View Full Version : Bat like bees
07-24-2007, 08:48 PM
Ok maybe this is what will prove to be the silliest of questions but here I go ( forgive me as I am a first year novice)
A couple of weeks ago I noticed in my one hive, that I keep in the city, that my bees were hanging upside down en masse, under what is a migratory style cover. It was night time and they were all clumped together in a huge ball on the underside of this cover....thinking that they needed more room...I slipped on an additional super even though their frames were not filled with capped honey... They also seemed a bit aggressive so I fed them again and they seemed to settle down. We are a bit dry here and I was worried about a lack of food even though they still seem to be bringing in lots of pollen. Now tonight there they were again all lumped together in a large ball under the lid....super is only barely full and not capped over at all.
Is this normal behavior? And should I add another box or what...argh!!! Please help....Southern Michigan is real dry...do I need to feed???
Bees use a considerable amount of water. Do you provide a water source? Sounds like they are not hungry, just maybe thirsty. I suggest that you provide a source of clean water. I keep a source about 50 yards away, near the house. We have a steady flight of thirsty bees all day long. I frequently have a fairly large number of bees congregating under the inner cover. They likely were defensive because you opened the hive during the night. That is when bees are usually attacked by predators and all the bees are at home. Night time is their most defensive part of the day. You did not state how established this hive is, but you indicate that they are getting some nectar (super is only barely full and not capped over at all). City bees usually do better than country bees because city folks water their yards/gardens/flowers, even when water is scarce. As to your uncapped super, they will not cap honey until it is ready.
I don't know your temperatures, but I recollect that day time temps in Michigan during the summer can get high. Ventilation is important. You might consider proping open the top a little.
07-25-2007, 05:40 AM
--Now tonight there they were again all lumped together in a large ball under the lid....super is only barely full and not capped over at all.--(Sprocket)
If you haven’t already, I would provide ventilation and check for the need to add comb space. Bees gathering outside at night is normal for a strong hive, but it can also indicate they might need more room and ventilation. But, bees clustering in the day is a ‘sure sign’ that they need room and ventilation, but at night, a handful of bees hanging out side I would not consider a big deal, they do need a place to hang out, but more than that might indicate needing more room and ventilation.
--They also seemed a bit aggressive so I fed them again and they seemed to settle down.--(Sprocket)
“Seemed a bit aggressive’? ;)
If they are aggressive, you will ‘know they are aggressive’ and not seem they are. ;)
Aggressive is stinging and head butting, do not confuse normal flying activity and activity from working hives as aggressive unless it includes stinging and head butting.
Joe Waggle ~ Derry, PA ‘Bees Gone Wild Apiaries'
07-25-2007, 06:13 PM
Thanks for the answers folks! This was a 3lb box of bees that I bought this spring....it looks to be in great shape as there are lots of bees on all levels. I have kept a water source for them in the form of a 24" dia x 4" deep dish which has been full of water.. they seem to be using it but maybe I can do more.
They seemed so congested the other night that I put on another super to give them a bit more space even though the otherwasn't full and capped yet. It has been in the nineties here on and off (detroit area burbs) here and drought conditions which have required me to water my garden...that is why I was concerned about food. I am seeing lots of bees with quite a bit of pollen attached.
My cover has about a 2 inch gap between the top of the super and the bottom of the migratory cover when there is a feed baggie on top...is this to much space???? I was thinking that it would be enough ventilation but maybe not???? Do you think I should put a little space between each super??? I was going to do so but figured they would fill it in.
As for aggressiveness...last night they were flying and hitting my head net like crazy but I only got stung once...for a toal of two for the season so far. They are usally pretty laid back and I have opened the cover and fed them without any gear at all. Weather wise it was a little stormy and around five o clock when I put the new super on.
So should I leave the super on ( a ross round box) or take it off and simply create more ventilation???
My experience with the Ross Rounds supers are that you need to have the bees overcrowded or they won't even go in there.
I think they don't like working in the restricted space of the Ross Rounds, but if really crowded, they will fill it in nicely.
So it seems you have a dilemma, you are trying to relieve overcrowding and at the same time you are using a Ross Rounds super.
I think these are incompatible goals.
07-26-2007, 03:13 PM
Hey thanks Troy it looks as if they are fitting in nicely :D
What did you do that helped?
07-27-2007, 08:29 PM
I simply added the Ross to the top and it is as if it gave them and alternative to hanging out on the bottom of the cover. I know that some of it is typically bee behavior stuff but it looked initally like a large swarm getting ready to happen. I was thinking that maybe my migratory lid was too and was messing with the bee math so to speak. When I checked the super prior to the Ross there was no capped honey but they were working on filling the cells. I hope that I haven't screwed them up by giving them to much to do at one time by placing the Ross on but it seemed to help the congestion at the top of the lid...which I also lowerd just a tad...no more than a 1/2"
They seem to have pleanty of water sources but the one food baggy that had been on was empty. They seem to be real active on my squash and are bringing in lots of pollen. Could I still be in something like a dearth?