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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Shelby NC
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    Default How to tell if it is robbing

    How do i tell if my hive is being robbed. I can sit within a foot of the entrance without protection and watch the entrance, but I have no idea what I am mlooking at. What does a robbing bee look like vs. one who is just doing his chores?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Whitmell, Virginia, USA
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    Default Re: How to tell if it is robbing

    If the hive is strong enough they won't let them in.

    You will see the guard bees tackle some of them mid air and some if they get passed you will see them sometimes two at a time dragging a live bee out of the hive.

    A bee that is part of the hive will be greeted at the entrance and let in by the guards.
    Don't laugh it's paid for. -- Manure draws more flies than honey.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Solano, California, USA
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    1,335

    Default Re: How to tell if it is robbing

    Quote Originally Posted by ramdino View Post
    How do i tell if my hive is being robbed. I can sit within a foot of the entrance without protection and watch the entrance, but I have no idea what I am mlooking at. What does a robbing bee look like vs. one who is just doing his chores?
    The flight in and out is less direct. More circular and wavy. One of those bee things that is hard to describe. Watch for wax crumbles on floorboard entrance.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: How to tell if it is robbing

    Sitting a foot by the entrance is rather dangerous. Someone here got stung on the eyelid, face, neck, etc. I even stare into the hive within 6 inches to see what's at the bottom of the hive. But only after they settle down just before the sunset. Still dangerous though. Sometimes I am thinking to wear a goggle. Accident might happen when we are least expected. Now I sat 4 feet away on a high chair out of the busy bee route to watch them. A bit safer this way.
    When you watch them you will see the normal flight path where they come and go without any restriction. This is the normal operation of the bees. The guard bee meets these foragers at the entrance kinda like bumping head and ease off into the hive. This is a very natural state they do this. Come and go at will! Just the low pitch smooth flying by buzzing before the landing. Once they landed the buzzing noise is no more. You will hear this noise when close to the hive entrance.
    But during a robbing there will be many entropy either at the outside entrance or inside the hive. You will see they are biting each others. Tugging and dragging each others around and to the outside of the hive. If you ever see a live bee carrying the dead bee out off the entrance then they will roll around on the ground trying to free each other off. Also if you ever seen the mad bees with their wings up and buzzing loud noise, a robbing will increase this noise and buzzing level 10 times. It is like the whole hive is on guard maybe of the different smell of the foreign bees. So in a robbing situation fighting and rolling will increase while they tangled up with each others still alive. The noise level is fast and higher in buzzing sound like a stressful noise. Trying to kill each others is more like it. The next time you see a worker bee accident fly into a hive that is not hers, she will quickly buzzed out to avoid the guard beesr. Zip in and out really fast! Almost like lightning fast. When you see the many restless bees outside the hive then something is wrong here. I am trying to upload a vid of a queenless hive now. The restlessness increased 15 times at the entrance versus a normal calm hive with a queen in there. A robbing will increase this level to 25+ times more outside.
    Last edited by beepro; 03-11-2013 at 12:49 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Nowthen,Minnesota, USA
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    183

    Default Re: How to tell if it is robbing

    I've also found that the noise in front of the hive may be an indicator of robbing. It may be an individual thing but, to me a hive being robbed sounds more intense (ticked-off) than the noises that I associate with a colony that is just really busy.
    -Phil Domeier
    www.nowthenhoney.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Lee\'s Summit, MO
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    1,300

    Default Re: How to tell if it is robbing

    Watch to see if anyone is bringing in pollen. A hive being robbed is dead or about to be and is't having pollen delivered. Look for bits of wax on the landing board but the dead give away is the light sticky brown paste left on the entrance. It from the robber bees tracking honey on their feet.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Shelby NC
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    158

    Default Re: How to tell if it is robbing

    I got a lot of pollen coming in, about 25% of the bees entering have pollen loads. But there is a lot of bees that seem to fly around the entrance without landing. Like it's not a direct fly in. There is usually 10-20 kinda darting about in front of the hive. I have not noticed the combat ya'll have mentioned. I will take better notice if it warms today. I have an entrance feeder and there are always 3-5 around the entrance feeder trying to stick their tongue between the crack where the jar lid joins the feeder body.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
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    Neodesha, Ks
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    621

    Default Re: How to tell if it is robbing

    Entrance feeders are noted for starting Robbing.

  9. #9
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    Jan 2006
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    Lee\'s Summit, MO
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    Default Re: How to tell if it is robbing

    Sounds like you're looking at orientation flights, especially if +/-25% of the bee's have pollen loads. Orientation flights are where young bees exit the hive and fly back and forth around the hive as they set their version of GPS. If they come out in mass it can look like robbing but there's no fighting at the entrance.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Belews Creek, NC, USA
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    Default Re: How to tell if it is robbing

    I agree...orientation flights. I had a huge cloud in front of my hives this weekend. My hives are busting at the seams and still growing. Split time this weekend!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
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    834

    Default Re: How to tell if it is robbing

    I have a really hard time distinguishing between orientation flights and robbing. The main difference I see is that once robbing gets going it goes as long as it is daylight, where orientation flgihts tend to occur only in the early to mid-afternoon and orientation activity last for only an hour or two. Also each hive seems to have its own preferred time of day for orientation flights, and its entrance activity is relatively quiet during other times of the day.
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 14 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Jackson, MO
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    573

    Default Re: How to tell if it is robbing

    Bees are coming to the hive and leaving. Should be the other way round.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
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    2,489

    Default Re: How to tell if it is robbing

    My brother's deadout got robbed out last spring, and this is what I observed vs orientation flights:

    Bees flying around the hive investigating crack, under the telescoping cover, and behind the hive. Orienting bees are all in front.

    Bees landing on the sides or front of the hive and walking around to find the entrance. Bees know where the entrance to their own hive is and fly straight in when "loaded" with pollen or nectar, sometimes landing short but going right in. Bees searching for the entrance are not from that hive.

    Bees having trouble getting airborne when leaving, sometimes sliding down the landing board. During orientation, it's normal for bees to climb up the front of the hive to leave since there are so many bees flying directly into the entrance. This is the opposite of robbing, when bees fly slowly away and quickly in, landing on the front and walking down into the entrance.

    A live hive will fight the robbers, but if they get overwhelmed you may not see much fighting, just heavy bees leaving. Probably a goner by that time.

    Peter

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Mateo, Ca, USA
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    408

    Default Re: How to tell if it is robbing

    the robbing bees clump together around entrances and any cracks and have this crazed movement to them. Sometime you'll see them clustered in a frenzy around a tiny crack that isn't an actual entrance looking for a way into the hive. If you block the entrance of a hive that is getting robbed and open it later, it's like a jail break mass exodus when the entrance is reopened.

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