Dead and Dormant Bees Outside

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Chunky Plumpy

New Bee
Jun 14, 2022
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Oldbury Naite
Hive Type
Number of Hives

I'm going into my third year after two successful years with my first hive. I had a second which turned out to be killer bees and during a number of attempts to calm them I requeened both hives, so this remaining hive has a new queen only last summer.

Recent inspections were 'okay', I didn't spot the unmarked queen as I'm still far from good at that but did think the hive looked patchy across some brood frames albeit some where as you'd expect. There were larvae, eggs and plenty of workers but very little stores in the brood frames if any at all and I think less in the previous full super above. I left them alone assuming the weather has been so random in South Glos that perhaps they needed to feed on stores.

Then last week I've noticed an alarming number of bees clustering outside the hive at night on the cold concrete blocks, and noticed today a load of dead bees out the front:

(Tired Bees that didn't make the final few centimetres under the hive!)
Tired Bees.jpg

(Dead bees including some with pollen that just dropped dead!?)
Dead Bees.jpg

I've taken no action other than reduce the opening (as pictured above) in case the carnage is the result of robbing, but the activity doesn't appear unusual enough now so if that happened it was a punch-up missed. It could also be two years of drones and other ejected carcasses but for those carrying forage which leaves me wondering if this could be the extremes in temperature?

The hive is nicely sheltered. It gets sun first thing and then enjoys shade from late morning which has been great with the past hot summers. Is it possible the bees are coming in from the warm sunny surroundings only to return to a 6-9C shaded area and get chilled? I'm sure it is not this and there must be another explanation but I couldn't help notice how flipping cold it was in the shade when observing them so thought I'd ask. Before you think I'm completely mad, I've been sat in a t-shirt enjoying the sun during the day after scraping ice off the car the same morning... weather really is a bit nuts here at the moment.

Anyone got any ideas what might be going on and why they are landing shy of the hive, apparently dying overnight rather than heading in? The number of dead also seems a lot else I'd like to think I'd have noticed before, is it possible there was a punch-up with robbers that I missed? Cheers, CP.
My guess would be they're just cold,if they miss the landing board they rest on the ground but can't warm up enough again to fly. Bees returning with pollen being involved suggests it's nothing other to worry about(such as CBPD or nosema)
I get a bit of this, partly seems to deploy the environment around the entrances. I note with your setup it's easy for the to underfly the entrance which may be leading to the landing and getting chilled.
It may be worth trying making an extended sloping landing board so that they underfly less and when landing short cand crawl up and in.
Incidentally you might be surprised how many revive if you sweep them up and out them somewhere warm. This will make minimal difference to the colony though, I suspect the ones that land short are mainly on their last legs anyway, though I've seen some bees like that who look pretty young.
Also partly the last of the winter bees dying off having done their job for colony survival.
bees are coming in from the warm sunny surroundings only to return to a 6-9C shaded area and get chilled? I'm sure it is not this
It is.

previous full super above
Is this full of bees? If not, the void will drain nest heat and restrict colony development. As it's empty of stores and the BB is almost empty, take off the super.

The size of the hive must match the size of the colony in it (confusing that you conflate the two). React to these changes and add or subtract boxes accordingly.

Make sure feed holes are sealed, and use a CB with 50mm PIR insulation board on top. Check outer BB combs to see whether nectar is coming in; if not, a few litres of syrup during next week may be necessary.
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