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Author Topic: Robbing? Pesticides? SWARM??? Video  (Read 1224 times)
tlynn
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« on: May 07, 2009, 08:48:40 PM »

I came home this afternoon to find a whole bunch of dead bees around my nuc hive and a lot of activity at the entrance.  The hive is strong, has a marked queen, and I have opened the brood chamber with a second nuc box on top and interspersed new foundationless between the brood frames (which they are building on rapidly) until I get another deep and SBB next week.

There was a lot of fighting and a large volume of bees under the hive, and the crowd seemed to fan out and move around.  So it didn't seem like a swarm cluster.  I went into the hive and found the queen in the top box.  Hive was fairly full of bees as was the case this past weekend.  So I know I have to get them into a full deep and get a super on very soon.

There isn't anything going on like this in any of our other hives, so I wouldn't think it's pesticides.  There is no access to our back yard, so nobody came in and sprayed them.

We also saw at least 3 bees with a strange white patch on their thorax.  Never seen that before.

Take a look at the video and let me know what you think - I didn't turn it into a flash file because I wanted the resolution better, so if you want to see it, when you click on it it may take a bit of time to start playing depending on download speed and buffering (about 56 MB total), before it plays (sorry dial up folks) but will be good resolution.

www.technowerkz.com/rob.mpg

Thanks for any advice.

Tracy


« Last Edit: May 08, 2009, 05:08:06 PM by tlynn » Logged
bailey
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2009, 09:46:09 PM »

i have had this before when a swarm tries to enter an established hive, it has happende twice here.

big bee fight with lots of dead bees in front of the hive and lots of bees under the screened bottom board just like your video.

you are in florida where ahb are. perhaps it was an attempt of an africanized swarm attempting to take over a smaller hive.  i have been told that is an ahb trait.

usually settles down in a day or so, you might want to deploy a swarm trap in your yard as it will give them somewhere to go instead of your hive.
bailey
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most often i find my greatest source of stress to be OPS  ( other peoples stupidity )

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tlynn
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« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2009, 01:16:09 AM »

i have had this before when a swarm tries to enter an established hive, it has happende twice here.

big bee fight with lots of dead bees in front of the hive and lots of bees under the screened bottom board just like your video.

you are in florida where ahb are. perhaps it was an attempt of an africanized swarm attempting to take over a smaller hive.  i have been told that is an ahb trait.

usually settles down in a day or so, you might want to deploy a swarm trap in your yard as it will give them somewhere to go instead of your hive.
bailey

Hmm, you think it was from one of my hives?  I had one with a number of queen cells last weekend.  None of my queens are clipped by the way.
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ccwonka
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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2009, 09:54:42 AM »

Typically (and remember, the bees tend not to read the books that we do), a swarm will look for a place at least 200 yards or more from their current hive . . . typically.  I doubt it was from your own yard.

BTW - I LOVE your hive setups.  Very nice, very "permenant" and aestheticaly pleasing setup.
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Eshu
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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2009, 10:08:46 AM »

We also saw at least 3 bees with a strange white patch on their thorax.  Never seen that before.

They get pollen on their backs while crawling into some flowers.
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nella
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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2009, 11:03:31 AM »

Your natural finish on your hives looks nice. What is the finish on them?
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patook
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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2009, 01:46:44 PM »

I would suspect a AHB swarm is trying to take over your hive.  You might want to catch the swarm and I would requeen it.


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tlynn
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« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2009, 03:58:34 PM »

Typically (and remember, the bees tend not to read the books that we do), a swarm will look for a place at least 200 yards or more from their current hive . . . typically.  I doubt it was from your own yard.

BTW - I LOVE your hive setups.  Very nice, very "permenant" and aestheticaly pleasing setup.

Thanks...they are right outside the office window.  It's fun to have them so close to watch.
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tlynn
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« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2009, 04:05:51 PM »

Your natural finish on your hives looks nice. What is the finish on them?

Thanks...system is

1) sand raw wood 120 paper
2) coat of Minwax marine spar varnish
3) sand lightly 220 paper
4) coat #2 varnish
5) sand lightly 220 paper
6) coat #3 varnish

The woodenware is premium grade from Mann Lake.  They have very nice quality.

Since my first hives were already looking crappy being painted after the first year and the natural wood looked nice on the second set of woodenware, I figured I'd gave it a try.  It's a little more work but I enjoy it.  I'd guess it should hold up well for a few years before needing a recoat.
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tlynn
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« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2009, 04:08:28 PM »

I would suspect a AHB swarm is trying to take over your hive.  You might want to catch the swarm and I would requeen it.


Why do you suspect AHB doing this?  Is this takeover more characteristic of AHB vs. EHB?  Interestingly I noticed the bees that were fighting were significantly smaller than the bees from my hive.  Does this suggest feral/natural comb size? 
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2009, 07:58:08 PM »

Fighting would indicate they are being robbed.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesrobbing.htm
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Michael Bush
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2009, 01:53:08 AM »

Smaller size would indicate feral or natural comb.  Fighting is indicative of robbing as MB states. 

Watching a weak hive become the victim of robbing goes like this:
1. A worker bee from a different hive will buzz around the entrance of the hive rather irratically.
2. It will suddenly land on the side of the bottom board (out of view).
3. It then runs across the width of the bottom board making faints towards the entrance.
4. If the guard bees react to the faints the robber bee keeps going.
5. If the guard bees doesn't react the robber bee enters the hive.
6. Inside the hive it might get stopped by a hive resident and it might not.
7. If it survived the incursion, it leaves the hive laden with honey or nectar.
8. Upon arriving at it's own hive it deposits it load of loot and tells everybody where it was gotten.
9. More bees from the robber hive ascend on the robbed hive and the cycle is continued until......
10. The target hive is loot, the majority of the adult worker bees, and probably the queen, have been killed and the bees that remain are listless and without resources of any kind.  The hive dies.

#3 is why an entrance reducer can be so important in preventing robbing.
#9 is why a robber guard might save the hive.
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tlynn
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« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2009, 07:37:26 AM »

Smaller size would indicate feral or natural comb.  Fighting is indicative of robbing as MB states. 

Watching a weak hive become the victim of robbing goes like this:
1. a worker bee from a different hive will buzz around the entrance of the hive rather irratically.
2. It will suddenly land on the side of the bottom board (out of view).
3. It then runs across the width of the bottom board making faints towards the entrance.
4. If the guard bees react to the faints the robber bee keeps going.
5. If the guard bees doesn't react the robber bee enters the hive.
6. Inside the hive it might get stopped by a hive resident and it might not.
7. If it survived the incursion, it leaves the hive laden with honey or nectar.
8. Upon arriving at it's own hive it deposits it load of loot and tells everybody where it was gotten.
9. More bees from the robber hive ascend on the robbed hive and the cycle is continued until......
10. The target hive is loot, the majority of the adult worker bees, and probably the queen, have been killed and the bees that remain are listless and without resources of any kind.  The hive dies.

#3 is why an entrance reducer can be so important in preventing robbing.
#9 is why a robber guard might save the hive.

Thanks all.  With all the fighting and carnage below that had to be what was happening.  Fortunately I caught it in time that day.  I closed the entrance down and the hive is fine.  I just wonder what was up with the hundreds of bees that were under the hive that evening.  I have not seen them since. 

I think if new beekeepers want to learn quickly they should start with a few hives right by their window.  We wouldn't be aware of hardly any of the behavorial aspects of beekeeping if they were in a yard somewhere else.
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