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vs. just being very very busy? Do robbers come with pollen on their legs? I wouldn't think so, but I'm seeing 3 or 4 times normal activity at this hive. This is a single hive. I don't know of any nearby beekeeping operations, but this is a very rural area and 50 hives could be in my neighbors yard and I'd never know.
 

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If you have limited entrances, and only one hive, I think it's very unlikely that it's being robbed. When robbing occurs, you often see some bees fighting at the entrances, but after a while, they give up and it just looks like a ton of activity. Robbers won't usually have pollen on their legs, but there can be foraging going on during robbing, so the presence of pollen on some of the bees won't rule it out.

I suspect you are seeing orienting flights from some of the newly emerged bees. They'll spend an hour or so mostly flying back and forth in front of the hive to learn the area for when they go out foraging. Robbing also involves bees flying around in front of the hive, but the bees generally focus more on getting in and getting out, rather than zipping around happily learning landmarks.

If you suspect robbing is happening, close down the entrances to make the hive easier to guard. This may cause a traffic jam, but it won't really harm bees trying to make their orientation flights.
 

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If you are lucky and you might be,you are seeing orientation flights of young bees! The orientation flights may last about 5 - 10 minutes and the bees return to the hive.
The bees returning from the field with pollen is a good sign.
Bees fighting at the entrance, bees flying around the hive cover, aggresive behavior, tid bits of comb at the entrance and bees that fly out of the hive rapidly when you remove the cover are a few of the signs.
Robber bees can also look greasy.
Ernie
 
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