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Author Topic: Robbing???  (Read 2292 times)
drobbins
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« on: May 27, 2005, 03:54:44 PM »

Hello All

being a newbie I often see behaviour I don't understand
I work from home so I'm able to walk down and check on the bee's often
sometimes I go and there's 30-40 bees coming and going and it seem llike about what I expect
But occationally I go look and there are hundreds of bee's
Is this robbing??
I don't see anything that looks like they're fighting
just a heck of a lot of bee's
I've got the hive opening at about 4 inches wide
I does kinda seem like I see this when the weather is real nice
It's about 80 and sunny now and there's a hord of bee's
SO, question
what are the signs of robbing??
do you actually see them fighting the robbers??

TIA
Dave
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2005, 03:58:03 PM »

Do you have just the one hive?

On really nice warm clear days they will bee out in numbers. Don't need so many in the hive keeping it warm so the warm bodies go do other things.
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rainbow sunflower  Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.   rainbow sunflower

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drobbins
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2005, 04:06:33 PM »

Jerrymac
yea, just 1 hive
and I guess I shoulda mentioned they are from a package I installed 5 weeks ago
I'm not aware of there being any other bee's nearby
obviously they could be without me knowing it
but ya know, after I got into this beekeeping thing, it occured to me
I haven't seen any honeybees around in a LONG time
I'm inclined to think it's not robbing, but I'm still curious of the signs

Dave
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amymcg
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« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2005, 04:10:42 PM »

Dave,

Can you see alot of bees coming in with pollen? My hive is incredibly busy today, first non-rain day in a week, so everyone is out bringing in pollen.

Amy
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2005, 04:17:26 PM »

I will let those that have witnessed robbing discribe it. I believe you will see some fighting going on unless they are just over whelmed.
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rainbow sunflower  Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.   rainbow sunflower

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drobbins
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« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2005, 04:34:48 PM »

Amy,

yea, lot's of pollen
everything looks good it's just a LOT of activity
(umm, I guess that's good  Smiley)
actually I checked again and the activity is at a more typical level
I'm just not really sure what typical is

while I've got you folks here, another question
I started this 1 hive from a package 5 weeks ago
well, now I've figured out it would have been a good idea to start with 2
I'm wondering if I can split them
they've filled up 1 deep pretty well, so I thought maybe get a queen and swipe a frame of brood and 1 of honey and try to start another colony
I'm sure the original would recover, and I would think the new colony would have time to builld up
The big honey flow is ending here but I would just feed em all summer

thoughts??
Dave
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2005, 04:42:53 PM »

I'm not into splitting hives as of yet. So I can't reply to that.

I don't understand all these folks saying they are into the flow or it is just ending. There is more stuff (flowering plants) popping up around here now than there has been, and the cotton hasn't even started coming out of the ground yet. (that that has been planted.) It is still being planted. I suppose when that blooms in late summer it will be a major flow.
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drobbins
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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2005, 04:51:12 PM »

The state ag department here is pushing beekeeping real hard
they're trying to switch the tobbaco farmers over to vegetables, most of which need bee's
I took a class they gave over the winter, and they stressed quite a bit understanding the honey sources in your area
obviously it varies a lot depending on where you are
here we have a tree called a tulip poplar which is the big thing
it flowers in may, and it's ending about now
of course other stuff flowers all years but the tulip poplar is the big deal
it also makes a good honey so that's what people focus on
apparently this is a real good year
the head of the local beekeeping org says his bee's are filling a medium super in 5 days   shocked
my bee's have pretty much missed it this year just getting started but I thought if I could split them I would have in fact, had a productive year
that's my theory anyway

Dave
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2005, 05:36:27 PM »

At 5 weeks or there abouts, you should start to see big population growth happening.  In the afternoon, the bees begin to take orientation flights, as they will transition to foragers soon.  

There are alot of ways to make splits, and giving the split some sealed brood would really jump start it.  The race is to get enough drawn comb, for them to store enough food for winter.  Once the weather cools off, they won't build any more wax.  But I think you have plenty of time.
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Miss Chick-a-BEE
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« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2005, 07:38:35 PM »

I don't know personally what robbing looks like, but I wanted to comment on the other stuff.

