A Disaster

P. Michael Henderson
August 8, 2023

One of my hives has been very productive and very docile.  I went into the hive a few days ago and noted that all three of the supers on the hive were full.  I decided to harvest the honey in a day or two.

The next morning, I looked at the hive and there were a lot of dead bees around the hive.  The hive is to the left of the dead bees and cannot be seen in this picture.  None of the other hives in my bee yard were affected.

At first, I thought it might have been a robbing attempt and the dead bees were due to the fighting between the hive bees and the robbing bees.

But the next morning there were even more dead bees - a pile of them right in front of the hive.

I went into the hive and there's nothing unusual about the hive except the bees are dying.  There was capped brood and young larvae in the brood section.

The only thing I can think of that might have caused this is if the foragers took nectar that was contaminated by insecticide.  There's no way anyone could get to my bee yard because it's in my back yard.

Over the next few days, more bees turned up dead.  I expect there's not many bees left in the hive.  Their loss was really disappointing to me.  The hive was very productive - I took the honey from the hive and got about 100 pounds.  They were docile and they seemed to build up quickly this spring - so good queen.

I expect the queen perished along with the workers.  They would have fed her, the same as the workers bees.

I was really depressed by this.

I posted these pictures on a bee forum and no one could come up with any cause other than pesticide.


[Update 9/3/2023:  The hive is dead and is being robbed by other bees.  I took the hive apart but left everything open for the bees to clean up the honey left in the hive (just in the brood boxes - I took all the honey in the supers).  I'm sure the honey is not contaminated because it was capped before this event.