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Dead Bees in front of hive


Hi Brain’s Trust. My bees seem to be powering on… lots in and out during the day, the hive smells like honey (always a good sign). Last weekend i found, for the first time, around 20-30 dead bees. Should i be worried? This is more dead bees than I have seen before at any one time. The ants usually do a good job at the clean up but not this time.

We were inundated by water in the April 1 floods and the ants may have been knocked out of action but would have recovered by now. The hive was not affected by the water.

My question is this: if the life-cycle of a worker bee is between 60-90 days and if the hive is a strong hive, how may bees should die every day and where do they die?. Do they return to the hive, or give up the ghost in the fields? Should i worry about this loss of bees at the front door of the hive?


You don’t say where in the world you are. If southern hemisphere, I would tell you to check whether they are drones. That could be normal at this time of year. I am guessing that you are actually in the northern hemisphere though. In that case, take a close look at those bees. Are the wings normal or deformed? If so, it could be varroa, and you need to treat urgently. Any scratch marks on the landing board? Do the bees look slightly crushed? If so, it is probably a skunk, and it might help to raise your hive a little higher, or switch to an upper entrance for a while. If neither of these, you need to inspect and make sure all is well inside the hive. If you can take some photos, we can try to help more.

With a decent sized hive, around 500 bees per day will die, but most of those die in the field. It is unusual to see a heap of dead workers in front of the hive unless something has happened. That is why I suggest an inspection if it doesn’t look like DWV or a skunk.


Hi Dee,

I am in Oz, in the North of the Northern Rivers, to be precise Cudgera Creek. So no varroa (thank goodness) there is some wax moth but that’s a larvae issue, i think. No skunks and I’ll thank the stars for that!. SHB activity is reduced because of the cold. So i can’t think of a reason. There was some blackish powder on the corfulte, and i don’t know where that came from. An inspection is warranted. I opened the hive a month ago and all appeared well.


I am not @Dee - she is the smart one! :smile:

However, given your location, they may well be drones. They get thrown out over winter, and don’t wander far from the hive. This is normal. I would still take a look at them. If they have big eyes and round butts, they are drones. :wink:


Sorry #Dawn_SD, it’s obviously not me who is the smart one. I’ll check the corpses tomorrow morn.


Not me…I just wing it most of the time.
I have a colony with N ceranae…not smart enough to have avoided that. Spraying them with thymol and hoping


Well, I didn’t get back to check the corpses for a couple of weeks so they’d gone.

However, I did crack the hive today and checked the brood. There is one frame with what appears to be lots of drone comb. There are still corpses out the front but that may be the usual carnage…which the ants haven’t yet cleaned up.