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Author Topic: Sick bees with strings on butts?  (Read 1765 times)

Offline brookscj

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Sick bees with strings on butts?
« on: May 23, 2021, 11:27:55 pm »
I have a couple hives that are not doing well. The brood is dying shortly before hatching in some cases.  The queen isn't laying well (very little new brood).  There is fecal matter in the hive like you would see with nosema. The strangest symptom is that many of the bees have what looks like a fine string sticking out of their tail end maybe a 1/16 to an 1/8 of an inch. I have seen them attempt to remove it to no avail.  That is something I have never seen before.  Any idea what this might be?
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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Sick bees with strings on butts?
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2021, 12:39:02 am »
I have a couple hives that are not doing well. The brood is dying shortly before hatching in some cases.  The queen isn't laying well (very little new brood).  There is fecal matter in the hive like you would see with nosema. The strangest symptom is that many of the bees have what looks like a fine string sticking out of their tail end maybe a 1/16 to an 1/8 of an inch. I have seen them attempt to remove it to no avail.  That is something I have never seen before.  Any idea what this might be?

I do not know but I know a man who might. TheHoneyPump. He is a member here and very gracious with sharing his knowledge. I suspect you will hear from him soon. Sorry you are having this trouble. 
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline BeeMaster2

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Re: Sick bees with strings on butts?
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2021, 08:24:37 am »
I would call your bee inspector if you have one. This is a new symptom to me.
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: Sick bees with strings on butts?
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2021, 10:27:44 am »
Is it possible they had some sort of massive stinging incident, and what you are seeing are workers who've lost their rear ends after stinging and so their innards are visible? 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Sick bees with strings on butts?
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2021, 10:33:40 am »
Is it possible they had some sort of massive stinging incident, and what you are seeing are workers who've lost their rear ends after stinging and so their innards are visible?

Very possible....

This following is the part that is throwing me.

>"There is fecal matter in the hive like you would see with nosema."
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Online Ben Framed

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Re: Sick bees with strings on butts?
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2021, 10:38:18 am »
iddee have you heard of these symptoms?
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Sick bees with strings on butts?
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2021, 10:53:09 am »
Is it possible they had some sort of massive stinging incident, and what you are seeing are workers who've lost their rear ends after stinging and so their innards are visible?

Very possible....

This following is the part that is throwing me.

>"There is fecal matter in the hive like you would see with nosema."
Oh there is definitely something else wrong in this hive, but I'm just wondering if perhaps a stinging incident happened to coincide with these other symptoms and they are actually unrelated.   
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline brookscj

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Re: Sick bees with strings on butts?
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2021, 11:06:37 am »
To be clear the string from the back ends is dry and not like they recently had their stingers pulled out.  How long would they live once the stinger has been removed?  I will also get some pictures this afternoon.
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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Sick bees with strings on butts?
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2021, 03:15:32 pm »
I have not heard of these symptoms. The15Member is a great researcher. If the information is available to the public, I would think she would have already found it. It might be a good idea to get intouch with your inspector as Jim suggested. You might also consider getting intouch with Jeff Harris, Extension/Research Apiculturist, and Audrey Sheridan, Research and Extension Associate at Mississippi State University. I have talked to both via email more than once, and they were very helpful. I for one look forward to more from you on this along with your pictures.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2021, 03:30:01 pm by Ben Framed »
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Sick bees with strings on butts?
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2021, 06:42:09 pm »
To be clear the string from the back ends is dry and not like they recently had their stingers pulled out.  How long would they live once the stinger has been removed?  I will also get some pictures this afternoon.
I'd guess a few hours would be the longest a bee would live after a sting.  Some pictures would definitely be helpful. 

I have not heard of these symptoms. The15Member is a great researcher. If the information is available to the public, I would think she would have already found it. It might be a good idea to get intouch with your inspector as Jim suggested. You might also consider getting intouch with Jeff Harris, Extension/Research Apiculturist, and Audrey Sheridan, Research and Extension Associate at Mississippi State University. I have talked to both via email more than once, and they were very helpful. I for one look forward to more from you on this along with your pictures.
Thanks, Phillip.  Research is my super power.  :rolleyes: 

I did do some looking and I couldn't find anything at all resembling what you described, brooks.  I agree with Jim and Phillip, definitely something to contact your bee inspector, an extension agent, and/or perhaps a bee lab about.           
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline brookscj

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Re: Sick bees with strings on butts?
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2021, 06:50:44 pm »
Here are a few pictures. It took me a while to figure out how to post them!

