Harvested flow hive and removed flow frames for winter. (About a week ago) Noticed today a bunch of dead bees at entrance and on surrounding ground. It’s fall here in Washington but not cold cold yet. When I harvested flow frames and then removed them for winter, it was done very quickly with little exposure. It was also a sunny and warmer day. Is this normal to have so many dead bees? Are the drones being kicked out and dying? Any thoughts from fellow flow hivers would help. Thanks, Marcia
It can be normal, but it depends on what is going on.
Did you have a big spill during the harvest? Were bees fighting from robbing, if there was a lot of spilled honey?
Do the dead bees look like drones? Drones are bigger, with rounded (less pointy than workers) butts and huge eyes.
Have you done a varroa count? Any signs of deformed wing virus? What about other diseases - any reason to be concerned?
How many brood boxes do you have? How many frames of food stores do the bees have? Are they at risk of starving?
It is impossible to answer your question without more information addressing the points above. Hopefully it will turn out to be normal, but the only way to be sure is to exclude the other possibilities. Varroa is one of the leading causes of hive loss over winter, right up there with condensation and starvation, so it would be good to exclude that before reassuring you.
I have an extra super on top of one brood box. This box is filled with honey I left for winter feeding. Varroa mite check shows nothing. Can hear bees inside of brood box. Have already 1 feeding of 2 to 1 sugar water in place. Have made a quilted cover for condensation and that is now in place. Just looks like there were more dead bees than there should be. Wa. just had a horrible storm and I’ll check the hives front door again today.
Where in WA are you? My guess is they are drones kicked out for the winter. Jim
Here in central NY State, I and others are seeing the same thing. I narrowed in on mine. It was one of my two flow hives that was in trouble. Somehow, it had gone to having no queen. The hive weakened over a period of 3 or 4 weeks when I did not realize that the queen was gone. Once the hive was seen as weak, then ground-dwelling hornets known locally here as “yellow jacket wasps” began raiding the hive. They are seeking everything in the hive. They take the honey, the brood, the eggs, and any other form of meat. They are meat-eating insects.
Stand and watch the hive entrance and the top cover and sides. Do you see activity at all? Look closely. Discern the size and shape and color of the “bees”. Do you see these yellow jacket wasps along with or instead of your bees?
You’ll need to take action quickly or your bees will lose the fight altogether. First, please let me know if you see the yellow jackets.