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Do Robbers Kill Queen First?

865 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  marant
I have two colonies rescued from water meters. They are side by side on the hive stand.

A week ago I added a second box to one of the hives. Yesterday I added a second box to the other. A few hours after adding that box I noticed it appeared it was being robbed, probably from the other colony. I reduced the entrance down to 1 bee width and that seemed to halt the robbing.

My question is: Do I need to be worried about the queen? Will robbers first try to kill the resident queen? I would prefer to not disturb them again, but I can. Do I maybe need to inspect the hive for resources, since if they have been reduced substantially they may not need the second box now and will have difficulty patrolling it?
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No, they are there to get honey but many workers may die in the process of trying to defend the hive. Though the queen might be collateral damage in a robbing event I have seen lots of robbed out hives that contain a queen and a tiny cluster.
Of course, the OP is in AHB territory, and AHB bees do something called usurpation, which is a hostile takeover of a hive. Presumably they would kill the resident queen, so as to protect their own.

I have never such a thing (I'm in NY), but it might look like robbing.

Of course, bees in water meters seem to often be AHB to start with, so maybe some intramural battles are going on.

Interesting theory Nancy. Yes, usurpation might well be the case here given the location. I've actually had some experience with this and seen nice calm hives transformed into quite aggressive ones in a matter of a single year but I've never actually witnessed what appeared to be an individual act of usurpation. My guess, and its only a guess, is that its a fairly subtle event but I'd be interested in hearing from those who have deal with this regularly.
Thanks for the comments. I doubt that it was usurpation, since I imagine that would involve a much larger number of bees than I saw. I did peek into the hive this morning and it looked like there are still quite a few bees, and they are not nervous. I will presume they are OK until next week when I inspect. I think I will leave the second box on until then.

Re AHB: The common wisdom seems to be that water meter bees are aggressive, and probably AHB. I do not know if that is fact or not. I know I opened up the first meter colony today and they were all over me. If it keeps up I will requeen.
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