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Thread: Cannibal Bees??

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    West St. Paul, MN, USA
    Posts
    64

    Default Cannibal Bees??

    The past couple of days when I have went out to look at the bees, I have noticed a worker fighting with another worker?bee (it doesn't look like a drone to me). It appears the aggressor has bitten or torn most of the wing structure off and proceeds to carry them a little ways away from the hive entrance. These wounded bees can still walk, but ultimately are doomed. So what is going on here? Are the bees that are being mutilated robbers, drones, unhealthy workers or something else? I have witnessed this maybe three times in the last three days, but otherwise the hive seems to be doing well. Any thoughts??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Cannibal Bees??

    I saw a lot of this going on with my hives this fall. My assumption is robbers since I've had some difficulty with that but I don't know for sure.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Maryville, tn, usa
    Posts
    208

    Default Re: Cannibal Bees??

    Robbers will fight back... Bees infected by viruses or such are much more passive and take being bitten and dragged by thier sisters... They often will look greazy or have abnormal wings to begin with so watch if they are really fighting or just trying to get away

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,486

    Default Re: Cannibal Bees??

    Do the wings look like the pic in this link? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deformed_wing_virus

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Sheboygan, WI, USA
    Posts
    129

    Default Re: Cannibal Bees??

    Hi Andy, Sounds like bees fighting with robbers to me too. Lots of hungry bees out there right before winter sets in.
    To find out more about me go to
    www.broomsbylittlejohn.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    West St. Paul, MN, USA
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: Cannibal Bees??

    The picture that johng found on wikipedia does look like what I saw, but I can't tell for sure. After reading the wiki entry, the deformed wing virus sounds pretty bad, but it also appears that the healthy worker/guard bees kick out the deformed bees on purpose to safeguard the rest of the hive. I have not done any official mite counts, but I have not seen a lot of evidence for them either. In late August my hive swarmed, so the brood cycle got interrupted and hopefully cut down on the number of mites that are present. Unfortunately the weather is getting cold pretty fast up here, so there is not much going on outside the hive right now. If it warms up at all, I will continue to keep an eye out for this again, but I am sure I won't be doing a real hive inspection again until spring, unless we have a winter like we did last year!

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