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Edit: sorry for the silly-long post. Didn't seem that long when writing it. I don't think this is scouting behavior but I'm a total noob. Only one bee at a time at the entrance. It lands, moves inside immediately, and it nor any other bee comes out until at least 20 measured seconds has passed; there's obviously not a lot of bees here. I think every one I've seen has at least some pollen with it...this can't possibly be a colony, though, right? Anyway, on with the silly-long post.


Hello, all. I looked around for about thirty mins and while there are tons of rabbit holes I could get lost in here, I didn't see anything too too similar to my issue. I live in central Virginia, US.

I'm not a bee keeper but have thought about it for years; I usually do hundreds of hours of research before taking on something like this, but it seems that perhaps bees have forced my hand...

I had a thin, local newspaper, folded over once, lying on a box located on my covered front porch for a few days, then noticed something fly out of it yesterday right at the fold (which makes a conveniently perfectly bee-sized hole between the layers of newspaper pages). As I watched for a few minutes, I was surprised to see what looked like a honey bee fly toward the hole, land, and promptly walk into the hole right at the fold.

Watching for a few more mins, I saw that bee leaving and another landing to repeat the process.

There is a VERY small place/space between the front and rear halves of this small newspaper; maybe only like 10" deep by less than one inch wide.

As far as I know, they've only been there for about two days, but I can imagine them outgrowing this space in no time. There doesn't seem to be many workers flying in and out right now, but I assume that, too, can change relatively quickly.

I know I could call a service to come get them by capturing the queen (if there is one?), but I'd like to keep them if the members here think that wouldn't be a mistake?

Dad had a few hives when I was a wee little thing and I helped him with those at times. I'm now all grown up (on the outside), live on a partially wooded few acres, am handy with wood, saws, etc and can build things, and have been interested in bee keeping for some time. Having said all of this and after explaining my situation, my initial questions are:

1. Are these bees likely to be common honey bees or something else? (they look like golden colored, typical honey bees to me <shrug>). I've learned to differentiate between beneficial insects and pests because we didnt want to use harsh chemicals any longer. In the 15 years we've lived at this home, the strongest insecticide we've ever used is insecticidal soap; it was a struggle the first few years until we built up the levels of predatory insects and planted bushes, trees, and shrubs to attract birds that commonly eat insect pests.

2. Is it a mistake to think I can dive into this 'hobby', making a home for them, and starting a colony this way? I realize I'm little more than a complete stranger to y'all at this point. My wife and I have cats, dogs, chickens, rabbits, and pigs right now, but not much knowledge transfers from those animals to bees, haha.

3. Being that this obviously isn't a swarm situation, is there likely a queen inside this very small space they've inhabited, with their obviously very few numbers? (I havent poked or prodded the newspaper at all, preferring to completely leave them alone so far)

4. If the consensus is that I can attempt a quick hive build and transfer of these bees to a new home, any threads I should reference for more info RE: hive builds and method of transfer of the budding colony?

Thanks in advance. This forum is a wealth of information.
 

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If diving in is what you want to do, go for it. Most people tale a class or two to understand the basics of beekeeping. There are so many questions that need answering that getting some help from a local beekeepers association would greatly benefit your. What size woodenware are you going to use (just buy it, don't bother making it, honestly)? How are you going to transfer comb? Do you have a bee suit and smoker? How do you know if you got the queen? What are you going to feed them? How big is the final hive going to be? And a dozen more questions like that. Try to get a mentor from a local club and they will help you answer these questions.
 

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I had a thin, local newspaper, folded over once, lying on a box located on my covered front porch for a few days, then noticed something fly out of it yesterday right at the fold (which makes a conveniently perfectly bee-sized hole between the layers of newspaper pages). As I watched for a few minutes, I was surprised to see what looked like a honey bee fly toward the hole, land, and promptly walk into the hole right at the fold.

Watching for a few more mins, I saw that bee leaving and another landing to repeat the process.

There is a VERY small place/space between the front and rear halves of this small newspaper; maybe only like 10" deep by less than one inch wide.

As far as I know, they've only been there for about two days, but I can imagine them outgrowing this space in no time. There doesn't seem to be many workers flying in and out right now, but I assume that, too, can change relatively quickly.
That doesn't sound like honey bees. I think you've got something else there.
 

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These are not honey bees.
Betting my pocket change.
 

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My bet is mason bees. Resemble honey bees and from above you will swear they are carrying pollen in baskets. Look from below and you will see their whole belly is covered in pollen. Had a coworker last year who had 'bees' nesting in the arms of his porch chairs. Stopped by expecting wasps but knew instantly they were bees, just not honey bees. This year many of them are using bundles of bamboo tubes and will come to live here.
 

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Would you be able to post a picture of the bees that you see? It does seem like a very small space for them to be.
 

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My bet is mason bees.
That's what I was thinking. Mason bees drive me nuts here. Those little buggers fill every gap, crack, crevice and hole they can get to, from the slots in stacked upper and lower frame bars, to the carburetor adjustment holes in my chainsaw, to what amounts to barely an indentation on a piece of statuary. If I leave the garage door open they'll fill up the drive holes on socket sets and the air hose connections on my air impact tools. There's even one spot on a flat surface where they just built up mud to make a spot.

I wondered if I should make up nest boxes to divert them from the other stuff but then it occurred to me that I would just be providing a prime opportunity for them to further increase the population, like welfare mothers in a housing project.
 
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