Bees Throwing Out Pupae From Hive

Pulling Out a Pupa from Hive

Pulling Out a Pupa from Hive

Its early September and I have noticed bees beginning to throw out pupae on a regular basis. These are then being predated by waiting wasps. its not a pleasant sight. Some of the pupae are clearly still alive.

I am not sure what has caused this behaviour but slightly colder weather coincided with me stopping feeding recently and this may have been the catalyst.

My other concern is that there is an increasing varroa mite count. Currently the drop is around 30-50 per day. So I might be seeing hygenic behaviour by the bees or the beginning of serious problem.

Honey Bee Dumping Pupa Outside Hive

Honey Bee Dumping Pupa Outside Hive

I am currently going with the theory that the colder weather and no nectar flow is triggering winter preparations and the bees are simply reducing their numbers to match the available resources. This makes sense but it worries me that if numbers reduce, will they have enough strength to carry them through the winter or benefit from the ivy flow at the end of September. I’m torn between feeding them to ensure they have plenty of supplies and not feeding them so that the hive is not over-populated going into winter. Anyone else seen this behaviour?

Bee Pupae Dumped Outside Hive

Bee Pupae Dumped Outside Hive

UPDATE: This morning – things seem to be worse with a whole pile of pupae outside the hive. I can’t take it! Decided that this has been caused by my stopping feeding and the weather developing a definite autumnal feel. I have decided that I will feed, feed, feed until the Ivy flow starts. This should give the bees a few weeks to fill that super and be ready for the winter. As soon as the Ivy flow starts, I’ll stop feeding and let the hive prepare for winter. Any other advice gratefully received!

UPDATE 11-09-2013: The good news is that feeding seems to have resolved the problem in terms of drones being evicted and pupae being dumped outside the hive. That behaviour has completely stopped. I have also noticed that the hive just seems more “active” and “vigerous”. So I think the issue was simply that there was insufficient nectar flow and a wintering response was triggered when I stopped feeding. I will continue feeding now until the ivy starts flowering and review the situation then. The fundamental dilema still remains though. The larger the hive when the bees start winter clustering, the faster they will go through their stores. However this particular hive had a late start, only getting hived from a package in June and I would like them to go into winter with a full super over their heads!

3 thoughts on “Bees Throwing Out Pupae From Hive

  1. rosie gill

    Hi I’m a new beekeeper and was so worried when the same thing happened to me over the last couple of days. I have no varroa and the bees have stopped taking the syrup, is there anything I can do? They seem happy enough and very busy in this mild weather
    Many thanks
    Rose

    1. george Post author

      I’m new at this also – so bear that in mind! Having no varroa is great news – did you do anything to achieve this? I am experiencing a fairly high varroa count but hoping that the bees will handle it…

      If your bees are not taking the syrup, it is likely to be one of two reasons that I can think of. The first is that there is a flow on ( Ivy is flowering in some parts now ), my understanding is that if there is a flow on, the bees will ignore syrup.

      The other thing worth checking is that there is enough space in the hive. If the bees have completely filled the hive with honey and there is no further space then this might cause them to reduce the brood nest area to make space ( might explain throwing out pupae ) or to simply stop foraging. I guess you will need to go in and have a detailed look and maybe add a super.

      Hope these thoughts help!

      1. rosie gill

        Thanks GeorgeI My colony didn’t have any varroa when I got them. I didn’t quite believe thqt I had no drop so I took it to the local bee keepers to check my bottom board with me to make sure. they told me to put in the apigard just in case and it hasn’t made any difference, still no drop so I presume I have clean bees.
        re pupae throwing out, is it too late now to add supers as I only have brand new frames with foundation? the weather is definitely drawing in here in Harrogate. they seem to have stopped doing it as much. it sounds feasible as it happened when we recently had a warm spell and they suddenly got dead busy.
        Thanks for your help
        Rosie

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