Dead and dying bees

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robmort 

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In the last week lots of bees have been flying despite the cold weather. But every day there have been dead and dying bees around the hives, now probably amounting to hundreds. Never seen this sort of thing before. Behind the hives is paved and there are couple of dozen bees lying dead each day. Also on surfaces near and on the hives are many dead and dying bees. Also 50 or more drowned on the surface of the nearby pond despite lots of landing places. Who knows how many more have died on the grass nearby. They just don't seem to have made it back to the hives.

Is this due to the cold? Plenty of stores, forage and a field of OSR 100m away.

View attachment IMG_0084.mp4
 
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Boston Bees 

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Is starvation a possibility? Are you sure they have plenty of stores?
 

hemo 

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A lot of the winter bees will have served there purpose, just this year the timing/weather means they may not be going far.
 

robmort 

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Not starvation as plenty of stores, forage and OSR.
I've been inside the hives and all seems well, little or no Varroa.
 

viridens 

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Robmort I have seen the same thing this week on the paving in front of my hives. It is worse than the average year here. Some of the downed bees were carrying good loads of pollen. I scooped up maybe a hundred that still had signs of life, put them in a bucket and warmed them with a hairdryer as an experiment, maybe 40% revived and flew out of the bucket.
There is such a difference in temperature from minute to minute depending on whether the sun is shining or behind a cloud, and today there was soft hail from a blue sky for a while to chill the foragers. I think they just get caught out. It's such a shame to see them struggling, and the fields are covered with dandelions, some already going to seed, and the blackthorn is going over too, and hardly a foraging honeybee in sight.
 

Finman 

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If weather is cold and sun does not shine onto them when bees rest on the ground, they are not able to rise to wings without sunrays. Then you see tens of bees dead around the hive. And all have pollen load.

You see dead bees more on chadow side of the hive.

So you see, that is not good thing that bees fly in too cold weather. Pollen invite them to harvest.

What you can do is to keep hives in sunny spots.

Good landing board will help them to walk into hive, when they are too cold to fly any more. At least you save some.
Bees flying muscles must be 25C to fly and in rapid flying they are 29C
 
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Karol 

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<snip>
There is such a difference in temperature from minute to minute depending on whether the sun is shining or behind a cloud, <snip>
Was out on Sunday and there was an 8°C difference literally in the space of 200 yards. No wonder poor bees are getting caught out.
 

enrico 

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I bet money this is the age old problem. The bees are under flying your hive. They are clustering under the omf and in this weather they are dying overnight. You can lose hundreds of bees this way. Block off the area between the landing board and the ground urgently to stop this. You are depleting your flying bees at a big rate!
 

Finman 

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I bet money this is the age old problem. The bees are under flying your hive. They are clustering under the omf and in this weather they are dying overnight. You can lose hundreds of bees this way. Block off the area between the landing board and the ground urgently to stop this. You are depleting your flying bees at a big rate!
I have solid floors and I have seen that chilling proplem many times.
 

pargyle 

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I bet money this is the age old problem. The bees are under flying your hive. They are clustering under the omf and in this weather they are dying overnight. You can lose hundreds of bees this way. Block off the area between the landing board and the ground urgently to stop this. You are depleting your flying bees at a big rate!
Looking at the OP's video ... there is not a lot of space directly under the hive ... it's a possibility but I'd be inclined to agree with Finman ... and some landing boards might help a bit.
 

viridens 

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Robmort I have seen the same thing this week on the paving in front of my hives. It is worse than the average year here. Some of the downed bees were carrying good loads of pollen. I scooped up maybe a hundred that still had signs of life, put them in a bucket and warmed them with a hairdryer as an experiment, maybe 40% revived and flew out of the bucket.
There is such a difference in temperature from minute to minute depending on whether the sun is shining or behind a cloud, and today there was soft hail from a blue sky for a while to chill the foragers. I think they just get caught out. It's such a shame to see them struggling, and the fields are covered with dandelions, some already going to seed, and the blackthorn is going over too, and hardly a foraging honeybee in sight.
Solid floors and generous landing boards on my hives so no 'under flying'.
It's currently 4.5 C here, sunny with a clear blue sky. Even at this temperature there is already a steady stream of foragers, and pollen coming in. I can see that the one hive with sun on the entrance is extra busy. They are just overly keen to get out and some get chilled. The ones in front of the hives are easy to see. Many more cold but healthy foragers must fall 'in the field'. My bucket experiment suggests that If they get some sun they will warm up and revive, otherwise bye bye bees. The recent weather this year does seem to have made things worse than usual.
 
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robmort 

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Thanks for the replies. I'll try blocking off the underneath, but there are landing boards on all of the hives, and anyway most bees land above the entrance on the hive's face. The OMF's have their inspection boards in. The hives face south and have full sun.

I see bees in other parts of the garden landing on plants with no flowers and resting, perhaps in an attempt to warm up after returning.
 

enrico 

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Thanks for the replies. I'll try blocking off the underneath, but there are landing boards on all of the hives, and anyway most bees land above the entrance on the hive's face. The OMF's have their inspection boards in. The hives face south and have full sun.

I see bees in other parts of the garden landing on plants with no flowers and resting, perhaps in an attempt to warm up after returning.
Look underneath when they have stopped flying in the evening. If you see clusters of bees they need removing and putting at the entrance. Let me know because I am fairly sure this will be the problem!
 

viridens 

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I took these photos just now. I picked these up from paving in front of the hives, which is currently shady., and put them on the hot lid of a water butt in the sun. 5 mins later they had all flown.

b1.JPGb2.JPGb3.JPG
 

Curly green finger's 

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Thanks for the replies. I'll try blocking off the underneath, but there are landing boards on all of the hives, and anyway most bees land above the entrance on the hive's face. The OMF's have their inspection boards in. The hives face south and have full sun.

I see bees in other parts of the garden landing on plants with no flowers and resting, perhaps in an attempt to warm up after returning.
Do they have to fly over any obstacles I see bees some times putting the ankers on when coming into land and having to drop down hight quickly when they have to fly over something.
 
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