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Author Topic: Strange collection of bees  (Read 3236 times)
robsee
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« on: September 24, 2011, 05:40:18 PM »

Hi,

 I came home today to find a collection of about 150-250  bees inhabiting the space between my screen and storm window. The number of them peaked around 2:00 pm, and by 5:00 or so, most were either dead or gone. Can anyone explain this behavior ? I've been told by a couple beekeepers that its way too small for a swarm (and its the wrong season).

Thanks,
-Rob

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« Last Edit: September 24, 2011, 06:12:37 PM by buzzbee » Logged
AllenF
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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2011, 05:46:56 PM »

Where are you located?    Sounds like a very late season swarm.
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robsee
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2011, 05:49:02 PM »

Albany, New York area
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JP
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« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2011, 06:31:17 PM »

Also looks like a small late season swarm to me.


...JP
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robsee
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« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2011, 07:18:24 PM »

Couple of questions:

1) am I likely to see the "visitors" again tomorrow, if so is there any way to discourage use of that location again.

2) Does their swarming so close to my house have any meaning (like possibly a nest somewhere in my walls).  I know I have a couple of wasps nests outside the house, but have never seen honey bees around the house before

3) probably 20 percent of the bees that were there at peak are either on the ground dead or motionless between the screen and the window. Is this normal ?

Thanks
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AllenF
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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2011, 08:39:47 PM »

Check all around your house to see if you have bees flying in and out a hole somewhere.  It may not be very many bees.   That is where a hive is.  Also with the dead bees, someone may have sprayed them.   The swarm (or hive at that time) may have been at a neighbors house and been sprayed and then they flew over to you.  They are gone.   Don't worry about them coming back unless they are living in the walls of your house.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2011, 10:42:14 PM »

Are you sure they are bees?  Not wasps.  Not yellow jackets?  They have no reason to want to get in between a screen and a window.  Maybe a wasp nest?  Maybe the bees are trying to get somewhere else and end up there, but that's hard to figure...
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JP
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« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2011, 12:29:20 AM »

Couple of questions:

1) am I likely to see the "visitors" again tomorrow, if so is there any way to discourage use of that location again.

2) Does their swarming so close to my house have any meaning (like possibly a nest somewhere in my walls).  I know I have a couple of wasps nests outside the house, but have never seen honey bees around the house before

3) probably 20 percent of the bees that were there at peak are either on the ground dead or motionless between the screen and the window. Is this normal ?

Thanks

1) Its very possible they could show up again tomorrow.

2) They could be trying to choose your house as a new location.

3) Bees that are trapped are easily stressed which causes them to expire. This is normal.

Inspect the area they were interested in and caulk/seal openings they could use to enter a void space in a wall or eave to establish their colony. You could likely deter them with a diluted vinegar spray temporarily.

Even if they were to set up shop, I suspect they would not make it through winter in your area.


...JP
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robsee
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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2011, 10:24:30 AM »

Are you sure they are bees?  Not wasps.  Not yellow jackets?  They have no reason to want to get in between a screen and a window.  Maybe a wasp nest?  Maybe the bees are trying to get somewhere else and end up there, but that's hard to figure...

They are definitely honey bees (or something that looks exactly like them.) I asked a beekeeper friend to come over and verify. They are orangeish toward their center and fade to black at the end. There are a couple of yellowjackets in the same area, so I've compared them up close. Before yesterday morning, I hadn't seen any bees in that area.

Today there are 20-30 flying/hanging out in the area around the door, most of them have left the space between the screen and the storm windows, but some are still there. The still seem to be clustering in the top corner.

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2011, 10:38:54 AM »

I see the picture now, and the do look like honey bees.  They could be nesting somewhere where a hole opens into that space and they wander out into it unintentionally.
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Michael Bush
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BjornBee
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« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2011, 10:41:07 AM »

These bees could of been attracted to a color or even a certain smell coming from the window area. Once they crawl into a space like that, honey bees easily get lost and trapped in the area.

Random bees in numbers can be seen also if there was a feeding frenzy in the area. Robbing, a hummingbird feeder, or anything else that could of caused bees to fly around seeking some food source. Could of been from a nearby beekeeper. I know the first day I open feed I have bees at windows and doors in good numbers. Many just flying around randomly looking for the food source. And when one or two bees go to a particular spot, it seems to attract a few more, then a few more, then a few more. Much of bees flight is based on pheromones of other bees.

I also put up a blue canopies in the backyard for certain functions. It always attracts bees as this is one of the colors they favor for flowers.
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JP
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« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2011, 11:58:46 AM »

Are you sure they are bees?  Not wasps.  Not yellow jackets?  They have no reason to want to get in between a screen and a window.  Maybe a wasp nest?  Maybe the bees are trying to get somewhere else and end up there, but that's hard to figure...

