Robbing in TN in March??
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Macon TN USA
    Posts
    127

    Default Robbing in TN in March??

    I am used to seeing robbing going on in late summer. But I went home for lunch about an hour ago and there were 100s (possibly 1,000s) of bees flying all around the front of my smallest hive. I have a robbing screen on all my hives, but bees were pouring in and out over the top of the screen.
    I thought it might be orientation flights, but I am used to that happening in the afternoon or early evening.

    I did not see any bees fighting. The noise was not abnormally loud.

    What do you think?

    Just orientation flights early in the day?

    Or is robbing in March normal?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: Robbing in TN in March??

    Most likely to be orientation, but it's worth checking if the temps were still cool-ish when you saw this. I think late today I would slip out the entrance reducer and brush out some debris from the hive floor to see whether there is evidence of the smash-and-grab mayhem that robbers leave in the form of large torn-away crumbs of combs.

    Do you know this colony is queenright? Perhaps it has died and the nearby bees were merely recycling the resources? I would give it a gentle tap this evening when only the home bees should be in the box to see if you get a little grumble out of them.

    Good on you for having robbing screens. I swear by them and I think they help keep the peace in my yard. 'Course they don't keep my bees from going out raiding elsewhere and coming home with more than just stolen honey.

    My bees up here in northern NY are orienting strongly, so yours ought to much farther along.

    Nancy

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Dickson TN
    Posts
    1,943

    Default Re: Robbing in TN in March??

    Most of mine do orientation flights between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm just so you know.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN
    Posts
    477

    Default Re: Robbing in TN in March??

    Possibly a practice swarm. Might want to inspect in the next few days for queen cells if are a mind to.
    Zone 7a - 1650ft

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Macon TN USA
    Posts
    127

    Default Re: Robbing in TN in March??

    Thanks for the replies guys!

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    3,291

    Default

    Newbees tend to think orientation flights or just about anything is robbing. It's also pretty common for them to rob out deadouts in late winter and early spring.

    Why do you have robbing screens on your hives? Are you feeding? If that hive is weak and your feeding they're probably going for the feed.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Forsyth, Missouri
    Posts
    674

    Default Re: Robbing in TN in March??

    Burns375
    Why do you have robbing screens on your hives?

    I put my robing screens on ALL of my hives the day before pulling honey in the fall and leave them on till spring.
    They are great mouse guards and it saves added equipment I have to swap out.
    Zone 6b 1400'

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Macon TN USA
    Posts
    127

    Default Re: Robbing in TN in March??

    Quote Originally Posted by burns375 View Post
    Newbees tend to think orientation flights or just about anything is robbing. It's also pretty common for them to rob out deadouts in late winter and early spring.

    Why do you have robbing screens on your hives? Are you feeding? If that hive is weak and your feeding they're probably going for the feed.
    I leave robbing screens on year round.

    I am not currently feeding.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Hubert, North Carolina
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: Robbing in TN in March??

    More than likely orientation flights. It's pretty easy to detect robbing, or orientations for that matter. Remember, Winter weather is pretty much gone (here in the South) and the first big batch of bee's are hatching since the Queen's have gotten fired up. The last warm day I had a tremendous amount of orientation flights going on and the bee's were even bearding on the front of the hives. I can remember as a new beekeeper how nervous I was that they were getting ready to swarm.

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