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"Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul."  Luther Burbank

Offline brookscj

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Re: Sick bees with strings on butts?
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2021, 06:57:49 pm »
Here is one showing the nearly hatched but dead brood.

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Online Ben Framed

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Re: Sick bees with strings on butts?
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2021, 07:13:17 pm »
Drones which have mated.
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline BeeMaster2

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Re: Sick bees with strings on butts?
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2021, 07:15:07 pm »
Most of those bees are young. I wonder if they hatched that way.
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: Sick bees with strings on butts?
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2021, 08:10:37 pm »
Drones which have mated.
I don't think so.  Those are workers.

Most of those bees are young. I wonder if they hatched that way.
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You are right, Jim.  Seems like it could be developmental, which is freaky.  I'd definitely get a bee inspector out there. 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Sick bees with strings on butts?
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2021, 10:35:16 am »
Out of your area, but these people are immediately responsive, because of the industry in this state.

https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/entnemdept/honey-bee-lab/

They might ask you to send  5 or 10 of those nurse bees in some alcohol.  This looks serious.

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Re: Sick bees with strings on butts?
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2021, 11:05:15 am »
Drones which have mated.
I don't think so.  Those are workers.

Most of those bees are young. I wonder if they hatched that way.
Jim Altmiller feed
You are right, Jim.  Seems like it could be developmental, which is freaky.  I'd definitely get a bee inspector out there.

This is very strange. Good question Jim. I agree about the bee inspector Member. I was hoping that one of our members could pinpoint this and readily enlighten us.
brookscj If we can't find an adequate answer for you here please remember to let us know when you do find the answer by whatever avenue. Thanks so much for sharing this problem with us here. I still have hope that someone here can help answer this mystery.
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline brookscj

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Re: Sick bees with strings on butts?
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2021, 03:55:28 pm »
I sent these pictures off to the state and they told me that it is a sever case of nosema. Apparently the strings are a symptom, though I have never seen it mentioned before.  I had a solid week of very wet weather here and they seem to think that that contributed to the outbreak in these two hives.  I have seen some improvement since the weather improved and we are now in a decent flow.  I'll update on their progress and if I get any other information back from the state.  Thanks for the help troubleshooting this!
« Last Edit: May 28, 2021, 04:25:25 pm by brookscj »
"Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul."  Luther Burbank

Offline rast

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Re: Sick bees with strings on butts?
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2021, 09:15:27 pm »
Thanks for the update.
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Offline TheHoneyPump

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Sick bees with strings on butts?
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2021, 03:24:57 pm »
Just seeing this now. The pictures are of recently emerged, new young bees. The white squiggly strings are remnants of her cocoon and pupa umbilical to the jelly pot at the base of the cell. It is normal to see on new bees that just crawled out of the cell.
The remnants get cleaned off fairly quickly by the older main nurse bees of the nest.
Bees dying before hatching have different causes.  Varroa for one, EFB is the other, malnutrition (starved pupa), chill, excess heat; are the mains.  Only you can know which it is. 
Fecal matter of nurse bees is cleaned up and hauled out by the older bees. Like changing diapers. If there are not enough older bees for the tasks, you get what you see with squirts in the pictures.  Fecal matter on combs is typically a result of a colony population in a house that is way too big for what they can look after.  The colony is too small for the bees to go far to vent themselves without sacrificing brood cluster temperature.  The bees go off a bit vent, and come right back to maintain the brood. Nosema is possible, but not likely the culprit when the population is too small to begin with. The example is when you put the dog out on very cold winter days. He does not go far does he?  If you have a puppy or a small toy dog, she is likely not to go out all and would prefer to do her thing on the entrance rug right by the door, inside, without telling you about it.
Basically what I read and see here in the pictures is a colony that is too small for the space they are in, and a lack of age balance in the bees there to have the jobs covered. The queen performance mentioned is a symptom of the problem. Ie she is totally fine. Just get her a larger workforce to support her.
The fix for the condition described is to significantly reduce space, really greatly compact the hive. Crowd the bees. Test and treat for varroa if required. Check and treat for EFB if required. Boost with some older bees.  Feed. 

Hope that helps.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2021, 04:02:34 pm by TheHoneyPump »
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