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Lost bee or DWV?

 
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Broadwell
Foraging Bee


Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 122
Location: UK, Kent, High Weald

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:04 pm    Post subject: Lost bee or DWV? Reply with quote

Hi. I just found a bee about 20m in front of the hives going round and round in circles up and down through the grass. It was really vigorous and walking quickly and didn't seem to have damaged wings, or to be especially old. It didn't try and fly either.

Wondering if anyone would know whether this could be as a result of the disorienting effects of neonics or the like, or whether it was just a more normal looking DWV bee?

There is a field of oilseed rape about a mile away that I've noticed.
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could be poisoning. Is the tongue sticking out? If yes, it is most likely poisoning. You would find many more of such disoriented bees in front of the hives plus some fighting on the entrances. I suggest to lay down a blanket or sheet in front of the hives, so you can better see how many bees die in front of the hives.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1564
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My drones do this on warm sunny afternoons and it is normal for them. Sometimes my lawn is alive with them, so my first question is.... was it a worker or a drone?
If a worker then I would be a little concerned, if it was more than one worker then I would be more concerned. If it is poisoning then the number of bees exhibiting this behaviour will increase quite rapidly I would think. If it is DVW (which I doubt) then you will start to see others with noticeable wing deformity.

I should point out that I have no direct experience of poisoning though.

Hope it's something benign.

Best wishes

Barbara
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Broadwell
Foraging Bee


Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 122
Location: UK, Kent, High Weald

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks both of you for your replies. I'm a bit more concerned now! I had hoped to hear it was probably just a dozy bee or something.

It was a worker, and I didn't see about the tongue. I'll have to go and have another look about in the grass. I've only just today noticed the first drones flying, although had seen a few dead ones dumped on the landing boards already.

A couple of days ago I found a bee standing still near where I was working outside on a table. It seemed sort of purposeless so out of curiosity I carried it up to the hives to see if it was too tired to make it up the slope to the hives or what, as it didn't seem DWV either. It crawled away from one entrance, but walked straight into the next one I tried. Thinking about it now maybe it was disoriented too.

There is some degree of DWV in the hives I think as I have seen a few other discarded pupae that must have developed badly. I had thought though that like with Varroa, DWV will be in almost every colony to a greater or lesser extent. Barbara, is it not something you see in your colonies very much, or at all?

I will lay down a sheet when they stop flying this evening. Thanks again.
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Barbara
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1564
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The discarded pupae you have seen may just have got chilled and died rather than be infected with DWV, unless you saw noticeably deformed wings. I would definitely not automatically attribute discarded pupae with DWV.

I'm not sure if you have picked it up wrongly or I have perhaps not communicated very clearly on another post, but whilst I do know and accept that I and pretty much everyone else in the UK and other infested countries have varroa, I don't see bees with DWV in all my colonies all the time and would not necessarily make that assumption. My bees do have chalk brood and all my colonies suffer from that to some small degree but that is not linked to varroa and therefore another matter. I just wondered if perhaps you had confused my acceptance of that.

If I see bees with deformed wings then that is a "heads up" sign for me and I start to pay more attention to that hive, both watching the entrance and the ground below regularly and doing an inspection if I am seeing more than just the odd one or two, particularly if they are workers. The drones in my main TBH took the hit from DWV 2 years ago but workers were fine... the varroa mites transmit the virus from one bee to another, so they were obviously sticking to the drone population to reproduce.

So. I would not want you to think that I am blaze about DWV. It is an indicator that varroa may be becoming a problem and should make you more attentive, but doesn't necessarily mean that your bees are losing the battle. If I become concerned enough to do an inspection and I am seeing lots of young workers wandering about on the comb with DWV and mites on many bees, then I will act, but I try to hold my nerve and let them deal with it if it's just the odd one or two.

Hope that clarifies my position on it.

Finding workers that are motionless is usually an indication that they have got chilled or run out of steam before they made it back to the hive. I pick them up and breath on them to warm them up or bring them in the house and give them a feed and a warm before letting them go. A little sup of honey and a sit in a box on the radiator usually works. If they still don't fly, I put them in a warm sheltered spot outside and they take their chances. I used to carry them to the hive entrances but now that I have 7, the bee usually gets attacked by guards before I find the right hive, so they get the chance to recuperate and then find their own way.

Regards

Barbara
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andy pearce
Silver Bee


Joined: 30 Aug 2009
Posts: 663
Location: UK, East Sussex, Brighton

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sometimes I think, to quote Blade runner,...it is time to die. I have a bit of DWV you can see it if you put collecting trays in front of the hive to see what is chucked out and I see it occasionally on the comb. The bees wings are like ragged wisps.
A
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Broadwell
Foraging Bee


Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 122
Location: UK, Kent, High Weald

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The sheet showed up only 5 DWV bees in front of one hive, I'm not so worried about the other hives. Doesn't seem like a lot to me – ?, but I think a blue tit was also picking them up – they were all gone by late afternoon.