They are definitely honey bees (or something that looks exactly like them.) I asked a beekeeper friend to come over and verify. They are orangeish toward their center and fade to black at the end. There are a couple of yellowjackets in the same area, so I've compared them up close. Before yesterday morning, I hadn't seen any bees in that area.

Today there are 20-30 flying/hanging out in the area around the door, most of them have left the space between the screen and the storm windows, but some are still there. The still seem to be clustering in the top corner.



Inspect the top corner tonight.  If they are scouts or even foragers (from another colony) they will be gone by tonight and you can then seal that area.

If for some reason they have set up shop you would begin seeing "traffic" where the entrance to the hive is. Bees coming and going. Once they get established they will start bringing in pollen on their rear legs.

I don't believe this will be the case here but there is an outside chance.

Keep your eyes open and inspect tonight.


...JP

« Last Edit: September 25, 2011, 12:24:02 PM by JP » Logged

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BjornBee
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« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2011, 12:24:12 PM »

Bees instinctively go to the top. They are bunched there because they are stuck and can not figure out how to leave. they will cluster together, feed each other, until they die.

I would remove the screen if you can. Let the bees fly off and your problem will quickly go away. Right now, you are just trapping bees, then wondering why they are there. Who cares! If they all die, are you not going to open the screen and clean the dead bees out? So do it while they are still alive and do them a favor.

It's a simple problem, and has a simple solution. Which takes about 2 minutes to complete, versus the two days of discussion that this has evolved into.
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JP
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« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2011, 12:27:44 PM »

And while the discussion continues, some are learning about this little episode, which is why the OP came here in the first place.  Wink


...JP
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BjornBee
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« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2011, 12:37:04 PM »

And while the discussion continues, some are learning about this little episode, which is why the OP came here in the first place.  Wink


...JP

Yes...JP. That is true. Although your advice of waiting till tonight prolongs this episode and is questionable advice at best in my opinion. This whole "wait till tonight" does nothing to stop the bees from getting stuck, dying, or ending this ongoing problem that is easily eliminated by some commonsense.

There....I hope others ARE learning something.  grin

You go ahead and concentrate on spending a few days, answering all the question that pop up. I'll pass along the practical solution and how to end this ordeal for the homeowner. I have seen bees get stuck many times between a screen and a window. I never spent days scratching my head, discussing it with a few hundred beekeepers, or waiting a day or two to do something. I just popped the screen, released the bees, and moved on. Popping the screen also allows you to perhaps find out more about the situation, without the aspects of stuck bees in a small cluster at the top of the window.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2011, 12:46:08 PM »

I do see the humor in this.  grin

Q - How many beekeepers from the south does it take to release bees from between a screen and a window?

A - A few hundred to discuss the problem, analyze why they are there, and finally clean them out once they all die.

 lau
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LoriMNnice
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« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2011, 01:05:57 PM »

I think the OP was just curious about the behavior and wanted to learn more about it. Seems to me he was just trying to get educated about bees.
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JP
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« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2011, 01:09:20 PM »

OP said bees are at the top corner of the wall and most are not inside the screen anymore. Waiting til dark allows the OP to see where this is going, allows the bees on the exterior to leave on their own and allows the OP to seal the area if/when necessary without having to deal with a cluster of bees.

This situation is dependent on what the bees are deciding to do in this area. It will all likely be over in a day or two.  

I'll be here to check back on this thread to give a hand where its needed.


...JP





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JP
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I like doing cut-outs, but I love catching swarms!


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« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2011, 01:18:54 PM »

I do see the humor in this.  grin

Q - How many beekeepers from the south does it take to release bees from between a screen and a window?

A - A few hundred to discuss the problem, analyze why they are there, and finally clean them out once they all die.

 lau

I don't find any humor in what you are suggesting, in fact I take offense to your so called attempt to poke fun at beekeepers from the south, which you seem to do on a continuous basis.

You have yet again ruined another harmless thread with your antics. This little so called joke you should have just kept to yourself.


...JP

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My pictures can be viewed at http://picasaweb.google.com/pyxicephalus
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robsee
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« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2011, 01:45:45 PM »

Thank you for all the input, there are only a couple bees left in the area at this point.

Just to finish up the thread, there are a couple reasons I asked the questions

1) the 3 bee people from the area I have talked to don't have an explanation for why this type of thing would happen at this time of year

2) Not having any experience keeping bees myself, and having a major bee phobia, seeing a 150-250 of them close to me or my house is not really something I'm comfortable with, so it was either find out why they are there and how to make sure they don't come back, or call an exterminator and deal with it that way. I figured answers were better than chemicals.

Thanks,
-Rob
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