Based on comments from Rusty and some that I received through Facebook, I think the verdict on the Bee Kill question is clear: the girls found something they shouldn’t have. Rusty left this comment:

The photo looks like a classic case of pesticide poisoning but even if someone were spraying this time of year, the bees wouldn’t be foraging in the snow. It wasn’t cold enough in November to kill the bees, so that’s out. The first freeze of the winter kills off the yellow jackets and hornets, so that’s probably out. No, I’m going back to pesticide. It would only take one misguided homeowner to dump a container of whatever on some unsuspecting insect (or arachnid) to set things in motion. If there was a warm day in there, a few bees could have brought it home with them and poisoned the lot. It sure looks like it.

Toxic FlowI couldn’t figure out where they would have gotten into pesticide at the end of November, either, but Krista Conner left a comment on my Facebook page that hit it:

I’d agree it sounds like pesticides or other poison- but really am just guessing w/o validation of some sort of CSI work. I’d wonder, with the snow, whether they drank something with glycol in it, with de-icing chemicals likely being prevalent during snowmageddon

Of course! The case comes together: the source of poison wasn’t in spite of the snow, it was because of the snow. Someone refilled their car with antifreeze or used some other de-icer and left it out or spilled it where the bees could get at it. The weather cleared up, they went out foraging and found themselves a sweet puddle of death to drink.


(Photo by Troy Tolley)

Posted in Uncategorized.


  1. Did you loose all your bees?
    We had 2 hives my son-in-law takes care of. We had to do some “natural selection” last year. One of the hives was VERY aggressive and was a pain, literally to us and the neighbors. They had a mite problem also. Anyhow, I hope you didn’t loose all your hives.

  2. poisoning seems unlikely in my 40 years of experience. i think the hive went queenless and got robbed out during your warm spell . the robbers would kill the dwindling workers and hence the pile of dead bees.

  3. I agree with Bud. Your other hives were in good shape. If drinking antifreeze was the culprit (VERY irresponsible for someone to leave that puddle there–it will even kill large dogs who also like the sweetness of the liquid)–your other hives would have been affected as well. Hives can lose their queen and continue to look fine for awhile, but once the last brood has emerged, the hive population can plummet quite a bit and the reduction in defense can make it vulnerable.

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