Hello. Fairly new to beekeeping.
I went to check on my hive today and noticed a lot of dead bees both outside and inside. The day before they were active and noticed just two bees acting strange and moving slow but didn’t think it was an issue. I know it could be a number of issues. It have been raining in Portland, Oregon a lot lately and have noticed some black mold on the inside. When I pulled off the top I saw some little bugs that looked like baby earwigs. Attached are some photos.
Hello. Fairly new to beekeeping.
That is an unusual amount of dead bees in the bottom of your hive. With only the one picture I’m not able to see any of the dead bees up close to see if their tongues are sticking out (usually a sign of poisoning from pesticides) or something else. With that many all at once that’s what I suspect.
Hi. Thanks for the response. I shot some closeup photos of the bee’s mouth.
Since I am new to the forum I can only upload one photo per post so I uploaded additional images to a photo site.
Excellent photo collection. While I don’t see their tongues sticking out which is the usual sign of poison, that is a lot of dead bees so something has definitely killed them. I’m in Canada and there is a government lab we can send dead bees in for analysis, perhaps there is one in Oregon? I would save a few of them in a ziplock and ship them off for review and they will be better able to tell you. Working theory is poison in my opinion. Maybe someone else can spot things gone wrong— I wasn’t sure if some of the cappings that have tiny holes in them are just the cap not yet fully on, a bee chewing out, or possibly if you have foulbrood (European or American…). Everything else looks in good shape so my money is on poison. Would you think someone used a pesticide on their lawn near you maybe?
Thanks for the feedback Tim.
I live on 5.5 acres in the forest region. My closet neighbor has a new hive and waiting to see if he will experience the same issue. Most of the neighbors don’t use pesticides. I know bees can travel a good distance and perhaps another area had been using pesticides.
I will keep digging into it.
I agree very much with @Tim_Purdie and I suspect either a herbicide or pesticide poisoning.
Tongues hanging out is a darn good indicator of poisoning but some years ago I went to a guy with several hives and all the bees were dead in a day in every hive. But none had their tongues out although I still suspected poisoning and told him. He took it the wrong way that I was saying he was responsible. That night he rang apologizing and said that the day before a helicopter with spray booms had flown over his place so that gave me a hint, the local airport has a business there that does helicopter spraying so I made a few inquiries to them and yes they had sprayed the suburb for mosquitoes under contract to the local council.
The upshot was they were poisoned. The council required by law failed to notify the property owners and after a few days there was no comment from the council or the helicopter pilot as to what the spray was. They felt a law suit coming obviously.
But that was one incident where bees were poisoned and hadn’t extended tongues.
So sorry @Phantomflyer, that’s very hard to take. I hope you find the source of this damage and can rebound this season.