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Author Topic: What is going on?  (Read 1864 times)
bberry
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« on: January 27, 2008, 02:44:53 PM »

Hello all. So here in N. Cal we have been having some wicked cold weather and lots of rain. I have been checking my mite boards regularly as i had some fall problems and the mite count has been ok. I have not seen much of my bees since the cold and rain keeps them indoors but on the rare sunny day or when it stops raining they are out like crazy and bringing in LOADS of pollen-so much so that they often fall into the grass in front of the hives and can't get back up! Thinking the huge load is cuz the pollen is wet and sticks like mad.
Anyway, the other day i came to check the BB and there were quite a few dead bees out front in the grass and on the entrance-an alarming # really. Also, there were some not quite formed(?) bee bodies that looked like they had been pulled out of the cells i.e....white. I should add that the dead bees are a good mix of girls and drones. What is up do you think? I have little opportunity to look inside because of the weather so not sure what is going on inside but there seems to be a lot goin on in there-plenty of action when i knock.  Undecided
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mgates61
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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2008, 03:02:49 PM »

I sure hope someone can give you some insight to this.  I am new at this and would like to hear about their opinions.  Hope all is well.
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annette
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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2008, 11:08:40 PM »

Just curious, what do you call an alarming number?? I panicked the other day when I counted about 50 bees on the ground thinking something had happened. Well the next warm day, the hive looked just fine and dandy.

Lets see what more experienced beeks say about this.

Annette

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Kimbrell
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« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2008, 11:12:56 PM »

I would think that the dead bees you saw were just the result of housekeeping after a period of bad weather except for the "unformed" ones you saw.  I am very interested to see what the experts have to say...
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Cindi
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2008, 12:10:39 AM »

bberry.  Not even close to an expert here, but I saw stuff like this in my yard now and then.  The white bees that you see are the young bees that the bees removed because they were dead.  This condition is what is known as "chilled brood".  It happens when the brood does not have enough bees to keep the brood warm and they die within the cell.  It is not uncommon and is not a disease.  It is just when the fluke cold weather hits, sometimes it catches the bees by surprise.  You will definitely hear more comments, but this is my take on what you are seeing.  It is natural for there to be numbers of dead bees on the ground infront of the hives.  Now is there are hundreds and hundreds of dead bees, then there would be worry of poisoning or something along that line.  Good luck, I wouldn't personally worry about it too much.  Just good ol' Mother Nature messin' things up a little.  Have a great and wonderful day, Cindi
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2008, 06:45:50 AM »

Not being in California makes it difficult for me to know what's normal in your climate at this time of year.  But nothing you've listed would worry me too much.  If they are brood rearing they will sometimes remove brood for a variety of reasons including, as Cindi pointed out, chilled brood from sudden drops in temperature and removing mite infested or chalk brood infected or any other infected or infested brood.
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KONASDAD
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« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2008, 09:52:26 AM »

That happens here a lot. We get early season fluctuations. Normal behaviour and a good one too. Your bees are exhibiting hygenic behaviour.
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bberry
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« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2008, 01:58:38 PM »

Phew! I feel a little better now. The dead bees out front were over fifty but under a hundred so it prob is just housecleaning-those little white bodies kinda freaked me out tho' shocked The weather here is really colder than normal for this area. Here's another question though: Why would they be raising brood at all???
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annette
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« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2008, 02:31:01 PM »

Apparently, they raise brood all winter long, just not as much as when it is warm.

I just realized your avatar is made out of wool. Am I correct?  What do you do with wool???
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2008, 04:39:27 PM »

Bees will rear brood all winter in some locations while shutting down entirely in other areas.  In my area, right now, with temps at or below freezing most days for the past 2 weeks (that's the highs) I would not expect to find brood in the hive.  As Cindi remarked, the pile of brood and dead bees would indicate normal house cleaning during a winter warm up.  It's when you don't see that type of behavior that you should be worried as that indcates a problem(s) within the hive that won't allow normal behavior.

Just for fun, and for those who might be a little dubious about wintering, I am overwintering 2 hives of Russian survivor stock in a double stacked medium 5 frame nuc with SBB and no shielding of the open bottom.  They seem to be doing fine so far.  I expect a smaller cluster in the spring but as the weather warms up I'll be moving them into 8 frame boxes with slatted racks as bottom boards.  I'll be putting 1/4 or 3/8 hardware cloth as a critter shield and mounting the hives on a double stack 4X4 so the bees can come and go from the bottom of the hive if they wish.
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mgates61
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« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2008, 11:58:45 PM »

Brian D. Bray 

Is the 1/4 hardware cloth big enough for the bees to get in and out Huh?   I made a screened bottom board and was not able to get the #8 so i used 1/4 and just offset it.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2008, 06:08:50 AM »

Yes they can get through 1/4". I use it for mouse guards.
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bberry
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« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2008, 02:43:44 PM »

Annette-the witchy is an example of my dry felted wool sculpture-i make sculpture from the bizarre to the beautiful and also large wool 'paintings'-tapestries in wool made using the wet felting method.  Would this qualify as what beeks do during winter grin








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Bee1
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« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2008, 04:08:29 PM »

Just wanted to say hello all, I haven't been on the site in a while. 

I enjoyed & benefited from this thread.  I noticed some of this dead bee activity out in front of my hive too and didn't know what to think of it either.    Now, it sounds like Normal Cleaning Behaviour and I like the bberry... i like the wool work too!

Bee1
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annette
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« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2008, 05:13:58 PM »

Your wool dolls and things are so cool!! I love stuff like this and love when people are so creative and can do things like this.  Do you also knit???

Annette
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bberry
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« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2008, 01:41:31 PM »

I do knit but not as much as i used to. I have very short attention span when it comes to art and crafty things so i bounce around from this to that with no dependability whatsoever rolleyes My children are now learning how to knit in school so i have to pick up those needles again and fins some inspiration. Are you a knitter Annette? If you are do you have any good simple project ideas for kids? they are totally bored of scarves and i am coming up empty huh
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annette
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« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2008, 09:53:55 PM »

I am only into knitting socks. I have in the past done sweaters, hats, scarves, mittens. The usual. But I get bored with the projects because I am very slow at it and to make a sweater takes me like 4-6 months, mostly because I have very little time to just sit and knit.

But the socks go fast and I can give them away. I have nothing for kids though, sorry about that.

Look on the internet under knitting patterns for kids and I bet you come up with tons of stuff.

Sincerely
Annette
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