Curious about bees on the ground. Every great once in a while I go out and there are 30-50 bees on the ground around the hive. They walk around almost like they are drunk. Fall over sometimes. Generally just moving around aimlessly. I do not see any large number of dead bees, maybe one or two but that is about it. If they are the remains of a robbing battle, where are the dead bees. Otherwise the hive appears fine from the outside, bees coming and going with pollen etc.
It would really help if you told us (or even better put in your profile) where in the world your bees are based. That makes a difference to the answer. The possibilities without that info are:
- Viral disease - there are many, several transmitted by varroa which can do this. If you don’t have varroa in your region, that may be off the list
- Some nectar types can do this. Depends on whether those plants are flowering in your area.
- Less likely, but some pesticides can do this. Usually affects more bees than you describe, but still worth thinking about.
Just a start, but please tell us where in the world you are…
In southeast texas. Middle of winter but high in low 70s today. If it was a virus, wouldn’t I see it on a more consistent basis rather than just once every few months? Not much pesticide spraying going on at this time of year but since it is an urban location in Houston, could be.
Also think it is funny that I am about to add a pollen patty to one hive because they have no pollen and the hive right next to it has over 20-30 bees a minute coming in loaded with pollen.
I wonder if it is happening after a lot of rain. I find the same thing after a lot of rain when the bees have been house bound. The younger bees kick the aged & disabled bees out. This is why I try to stop my grand kids from walking around my yard bare footed.
That could be it. We have had some very heavy rain. Will watch and see if the next time is after a rain as well.
Hi Steve, you can see the old bees being carted out by young bees at the end of this video.
This is where I get my theory from.
I like @JeffH’s idea. It would also be worth looking at the crawling bees to see if many of them have visible deformities like DWV - they are tolerated more when times are good, and get thrown out when the weather is less amenable.
Yes please do check for DWV
Varroa can annihilate your bees
Too much non-treating in one hive owners going on
(Tin hat on)
PS Do you get Bee Paralysis virus in Texas. It’s becoming more of a problem with us
Check for ants. Sometimes bees run around like they are mad on the ground- if you look closely they have small ants on them attacking them.