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peteinwilts 

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Hi Guys

I keep bees in four locations, three of which are at the opposite ends of the same farm.
One of the locations is having a particular symptom that is different to the other locations.

This particular location is based in a marshy area with tall grass in the corner of a very large field. the area is about 100m x 50m and the hives are spread quite a way apart.

The hives are sat and tied down to paving slabs, so the stands do not get their feet wet.

The hives are three 14x12's and one national. two of the hives are\were very strong and the other are two not huge, but not small either. All are still buzzing.

My daughter and I went around for a heft at the weekend, but found all of the hives in this particular location was strewn with body parts with what looks like white\grey poo (??) about 6mm long (which can be seen in the photo). all have mouseguards.
One of the hives sounded quite agitated is we went up to it, but it was a warm (ish) day and the grass breaks quite loudly so sneaking up on hives is difficult.
Unfortunately out of many photo's taken, only one came out good enough to use. if need be i'll go up with the camera later and take more today.

View attachment 3005

I have another area about 1/2 mile away on the same farm, also bordering a marshy area and in similar conditions that only has buscuit crumbs under the hive with no\few dead bees.

what I don't know is whether the poo is caused by whatever is happening to the bees, or whether it is caused by whatever is eating the body parts or buscuit crumbs.

I can see no damage to the hives.

Any ideas what it could be??

Cheers
Pete
 

peteinwilts 

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very hygenic bees? or too narrow mouseguards? (shredding the corpses necessary prior to removal)
Apart from the size, all of my hives are set up in a similar manner with the same mouseguards.

All of the bees on this site are not related. One caught swarm (not mine), one split (from another location), one is it's second year and the last purchased next year.

call me paranoid, but I prefer to move splits to different sites to keep the gene pool as disolved as possible.
 

peteinwilts 

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also, the body parts are below the hive, so if it is bees doing it, the parts would need to be going down through the mesh...

the picture taken is the one with the least body parts... most of the others have a huge amount more :confused:
 

Mike a 

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In the picture above it looks like several bee heads with their proboscis sticking out, antennae and fore legs and tiny wax bits. For now don't panic and open up the hive to investigate but if you could take another picture but close up from above and post it for us it would be easier to make out.

Its normal to see body parts (Legs, antennae) as the dead summer bees fall to the mesh, but I'm a little surprised to see so many bee heads.
 
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drstitson 

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perhaps you could console yourself with a Heston inspired "crumbled bee & wax" topping for your economy xmas pudding.
 
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margob99 

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I'm surprised you got into the hive far enough to take such a picture at this cold time of year? Do people really still open up hives now? What part of the hive is this?
 

Rosti 

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I'm surprised you got into the hive far enough to take such a picture at this cold time of year? Do people really still open up hives now? What part of the hive is this?
My reading of Pete's post is that the picture is of debris beneath the hive on the concrete slab the stand is on, not within it and that Pete has not 'entered' the hives. May be about to be proved wrong in saying that!

Sorry Pete, I'll watch and wait for the answer on this. I can't help I'm afraid, R
 

Rosti 

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I agree the photo above is of mice droppings but I don't think that matches Pete's ident

"body parts with what looks like white\grey poo (??) about 6mm long (which can be seen in the photo)."

even when dessicated mouse dropping remain very dark.
 

peteinwilts 

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I don't think they are mouse droppings. I often set mouse traps in the loft due to droppings. They are bigger.... even if they were swollen with water and rotting to make them white\grey, they are the wrong shape....

Have not looked inside the hive. the dead ARE on the paving slab below the hive.

I will try and pop up to collect some debris to bring back and take descent photos this evening..
 

peteinwilts 

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rat droppings?? ... but that would not explain the dead:confused:
 

chrismcd 

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I would guess that at least part of the debris is caused by mice feeding.

I keep an eye on my bees and dead bodies that have been pushed out one day will be in bits by the second day. They seem to like the thorax and abdomen but leave the head and legs strewn around.

As far as I can see, if the mouseguard is in position the mice are eating dead bees or ones that have ended up underneath the OMF.

It has got to the point where I have seen the mice watching me when I am working the hives. I found a bumble bee queen that had been killed and plucked ( she was a shiny black and I thought I had found a cuckoo bee). I put the body by the side of the hive and worked on three more hives - by the time I got back to her a mouse had eaten most of her!

I would suspect that a lot of the other debris is cappings and deposits left by slugs - who also seem to love lurking below OMF's.

So, I would hope, that as long as nothing has got into the hive it is just the natural scavengers going about their business
 

Bee-Key-Pur 

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Could it be tits, hanging on the OMF and pulling the dead bees through the floor. I see them flying in and picking up the dead bees around my hives all the time!!!

Brian
 

madasafish 

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Our local foxes eat our dead bees.. (plus bird food, cats etc)
 

MuswellMetro 

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Could it be tits, hanging on the OMF and pulling the dead bees through the floor. I see them flying in and picking up the dead bees around my hives all the time!!!

Brian
agree,

think that's is grey bird pooh and bits pulled through the varroa board by tits or pied wagtails
 

peteinwilts 

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hhhmm... birds sounds the obvious option.

as I said in the original post, one of the hives seemed agitated when I arrived, although it could have been me being noisy crashing through the reeds.

Should I prevent the birds activity to stop them disturbing the hives?
 

TOBY-3652 

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The black droppins are deffinatly mouse the other ones are bird probably either waggies or robin. I dont think anything 2 worry about birds are eating best bits and leaving rest there probably pulling them out of mouse guard thats probably why bees agitated
 

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