Welcome, Guest

Author Topic: swarm being robbed?  (Read 510 times)

Offline phill

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 134
  • Gender: Male
swarm being robbed?
« on: May 16, 2022, 06:02:15 pm »
Last week I captured a good-sized swarm. I brought them home and set them up next to my own hives. So far, so good.

Yesterday I noticed a lot of activity at that new hive. It sure looked like robbing: more frantic and less symmetrical than orientation flights; also a lot of bees going under the (screened) bottom board. So I put on a robbing screen and reduced the entrance. But I'm still seeing more activity today.

I don't get it. First, the swarm was big enough so that they should be able to defend themselves. But beyond that, they've only been in the hive for a week; they don't have honey stores worth robbing. My other hives have decent stores-- better targets for robbers, I'd think-- and there's enough foraging now so that there's no death.

Can anyone explain this to me?

Offline Ben Framed

  • Global Moderator
  • Galactic Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 8536
  • Mississippi Zone 7
Re: swarm being robbed?
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2022, 09:23:53 pm »
Last week I captured a good-sized swarm. I brought them home and set them up next to my own hives. So far, so good.

Yesterday I noticed a lot of activity at that new hive. It sure looked like robbing: more frantic and less symmetrical than orientation flights; also a lot of bees going under the (screened) bottom board. So I put on a robbing screen and reduced the entrance. But I'm still seeing more activity today.

I don't get it. First, the swarm was big enough so that they should be able to defend themselves. But beyond that, they've only been in the hive for a week; they don't have honey stores worth robbing. My other hives have decent stores-- better targets for robbers, I'd think-- and there's enough foraging now so that there's no death.

Can anyone explain this to me?


Hi phill, it could be robbing but I rather doubt it. This time of year in your area, should be a time of abundance of both Nectar and Pollen. Other hives should be too busy to be in a robbing mood. Since the swarm you described was a nice size swarm, I will take a guess and say your bees are doing their job. Considering a week has passed, they should have had plenty comb drawn to justify busy, activity of bringing in both Nectar and Pollen. Have you noticed pollen on the bees legs as they are coming in?

Phillip






« Last Edit: May 16, 2022, 11:10:27 pm by Ben Framed »
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Offline phill

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 134
  • Gender: Male
Re: swarm being robbed?
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2022, 10:20:29 am »
Thanks, Ben. That makes sense. All my hives are packing in pollen. When I took off the robbing screen, things calmed down a bit. Still a lot of extra activity, but I suppose the bees know what they're doing.


Offline Ben Framed

  • Global Moderator
  • Galactic Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 8536
  • Mississippi Zone 7
Re: swarm being robbed?
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2022, 10:27:25 am »
Your welcome Phill. Wishing you the best.

Phillip
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Offline Bob Wilson

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 950
  • Gender: Male
Re: swarm being robbed?
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2022, 11:37:45 pm »
If there was a lot of unusual activity and flying, I wonder if the big swarm had more than one queen, and one was departing.

Offline BeeMaster2

  • Administrator
  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 12417
  • Gender: Male
Re: swarm being robbed?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2022, 07:03:23 am »
Bob,
When a swarm has multiple queens. After the bees have settled in the queens then battle it out to determine who will win the hive. Sometimes a virgin queen will exit the hive and end up under it or on the ground. They are easy to find because they usually have a handful of bees surrounding them in a ball. Not sure but they are probably balling them to dispose of them.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Bob Wilson

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 950
  • Gender: Male
Re: swarm being robbed?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2022, 09:38:34 am »
I know several members have written that big swarms can have multiple virgin queens. I figured one could be exiting, but you are saying that after a week of being housed, that issue would have already been fought?

Offline Ben Framed

  • Global Moderator
  • Galactic Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 8536
  • Mississippi Zone 7
Re: swarm being robbed?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2022, 11:36:32 am »
Bob, Jims explanation is my understanding as well. How long the process of elimination takes, I for one do not know. How long does this process take is a good question. I would not think it would last a week, most likely Fast and Furious lol.  but again I do not know.

Phillip


« Last Edit: May 21, 2022, 11:47:14 am by Ben Framed »
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Offline phill

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 134
  • Gender: Male
Re: swarm being robbed?
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2022, 08:43:57 pm »
It happened again-- at a different hive in the same apiary-- and now I'm really puzzled.

The activity that I've seen-- twice now, in different colonies-- is new to me.

? It's not as rhythmic and organized as orientation flights.
? It's not as frantic as robbing.
? It's not as sustained as a hive getting ready to swarm.

It looks KINDA like robbing, or maybe more like the early stages of a swarm. There are bees zooming around the hive, not going anywhere, but not fighting either. The bees certainly seem excited, but they're not at all aggressive. Then it gradually calms down.

This is something that I haven't seen in 10 years of keeping bees. Does it sound normal to others?

Offline Ben Framed

  • Global Moderator
  • Galactic Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 8536
  • Mississippi Zone 7
Re: swarm being robbed?
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2022, 09:18:11 pm »
I can only guess without a video. This one sounds like a possible orientation flight.

Phillip
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Offline Spur9

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 60
Re: swarm being robbed?
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2022, 03:10:44 pm »
Could have been a mating flight.  Reference video below:


7a - 1650ft

Offline phill

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 134
  • Gender: Male
Re: swarm being robbed?
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2022, 05:33:40 pm »
Fascinating. Mine weren't emptying out of the hive like that.

From that video, I definitely would have figured it was a swarm forming, and then they changed their minds.

Offline Ben Framed

  • Global Moderator
  • Galactic Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 8536
  • Mississippi Zone 7
Re: swarm being robbed?
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2022, 09:06:00 pm »
phill this short video may be of help to you. This is a light orientation flight from a nuc  compared to those With 10 frame hives, as the traffic will be much greater. . Thanks to WoolleyBees for the video.

« Last Edit: May 24, 2022, 11:02:17 pm by Ben Framed »
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Offline phill

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 134
  • Gender: Male
Re: swarm being robbed?
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2022, 06:36:00 am »
Thanks, Ben. I guess that's what I've been seeing. Odd that I've never seen this level of activity in previous years.

Offline Ben Framed

  • Global Moderator
  • Galactic Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 8536
  • Mississippi Zone 7
Re: swarm being robbed?
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2022, 07:06:46 am »
Your Welcome Phill I hope this is all it is.  :shocked: :grin:
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV