Why are there about a hundred weak-looking bees crawling around the front of the hive?

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There are about 20 dead bees on the hive porch every morning and about 100 bees looking weak crawling around on the grass in front of the hive.

Normally there’s only 1-3 dead bees on the porch a day and none crawling on the grass.  There has been an increase of yellow jackets

hovering over the grass around this hive, they seem to be feeding on the weak crawlers.  The yellow jackets try to enter the hive as well,

but get rejected and killed by guard bees.  I see a dead yellow jacket on the hive porch about every other day as well.

I inspected the hive and no internal sign of of pests, brood pattern looks good and there’s 4 frames of good brood and 4 frame of honey/pollen/nectar in

each of the two brood boxes, started from a nuc this year.  Honey supers have been removed and Apivar strips have been applied for fall.  Upon inspecting

the actual crawling bees, there are no obvious signs of deformed wings.  In fact, when I pick a crawling bee up, it flies off my finger (so they can still fly) but

flies back down to the ground.  The wings do look normal on these crawlers.  They are not drones, but workers.  I’ve seen a few drones get

kicked out of the hive, understanding this is normal for this time of year.  I will do a sugar roll test this weekend to see the varroa levels in that hive,

but have put the Apivar strips on preventively in any case.

The other hive I maintain in the same apiary only 3 feet away does not have any crawlers at all (and the yellow jackets do not patrol it near as much).  Clue?  🙂

It’s mid-Sept. here in N.E. Indiana.  I have read a lot of posts about this, but nothing seems to match these symptoms really.  Some say it could be ‘starving bees’ but we’ve

had a really great nectar and pollen flow this Summer and the hive is full of honey, nectar and pollen.  This article (https://www.honeybeesuite.com/bees-crawling-front-hive/)

seems to suggest it’s a virus connected with varroa, maybe that’s it and the Apivar strips will help curb the crawlers.  They look helpless and miserable crawling on the

grass, a disturbing sight for this new beekeeper…

Thanks for this forum, as a newbie beekeeper without any beekeeping friends, it’s a great resource!

Michael Simmonds Changed status to publish September 20, 2022
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Hi Kenny, from the information you provided, it does certainly seem to be pest or disease related. It would be good to check for the presence of some of the other diseases and pests and afflict honey bees.

You should also consider setting up some yellow jacket traps.

Here are some resources for more information:

Michael Simmonds Answered question September 20, 2022
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