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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    St. Clair County, MI
    Posts
    45

    Exclamation Need Help... are my bees being robbed??!!

    My bees are flying like mad around the hive... way more than I have ever seen before. They are buzzing very loud... louder than I have ever heard before. They are piled up on the ground and around the front. What do I do???

    P1050235.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    St. Clair County, MI
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Need Help... are my bees being robbed??!!

    I was in my garden, near the hive, and the bees were doing some orientation flights, everything was normal. Then suddenly the buzzing became very loud and there were bees everywhere. The sky around the hive was filled with them. They were on the ground and covering the front of the hive. It is not hot out (in the low 70's and cloudy). It calmed down after about 10 minutes. Maybe they were being robbed and fought them off? I don't know. I want to go into the hive but not sure if that's wise with them having been so agitated.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Need Help... are my bees being robbed??!!

    Swarming? You guys are in a nectar flow I'll bet. If so, I bet swarming before I'd guess robbing.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Decatur, GA
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Need Help... are my bees being robbed??!!

    Quote Originally Posted by jmombo View Post
    I was in my garden, near the hive, and the bees were doing some orientation flights, everything was normal. Then suddenly the buzzing became very loud and there were bees everywhere. The sky around the hive was filled with them. They were on the ground and covering the front of the hive. It is not hot out (in the low 70's and cloudy). It calmed down after about 10 minutes. Maybe they were being robbed and fought them off? I don't know. I want to go into the hive but not sure if that's wise with them having been so agitated.
    It really sounds like you may be dealing with a pre-swarm situation, not robbing - the buzzing and lack of bees physically fighting is what makes me think this.

    If it is a swarm (and it really does sound like it), then you'll need to act. Once they slide into swarm mode, there's not a heck of a lot you can do to stop it. So if you can, go into the old hive, find the queen, and fake a swarm by taking her and 4 or 5 frames of bees shaken into a new box with the queen. Don't remove any swarm cells or queen cells in the original hive - I made this rookie mistake early in the season this year and had to re-queen.

    I'm not super experienced so others may be able to help more. But I did want to give you some feedback in the event it's useful.
    -- Matt C.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    St. Clair County, MI
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Need Help... are my bees being robbed??!!

    Thank you for the quick replies. I have uploaded a video clip that I took of it starting. I was in my garden so caught it right as it happened. They were calm and behaving normally and this happened suddenly. This is my first hive and only started it May 18th, with a 3lb package. I have had queen cells on the bottom and upper portions of some of my frames, so swarming is possible. Just seems so early and they do still have room in the top super. I wish I knew for sure what I was dealing with here. Maybe my best move is to let nature take it's course and see what the bees think is best. Here is my video....


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: Need Help... are my bees being robbed??!!

    Your bees were at least attempting to swarm, maybe the queen wasn't able to fly for some reason (clipped wings) and the bees came back to the hive. Its possible the queen was on the ground in front of the hive in that pile of bees. You didn't see a cloud of bees fly off away? John

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,290

    Default Re: Need Help... are my bees being robbed??!!

    Swarming for sure.
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 32 hives==== T{OAV}

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    St. Clair County, MI
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Need Help... are my bees being robbed??!!

    Queen is clipped, so it's possible she was on the ground. This is what it looks like now, soon afterwards. Calm and quiet. Should I go in or wait until tomorrow?

    P1050258.jpg

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    St. Clair County, MI
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Need Help... are my bees being robbed??!!

    jmgi, I did not see a cloud of bees fly away. My guess is that they all crawled back inside.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    S Hadley, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    716

    Default Re: Need Help... are my bees being robbed??!!

    That sure is a hive trying to swarm. Your queen was clipped and she most likely was in that pile. Had to say what happened next. She might have crawled back in. Usually once the fever hits they will try and try. You might see this a few more times.
    Last edited by Michael B; 06-30-2013 at 12:57 PM.
    Pearl City Apiary Michael and Loucil Bach

  11. #11

    Default Re: Need Help... are my bees being robbed??!!

    Take a look around the hive. If she was clipped you may find her with a clump of bees somewhere nearby.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,319

    Default Re: Need Help... are my bees being robbed??!!

    If you let nature take it's course, and let the bees do what they think is best, you are going to lose half your bees with the prime swarm. If you do not remove all but one or two of the queen cells remaining after they swarm or you split, you will lose 1/3 to 1/2 of what you had left of the adult bees that did not go with the prime swarm.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    3,046

    Default Re: Need Help... are my bees being robbed??!!

    Find your clipped queen and make a split with her, turn the new hive facing a different direction too.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    St. Clair County, Illinois
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Need Help... are my bees being robbed??!!

    jmombo, thank you for sharing that video. I have never seen a "pre-swarm" before. An amazing site! It must have been shocking to walk to your garden and seeing the bees behave this way.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greene, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    602

    Default Re: Need Help... are my bees being robbed??!!

    They appear to be attempting to swarm. You say the queen is clipped, so if she is on the ground, the majority will mosy likely return for the time being. I noticed your hive is on blocks. Be sure to check under the bottom board to see if she crawled up under the hive. She my have even made it back inside the hive. Then, if you can locate her, do what JRG13 says about making a split ASAP.

    Also, if you see them start to swarm again, try banging loudly and rappidly on an object. Something that makes a deep sounding noise would be preferable. Do some research on drumming for bees. The idea is to get them to settle down under a branch. Old-timers used to do this, and it has worked for many who desired to call in a swarm. Let us know if you get to try it; especially if it works.
    No one famous.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    St. Clair County, MI
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Need Help... are my bees being robbed??!!

    I just did a thorough inspection and did not spot my queen. Also... no eggs. I was very careful to check thoroughly and have seen them every inspection prior. There are a few frames of capped brood in the bottom 2 supers, but most of the brood cells are uncapped and empty. There is an entire super of uncapped honey and a super that is nearly entirely empty of comb. I spotted 9 capped swarm cells and 1 capped supercedure cell. Should I buy a new queen or wait for one of these queen cells to hatch? As far as I can tell, there is no current queen to split with.
    - Things were going so well (booming) and now I feel like I am in a free fall.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greene, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    602

    Default Re: Need Help... are my bees being robbed??!!

    Don't worry. Bees were doing these things before us humans ever tried to control them. I can't speak for others, but if it were me, I would wait a few weeks to see what unfolds. In the mean time, line up a source for a queen should you need one. Sounds like you really love your bees. I do too. Watch nature take its course.
    No one famous.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    St. Clair County, MI
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Need Help... are my bees being robbed??!!

    Thank you Bee Whisperer. I do love my bees. They fascinate me and have been so docile. I really want to do the best I can for them. I can't thank you all enough. This forum has been such a great support.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,186

    Default Re: Need Help... are my bees being robbed??!!

    Ok so I thought my hive was just excessively orienting but now you guys got me worried I was just in this hiveyesterday and there were no signs of swarm https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyCz...e_gdata_player

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: Need Help... are my bees being robbed??!!

    That cloud of bees was the swarm...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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