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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I have an interesting dilemma. Last winter, which was very long and cold here in Upstate NY, my 4 top-bar hives died out. As best I can figure it, it was due to dysentery, possibly nosema. They had plenty of honey left over, anyway.

Anyway, my post is not about that. I've cleaned up my beehives because I plan to reuse them. Last year, I had good luck catching swarms and that's my plan for this year.

Sp I was trimming the grass around the beehives today, when a few bees (2-3) came out of one of the hives to investigate me! I found this very strange as I had seen no signs of life from any of the hives. I moved off until the bees settled down, then came back. There are indeed bees coming in and out of one of the hives. The pace is very slow, like nothing I've ever seen on an active hive or even a freshly-trapped swarm. Usually, I'm used to seeing a few bees hanging around the entranceway, and handfuls of bees flying in and out every second. Here, I was seeing 1 bee at a time, maybe ever 20-30 seconds.

There's nothing left to scavenge, as I collected all of the honey, and I had scavengers (other honeybees, bumble bees, carpenter bees, wasps) go over everything earlier in the season. The hive currently contains 2 top bars with old comb and the rest is completely empty. It's also only that one hive that there is any attention to, and the other 3 are all similiarly set up with old comb and mostly empty.

I had other chores to do around the garden, so I didn't throw on a veil to go investigate... but what could possibly be going on? They look like bees, not bumblebees or wasps. I haven't seen one land, so I can't describe one in detail... but are there any kind of wild bees, not honeybees, that could've moved in? I know mason bees look a lot like small honeybees, but a) they're not social to the best of my knowledge, b) they shouldn't be attracted to the hive.

Anyway, just thought I'd share and see if anybody had any ideas...
 

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What do the bees look like, if they aren't honeybees?
 

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"scouts or curious neighbors" or robber bees looking for a hive.

Most likely they are honey bees collecting propolis, look at there back legs.

I have also found mason bees and hornets take up residence in swarm traps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, it's raining here today, so I'm not going to open the hive up and look...

They were definitely not hornets/wasps. Mason bees are a possibility.

I just found it strange that if they're curious neighbors or robbers, they're only looking at the one empty hive when there are 3 others right next door. Scouts would be great! By this time last year I had already caught two big swarms (and I only had two swarm traps out), so a swarm would be very welcome
 
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