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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Bayfield, Colorado, USA
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    162

    Default Huge Black Bees Attacking

    While working in my beeyard yesterday I sensed a change in the "tone" of the yard. I walked over to my Top Bar Hive and realized that there were these huge black bees barging in and out of my hive. I couldn't really tell if my Carniolans were doing battle, but there were seriously not happy, was my impression by the "tone". I ran to my computer and felt that they were robbers. I made the entrances very small, as best as I could, and began swatting away the interlopers, my girls seemed to be happy with what I was doing. Eventually the tone returned to normal and I could see there were no more of the black bees around. What the heck was this? I am in the beginning of my second year, I have one top bar and 4 Langs. What I am reading says it is too early for robbing. Who are these black bees, they were at least twice the size of my girls.
    "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever." year 3, 14 langs and 2 top bars
    www.4cornersbeekeepers.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Huge Black Bees Attacking

    Were they drones by chance? Some will be all black on the abdomen.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Nashville, TN
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    320

    Default Re: Huge Black Bees Attacking

    I think you are looking at Carpenter bees--shiny black and bigger than bumblebees. The females forage on nectar, but the males make a nuisance of themselves. They are very curious and will hang out around hives and bother them. I use a fly swatter in mid air--good practice for fly season. But you have to step on them after you knock them down because they usually are only stunned, and rise to pester another day. Generally you'll only have a few of them, so you can fairly easily discourage them. A strong lang hive will not let them in, but they still make the bees irritable.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
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    532

    Default Re: Huge Black Bees Attacking

    I'm with JRG13 drones will often come out to play in large numbers especially between 10am and 2.pm

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Bayfield, Colorado, USA
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    162

    Default Re: Huge Black Bees Attacking

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    Were they drones by chance? Some will be all black on the abdomen.
    Gosh I hope not! Their abdomens were solid black and they were even a lot bigger than a queen bee.
    "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever." year 3, 14 langs and 2 top bars
    www.4cornersbeekeepers.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Bayfield, Colorado, USA
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    162

    Default Re: Huge Black Bees Attacking

    I felt terrible, but my husband was out there killing them, it seemed to be the only way to stop the onslaught. It just seemed to be so overwhelming. He left some bodies on the landing board hoping to dissuade a second invasion. I opened up a couple of the top bars and they were inside as well, can't figure out why my bees weren't able to fight them off. Thank you for our help discovering what type bee they are.
    "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever." year 3, 14 langs and 2 top bars
    www.4cornersbeekeepers.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Summerfield, NC
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    67

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Cleveland, OH, USA
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    475

    Default Re: Huge Black Bees Attacking

    Quote Originally Posted by hideawayranch View Post
    I felt terrible, but my husband was out there killing them, it seemed to be the only way to stop the onslaught. It just seemed to be so overwhelming. He left some bodies on the landing board hoping to dissuade a second invasion.
    I just had this vision of a bunch of carpenter bees piked on toothpicks taped to the front of the bottom board.

    Is there any way you could get some photos of these invaders uploaded for us, or is the incursion pretty much over? It would help with a more certain identification.
    Beeless since 2012; coming back in 2014. Suffering from apicultural withdrawal!

  9. #9
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    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Huge Black Bees Attacking

    Carpenter bees are solitary and wouldn't attack in mass. Please take a picture too. I'm betting they are just drones, ur male bees. Carni drones can be solid black, i've seen some in a swarm I recently hived and yes, they are big.
    Last edited by JRG13; 05-13-2013 at 11:27 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Bayfield, Colorado, USA
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    162

    Default Re: Huge Black Bees Attacking

    Quote Originally Posted by melliferal View Post
    I just had this vision of a bunch of carpenter bees piked on toothpicks taped to the front of the bottom board.

    Is there any way you could get some photos of these invaders uploaded for us, or is the incursion pretty much over? It would help with a more certain identification.
    Thats too funny, at work yesterday I was describing what happened and some one said the same thing, little heads on pikes.
    "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever." year 3, 14 langs and 2 top bars
    www.4cornersbeekeepers.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Bayfield, Colorado, USA
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    162

    Default Re: Huge Black Bees Attacking

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    Carpenter bees are solitary and wouldn't attack in mass. Please take a picture too. I'm betting they are just drones, ur male bees. Carni drones can be solid black, i've seen some in a swarm I recently hived and yes, they are big.
    really! Well I went out in the yard this morning to look for bodies but it was still a little dark and I couldn't see any, I so wished I would have filmed it now. I will see if they come back, and if they do I will film it for sure. But they do look like the carpenter bees in the pictures that millerdrr had me look at.
    "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever." year 3, 14 langs and 2 top bars
    www.4cornersbeekeepers.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    1,388

    Default Re: Huge Black Bees Attacking

    Sounds like lots of drones flying and hovering around. it can look and sound like an attack but it is not.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
    Posts
    532

    Default Re: Huge Black Bees Attacking

    If they are Drones they will still be in your hive and you will see them coming and going in the warmer parts of the day.

    Sometimes they come out on mass sometimes in ones or twos. they make a different sound to a worker bee as someone has said before a noisy droney sound.

    As Carpenter bees are solitary I doubt you would have had a mass of them trying to get in your hive. The bees would also have tried to keep them out and you would have seen fighting on the landing board. Drones come and go as they please with no interruption during the season.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,530

    Default Re: Huge Black Bees Attacking

    My drones are completely black even if majority of the bees are honey-yellow. Drones have no pointy back ends as all bee-females including the queen. Drone's back end is sort of round. If there is a frame in the hive full of drone's cells - eventually, drones will fly out of the hive in large quantity - many consider it as an indication of the healthy hive. Good luck with your drones and do not worry about them - girls will made more if necessary!
    Серёжа, Sergey

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