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Author Topic: What caused this carnage?  (Read 755 times)

Offline Bee Curious

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What caused this carnage?
« on: September 19, 2013, 03:07:27 PM »
First year beek, here.  I came out to visit the girls first thing this morning.  It was lightly raining, and had been mostly raining, sometimes heavy thunderstorms, since last evening.

I found a lot of dead bees below the hive.  There was also one dead black and white wasp (mostly we have tons of yellow jackets around the bees.)  Many of the bees had their guts hanging out, and I now realize that means they stung something.  There were bees among the dead who don't have their guts showing.  There were a couple of culled pupa on the 'front porch' of the hive too.

So, what would be out on a rainy night that caused so many bees to come out and sting?   :?







Offline tefer2

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Re: What caused this carnage?
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2013, 03:21:41 PM »
Bald faced hornet attack! :shock:

Offline Bee Curious

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Re: What caused this carnage?
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2013, 04:18:21 PM »
Bald faced hornet attack! :shock:

During the night?  In the rain? 
And the strange thing is my bees were not in a bad mood.  They let me look around and take photos.  I'm baffled.

Offline tefer2

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Re: What caused this carnage?
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2013, 08:34:24 PM »
The fight happened during the daylight. You're just seeing the dead being carried out afterwards. The picture does look more like a wasp belly to me now.They are pulling drone brood out of cells now also.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2013, 11:34:46 PM by tefer2 »

Offline Glen H

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Re: What caused this carnage?
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2013, 10:37:13 PM »
Could some of the bees on the ground be drones that have been evicted for the winter?


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Offline Bee Curious

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Re: What caused this carnage?
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2013, 11:11:01 PM »
The fight happened during the daylight. You're just seeing the dead being carried out afterwards. The picture does look more like a wasp belly to me now.They are pulling drone brood of cells now also.

I'm not so sure.  Most of the dead were under the hive (which is on high legs, in an attempt to be skunk-proof) not below the front entrance.  And all these dead appeared during the night--I checked the hive in the late afternoon, and then it rained on and off from evening until morning, much of the rain fairly heavy.  Would the bees be carting out dead in the rain and not just pushing them off the front entrance?  (There were a few dead on the front porch, but the majority were below the hive.)  I do have a screened bottom board, but the bees can't get through it. Maybe something was trying to get in from below?

My first thought when I saw all the dead was that they were drones.  But my drones are big boys, and these were regular workers, with their guts hanging out.  I'm thinking a skunk or raccoon bothered them in the night, but there's no tell-tale perfume to say it was a skunk.  I live in a suburban neighborhood of Chicago.  We do have possums, raccoons, skunks, and the occasional fox and coyote.  I think only the first three could get into my fenced yard.

Offline Bee Curious

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Re: What caused this carnage?
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2013, 11:24:56 PM »
The fight happened during the daylight. You're just seeing the dead being carried out afterwards. The picture does look more like a wasp belly to me now.They are pulling drone brood of cells now also.

Tefer2, what is "wasp belly?"  Is that when the wasps attack the bees and eat their insides?  The yellow jackets have been doing that, but they don't leave a mess like this. I've seen them empty out the bee's 'shell' and leave with the innards.  If it was some other species of wasp, they might have different habits.

Offline rwlaw

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Re: What caused this carnage?
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2013, 11:45:30 PM »
I've had bald faced hornets after my hives, they'd grab ahold of a bee & cut em in half & take off. They were doing that inside the hive. If they balled that dead hornet there's some more fatalities. Start looking in the trees & send em to hornet heaven.
Skunks'll leave scratch marks on the landing board & little bits of bees.
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Offline sc-bee

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Re: What caused this carnage?
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2013, 11:54:33 PM »
Hard too tell, but looks like a large number of drones to me.
John 3:16

Offline tefer2

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Re: What caused this carnage?
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2013, 11:58:38 PM »
I meant to say the belly of a wasp.
I'll have to grab a dead hornet and look at the belly tomorrow.
God knows I have a ton in my wax moth traps.

Offline tefer2

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Re: What caused this carnage?
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2013, 12:03:05 AM »
rw, scratch marks and skunk scat with bees in it!
They sit there and eat until their full.

Offline rwlaw

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Re: What caused this carnage?
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2013, 07:35:33 AM »
My skunks must not want to have the crapper by the dinner table, never had a any scat. First one I had there was legs & antennae @ the entrance for a couple days. Then he took a .22 diameter pill to make sure he was cured of the habit.
Can't ever say that bk'n ain't a learning experience!

Offline tefer2

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Re: What caused this carnage?
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2013, 09:20:47 AM »
The ones with their guts hanging out have been stinging mammals.
If your stands are off the ground it probably wasn't a skunk.
They don't like to feed with their underside exposed to attack.
I've caught coons climbing on hives trying to find a way to get inside.
Anyway, doesn't look like you have to many dead. Just clean those bodies away so you know if you get attacked again. Robber screens work to keep jackets and wasps out.

Offline Bee Curious

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Re: What caused this carnage?
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2013, 08:20:57 PM »
The ones with their guts hanging out have been stinging mammals.
If your stands are off the ground it probably wasn't a skunk.
They don't like to feed with their underside exposed to attack.
I've caught coons climbing on hives trying to find a way to get inside.
Anyway, doesn't look like you have to many dead. Just clean those bodies away so you know if you get attacked again. Robber screens work to keep jackets and wasps out.


I put the hive on legs to deter skunks.  I do smell skunks in my yard at night at least once a week.  It could have been a racoon, I guess.
Ironically, I had taken off my robbing screen last week when it got quite chilly and reduced my entrance. Yesterday, I also put the tray back into my screened bottom board in case something is molesting my girls from below.

Thanks for all the input.  There's so much to learn.  I'm so grateful I have this forum for a resournce.

BC

Offline tefer2

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Re: What caused this carnage?
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2013, 09:32:38 AM »
Went and caught a couple of balded face hornets and looked at their underside. Their belly is shiny and all black. The wax moth traps sure help with keeping their numbers down some.

 

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