A Small Die Off (?)

Trunchen Hive has been doing seemingly fine for weeks now, with ever increasing numbers of bees flying out on nice days. A day or two ago there was a large die off over night though, which rather worried me. There was a decent pile up of bees at the entrance of the hive, which was composed of a combination of workers and drones. Its been sunny out, but not ever warm enough to open the hive. I may open it today, because there isn’t anywhere near the activity there should be on a sunny day like today. Even if it is only 56 out.

I took some pictures several weeks ago of a drone I found. It had some of the worst wings i’ve ever seen, which really makes me wonder if there isn’t a virus or something in the colony.

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You can see how his wings kind of bend back forward. They were basically nubs, and looked like burnt plastic. 

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Here’s another photo of the same drone. This angle shows the two different sets of wings better I think. The drone had gotten its self a good ways from the hive, but not far enough to make me think the workers had carried him out.

I’m not sure what I can do at this point, since even if I open the hive up I won’t be able to see much of the brood. That’s really the only complaint I have about this hive. Its supposed to be easily remedied, but I don’t posses any of the woodworking materials necessary to do that, haha.

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6 responses to “A Small Die Off (?)”

  1. theprospectofbees says :

    We are not very experienced beekeepers but that looks like deformed wing virus( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deformed_wing_virus ) and suggests a heavy varroa infestation.

    • willowbatel says :

      Ah well, the hive is doomed anyway. The queen became a drone layer sometime in the middle of winter it looks like. I just opened the hive today and there were more drones than workers, with only the lowest of the boxes being occupied.

  2. Emily Heath says :

    Poor drone, he won’t be able to reach any queens like that. Looks like deformed wing virus, which is associated with varroa. Does the hive have an open mesh floor so that you can put a varroa monitoring board underneath?

    • willowbatel says :

      It doesn’t. The floor is flat and level with the bottom of the box , with a ‘step down’ for the entrance. I opened the hive today and didn’t see any varroa though.

  3. Emily Heath says :

    Having a solid floor won’t help with varroa control, better to have a mesh floor for ventilation and so that any varroa mites that fall down can’t climb back up again.

    If the queen has become a drone layer that’ll have been helping the varroa breed. Sorry to hear that.

    • willowbatel says :

      Yeah, they don’t really make mesh floors for this hive style is the trouble. I didn’t see any dead varroa’s on the floor of the hive, nor on any of the drones. Oh! I did cut out a piece of the brood nest to more closely inspect, and that has some capped drone cells on it. I’ll have a look in that and see if I can’t find any.

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