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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My two hives had some weird behavior today. I've got two first year hives placed in the forest edge behind my house. One has been fairly strong with good activity,the other lackluster and slow to breed and draw comb,and now has a succession queen cell,lower population and almost no reserves,indicating a dead queen. The stronger hive was supered over the weekend as they had drawn out 8 frames of the previous super,but the weaker hive wasn't even close to filling out their first super.
It's been hot out,and fairly humid due to periodic rain. Nights are around 75F or so.
Both hives have been heavily bearded on the front of the hives both day and late at night (bees are packed pretty densely up to the 2nd super on the stronger hive,and up to the first super on the weak hive).
Today I saw plenty of combat on the landing board of the stronger hive. Guards were grabbing and rolling off the landing board with ants, other bees,yellowjackets and everything else that moved. Dead and struggling bees litter the ground in front of the stronger hive. In front of the weaker hive that has very few reserves and has no queen for now, there was no real sign of any struggle.
Activity was frantic in the air,showing all signs of robbing.

Here's the weird part: I would expect robbed hives to be very,very aggressive towards me. I'm used to my father in law's top bar and Kenyan residents,who will sting and chase 50'+ from the hive's landing board,even on nice sunny,windy days.
Neither hive showed the slightest interest in me, clad in black clothing,about 10' from the hive during daylight. I saw a stray cat wander right up to the landing board,and watched carefully,expecting Darwinian amusement as kitty learned where not to put his nose. The cat sauntered off slowly after watching with keen interest for 3 minutes or so. After checking them,I didn't even note a flying guard to warn me off as usual. Tonight, I approached the hives within 3' (using a red LED light) with no gear on at all, to observe the mass of bees bearded on the front and their possible reactions. I saw a few guards on the landing board shuttling away raiding ants and beetles on the strong hive,but otherwise there was very little movement,and absolutely no interest in the big giant peering practically down their throats.

So if it's robbing,why is the weak hive attacking the stronger, and why aren't they more defensive towards me (or the local strays)?
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