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I've noticed a bunch of black bees in my hives (starting about 2 weeks ago). I'venever seen black bees in my hives before. Could they be robbers? :scratch: Check out this picture:

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/pkyKVLH1IsHsf_YbTjZPdPzH-r7YRmHTD2zvDsXQjrQ?feat=directlink

They seem to be in the entrance feeder mostly when I pull off the jar. I have robber screens ready to put on and a frame feeder to start using but I haven't put them on yet. I hope I'm not too late.

Comments anyone?

Also, just an interesting observation........saw a HUGE bee ..... and I mean HUGE... flying around the two hives earlier today. I went in the house to get a tennis racket to smack it away and when I came back it was gone. It was yellow and black and was at least a 1.5 inches long and very fat. Not a carpenter bee because I've had those for years. It was something else and very scarry looking.

Thanks in advance for your advice/comments!
Steph
 

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I would be interested if anyone knows about the black bees. I too have seen these in the swarm I recently re-queened. I assumed they were just the new genetics but I could be wrong.

As for the HUGE yellow and black bee you saw I would say that is a yellow jacket. I have a nest of them around my house somewhere that I cant seem to find.
 

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My brother has occasional black bees in his hives, with gray stripes. He has had the hive for six years and never re-queened, so we think he's got a mix with the local survivor bees.

They make decent amounts of honey and don't have mite problems, so we leave them alone.

The "giant bee" was probably a cicada killer wasp, they look like a bee from a distance. Up close they are hairless and you wouldn't mistake them for a bee.

Harmless unless you insist on handling them, as they wills sting if squeezed. They prey on cicadas -- quite a sight to see one dragging a stunned cicada off to it's nest for a brood snack (they lay their eggs in the paralyzed cicada).

Peter
 

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Not to much help on the black bees as most of mine are black survivor stock, but the big black and yellow bee you seen was probably a european hornet I had them kill a week nuc about this time last year.
 

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I had one of my hives open the other day when a hornet like the one you described came in, flew around my head a couple times, and then dove into my open hive. It then flew away with at least one bee out the hive in its grasp. This hornet was at least 1.5" + and was yellow and black. I was pretty shocked.
 

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The yellow and black hornets I have here are European hornets and they are brutal on a bee hive. The image of what I have is at the link below:

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl...FMTuvLN5HqgQfwt6TuBg&ved=0CDcQ9QEwBA&dur=1344

They swoop in and grab a honeybee and fly off like its nothing.

I like seeing yellow jackets and hornets while I'm working the hive. I'm fully protected and take advantage of it and squish every one that I see:applause:
 

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The cutout I did a couple days ago had about 1/4 of the bees that were very black with almost no yellow striping at all, another 1/4 are black tipped with the last 3/4 of the abdomen being solid black, the other 1/2 are fairly normal italian looking bees. All were very laid back, so I hope they make it!
 

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I checked out your photo and I don't see any "black" honey bees, or any insect that looks like a bee and is black. Could you please be more specific as to the location of these "black" honey bees. Thank you.

Okay, I magnified the image and took a very close look. All I see are a few bees, inside the feeder compartment that had been a little bit dampened by sugar syrup, and none that are black. You should get yourself a good look at some of the Apis mellifera mellifera, now those are truly black honey bees.
 

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A well mated queen stores semen from a dozen or more drones. Those drones may and do pass on a heritage that is every color of the bee rainbow. I get more than the odd black one in the genetics I have in several colonies. Just a curiosity.
 

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Small black bees sound similar if not the case, Carpenter bees. No threat really. They are feisty and territorial, however not in greater numbers to mean anything. The larger "Black Hornets" mentioned I have not seen, yet I do have some unidentified, rather large (2" long) bee-like insects flying around. My book can't identify them. Their eyes are very large, they act like a honeybee and forage for nectar yet find a home in the small holes of my "Bee-block" like the bumble bees.
 

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Yea, you're right. The ones I've seen are very aggressive and about 3/8" long. Problem is that there's about 5000 different types of bees in the world and 50 of them are listed in books....
I guess there are smaller ones (Carpenter Bees). But, the ones we have are huge and dive-bomb us while sitting outside on the deck. Never seen them messing with my honeybees though.

Seen plenty of black honeybees (I call them black butt bees) on my flowers and in and around my hives. At first I thought they were invaders/robbers, but now I just leave them alone. Seems like they are part of the colony(ies).
 

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Some of these responses are bizarre considering the picture.

These are bees that have been moistened by sugar syrup. It makes their fuzz lay down and makes them look blacker than they are. That is all.
 

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