Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dieing bees

Yesterday a saw bees in the bee house on the floor spinning in an erratic fashion and seem to not be able to fly.  This morning, all those were dead on the floor and there were many more, and more on the ground in front of the hive.  The other hive is strong and is hauling pollen and nectar in, in a somewhat robust fashion.

I called Joe at Better Bee and he didn't have a good answer, but as I was awaiting his return call, I started a search, and the closest I can get to the symptoms is Tracheal mites, aimlessness, spinning, can't fly, gathering hoards in front of the hive on the ground, so I sent a package to the National Bee Labs in Maryland to verify the problem.  I also ordered some Oxalic acid and will build a copper dispenser to gas the bees.  Its suppose to kill both the Varroa and Tracheal mites.  Hope they last long enough for the treatment.

The hive seem to have no purpose and have eaten little, they have built a small amount of comb, but seem to just hang from the top bars in a mass.  When I think back to releasing the queen, I remember that they hadn't even tried to get her out.  The candy plug was as good as new.  Today the feeder was only 1/4 empty, where the other hive had eaten at least a half gallon of food.

Checked on the hive this evening and I'm down to about 1/3 of the bees I started with.  Could only see 1 forager going out of the hive to gather.  Dead bees everywhere, I guess by the time the treatment gets here they will all be dead.   Will have to wait to see what the prognosis is.

I am amazed between the difference in attitude between package bees and feral swarms.  Once the swarms decided that they had a new home, they were off foraging and the entrances to both the new hives were buzzing with activity, while the sick hive had nothing going on and the other package was just going about its business with nothing spectacular happening, although, bringing in lots of pollen.  Will have to use the treatment on them too.  Later

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