Quantcast

Help! Sudden fighting & dead bees

Beekeeping Forum

Help Support Beekeeping Forum:

Ivor Kemp 

House Bee
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
228
Reaction score
0
Location
Poole, Dorset
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
4
Hope you can help.

I have one hive with a first year Queen which was doing really well until last night.

I had viewed the hive at lunchtime and two or three times in the early evening and all was fine.

At 8.30pm last night I went for a quick look and there were hundreds of bees all over the front of the hive (not in a cluster) and hundreds of dead and fighting bees on the ground in front of the hive entrance.

At daybreak today the bees on the front of the hive had seemingly gone inside the hive but today the fighting has continued unabated both at the front of the hive and on the ground. I am also witnessing bees flying off with dead bees and dropping them many meters from the hive

I have photographs if anyone can tell me how to upload them.

Can any one tell me what's going on and what I should do?
 

joolsp 

New Bee
Joined
Jul 19, 2010
Messages
18
Reaction score
0
Location
Leeds
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
3
Possibly being robbed - in which case try reducing entrance size.
 

Ivor Kemp 

House Bee
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
228
Reaction score
0
Location
Poole, Dorset
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
4
Thanks I'm surprised at the sheer number of dead bees if it is robbing.

It's almost like a small swarm had/has tried to gain access to the hive. Is this possible?
 

Cazza 

Queen Bee
Joined
Feb 28, 2010
Messages
2,519
Reaction score
0
Location
Suffolk/Norfolk border
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
5 ish
Hi Ivor
Sounds like a robbing episode.( Bees from another hive stealing the goodies.)
You need to act quickly and close down the entrance to one bee space. Some people also camoflague the entrance with leafy material. The aim is to help your bees keep the invaders out.

Cazza
 

Lois 

House Bee
Joined
May 3, 2010
Messages
308
Reaction score
0
Location
Buxton Norfolk uk
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
2 colonies now! and some spare parts.
go to the albums in the top bar and then click add albums, all should be clear then.

good luck with the fighting bees.

I am not experienced enough to give advice but many others are and will surely help you quickly
 

Ivor Kemp 

House Bee
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
228
Reaction score
0
Location
Poole, Dorset
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
4
Thanks Cazza.

I was so surprised it took place at dusk and just as it was spotting with rain.
 

Ivor Kemp 

House Bee
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
228
Reaction score
0
Location
Poole, Dorset
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
4
Thanks Lois.

The pictures of the episode are now in the albums section.
 

Midland Beek 

Drone Bee
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Messages
1,969
Reaction score
0
Location
South Staffs
Hive Type
none
It could possibly be the arrival of a swarm, but you should assume that it is robbing.

Reduce entrance to one or two bee-ways and do not open up your hive for a good while.

How did you start the robbing? Did you spill syrup about? Or did you manipulate and leave combs of honey exposed?
 

Ivor Kemp 

House Bee
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
228
Reaction score
0
Location
Poole, Dorset
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
4
Midland Beek:

No syrup spilt.

No combs of honey exposed.

I just did a normal quick inspection last Saturday and all has been fine until last night. It's the only hive in my garden.

I have just returned from work and taken a quick look and it's absolute carnage. I will reduce the entrance and do as you say and just hope for the best.

I'm almost crying as there was at least 60lbs of honey in there.
 

Erichalfbee 

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
18,625
Reaction score
693
Location
Ceredigion
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
7
My baby hive ( caste in a nuc box) was being robbed despite one bee space entry so I put a feeder on and closed it up for a two days. The morning after I closed it there were lots of bees trying to get in but they gave up after an hour. I took the feeder off the night before I opened the hive. They came out like a train the following morning and all seems well now. I know who keeps those robbers and I will have words..........:smash:
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2010
Messages
2,374
Reaction score
0
Location
Dartmoor edge, uk
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
5...2 wooden National, 2 poly Nat & 1 poly nuc...bursting at the seams
Someone on here the other day suggested placing a sheet of glass or plexiglass against the front of the hive. Your bees will work out to fly around it - but the raiders shouldn't. As others have said reduce the entrance too. If you haven't got an entrance block/reducer use foam, polystyrene packing, or screwed up paper to just leave small gaps. Your bees can guard the small spaces more easily.
 

