Monday, May 19, 2014

Bee Poop

We learn that bees have a rule about poop and that is they're not supposed to do it inside the hive.
But if the bees are suffering from Nosema, they can get a bit of diarrhea and there can be poop on the inside of the hive - on the tops bars.
This winter I had two hives that had poop on the top bars and I suspect it was Nosema. These hives did not survive the winter.
I've had a problem feeding medication for Nosema.  The bees won't eat the medicated syrup.
I feed Fumigilin B in sugar syrup in both spring and fall. Last fall they wouldn't eat it at all and I ended up throwing most of it out--a waste of money buying sugar and the medication and the bees go untreated.
The last two years they haven't shown a great deal of interest in sugar water even non-medicated. With this winter being so brutally cold I believe that the bees went out through the top entrance and pooped on the side of the hive and then went right back in. If a bee tried to fly, she'd never make it back. It was that cold.
There's a ton of poop around the entrance hole on most of the hives. I don't think it's entirely from Nosema.
I've taken my hive tool and scraped most of it off. I'm sure the bees would dread having to clean that up. The rain should help rinse some of it away too.
This spring I'm feeding honey in baggies and no bee will turn down honey.


Jim Davis said...

Barbara, sorry about losing the bees. I lost two hives also, the first to nosema. Like you, there was poop all over the tops of the frames and down the sides, even right on some nicely capped honey. This hive died in late January. The other died from a late winter, very cold snap. Bees were spread out throughout the hive and couldn't stay warm for the minus 15 degree cold.

PhilipH said...

Hi Barbara. You deserve a medal for all the work and effort you expend on your honey bees. Did you see that item in London where thousands of bees swarmed on a shop window!

Beekeeper Barbara said...

Jim, thanks for your comments. We had extremely cold winter days here with -40 C and winter went on forever. I've lost one more hive this spring but my strong hives are building up now. I hope you have a good season this year.

Beekeeper Barbara said...

Philip - thanks for your comments. The article and photos are really interesting. I'm am so glad to see that the UK is encouraging urban beekeeping. Swarms are the normal part of the process and are harmless and can be left alone. When the queen first flies out the bees are all over the air as they try to locate her but within about 15 minutes they'll all settle with the queen in a mass. The mass can them be swept into an empty hive and then after dark allthe bees are inside and you can take it away. We've had hive thefts here too!

Anonymous said...

About the Nosema: Do you recall if the infected hive had a good supply of pollen before going into the winter? As you know it is important to have a goodly amount of varied and good quality pollen in place before entering the winter phase.

I do not know of any really good and effective Rx for Nosma., so I try things to avoid it.
I clean the hives and frames with caustic soda regularly...and afterwards I paint them with a solution that I make with propolis and methyl alcohol.

I really feel for you with that Nosema. I hope that by now it has resolved without much loss to you.

I enjoyed reading things on your blog.

My best to you,

d said...

our wisconsin state bee inspector has said he's seen evidence of the NEW NOSEMA can wipe out a hive MID SUMMER!. we have a posting of his DRY powdered sugar nosema treatment on our blog. apply it "over the cluster"