Bee Seizures – toxins or illness?

Last August I noticed scores of bees crawling around my garden with intermittent little seizures every couple of seconds or so.    They did not fly, and were constantly thrown off course and even onto their backs by the seizures.  It was disturbing to see, and I began trying to find out what was going on.    There was surprisingly little information on the internet, and the bee disease specialists I contacted had no clues.  As far as I can tell, the possible causes of such symptoms are toxins and viruses, especially the Acute Paralysis Virus (APV) which is associated with Varroa infestation, which I also had last year.   This year, I’m seeing it again, but no mites yet at all.   On any given day there are a number of bees on the ground displaying these symptoms.  Here is a video of one of them:

These crawlers do not make it back to the hive and die on the ground, leaving a scattering of carcasses around the garden.   I’m interested in other people’s observations and/or ideas about this phenomenon, so please let me know if you observe anything similar.   This year I’m trying various herbal combinations to both enhance immune resistance to parasites and to help the bees detoxify any chemicals they may be exposed to.    I’ll post again if anything develops from these treatments.

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10 Responses to Bee Seizures – toxins or illness?

  1. Pingback: Honey Bee Crisis: It is a Big Deal and it Does Affect You - Woodlawn

  2. Derek says:

    I’ve seen someone familiar though each bee is on it’s back and is just having a constant seizure until death. Most the time I end up just stepping on them to end any further suffering. i’m really curious what is causing this. There isn’t much info on the internet for this.

  3. paige says:

    thank you for posting this. i live in Albuquerque, New Mexico and im holding a bee that is showing those symptoms now. its terrible.

  4. Ayan says:

    I just witnessed the same thing in my house. I saw 3 bees in my bathroom today. And tonight one of them came into my room. The lights were on. It was flying for a while then crashed into the ground started walking a little then fell on its back again as if it was having some kind of seizure. i don’t know what is going on. It’s very disturbing to watch indeed.

  5. Nikki says:

    I have observed the same here in the uk, also not been able to find any info!!

    I always carry those sugar packets from coffee shops in my bag and add to a little water to revive collapsed bees i come across (yes im the crazy bee lady! But a life is a life no matter how small and we so desperately need bees).

    Most sip the nectar and bounce back quickly but i have come across more that dont come round, their legs fitting and the proboscis erratic, some manage to drink but continue to fit and eventually die, others cant manage even to drink even though they try. Only one had visable mites with some baldness, the others were in beautiful condition.

    I have one in my hand now which has been fitting. It has had lots to drink and was very desperate for it. It started to pick up and was able to stand after several mins and even cleaned itself, then collapsed and fitted badly.

    It looked completely dead, no movement or signs of breathing for quite some time. Slowly i could see the fur move with breathing. It has been two hours and twice all signs of life have ceased completely. It is Currently breathing better and twitching it’s abdomen though it’s head and legs are currently ridgid. It’s antenna have collapsed over it’s face.

    This guy is still really fighting to come round, and havent seen such determination before, it’s usually up and off or death quite quickly. But despite being curled up and paralysed it is trying to move (this is assumed as there is movement but it is not fitting so i assume these movements are organised)

  6. The City Hippie says:

    After finding some very sad evidence, my research led me to Neonicotinoids. – All the best!

  7. Pingback: The Day It Rained Bees | The CityHippie

  8. Melanie Bemel says:

    I had the same experience today in Los Angeles. I have revived bees before with water and a little honey, but this one was never able to take either. Several times I thought he was coming round, began walking normally and grooming (I guess – I’m a novice at bees). But then he would always seize again. We tried all day to save him, but he ended up dying in the evening. I looked up the bee paralysis virus and it said that the bees often turn black and lose their hair. This one was nice and fuzzy and striped with yellow. I didn’t notice any mites. He never batted his wings, and even with the seizures, his wings remained paralyzed – sticking straight out, not tucked by his sides. I wish I knew what to do to help them.

  9. brandi says:

    I definately think i just witnessed a bee seizure. It made me cry i tried to give it water and tried to comfort it cuz im a softy. Definately would love updates if you figure out a solution or exactly what it is 🙂 im limited on finances but want to help.

  10. cj regan says:

    im dealing with same thing found bummblebee and he seems to be paralyzed but he was doing fine not to long ago just couldnt fly now he is up in a ball like you said still breathing just looks like something isnt right can feel him moving yet stiff

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