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Weird Looking (to me, anyway) Dead Bees


After a 2 week break (vacation), I went out to the hives yesterday to inspect. I only had time to do a full inspection on the North Hive (all is well), and an outside inspection/peek at the Flow Frames on the South Hive.

I noticed quite a few pale looking dead bees outside of the South Hive - I thought perhaps the really intense sun had bleached ordinary dead bees somehow, but there were plenty of “ordinary” looking dead bees in front of both hives. Here are some pictures:

I’ll have time tomorrow morning for a full inspection of the South Hive - it would be nice to know what I should be on the lookout for, given these photos. Any suggestions as to what might be going on? The South Hive, by the way, has been the one that I considered more “robust” of my two - it has grown at a much faster rate than the North Hive.



Mites and Merging Colonies - when, how, should I even?

Looks like a late onset chalk brood to me. Late onset in that the bees are pretty well-developed. If you have had cold nights/days that could explain it resulting from chilled brood. I wouldn’t do anything drastic. Just keep watching. If you see more, you may need some more active attention.


Are those drones they have thrown out? Are they hungry? Stores?



It has been hot, hot, hot here. Lowest night-time temperature in the last two weeks has been 59 degrees.

Will google “late onset chalk brood” so I’ll know what to look for tomorrow.




These dead ones are pretty big, so they could be drones…even in their dried up dead state, they are bigger than the other dead bees around them. Do bees routinely get rid of nearly-fully-formed drone brood?

They shouldn’t be hungry. When I decided to put the flow super on a few weeks ago, the second 8-deep I had placed on earlier was nearly completely full with capped honey/brood. And my quick peek into the Flow frames showed that they had started storing nectar up there…



They look like drones to me. Probably a dearth and they drug them out of the cells and threw them out the door.


So cold! But I get it. I’ll have to go back and look at my notes, but if memory serves me the South Hive did have a lot more drone comb, proportionally, than the North Hive did. Hopefully I don’t see anything else amiss while I’m in there tomorrow.

Can the bees “fix” this problem in the future? It seems that once they have made the right-sized comb for drone brood, there isn’t any going back. Is it something that I should try to remove somewhere down the line, or just let bees be bees?



G’day mb, if it was me, I’d cut the excess drone comb out & replace it with wax foundation. The bees must be figuring that there wont be any virgin queens wanting to get mated, so they’re getting rid of some of the drones. If the bees don’t use those empty cells to store honey, it’s a waste of space. That’s one of the reasons why I like a larger % of worker comb in the brood box. That is also possibly a reason why I’m able to get away with using only one brood box.


Where are you located? What is the weather? No way to change the habits of bees. They will raise drones no matter what you do and will dispose of them when they don’t need them.



I’m in Boulder, CO. Hot. Hot. And more Hot.

Didn’t see many new “white” bodies in the yard this morning, but will keep an eye out.

What I did see yesterday were a couple of yellow jackets on the ground eating bees! I tried to kill them, but these suckers are fast. I hate to reduce my bottom entrance, but if I see more wasps today, then I just might have to. I did an inspection on the south hive this morning, and boy were those bees not their usual happy-go-lucky selves. Stung hubby four times!



You may want to set up a yellow jacket trap. Cut the top off of a 2 liter pop bottle and put it back in upside down to make a cone. Put some vinegar, banana peel and sugar syrup in the bottom. The yellow jackets fly in the cone and end up drowning in the syrup.


I’ll give that a try, Michael. We have at least 5 yellow traps hanging around our almost acre (the yellowjackets and wasps are really out of control this year), but haven’t tried the homemade variety. We trapped dozens in the spring, but they seemed to have wised up now.

Re: your homemade mix, I take it that the banana peels keep the honeybees out?



The banana peel and the vinegar keep the bees out, yes.


If you are using home made traps make sure they NEVER EVER get so full that the bees attracted there but which escape capture don’t then go on to your hives. They need daily monitoring