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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Could anyone please tell me if this could be robbing going on? It looks like 2-3 "girls" are wrestling in air & they sometimes tumble to the
ground & then still clinging to each other fly off into the air where they then separate. Saw the guards attack & kill a bumblebee but the 2-3 wrestling were not bumblebees they were all honey bees. Is this a norm for this time of year? Seems like they mostly come out of my year old
hive and not my new hive.
 

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Welcome to Beesource!


Yes, that description sounds like it could be robbing. You may be able to reduce it by reducing the entrance size of both hives. If you are feeding, stop feeding.


Serious cases of robbing can be stopped by temporarily closing off the hive. A wet sheet draped over the hive can help.
 

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Another likely possibility is two bees collaborating by carrying hive debris together. The load and their close proximity to each, which messes up their aerodynamics, often makes them look they are tumbling and locked in a battle.

Watch closely: fighting bees generally (but not always) stick to the combat, often wrestling after they hit the ground. Hive-maintenance bees on the job carry their load off, dump it and fly calmly off to get another load or do another chore.

Sometimes, too, there is a very low level of "foreigner" bees that are being shown off the premises. These can be the harbingers of a full-on assault, though, so it might pay to be sure to have enough anti-robbing devices at the ready. Sometimes I put them on preventively, but leave their entrances wide open for a day or so to minimize the home bee confusion and allow me to study the situation. If not forced by an active robbing situation, it goes better if you can install them in the night, or before dawn when most bees are inside. But if you find a honey-felony-in-progress, don't delay: interrupt it immediately with robbing screens even if there is temporary chaos as the returning foragers can't figure it out. By the end of a day of milling around, they'll work it out.

Applying robbing screens when robbing is already happening always makes things look much worse for a few hours. Hang tough, though; it's what has to happen to protect your hives. Even if you have misjudged the situation and there is NO robbing happening, the temporary chaos from installing the anti-robbing devices is far less damaging to the colonies than robbing which not only steals the essential stores and kills many defenders, but it has the huge potential to bring diseases and pests into your hive. Definitely don't want that!

Enj.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the information. Like to sit and watch them and it may be that they are working together to move debris out or it may just be
robbing but will definitely check out robbing screens, a new method for me to check out.
 
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