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Author Topic: 11 bees abducted in 30 minutes  (Read 506 times)
Jackam
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« on: July 25, 2013, 08:01:43 PM »

I watched today as my hive is FINALLY coming back with colorful pollen sacs again. The weather has cooled a bit and they have found a source. Interestingly enough, as I was watching the bees come and go, I sat there for a half hour and counted 11 bees being carried out of the hive and get carted off. Some of them didn't fly too well with the extra cargo and the struggling bee. I managed to separate two of them and one flew off. The other looked like it had it's wings all messed up in the tussle (four other bees that I separated did not look like this though.) One bee always flew and the other crawled.

Other than the one bee with the wing situation, the bees looked just fine to me. Any idea what is going on?
I suggested robbers but there was no frenzied activity at the hive entrance, and no fighting outside. Just had a bee, every now and then, emerge from the hive with a prisoner.
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JWChesnut
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2013, 08:30:40 PM »

Classic mite symtom.  Bees with deformed wings have "deformed wing virus" -DWV- which is transmitted by mites.  Other weakened bees have other virus and illnesses carried by mites which are not as apparent. 

That said, about 1.5% of a colony dies every day and there are a caste of "undertaker" bees who remove in-hive dead or dying bees.  Bees with pesticide exposure will die in the nest.  Most foragers die away from the nest.

But bees being carried out of the nest- as newly hatched -  are a invariable early warning of mite infestation.   August-September are my abrupt peak for mites.

You can verify mite infestation by washing a half cup of bees in alcohol (gold standard but kills the bees), shaking in sugar powder (bees can survive this).  Opening drone brood is less diagnostic, and looking on the bottom board can give you false optimism.

A knockdown treatment will give your hive a chance to recover before winter; while, ignoring the situation will result in a dead hive.
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Jackam
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2013, 09:47:46 PM »


That said, about 1.5% of a colony dies every day and there are a caste of "undertaker" bees who remove in-hive dead or dying bees.  Bees with pesticide exposure will die in the nest.  Most foragers die away from the nest.
I only saw one with it's wings messed up. Looked like they were crumpled from fighting to me.

You can verify mite infestation by washing a half cup of bees in alcohol (gold standard but kills the bees), shaking in sugar powder (bees can survive this). 

I can do a mite check. What alcohol - Isoprpyl? Do I just immerse them in it and mites separate if they are present?
I imagine the sugar powder is a visual check in the remaining powdered sugar after the bees have left it?


I thought maybe the bees had gotten into something (pesticide) that they shouldn't have - I watch my hive everyday and this is the first I have seen of this. (I have seem onesies in the past, but this was a lot to me!)
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JWChesnut
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2013, 10:11:33 PM »

Step by step instructions (and some complications).  Basically you are doing a killing jar of a known sample and counting the mites that wash out.
http://scientificbeekeeping.com/sick-bees-part-11-mite-monitoring-methods/

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GSF
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2013, 08:59:14 AM »

JWC; Excellant reading!
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"Life is hard, It's even harder when you're stupid."

John Wayne
sawdstmakr
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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2013, 11:44:58 AM »

 goodpost
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