Hi folks. Awful things happening in two of my apiaries. I’d really appreciate some input on what it could be and what I can do to try help my bees survive with winter just around the corner.
I first noticed a large pile of dead and dying bees in front of their hive about two weeks ago. I have four hives in this home apiary and only one is badly affected (one other just showing a bit of the symptoms). A number of them had died with their tongues out, but less than half. The dying bees looked twitchy and drunk. Many were crash landing on the garden path many meters from the hive and appeared unable to find home. Lots of the live bees, particularly on the hive doorstep, were madly cleaning themselves.
Varroa levels are low, no sign of DWS or any other disease. I have checked in the hive and it seems pretty much business as usual, except a bit cranky. I saw the queen and she is still laying.
A week later things seemed to be going back to normal then all of a sudden the same thing happened - a big pile of dead and dying bees… I have been in touch with a number of other beeks in the valley and some of them are experiencing the same to a greater or lesser degree. We are in Christchurch, NZ, it is autumn and starting to cool down towards winter.
Today I went out to feed a couple of hives at another apiary, over 15km away from home, only to find a big pile of bees dead in front of one (out of four) hive. Unrelated in terms of area and plantings - country vs city.
Below are some photos. The first one is on a wet day (not particularly good evidence sorry) One photo is of the inside of the hive and is looking full, but probably nurse bees rather than foragers. I have collected some of the bees just in case I can do something with them, but don’t really know what to do.
Any suggestions appreciated. Cheers, Paul