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frost
dead bees on ground outside hives

I had a winter's walk to my apiary yesterday afternoon and after giving them a way out (the entrance was covered in snow), shortly afterwards I found a few apparently dead bees on the snow in front of the hive. I picked up one and warmed it up with my breath, and it starting moving again.

I later was at a house where a large colony lives in the roof. We found tens or even hundreds of dead bees on the snow below their entrance. Again I was able to revive one by breathing on it.

I assume these are bees that were going out to void themselves and then got too chilled before they returned to the hive. Anyone have any similar experience or a different explanation?

brendan
I just had a look at my hive

I just had a look at my hive today and there were bees flying all around the entrance. I am presuming that with the cold weather this past month that they did not have a chance to get out for a clensing flight and this is what they were doing?
Today was also really mild at 11 degrees so maybe this brought so many of them out? Am i right in thinking this??

joctcl
Its amazing when the weather

Its amazing when the weather warms up for a day or two bees take to housekeeping, I had 10 or 20 bodies deposited at the front of the hive. Air temp got to 10 one very sunny afternoon with 5 inches of snow on the ground and I found a few casualties in the snow.
I gather what you have to look out for is excess staining from voiding at the front of the hive which may be a sign "bad guts" from fermented honey brought on by watery syrup fed at the end of the season.
I keep checking the inspection boards at the base of my open floor hives every month and see regular remnants from munching of stores which is all good.

keithpierce594
The three simple eyes

The three simple eyes (ocelli) on top of a bee's head are light detectors
whose purpose is to detect where the strongest light is coming from. In
daylight this is almost always from above. So they tell the bees which way
is UP. When you get a strong light reflection from snowfall the bees get
confused messages and try to fly upside down, ending up in the snow.
Experience has shown that for the most part these are the hives that will
survive the winter. The more dead bees laying in the snow, the healthier the
hive.
I have on several occasions, taken a dozen or so into the house in a
matchbox to send of for diagnosis, and when they warmed up I could hear a
bussing coming from the box and over half of them had come to life. The
bright glare of the sun reflected from the snow into the entrance will
attract the bees out. In cold weather the bees are quickly chilled and are
unable to return to the hive. Bees may fly into the snow because they can
see UV light - they think the snow is the sky! These problems can be avoided
by shading the entrance with a board leaning against the hive