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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Manassas, VA
    Posts
    68

    Default What are these black bees??????

    I've noticed a bunch of black bees in my hives (starting about 2 weeks ago). I'venever seen black bees in my hives before. Could they be robbers? Check out this picture:

    https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/phot...eat=directlink

    They seem to be in the entrance feeder mostly when I pull off the jar. I have robber screens ready to put on and a frame feeder to start using but I haven't put them on yet. I hope I'm not too late.

    Comments anyone?

    Also, just an interesting observation........saw a HUGE bee ..... and I mean HUGE... flying around the two hives earlier today. I went in the house to get a tennis racket to smack it away and when I came back it was gone. It was yellow and black and was at least a 1.5 inches long and very fat. Not a carpenter bee because I've had those for years. It was something else and very scarry looking.

    Thanks in advance for your advice/comments!
    Steph

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Wright City, MO 63390
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: What are these black bees??????

    I would be interested if anyone knows about the black bees. I too have seen these in the swarm I recently re-queened. I assumed they were just the new genetics but I could be wrong.

    As for the HUGE yellow and black bee you saw I would say that is a yellow jacket. I have a nest of them around my house somewhere that I cant seem to find.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,572

    Default Re: What are these black bees??????

    My brother has occasional black bees in his hives, with gray stripes. He has had the hive for six years and never re-queened, so we think he's got a mix with the local survivor bees.

    They make decent amounts of honey and don't have mite problems, so we leave them alone.

    The "giant bee" was probably a cicada killer wasp, they look like a bee from a distance. Up close they are hairless and you wouldn't mistake them for a bee.

    Harmless unless you insist on handling them, as they wills sting if squeezed. They prey on cicadas -- quite a sight to see one dragging a stunned cicada off to it's nest for a brood snack (they lay their eggs in the paralyzed cicada).

    Peter

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    irondale, MO, USA
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: What are these black bees??????

    Not to much help on the black bees as most of mine are black survivor stock, but the big black and yellow bee you seen was probably a european hornet I had them kill a week nuc about this time last year.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon City, Oregon
    Posts
    991

    Default Re: What are these black bees??????

    Just normal, have had jet black shiny bees mixed in my hives
    Honeydew

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Goochland, VA US
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: What are these black bees??????

    I had one of my hives open the other day when a hornet like the one you described came in, flew around my head a couple times, and then dove into my open hive. It then flew away with at least one bee out the hive in its grasp. This hornet was at least 1.5" + and was yellow and black. I was pretty shocked.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Collinsville, VA
    Posts
    447

    Default Re: What are these black bees??????

    The yellow and black hornets I have here are European hornets and they are brutal on a bee hive. The image of what I have is at the link below:

    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...QEwBA&dur=1344

    They swoop in and grab a honeybee and fly off like its nothing.

    I like seeing yellow jackets and hornets while I'm working the hive. I'm fully protected and take advantage of it and squish every one that I see

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Caddo, Louisiana
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: What are these black bees??????

    The cutout I did a couple days ago had about 1/4 of the bees that were very black with almost no yellow striping at all, another 1/4 are black tipped with the last 3/4 of the abdomen being solid black, the other 1/2 are fairly normal italian looking bees. All were very laid back, so I hope they make it!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,408

    Default Re: What are these black bees??????

    I checked out your photo and I don't see any "black" honey bees, or any insect that looks like a bee and is black. Could you please be more specific as to the location of these "black" honey bees. Thank you.

    Okay, I magnified the image and took a very close look. All I see are a few bees, inside the feeder compartment that had been a little bit dampened by sugar syrup, and none that are black. You should get yourself a good look at some of the Apis mellifera mellifera, now those are truly black honey bees.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,271

    Default Re: What are these black bees??????

    A well mated queen stores semen from a dozen or more drones. Those drones may and do pass on a heritage that is every color of the bee rainbow. I get more than the odd black one in the genetics I have in several colonies. Just a curiosity.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,594

    Default Re: What are these black bees??????

    I've always believed the shiny black bees to be old robbers. You say they are around the feeder...well that figures.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Stilwell, KS
    Posts
    1,918

    Default Re: What are these black bees??????

    Get rid of the entrance feeder and the black bees may go away.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wilmington, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    875

    Default Re: What are these black bees??????

    Small black bees sound similar if not the case, Carpenter bees. No threat really. They are feisty and territorial, however not in greater numbers to mean anything. The larger "Black Hornets" mentioned I have not seen, yet I do have some unidentified, rather large (2" long) bee-like insects flying around. My book can't identify them. Their eyes are very large, they act like a honeybee and forage for nectar yet find a home in the small holes of my "Bee-block" like the bumble bees.
    Honey is the best thing ever discovered ! www.greenanything.net/honey-bees.php

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Stilwell, KS
    Posts
    1,918

    Default Re: What are these black bees??????

    Uh, I think Carpenter Bees are large and look like bumblebees.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wilmington, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    875

    Default Re: What are these black bees??????

    Yea, you're right. The ones I've seen are very aggressive and about 3/8" long. Problem is that there's about 5000 different types of bees in the world and 50 of them are listed in books....
    Honey is the best thing ever discovered ! www.greenanything.net/honey-bees.php

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Stilwell, KS
    Posts
    1,918

    Default Re: What are these black bees??????

    Quote Originally Posted by SwedeBee1970 View Post
    Yea, you're right. The ones I've seen are very aggressive and about 3/8" long. Problem is that there's about 5000 different types of bees in the world and 50 of them are listed in books....
    I guess there are smaller ones (Carpenter Bees). But, the ones we have are huge and dive-bomb us while sitting outside on the deck. Never seen them messing with my honeybees though.

    Seen plenty of black honeybees (I call them black butt bees) on my flowers and in and around my hives. At first I thought they were invaders/robbers, but now I just leave them alone. Seems like they are part of the colony(ies).

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wilmington, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    875

    Default Re: What are these black bees??????

    Yea, they're good fighters. Sometimes I see a hummingbird poke at the bumble bees until they leave the source. I'll have to get a picture of those large bee things I was talking about earlier.
    Honey is the best thing ever discovered ! www.greenanything.net/honey-bees.php

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Watauga, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    366

    Default Re: What are these black bees??????

    Some of these responses are bizarre considering the picture.

    These are bees that have been moistened by sugar syrup. It makes their fuzz lay down and makes them look blacker than they are. That is all.
    4.5 hives of Italians. 2 seasons of experience. And you-- yes, you! You're my mentor!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wilmington, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    875

    Default Re: What are these black bees??????

    Some pictures of this questionable Super sized honeybee ?? C my page...
    Honey is the best thing ever discovered ! www.greenanything.net/honey-bees.php

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Manassas, VA
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: What are these black bees??????

    I did some croping of the bees in my hive. On the left is a bee that looks black and on the right is a pic of a typical bee from my hive. Maybe it is just that she's soaked with syrup but they look pretty different to me!

    https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/phot...eat=directlink

    I wish I could have gotton a picture of that HUGE bee but I did a google it and I think it was a European Hornet. Nasty bugger.

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