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Discussion Starter #1
My bees started sealing their entryway holes about 2 weeks ago. They left just enough space to enter and exit. Two days ago, the holes were completely sealed, with no other way of them exiting or entering. I punched out a hole in one of the entries yesterday and by evening it was completely sealed again. What do you all think is happening? They are working inside and only have 9 combs since May 26th. Drought and no rain?
 

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Whatever is going on, obviously, the bees think they know better than you what they need to do to protect themselves. Let them do it. I seriously doubt that they are completely closing up all possible means of exit and entrance. It ain't natural. There must be a small hole somewhere that they can use. Maybe one you can't see.

Let your bees be bees. They know what is best for themselves.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I do have a mesh bottom, with a pull out closer board, but it too is sealed with propolis. I checked inside my hive for any way they can come and go, and found a "bee size" squeezeable spot on the top bars, but really don't think they can get up through the roof. It too is weather proofed and pretty much closed off. I had taken away their syrup on Sat. because it was not getting eaten. I thought maybe the heat last week had made it rancid, so I made fresh syrup and fed them again this morning. They're hanging tight to the comb (almost like winter) and not milling about like usual. They must know something I don't. Another bee mentor said it could be due to robbing or drought. (Here in the Hill Country of Texas we're suffering BIG TIME)
I even thought the wildfires (about 100 miles from here) could have made them seal up, but I'd think they'd want to flee rather than seal up. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Otherwise I'm just going to listen to my bees. The bees know!
 

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So if you look at the hive in the middle of the day, (stand back a bit) there is no coming or going?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have done that the past several days. The only time they came out was when I punched a hole in one of the sealed areas. They came and went, then hastily sealed it right back up..... I'm continuing to watch them for any indication of movement. The weather has gotten nicer. It was 51 this morning.... We've only had 4 inches of rain since last Sept..... and the most unusual extreme drought .... I can't say it enough, we need rain. A mild tropical disturbance straight up from Corpus would be great. Thanks for any help or advice you can give!
 

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This seems to be a defensive action on the bees' part for a reason. If they need to they'll open up an entrance. But why they're sealing themselves off is very interesting. I did read one article where some scientist were seeing where the bees were sealing off individual cells that had pesticide laden stores in them, but sealing an entire hive is definitely different. Keep us posted on what happens.

Best wishes,
Ed
 

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Hi, a bit of a long shot but are there any high voltage cables etc near by? I remember reading (several years ago; possibly in an IBRA publication) of the same behaviour sometimes being displayed by colonies in close proximity to such power sources.

All the Best,
Roland
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I just went back out to watch the beehive. There was action on all my lavender. I stood back and watched the hive and saw two bees trying to come in...with no success.
I opened up the viewing window and several (about 50) bees began swarming to the light.... they acted like they wanted to get out. I have fresh sugar syrup in there and bees are on it. Should I punch another hole?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
No high voltage cables, we're out in the country. I also don't think this is a poison situation. With this heat and drought none of the farmers are growing much so hopefully they aren't using chemicals right now....but who knows.... I'm thinking I'll wait it out and watch what happens. Just a backyard beekeeper with one hive...so am terribly anal about their care.... as we all are!!! Rethinking how I'll build my next tbh though.....
 

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I don't think it's a matter of how the hive is built. I've seen bees propolize entrances of all types, including cork holes like you use. Most of my colonies do it in the fall as if preparing for winter. I've also seen colonies that have been robbed start closing up their entrances.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I thought of that because we went from 75 morning temps and 105 highs to 51 morning and 90 highs.... days are getting a little shorter.... all of that. I'm going to observe. What I meant about how it's built is this....I'm just not sure I need the mesh bottom and closer board....your thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I just returned home from a 24 hour trip and all holes are open and bee action has resumed..... amazing little creatures! Phew!

Matt, Thanks for the information on the screened bottoms....I've been wondering if I needed them....
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I don't know because I keep hearing conflicting reports on it. This summer was so hot I thought they'd need the air and pulled the bottom board off. Then I discovered the mesh I had used was 1/4 inch rather than 1/8th. They were using the bottom to enter and start their brood in the middle of the hive and work back. So I put the bottom back on and moved all the comb in reverse order by the front entry. Does any of that make sense. It forced them to use the front entry, and build their comb in the correct order...... brood at the entry and honey at the back....
completely confusing?
 
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