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Author Topic: Winter Robbing, Feral colony location clues.  (Read 1077 times)
BabcockFarms
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« on: March 03, 2013, 05:31:20 PM »

Today I went out to check on the hives and to see how heavy they were. To my surprise they were in the process of trying to be robbed. They were defending the hive well but I was amazed they were attempting to rob them as high was 45° today. They had some loses but the robbers faired far worse. Went back later after it had cooled down a bit to see how many bees had perished. There were about 40 -50 dead bees at the entrance or in front of the hive.

Is this normal for robbing to go on when it is so cool out?

Another thought, how far away could they be coming from at this temperature?

The robbers were very dark like the picture I posted some time ago. After watching for a bit I witnessed several coming in from the north and flying back north when they left. This may help in locating the feral hive I have been looking for. The direction they were flying should give a good indication of where they are coming from. My suspicions are that at this temperature they wouldn’t be flying very far.

The snow was too deep in the area I suspect they have a colony, but will go exploring as soon as more of the snow melts.

Thoughts?
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Ron Babcock

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Joe D
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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2013, 09:50:30 PM »

I had a hive robbed this past fall.  When I noticed it the hive being robbed was basically wiped out.  I had 6 hives and I thought this one was one of the strongest.  The other 5 were all in on it, there were lots of dead bees.  The hives are on a slab so you can see all the dead.  Good luck with yours, keep the entrances small, easy to defend.



Joe
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gov1623
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« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2013, 10:06:26 PM »

Before i started keeping bees i only noticed maybe one or two wild bee hives around my area in my whole life. I got my first bees mainly just to help pollinate my fruit trees and garden thinking that there wasn't to many bees in my area. Boy was I mistaken. Its amazing how much more you pay attention to bees and blooming times after you get bees. Shortly after I got my first bees I took a walk around the area and found three feral colonies withen 100yards of my house.
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Who Dat!!!
capt44
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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2013, 11:08:18 PM »

As was mentioned keep the entrance small so your colony can defend it.
Entrance feeders are a big culprit in attracting other bees.
I reduced my entrances to around 1-2 inches and used the baggie type feeding in the top.
haven't had anymore robbing instances since.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
derekm
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« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2013, 01:10:51 PM »

feral colonies are everywhere, and in towns... In an  town office two stories up above the traffic, I noticed some insects  repeated flying fast above the traffic in both directions in very straight lines.... yep townie honeybees...
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
BabcockFarms
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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2013, 08:23:14 PM »

Yes, I did have my entrance closed down so they could defend there hive better. I'm sure that is why they did so well. Just didn't think they would attempt to rob a hive at this temperature.

The feral colony has me more intrigued, as I have been seeing the very dark bees for some time. If they are not flying very far as it was 45° the next closest place in that direction where they could have a hive off my property would be about a mile. So if at this temperature they wouldn't fly that far and figuring they fly fairly straight between there hive and the destination then they would have to be in some timber on our property.
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Ron Babcock

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2013, 09:22:16 AM »

Only once, I've seen my bees working something (perhaps gathering water? a steady stream of bees heading out and coming back from the same direction...) when it was dead calm, sunny and 27 F.  I have no idea what they were getting or why they were flying but that is VERY unusual here.  For one thing it's hardly ever dead calm.  I'm sure they could manage to rob in 45 F if it's calm sunny and they don't have to fly in the shade.
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Michael Bush
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BabcockFarms
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2013, 08:19:48 PM »

Michael,

What I'm more curious about is the distance they can fly in this weather. The wind was out of the North at about 10mph and was sunny. As soon as the clouds moved in the flying all but stopped. I am looking for clues as to the distance and location of the feral colony that was trying to rob my girls.
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Ron Babcock

                                  "I believe the good that men do, will live long after they gone."
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Georgia Boy
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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2013, 09:02:54 PM »

Good luck with finding them. Hope you do.

David
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jaseemtp
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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2013, 10:12:14 PM »

You could look into some bee lining and see if that helps you find them
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2013, 10:25:18 PM »

Drop powdered sugar on them, as they come out of the hive, to see where they are going.

I have sat and watched my bees take off and then return with pollen with a thermometer a few feet away that read 43 degrees. I'm pretty sure that hive had a lot of cranolian in their genes.
Jim
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2013, 08:57:46 AM »

If it's warm enough to fly 200 yards, it's warm enough to fly 1/2 mile.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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jpmeir
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« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2013, 05:35:25 PM »

Michael, are you still use top entrences for your hives? If so, shimes? holes?... size of holes...I'm new and learing.
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10framer
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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2013, 09:39:01 AM »

i have some hives under one of my deer stands and back during hunting season i watched the bees start flying when the temperature hit 38 and the sun was hitting the entrances. 
i'm with m bush on the distance. 
i hope you get them.  i'm still looking for the elusive "black bees" that i used to see around here.  i'm encouraged because i saw a solid black drone in one of my hives a couple of days ago.
good luck
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skatesailor
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2013, 11:13:36 AM »

I like beelining with snow on the ground. Once you get the direction look for staining and dead bees in the snow just like those in front of your hive. . This is helpful if you are in doubt about a tree.
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2013, 11:21:58 AM »

i have some hives under one of my deer stands and back during hunting season i watched the bees start flying when the temperature hit 38 and the sun was hitting the entrances. 
I'm with m bush on the distance. 
i hope you get them.  I'm still looking for the elusive "black bees" that i used to see around here.  I'm encouraged because i saw a solid black drone in one of my hives a couple of days ago.
good luck

Seeing a black drone may not necessarily mean you have a hive of Black Bees. I have several hives with bees and drones with wide ranges of colors, from light yellow to black. Probably why they did so well this past winter.
Jim
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BabcockFarms
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« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2013, 08:33:42 PM »

Mainly I just want to find them, and see what percentage is dark. They have been around here for at least 10 years, so I am kind of on a quest. I have been on call for the last week and will be off this weekend, so I plan on going to see if I can find them in our timber. If they are not in there then the next closest place where they could have a colony would be about a mile North. I'm hoping that at 45° they won't be a mile away or more.
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Ron Babcock

                                  "I believe the good that men do, will live long after they gone."
                                                                                                                          ~Mr. Fox Haas

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