First-year backyard beekeeper here. There are bodies littered all over the plaza (ground) in front of the hive, and while there's a good bit of activity, it doesn't have that frantic feel that I expected to see with robbing. However, there were perhaps four pairs of bees locked in mortal combat on the plaza.
So . . . when the workers toss out the drones, is it a fight to the death? Somehow I'd just assumed the guys just left nicely once they sensed that their hive sisters were tired of feeding them. (Probably a silly assumption, I know.)
Thanks in advance for the responses.
Houston, TX, where it's an unseasonably warm 72 degrees.
I see drones escorted from the hive by 3-5 attendants each pulling at a leg, and dropped from the bottom board. No stinging to death.
If you have worker bees curled into stinging -- you have robbers. Sometimes this is a deadout, and competing robbers fight each other for ownership of the stash. In your region, usurpation by roving bands of AHB is not unknown either.
Sheets are fine short term (one day or so) but you''ll need robber screens and really reduced entrance(s) to arrest the robbing for good. And it raises the question of why the hive is a target for robbing?
I suspect I know why they're a target- the small hive (yes, it's being robbed as well, and has its own sheet now) is weak, and I put a Boardman feeder on it a couple of days ago to give them a leg up. Prolly not a good idea (head slap), but I never had a problem with the Boardman on the larger hive. Don't know of any reason for robbing of the larger hive, except maybe proximity and a medium opening in the entrance reducer.