I found another one too feeding from fallen cherry blossoms on the ground in the same place I found the circling bee at the foot of the slope the hives are at the top of. 'Ragged wisps' is bang on for how this one's wings looked. Perhaps this is where they get dropped. The circling one didn't have damaged wings though...

Will check the sheet again tomorrow.

Just to answer what you said about DWV Barbara, I wasn't meaning to question or doubt anything you'd said, was just asking your experience of it. And I tried out your tip last night. A knackered forager I found on my car roof came in to watch me make a stir fry. It recovered much quicker than the ones I've just left a drop of honey in front of in the past, so thanks from us both.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1564
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pleased you were able to save your little friend and my tip came in handy. I sometimes have 3 or 4 in the kitchen with me having a warm. Even ones that have been out overnight in winter can often be thawed out and reawakened. It's quite surprising how resilient they are.

As regards the ragged wispy winged bees, I would not describe DWV in that manner at all and I think perhaps the bees you are describing are just old ones whose wings have worn out.
You will really only see baby bees with deformed wings, so they will usually still be furry and their wings look like melted plastic, often just shriveled, wizened little stumps with no translucence at all and very obviously not capable of any flight. Anyway, I hope that you are just seeing old bees as it's early in the season to be having problems with DWV in my opinion and I would be a bit concerned.

Have you done any sort of inspection yet?
How old is the colony that is having the problem?
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Broadwell
Foraging Bee


Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 122
Location: UK, Kent, High Weald

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ragged wispy one perhaps could have been an old one perhaps, but the ones in the sheet were definitely not. Mostly they looked like had never walked, but one or two were drones that could stand at least but their wings were wizened stumps as you describe.

It's a Warre hive with windows, so I can see but haven't opened it up. It was a swarm that arrived last July into one of my bait hives. We've had pretty good weather and all of the hives have been expanding and building comb.

Why is it early for DWV? Does that mean Varroa could be expanding early too?
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DWV do appear in May/June just before swarming time when a lot of youg bees emerge. And in autumn. Now it is too early in the season, a heavily infested hive would be dead by now and not made it through the winter.

It is the time of the colony turning over their old bees into young bees. So no worries. If there are not thousands of dead bees in front of your hive, all is Ok so far.

At this time of year thousands of young bees emerge every day and thousands of old bees die. Every day. So if you find one old bee, wings damaged and most probably with little hair - like humans they loose their hair when getting older - you found an old bee in it's last minutes. No worry.
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Broadwell
Foraging Bee


Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 122
Location: UK, Kent, High Weald

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are four I picked up this morning off the sheet.

All four have their tongues sticking out too. Is that normal for DWV? One also had a pale varroa mite on it, but that fell off before the photo.

If DWV is something seen more before swarming though then maybe they are just near doing so. I think swarming has begun in the south of England at least.


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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like varroa mite damage to me. What kind of hive is that? A TBH, Warré, National...? You should seriously check the mite status of the hive.

Do a sugar roll of a cup of bees and find out how many mites per cup of bees you find. Some picture of hive and comb would be good, to see what appearance the colony has. Strong or less strong, comb and all.
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1564
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I would be concerned at seeing that now, especially as it is workers as well as drones suffering DWV. It could be that the mild winter has resulted in brood being produced right through without a break and the varroa have benefited from that and are building up earlier and faster.

I would definitely investigate further if it was mine and start thinking about whether you are going to treat them or not and if so, how and with what. Things might not be too bad when/if you open them up but it's best to be prepared. Of course if you are certain that you are not going to treat them, then there is not much point in opening them up. It all depends on your ideals.

Although my bees are 5 years treatment free, I would still intervene and treat if I felt I was losing them. They might go 10 years before needing assistance the next time! Everyone has to make their own decision on that.

Photos certainly help make things clearer than trying to describe them, if you decide to inspect and can manage it.

Regards

Barbara
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Broadwell
Foraging Bee


Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 122
Location: UK, Kent, High Weald

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you both for your thoughts. I may come to regret it, but I don't want to treat them. The first colony I got went through a patch early on when they were showing a lot of DWV and the varroa were easy to spot on the bees when I looked through the windows, but they got through it and now I don't see any varroa on them (not that I'm opening up and checking thoroughly).

That hive, and the one now showing DWV are both full to bursting with bees, with foragers streaming in and out. So I'd like to let them get on with it for now. I definitely don't feel like I'm losing them. You may be right Barbara that they kept producing brood through the winter. The hive was quite well insulated too.

Bernhard – it's a Warre. It has windows but I haven't yet found how to take a decent picture through them. If things get worse I will open it up.
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Broadwell
Foraging Bee


Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 122
Location: UK, Kent, High Weald

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just went to move the sheet away and found another dead worker on it, but with normal looking wings and its tongue sticking out too.

So maybe they are getting poisoned too? After googling quickly just now, the paralysis virus might be a possibility instead?
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