Ivor Kemp 

House Bee
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
228
Reaction score
0
Location
Poole, Dorset
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
4
Thanks Eric.

As luck would have it I am away on business from tomorrow night until Sunday so I wouldn't be able to block the entrance as you describe.
 

Ivor Kemp 

House Bee
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
228
Reaction score
0
Location
Poole, Dorset
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
4
Thanks Queens.

I do have an entrance reducer but I will try the plexi glass.
 

Hivemaker. 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 8, 2008
Messages
14,310
Reaction score
1
Location
Exmoor.
Hive Type
national
If the robbing is this bad i doubt you will stop it by reducing the entrance now,maybe....if there are enough bee's left alive....but better to move the hive to a new location.
 

Ivor Kemp 

House Bee
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
228
Reaction score
0
Location
Poole, Dorset
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
4
Thanks Hivemaker but reducing the entrance and the plexi glass is the only real option I have got at the moment.

One good sign (I think):

When I put the entrance reducer in I was besieged by guard bees emerging from the hive. That is unless they were robbers already in there.

It was/is a very strong colony so we'll see what happens.
 

steve1958 

Field Bee
Joined
Jul 13, 2009
Messages
823
Reaction score
10
Location
UK
Hive Type
langstroth
Number of Hives
3
I had a similar thing happen today.
All of a sudden it seemed, out of no where hundreds of yellow Bees invaded my hive.
At first I thought they were wasps, but as I got nearer I could see they were Bees, just a different colour to my gentle ones.
I quickly shut up the entrance with a piece of wood and left them for an hour.
Still lots of Bees outside, though some were probably foragers returning.
I opened the hive but reduced the entrance, and then left them to it.
The foreign Bees were still there six hours later, but so where mine.
So again I have closed the Hive and will see what the damage is in the morning.
 

Ivor Kemp 

House Bee
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
228
Reaction score
0
Location
Poole, Dorset
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
4
The only other question I have at this stage is how long should one keep the entrance reducer on for?

Given I am away from tomorrow night until Sunday afternoon is it wise to leave it on for this long?

Many thanks.
 

Ivor Kemp 

House Bee
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
228
Reaction score
0
Location
Poole, Dorset
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
4
Thanks everyone for their help.

The situation gets even stranger and I would appreciate some more advice.

Reduced the entrance as advised and lent two sheets of plexi glass against the entrance. Then just left it but watched bees carrying off dead bodies and dropping them some distance from the hive.

Last night (Sunday), after it had got dark, and after I had made sure I had cleared any robbers with a spray of water from the hose I ventured to the hive with a torch and took off the roof and looked at the top super.

It was absolutely packed with bees (presumably mine) and having whipped a few frames out for inspection indoors noticed that there are still some large areas of capped honey around the corners of the frame but the rest seems to be empty cells but no signs of rough uncapping or anything like that. What amazed me though is to discover some queen cups at the bottom of the frame which definitely were not there before the robbing started.

I have put porter escapes under this super and hopefully will be able to whip out this tonight or tomorrow.

In summary:

Robbing bees still outside the hive doing their zig-zag flight and all bees extremely aggressive during the day.

On the brief examination hive still seems packed with bees.

Queen cups have appeared on super frames.

Still some capped honey on the super frames.

What the hell is going on? Many thanks.
 

MuswellMetro 

Queen Bee
Joined
Oct 1, 2009
Messages
6,522
Reaction score
24
Location
London N10
Hive Type
14x12
Thanks everyone for their help.

looked at the top super.

Queen cups have appeared on super frames.

What the hell is going on? Many thanks.
still seems like robbing

do you mean play cups, i assume they do not have royal jelly in, if play cups, that ok, if live QC we would need to reconsider...as i have seen a slim scrub virgin queen get above the QX
 

Latest posts

Top