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Author Topic: WOW!! There are bees everywhere!!  (Read 1640 times)
annette
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« on: April 25, 2010, 07:54:10 PM »

Unbelievable situation today.
Got a call this afternoon that hundreds and hundreds of bees were flying in and around the barn on the property where I keep my bees.

I got into the car and drove up to the property to see what is up.  Well I was told that many of the bees left the barn already, but I did see many still there. I was watching them and it seemed like they were looking for something.  My first thought was it might have been a swarm looking for a place to live. So I drove up the hill to check on my hives to see if there was any evidence of my hives swarming out.

When I got there I was stunned!! All my hives were being robbed out in a frenzy I have never experienced before. There were bees covering my hives from all sides. Clusters of bees just hanging all over the hives.

I placed robbing screens on the bottom landing boards, reduced the top entrances to the size of one bee and covered them in wet sheets.

I watched and saw the situation starting to calm down.

Now I know why this happened. I had removed some empty frames  and some frames of honey from a hive that had to be brought down in size. Usually I always take the frames of honey with me and freeze them, but I forgot about them and left them up at the hives.

Well I am sure it was those very frames that started the frenzy and it just expanded out to my hives.

I removed the honey frames this afternoon.  I am sure things will start to calm down but I have lots of questions

1.  What were those bees doing in the barn???  Where did they come from???  They were there the same time the robbing was going on, were they robber bees just looking for something?
2.  Their were also lots of bees trying to get into the house at the screened kitchen window. Where they doing the same thing as the bees in the barn??  Just smelling stuff and seeing what they can rob???

I know my hives did not swarm today.

Anyway anyone ever have this experience??  It got me very nervous because I keep these bees on someone else's property and I would feel terrible if they got into any the barns or outhouses.  

I would really like to know why so many bees were flying around inside this barn??  They were basically gone within an hour.

Appreciate the help
Annette
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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2010, 07:59:35 PM »

regardless of where it came from, it does sound like a swarm looking for a place to land.  did you take a walk around the property to see if there were any clumps in trees?  smiley  i also wonder if all those bees on your hives were the swarm looking for an empty home.  they might have been attracted by the honey or the smell of your hives.  did you leave an empty box out just in case?
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
annette
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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2010, 08:11:12 PM »

regardless of where it came from, it does sound like a swarm looking for a place to land.  did you take a walk around the property to see if there were any clumps in trees?  smiley  i also wonder if all those bees on your hives were the swarm looking for an empty home.  they might have been attracted by the honey or the smell of your hives.  did you leave an empty box out just in case?

I looked all around the trees up at my hives.  The clusters of bees that were hanging off the hives were all in battle.

There was a super up there with the empty wax combs and the honey frames (that is what started this problem) Actually an empty hive. I was hoping to catch a swarm by leaving it up there, but I should not have left the frames with the honey.So if there was a swarm, they should have rested in this hive. It had all the ingredients they would like.  But it definitely was a robbing going on in this empty hive.

I am still perplexed

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annette
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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2010, 08:12:12 PM »

regardless of where it came from, it does sound like a swarm looking for a place to land.  did you take a walk around the property to see if there were any clumps in trees?  smiley  i also wonder if all those bees on your hives were the swarm looking for an empty home.  they might have been attracted by the honey or the smell of your hives.  did you leave an empty box out just in case?

I looked all around the trees up at my hives.  The clusters of bees that were hanging off the hives were all in battle.

There was a super up there with the empty wax combs and the honey frames (that is what started this problem) Actually an empty hive. I was hoping to catch a swarm by leaving it up there, but I should not have left the frames with the honey.So if there was a swarm, they should have rested in this hive. It had all the ingredients they would like.  But it definitely was a robbing going on in this empty hive.

I am still perplexed

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kathyp
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« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2010, 08:16:26 PM »

sure it wasn't  your own bees cleaning out that honey?  i did the same thing and then when i went to grab the box to go after a swarm, it was full of bees robbing the honey out.  don't know, but it sounds like you had an interesting time of it  grin
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
David LaFerney
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« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2010, 08:29:35 PM »

I had a very similar thing happen last  fall during a dearth.  Bees would condense in masses that would get so heavy they would fall off and then reform again about once a second.  It was awesome.   I set it off by (accidentally)  having a telescoping cover installed so that there was room all along one side for bees to get in, and I had left out some frames about 50 yards away for them to clean, and I had been feeding to try to build up the stores.  It was like bee Armageddon.  I tried reducing the entrance, wet sheets - I didn't have any robber screens.  They wouldn't stop fighting until I smoked the snot out of them.  There were aggressive bees all over the area up to 100 feet away.  I wish I'd taken a video.
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"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." Samuel Clemens

Putting the "ape" in apiary since 2009.
annette
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« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2010, 11:18:54 PM »

Anyway, went up about 1 hr ago to remove the sheets and robber screens. It was very strange but on one hive when I removed the robber screen the bees started to pour out of the hive. Hundreds and hundreds pouring out. I watched them for a while and it seemed like the same bees went back in.

Not sure what happened, but it doesn't feel very good to me. 

I will check after work tomorrow and get into the hives to see what I have left. Depressing day for me.
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T Beek
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2010, 05:12:13 AM »

Wow is right, must've been exciting.  It does sound like swarming behavoir.  Please keep us posted.

thomas
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2010, 08:25:43 AM »

>1.  What were those bees doing in the barn???

My bet is one of the following:

1) there is empty equipment in the barn and they are looking for more hives to rob.
2) there is or was a colony in the barn that they smelled and wanted to rob.
3) they live in the barn and you never noticed before.

>  Where did they come from???

Somewhere in the 8000 acres around you...

>  They were there the same time the robbing was going on, were they robber bees just looking for something?

Yes.  Robber bees looking for something.

>2.  Their were also lots of bees trying to get into the house at the screened kitchen window. Where they doing the same thing as the bees in the barn??

Yes.

> Just smelling stuff and seeing what they can rob???

Yes.

>Anyway anyone ever have this experience??  It got me very nervous because I keep these bees on someone else's property and I would feel terrible if they got into any the barns or outhouses. 

Yes.  A robbing frenzy is a scary thing.  I had something similar with some boxes by my back door (the one everyone uses).  The boxes were empty and closed up, but some robbers got it in their mind and they were all over them.   Thousands of frenzied bees.

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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
annette
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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2010, 06:34:46 PM »

A new development regarding the bees that were flying around in the barn.  I questioned my friend more carefully about the bees in the barn yesterday.

One very important piece of information he revealed today, the bees were all different sizes and some were very large. He had never seen such large bees because the bees that forage on the plants are always the females.

So this must have been a swarm because it had drones flying with them.  If it had been robber bees it would have been all female. Is this correct???

He also mentioned that the bees did not appear to have come from outside the barn.  He placed a large piece of wood up against the wall of the barn and then all the bees appeared. There is no evidence of any hives inside this barn. I checked really carefully today.

I believe it was a swarm that took up temporary residence in this barn and my friend disturbed them when he placed that wood up against the wall.

The next mystery is where the swarm came from (I have to get into my hives asap and check out what the robbers did to them yesterday and see if any swarmed out)

Anyway getting closer to the truth.

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2010, 12:00:39 AM »

"He placed a large piece of wood up against the wall of the barn and then all the bees appeared."  This sounds like he blocked the normal path into the hive and caused a traffic jam.  Which would, of course include drones.  YI'm betting you have a colony in the walls of the barn with the entrance near where he put the piece of wood...
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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