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Hive removal , bees were not flying much, tons of walkers

I removed a hive from a wall, super long combs tons of honey. The bees stayed inside, almost no flyers. Vacuumed some after scooping as many as possible put directly into hive box. Usually I’ll have a-ton of bees flying around and to the box. And hundreds were crawling on the ground near the box . Like they couldn’t fly. What causes this ? To much smoke, causing them to over eat ?

Hello and welcome to the Flow forum! :blush:

Could be any one of a number of things, but at this time of year, my top possibility would be Deformed Wing Virus (DWV). Many people think that DWV just causes twisted wings in bees, but it does a lot more than that. When infected during development, DWV damages the bee’s nervous system, making flying impossible. It can do this without deforming the wings. It also interferes with development of segments in the bee, often resulting in a shortened abdomen.

So what would I do? First, look for deformed wings - some of the bees will have them, if that is the cause. Second do a proper mite count, using a sugar roll or alcohol wash. Third, make it a priority to treat for Varroa mites. If the colony has been in the wall for any length of time, and they are not africanized, they are probably heavily infested with Varroa.

If it isn’t Varroa and DWV, next on my list would be poisoning, either from insecticide, or toxic nectar, depending on what is flowering.

Please let us know what you find! :wink:


Removing varroa from the equation, my thoughts would be that the crawling bees were nurse bees that haven’t done orientation flights yet.

The reason why the bees wont come out of the wall would be because the queen is still in there. Is there another cavity that the bees could be occupying that you haven’t opened up. That happened to me once, after I thought I had opened everything up. Regardless, place a frame with mostly open brood next to the cluster, after a short time the queen will most likely move onto that frame. Then you can place it into the capture box. The rest of the bees will follow. If it doesn’t work the first time, repeat the process until it does.