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Author Topic: Funny entrance behavior  (Read 505 times)
Palouse
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« on: April 25, 2013, 12:08:56 PM »

This is my first year beekeeping, and I installed two packages of Italians on 4/15 in medium boxes. Everything's been OK, but one of my hives is definitely more active than the other.

Last night, I went out after work just to see them come and go, and I noticed the more active hive have quite a bit more bee activity at what is now the side entrance (because a dado cut in the screened bottom board is not covered by the entrance reducer). It appeared aggressive to me, and then I saw a bee come out of the other hive and into this one. Then I noticed what looked like water on the redwood, so I decided to get a video (albeit a poor quality one: video URL here). What caused me to shoot the video was not only what I thought was aggressive behavior at the entrance, but I could have sworn I saw a bee fly out of the less active hive and into this one. A short time after I shot the video, a bee came out of nowhere and stung me on the nose.

I decided to let them be, and came back out after dark to check on the water at the entrance. The water turned out to be dried and sticky, so my guess is my feeder in that hive is leaking. They're the Mann Lake plastic top feeders. Curiously, though, the spill only looks to be about three or so tablespoons, and the feeder still has syrup in it. Other than a very slow leak, I can't explain it. I got the sugar water washed off, and plan to take a more thorough peek on Saturday morning.

Despite the poor video, is anyone able to tell me if the behavior at the entrance is normal?

Thanks!

PS:  Well, I can't post the video link. Is anyone willing to allow me to PM them the link so they can post it?
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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2013, 12:50:03 PM »

one of the moderators can do it for you. 

your main problem might not be leaking syrup.  it may be robbing. 

while you wait for a mod to post your video, go to youtube and look for videos that show robbing.  see if they match what you saw.  it may also be that the neighboring hives are just taking advantage of the spilled syrup and not robbing.

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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
dfizer
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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2013, 01:11:12 PM »

Also, it may help if you added your location to your profile - being "hopelessly lost" tells us nothing and as you may surmise location has a lot to do with strategies for best beekeeping practices.

David
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Palouse
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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2013, 01:46:50 PM »

I thought I'd added location when I registered. It's been fixed, and thank you for pointing it out.

Both hives are relatively small, and I'm feeding a 1:1 ratio that is not being consumed very quickly, but there always seem to be bees feeding when I look. I have never filled the Mann Lake feeders to full capacity of four gallons, but I never let them run dry. So far I've fed three gallons between the two hives since 4/15. Highs have been in the 50s with lows averaging in the high-30s/low-40s, but a couple of nights have dipped below freezing. Yesterday was the first day above 65 since I installed the bees.

The videos were good to watch on YouTube, so I appreciate the suggestion. I had some minor wrestling going on out front, but none of it looked like mortal combat, and my video is such that you couldn't tell anyway. I'm so new at this, though, that they could all have been bees from the same hive doing what bees do, and I'm misinterpreting things. If I hadn't noticed the sugar water out front, I probably wouldn't have given it a second thought.

I am getting tired of getting stung, though. Yesterday evening's nose sting is sting #3 since installing them on 4/15. I think I should probably start suiting up.
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2013, 06:43:31 PM »

As for as I know there are no wrestling leagues for honey bees.  Smiley  Me thinks you may have had some robbing going on.  It also could've been bees getting confused as to which hive to  go to (drifting) and the guard bees were telling them to "HALT!!".  The bee that you think flew from one hive to the other one is interesting, though.

As for the stings...  I got three stings yesterday while hiving a swarm at my mentor's yard.  BUT...none were face stings as I had my jacket and veil on. Wink 

Whenever I take the inner cover off I where a veil...if I'm working from behind the hive such as replacing feeder jars where I don't have to take the inner cover off I often will not wear a veil.  If I'm working (or just watching) close in the front of the hive or close to the side of the hive I will wear a veil.  I only have two eyes and really think sometimes I risk things a bit too much by not wearing a veil all the time around the hives. 

So far, since December of 2011 the closest that I've had to a face sting is beside my adam's apple....and I was just standing to the side of a hive at the end of the row watching the activity on the porch when this little hussy suddenly appeared on the porch, made a hard left turn, and made a beeline for my face.  We were looking eye-to-eye for a split-second...thankfully I managed to jerk my head to the side a bit but she still got me on my throat.  I truly think she knew where she was headed even before she exited the hive!!!

I dread my first good (bad?) face sting.  shocked

Oh, btw, ya gotta post a photo of the nose sting or...it never happened...you did get a picture of it, didn't you!? <grin>

Ed
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sterling
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« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2013, 07:02:07 PM »

just in case you don't know this it is better to approach a hive at the side and watch from the side and don't stand in front they will get agitated at you when you block their runway. And you may already have a reducer on but if you don't they need a fairly small opening.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2013, 07:13:47 PM by sterling » Logged
kathyp
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« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2013, 07:31:37 PM »

Quote
And you may already have a reducer on but if you don't they need a fairly small opening.

yup, and the fact that you are getting stung makes me think robbing all the more.  it might be from another hive in the area that is not being fed and has found yours.

be sure that there is only one small opening per hive and keep an eye on things that your bees don't get robbed out.  keep track of how many are dead around the hive 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
tefer2
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« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2013, 09:14:37 PM »

I think Hardwood had a good robbing video on here.
The first sign that alerts me is the overly loud buzzing noise the robbers make.
I'll go look for it.
Found it below!
Scott posted this robbing video that captures the robber bee sound.
Make sure you turn your volume up. th_thumbsupup
Bees robbing honey.wmv
« Last Edit: April 25, 2013, 09:24:46 PM by tefer2 » Logged
Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2013, 09:38:56 AM »

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesrobbing.htm
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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
Palouse
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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2013, 01:36:06 PM »

Thanks all, and I apologize for the delay on the thanks. I need to figure out how to get email notifications to my posts.

All's well that ends well, I guess. It seems to have stopped. I already had a small entrance, so I ended up making a robbing screen. It's now removed, and things seem to be back to normal.
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capt44
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« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2013, 08:46:23 PM »

I lost 3 hives to robbing last year before I realized what was happening.
If you're using a entrance feeder get rid of it.
use a top feeder such as a miller feeder or a baggie feeder.
reduce your entrance to around 1 inch or so.
They'll rob a hive out to nothing in no time at all.
It's just a honey bees nature, a strong hive will rob out a weaker hive.
Especially if the nectar is scares at that time.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
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