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Mysterious dead bees Brisbane Australia


Brief History:
3 months ago the hive was going gangbusters… I had to increase from double to triple and the honey flow was amazing. Then i started to see a couple of isolated what I thought was brood cells above the queen excluder…
Then small white grubs appeared (I assume beetle lava ?)

After a couple of weeks the honey flow backed right off…
Going inside I find the bee population decimated to several hundred. These bees look normal and are still flying out collecting as usual BUT NO BROOD as shown here!!

There are lots of bees dead lying all over the queen excluder so they didn’t just swarm,

I feel that most bees died and what is there at the moment are the product of the brood that existed at the time but no queen to lay any more eggs, so its a one way trip to an empty hive.
Is it possible that somewhere local that the bees were foraging was sprayed for some pest and the bees inadvertently brought that back to the hive??
Also I assume that the beetle population I have now is not what killed the bees but without a good strong hive they have been able to flourish. (Also I found that my bees filled the entrances to the beetle trap with propalous?? so they made the trap ineffective.


The honey frame looks like a slime out from SHB. What worries me is the dark comb. Have you done a string test on any remaining capped brood with a toothpick for AFB? :cry: :thinking:


I have no brood at all… Capped or uncapped… A rather fatal state of affairs. :cry:


If you didn’t see the queen, they may have absconded from the SHB slime. However, that doesn’t explain the dead bees. Hopefully somebody else has a smart idea. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


I didn’t find any queen - I kind of feel that the beetle slime probably came after the bee population was decimated and prob didn’t cause it… I REALLY would like to know exactly what happened here…:confused:


Sorry about your hive:

Usually, when I see this at this stage of the season, it’s due to the bees issuing several swarms and never re-queening themselves properly or the new queen gets eaten on her mating flight.

There are pests in even the strongest hives but a strong colony deals and co-exists with these pests: Only after a hive is weakened and defenseless from lack of bees do the pests take over.

I can only offer what I would have done: Inspect every 10 days this way you can detect a problem.


Thanks RHC. How do the dead bees fit into the swarming sceario tho?


Bees die each day: During the height of the season when a queen is laying 1500 eggs per day, there are that many bees dying each day.

Your picture doesn’t show very many dead bees. Here’s a pic of a late season dead hive due to starvation:
The frames are also filled with bees that died in search of food:


You have a classic SHB slime-out there. Probably because of the issues outlined by @Red_Hot_Chilipepper. The dead bees could be a result of robbing after the heavy rain we recently experienced. Now that the hive is properly slimed-out, nothing, not even ants will touch it.

It’s best to clean everything out & start again. Don’t try to use the honey that is covered in that wet slime.


Thanks everybody. Time to clean up and start again… :frowning:


G’day Lyall, sadly that’s the only option. If you’re every up the Coast, pop in to my place at Buderim & I’ll talk you through the process of avoiding it happening again. cheers