I'm thinking you should open up the entrance wider. They should be strong enough to not need the reduced entrance now. Also, the hive is sort of like an airport. I've seen many times there gets to be a "back-up" of incoming flights. With you're small entrance the back up would be worse.

Here's approximately what a bee has to go through to get in the hive:
- first check by guard "do you belong to this hive?"
- second check "did you bring what I asked?" (they are told to bring pollen or nectar)
- transfer of goods to another bee
- possibly told where to go and what to get before take off

It's a slow process, and slowed down even more if the entrance is small. Just like at a busy airport, if you only have one line to go through (instead of having 10 lines available), it gets pretty backed up and takes alot longer.

And a word about making a split. Not sure if you want to try that this late in the year. It's best to go into winter with two brood boxes, especially since you do have snow in your area. I don't get snow where I am, and I don't even think I'd want to try and do winter on only one brood box. My first hive was started from a 2 pound package about the 4th of July. The just barely made two boxes, filling 7 or 8 frames with foundation (and stuff) in each box. So if you can get a queen quick, then it might be worth a shot. But if not, then I wouldn't think it would be wise to try and get the bees to raise a queen from a split. That would cost them alot of valuble time. And it's even more doubtful that both hives would have enough honey to make it through winter. You'd have to feed them. Not really trying to discourage you from the idea, just giving you something to think about.

Beth
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drobbins
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« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2005, 08:45:10 PM »

psycho
I think you nailed it
they are all just hovering around
I guess that's orientation flights

beth
I was thinking it was about time to open the entrance
As for the split
I think I'm gonna give it a try
they'll have 4 months to build up
I'll feed em like crazy
It'll push bee's to build comb
and if I'm not happy with the results in late Sept I'll recombine em
I'm only risking the cost of a queen and even if I end up recombining them I bet I'll end up with more drawn comb
but thanks for your thoughts
it's clear that this isn't a science but an art and everybody has differnt ideas about the way to do things
the way a neebie learns is by getting as much input and knowledge as they can and trying to figure out from that what works for them

Dave
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2005, 02:41:24 AM »

I think there is plenty of time to build up for overwintering..   It's only May for hecks sake!!  Eventually, you will have to decide whether to work the flows, or just have bees.  Nothing wrong with just having bees.
Personally.. I love the sight of new wax.  When I pull a frame and give it a shake, it thrills me to see nectar falling like rain.  I enjoy taking care of my bees, but by a quirk of fate, all the honey I can make is spoken for.  Looks like a good year.
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Miss Chick-a-BEE
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« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2005, 08:31:51 AM »

ms132872-

That's how I feel about working the bees too..... experiment a little, try this and that, see what works.... that's how I learn! I'm definately not a by the book gal. Smiley Sounds like you got a good handle on a plan!

Beth
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2005, 09:18:48 AM »

It is difficult for a newbie to tell the difference between an orientation flight of young bees and robbers, but if you pay attention there are many differences.

The robbers act like they are trying to find a way in.  USUALLY there are guard bees confronting the robbers and wrestling on the landing board.  The robbers are SOMETIMES darker and shinier from having their hair pulled and getting honey on them.  If you listen to the hive, there is a dissonant roar in a hive being robbed.  There is a happy hum in a hive with young bees frolicing on their first orienation flight.  The Orientation flight will not last all day long.  The robbing will.

My guess is it's orienations flights you're seeing.
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drobbins
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« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2005, 10:59:29 AM »

it seems like the timing for it to be orientation is about perfect
~5 weeks

Dave
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stilllearning
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« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2005, 07:52:50 PM »

Even with only one hive, you could experience some robbing.
Watch the bees leaving the hive.  If they appear to be heavy
and having difficulty takeing off in flight, you probably are seeing
some robbing going on.  A lot of bees flying at the entrance is
not necessarily a sign of robbing most probably orentation, bees trying to
get into the hive other than the main entrance is a real warning
sign.  I recently seen two of my hives with a lot of activity
at the entrance and ther other hives close by with very little activity
when I watched the bee flight it was directly from one hive
to the other.  Yes they robbed out the smaller hive. I restricted the
entrance to the smaller hive but I was too late I lost the smaller
hive. 5 inches of snow in the first week of May in the Texas
panhandel didnt help either.
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Wayne Cole
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