny livestock foraging the open range, spring and fall round ups. Boy howdy branding their little butts sure is tedious.
qa33010
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« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2007, 10:04:33 PM »

   This has nothing to do with bees but another insect, horseflies.  We had a '94 Taurus that every time we used the a/c horseflies flocked to the car.  If we were in a slow zone they followed us until we sped up and left them behind.  The Ranger never attracted any bugs (except at night going through sqeeter country) nor the Windstar.  The next owners commented about this also and how it didn't happen to any of their other five vehicles.
   
       They may not be attacking the unit but are attracted to it.  The area they go to, is it hot?  If it is could it be hot enough to kill a bug quickly?
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« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2007, 10:36:04 PM »

It must of been the smell of all that horse power that drew the flies.  Ever smell a sweaty horse?
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Doorman
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« Reply #19 on: June 17, 2007, 11:44:52 PM »

No I wouldn't say they are attacking it. Its definately attraction they are not the slightest bit defensive. The air coming out of the unit is only about 10 or 15 degrees warmer than ambient and you could see them walking around inside.

Are you sure that was a taurus and not a mustang grin

greg
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Some call me a bee farmer, I prefer rancher. What
with millions of tiny livestock foraging the open range, spring and fall round ups. Boy howdy branding their little butts sure is tedious.
bluegrass
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« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2007, 05:51:25 AM »

My first thought would be water too. Even though your coil is draining off away from the condenser the lines running out to it can still have some condensation going on. I would put the screen over it and provide a good source of water.
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