Dead Bees By Jimmy Earl Cooley

Dead Bees By
Jimmy Earl Cooley

I opened my two bees hives for inspection on Wednesday, November 27, 2013 .  I found many dead bees.

I have two bee hives, one named Hebert (named after Richard Hebert) and one named Shirley (named after Charles Lee Shirley) located between my ½ acre pond and a 90 wide airplane runway.  The Hebert hive is three years old and the Shirley Hive is one year old.  The Shirley Hive consists of an screen bottom base with plastic insert in place and two brood boxes plus inner and outer cover. When I removed the outer and inner cover of the hive I saw many dead bees on top of the frames and little or no activity in the hive.

I removed several of the frames and there were dead bees on some of the foundations, sitting around areas of _ and honey.

I also saw dead bees between the frames of the lower brood box.  I heard some bee activity in the lower brood box.  I closed the hive and retreated to think about the problem and what to do.

I then opened the Hebert Hive and saw many dead bees.  The Hebert Hive consists of wooden base with two brood boxes and one top nook box with 1/2 inch spacers between the inner and top covers.  Again, there were dead bees on top of the nook frames and between the frames of the brood box.  The Hebert hive contains more overall bees so therefore more dead bodies.  I heard bee activity in the lower brood box. I replaced the frames, inner cover, and outer cover.

After researching the situation and discussing the situation with experienced beekeepers at the South West Louisiana Beekeepers Association.  I anticipated cleaning the hives and removing the dead bees and residue but decided (as suggested by the experts)  it was best to leave the hive for the bees to clean and care for.

On December 3, six days later, I inspected the hives and found most all of the dead bees were gone from inside the hives and placed, by the bees, on the outside of the hives near the entrances.  So the bees took care of the problem.

What happened to kill the bees?

I believe the most likely problem was the cold weather  and the north wind we experienced on the evenings of November 25th and 26th.  I estimate approximately 500 to 100 bees dead from the Hebert Hive and a much smaller number for the Shirley Hive.  The dead bees photo is the Hebert Hive.

I originally located the two hives near the pond (for plenty of water)  and in a semi wooded area facing basically east and west, with the entrance toward the southeast. This allows the hives to be bathed in direct sunlight from sunrise till around 2 pm and then in partial shade until sundown.  This allows the bees to better cope with our tropical weather.

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