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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Akron, Ohio, USA

    Default What does bee fighting look like?

    I just got bees two weeks ago, and person I got them from said to feed them. I tried a hive top feeder and never found any bees using it so I took it off. There is open honey and now capped honey in the super.

    As an experiment I tried sprinkling the top bars with sugar sryup to see if they wanted it, but hadn't liked the chosen vehicle. And they were all over it.

    Next time I went in I tried it again, and now there was activity all over the outside of hive, too. Lots of bees milling around in the air, lots more coming and goings, and a log jam in the entrance. One pile of bees didn't move much. But none of it seemed aggressive. If I did set up a robbing situation, how can I tell what is bee excitement and what is a bee battle with outsiders. There was an increase in buzzing noise. I have a hard time distinguishing between bee varieties, I notice some darker and some lighter bees, but I've always noticed that. Today it's just busy bees as usual.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA

    Default Re: What does bee fighting look like?

    Sometimes people mistake an afternoon orientation flight with robbing. Every warm, sunny afternoon during brood rearing you'll see young bees orienting. They will hover and fly around the hive. This is easily mistaken for robbers who also hover around a hive. But with practice you'll learn what young bees look like doing this. Young bees are fuzzy. Young bees are calm compared to robbers. Look at the entrance. Robbers are in a frenzy. Local bees might have a traffic jam at the entrance but they will still be orderly. Wrestling at the entrance is pretty much a give away, but lack of fighting at the entrance does not prove they are not being robbed, it just proves they have overcome the guard bees. One SURE way to tell if they are being robbed is to wait for dark and close the entrance. Any bees in the morning who show up trying to get in are probably robbers. Especially if there are a lot of them.

    If you already have robbing occurring, here are some ways to stop it. A really weak hive can be closed up with some #8 hardware cloth for a day or two. The robbers can't get in and eventually get tired of trying. It helps if you can feed and water them. A little bit of pollen and a few drops of water will get a small nuc by. More will be required if there are more bees. After you open back up be sure to reduce the entrance. If you can feed, water and ventilate for 72 hours, you can close them up when they are full of robbers and force the robbers to join the hive. Another variety of confining them is to stop up the entrance with grass. The bees will eventually remove it, but hopefully the robbers will give up before then.
    Michael Bush "Everything works if you let it." 42y 40h 39yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Ovid, New York, USA

    Default Re: What does bee fighting look like?

    I was sitting politely watching the hive and all of a sudden I saw two bees come flying off the top of the hive, like a ball was rolling, and rolled across the ground still wrapped around one another, beating each other up. One was my bee, the other was blackish. Then they disengaged and flew away. I don't know if they stung each other, but they sure were fighting. There was no mistaking that !
    Ovid, NY

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Lexington, KY, USA

    Default Re: What does bee fighting look like?

    And then there is another form of fighting! The other day, on a sunny afternoon, the wife and I were sitting observing the hives. All was normal and busy as it should be this time of year. Suddenly I saw a large Bumblebee flying into a bottom entrance and I was astounded. We watched and after a while a cluster of bees formed on the landing board and became larger and larger. It started to look like a swarm forming. But, they were balling something and were very busy doing it with a tight cluster larger than a softball. Eventually they calmed down. The next morning I found the Bumblebee dead below the landing board. All in all an impressive happening.

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