Need I worry?

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House Bee
Aug 5, 2009
Reaction score
Andover. Hampshire
Hive Type
Number of Hives
4 Nats and 3 14x12 1 x nuc
New beek seeking advice.

Yesterday afternoon I noticed dead bees (fully formed, not white late stage larve) being removed by workers. In 30 minutes I counted 25 or so. There were several dozen others on the ground, fanning out from the front of the hive.

When I did my inspection today, all seemed fairly normal (queen seen, eggs seen, larve, sealed brood and lots of stores, well natured). There were quite a lot of dead bees on the mesh floor and several others being ejected as I watch the hive before starting my inspection. I have kept a sample of dead bees in case they need a PM.

This is my first year and my nuc has expanded onto 8 frames (the next either side being partly drawn out) in a National. The Queen is this year's, with an easy to see green spot! The hive has one super with three frames of partly capped honey, which I have no intension of removing as my aim is to have a strong and well supplied hive ready for the winter.

I have been checking my varroa board as part of a weekly inspection and have seen just one mite (yesterday), so I have varroa but I think it is at a low level of infestation.

It is quite a worry to see so many dead bees. I expect a few, but how many is normal?

Any suggestions???

Thank you, in anticipation.
Hi starflex

You say they are bees being dragged out of the hive.
Are they workers or drones, as its near the time for drones to be emitted from the hive as with the exception of superseding queen cells there is no need for them in the hive.

Get someone in your association who has a microscope and ask them to test for Nosema if its workers that are dead..

You mention all is well regarding eggs, larvae and capped brood which in its self is a good sign.

It's not easy making recommendations without having first hand information, by which I mean hands on information.

Hello Bcrazy,

I've had a sift through the sample of dead bees and they are all workers.

I'll see if I can get someone to help out with the microscope/nosema suggestion.

Many thanks.
Hello H P,

Thanks, that is todays new piece of knowledge for me; always good learn. If they were robbers, then there must have been a bit of a punch-up as there were quite a lot of ex bees.

Things seemed back to normal late this afternoon, so I'll see how things go.
Hello O 90 O

Thanks, very true, my garden is mainly organic veg, but not all the surrounding gardens will be the same.

Nice sunny morning here in Hampshire. Spent half an hour watching the hive. The girls are flying well, with quite a lot of mixed pollen going in. In half an hour I saw only a couple of dead bees being removed. This is what I had seen on previous occasions, so things seem to be all back to normal.

Killed a dozen ****** wasps as they have become a real pain over the last week. The Boss came out and empied and reloaded the jam-jar wasp trap. (Being a WI member, she is in charge for all matters involving jam!) That was another couple of dozen dead wasps.

Thanks to all for your input.
starflex is the entrance reduced? 1-2" wide is all they need to defend things.
Hello Jedz

Thanks for asking. The enterance block is in place and they have a 3 inch by one bee-space hole.

They seem fine with this (they are really busy this afternoon). I have made a smaller enterance block, inch and a half size. I'll keep it at hand should it be needed.
Hello H P,

If they were robbers, then there must have been a bit of a punch-up as there were quite a lot of ex bees.

Full-on robbing really is mental. The first time I saw it I thought I was going to have a swarm, then I saw them bashing the living daylights out of each other in the entrance and all over the ground in front of the hive. Understandably they were in a foul mood so I donned the bee suit and put an entrance block in with a very small opening. That stopped it.

Thanks for the last 2 posts. Small entrance fitted and the girls coming and going without too much traffic congestion. All seems back to normal.