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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a new beekeeper this year and I took this picture of the hive this afternoon. I didn't notice anything out of the usual, but in looking at the photo (attached), I noticed that some of the bees landing on the platform have significantly darker abdomens. You can see it in the picture as well.

Does this indicate robbing from a different hive? Maybe they are just drones from the same hive or maybe the hive is genetically diverse?

I appreciate any thoughts you can provide.

Thanks,
Michael
 

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Often it's just the genetics of the drone fathers showing up. Mixed colors is more normal than all one color.

Look for bees wrestling at the entrance. If they are not, it probably isn't robbing. From the pic it looks like a small entrance, so robbing would be hard to get started.
 

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Michael - first post ? Welcome aboard. :)

My eyes aren't great, but some of those black bees look like they may be drones ?

But whatever - generally speaking - there are several reasons why colours can be mixed: Queen was impregnated by drones of several sub-types, and older bees often become black as they lose their body hair - and of course different coloured bees could also be visiting bees from other hives (including robber scouts).

One of the tell-tales of robbing are bees sniffing around the cracks between boxes, as they try to find alternative means of gaining access into the hive, in order to avoid the existing guard bees. There's no evidence of that in the photograph - but there may be out of shot.

If in doubt, suggest you fit some form of anti-robbing screen - it's cheap insurance, gives peace of mind, and can stay on all year round if necessary.
'best
LJ

BTW - don't forget to add location to your user profile, as the answers to some questions can be very much location-dependent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Often it's just the genetics of the drone fathers showing up. Mixed colors is more normal than all one color.

Look for bees wrestling at the entrance. If they are not, it probably isn't robbing. From the pic it looks like a small entrance, so robbing would be hard to get started.
Thanks for the quick response. It is good to hear that it's normal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
little_john: Awesome information. I've never heard of an anti-robbing screen...I'll look it up tonight. I live in Chicago, Illinois, USA...I'll update my profile in a few mins.

Interesting information about the sniffing around cracks. I saw a lot of that the other day. I just assumed it was because I'd just hived them and they were confused about where the entrance is. What do you typically do if you see a bee sniffing? Do you move her along with a gentle brushing, or do you just leave her alone?
 

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Leave her alone. If it's robbing it will be lots of bees trying to get in through any little crack. Hard to miss. If its one or two or a few, probably not robbing.
By the way, welcome, neighbor!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Gotcha...less is more.

Yes, I noticed that you live in northern, Il. It's probably considered bad form to change the subject on a thread, but do you mind if I ask you if you know of any good places to get Nucs in northern IL? I got a few Nucs from a distributor and then found out that they ship them in from Florida, but I'd rather get local bees. If not, I'll just spawn a new thread. Thanks again for all of the info.
 

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Gotcha...less is more.

Yes, I noticed that you live in northern, Il. It's probably considered bad form to change the subject on a thread, but do you mind if I ask you if you know of any good places to get Nucs in northern IL? I got a few Nucs from a distributor and then found out that they ship them in from Florida, but I'd rather get local bees. If not, I'll just spawn a new thread. Thanks again for all of the info.
Hey there. I'm also from Chicago. I'm getting some bees this year from https://bradsbeesandhoney.com/shop/ From their website it looks like they still have nucs and 10 frame hives still available. Pickup is in Elgin and starts May 5. I'd contact them to make sure they are local though.
 
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