Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

Bees fighting after inspection


I’ve noticed that after my last inspection, I’ve had bees fighting (only a couple of pairs) and others (maybe 6 or 7) walking around on the ground up to 6 metres from the hive.

Am I right in assuming these are bees that have been attacked?

I don’t think there is much robbing but I see fighting at the water source I have next to the hive. As there isn’t much in the way of standing water in the neighbourhood, I am thinking it might be that other bees are coming to that and then taking a chance on robbing the hive.


Sounds very possible. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


If you are sure there is robbing of the hive you might help your hive by reducing the entrance so that your bees are better able to defend it. After a full inspection you could have bees that have not flown previously that are a bit disorientated and confused, normally when robbing is happening the fighting is a fight to the death.


i have done, its been reduced with a perfectly sized bamboo stick since it was set up.


May I suggest you also move the water further away from the hives, thus reducing the chances of competing and fighting. My bees have to fly 60-80 meters to two ponds for their water. I have two hives and have not yet, witnessed any fighting for water or anything else. Touch wood. L.O.L.


thanks, i did and noticed they were having trouble finding it. assuming they geolocate the water as well so moved it back and have been moving the bowl slowly and actually set up a second one further away. The neighbour has a huge water feature which i’m worried they will get into and drown, so trying to do it gradually so they know where it is.

or should i just take it far away now?


Keep the water for the bees closer than the water feature. You could move it a couple of feet every few days and the bees will find it with no problem.


Inevitably when you do an inspection you will accidentally kill and maim bees. Damaged bees may be evicted as a conciquence, usually against their will. This may have been what you have seen.
Or maybe not.


that sounds possible- I also think they can get confused and antsy with an inspection- plus the smoke may make them mistake friends for foe. But i have also witnessed robbing being set off when you inspect a hive that’s close to another hive if you leave the top off for too long and honey from bridge comb has been exposed.


I have cut down on the use of smoke to a minimum and if the bees are calm I think it is a better way of working in a hive. Having seen a guy on YouTube in a dense cloud of smoke and bees flying about made me think rather than calm the bees down it was causing panic and alarming the bees. I have the smoker going and just a wiff at the entrance and under the lid is usually enough.

How did you go with the swarm hanging off the gutter Jack? The last you posted was that you were thinking of making a bee vac to capture them.


Hello Peter,

I have made my McGuyver bee vacuum- now I am just waiting for good weather before I go and try it out. Two days ago it was 35C here- today it is 16 and raining. Very weird weather. Hopefully I will be able to do it in a day or three.

I think a common mistake with smokers is that they are burning too hot- so people are blasting the bees with hot air- and even sparks that can’t bee seen in daylight- and that definitely makes the bees agitated and angry. When I first started out I tried to smoke some bees from a wall and could see actual sparks flying out of the smoker because it was in a dark area. I Take a lot of care to make sure my smoker is blowing cool smoke. I always place a piece of hessian at the top to stop sparks and make sure it is just burning down at the bottom- well packed- and not burning too much.

I also don’t use the smoker when dealing with nucs and small swarms- or for casual inspections. But I have some hives that get so angry as soon as the top comes off - I am glad to use a smoker for them. I would love to beekeep with no gloves- but some of my bees just don’t seem to have the temperament to make that possible. The other day I had a glove with a tiny hole in one finger: sure enough I copped a sting right there. If I had tried to deal with that hive without gloves I would have copped hundreds stings i am sure.


I’d move the water sources. Regarding your neighbors fountain. Many such fountains have algicid additives put in them to prevent the growth of algea which becomes unsightly and blocks filters and pumps. If this is added to the water, your bees may not utilise it. Can’t see such aglicids would be tempting.
My THREE ponds are filled with bore water, and get topped up ever second day, the ponds contain fish, tadpoles and frogs. The sides are heavily coated with algea and this provides the Bees an excellent safe mat to stand on whilst they suck up the water thru the algea. All the ponds have a pump within them, and the water is filtered via external filters which get cleaned out twice a year.

BUT, for some strange reason, I haven’t yet worked out, the bees insist on using the smallest pond which is the heaviest overgrown with aquatic plants. Maybe the water tastes better ???




It is much closer, as our courtyard is in amongst commercial buildings, it is quite a way away on the far side of their courtyard, so i could move the water clear across the yard and it would be fine. I have added a second tray with corks and both are now a couple metres away from the hive and will shift further when the weather clears

The closest hive i know of is about 1km away on the roof of a pub, so no issue there i don’t think.

i think i made that mistake the first time, but after watching a video randomly on youtube have been making sure its cool smoke.

Lets hope not! Can’t be good for them. More concerning was when i realised the same office was getting their bamboo stands fogged for mosquitos! Frantic running over and quick negotiation with video explanations on what happens to beehives with pesticides plus nagging on about destroyed habitats etc etc and they agreed to stop using fogging methods.

Now i suppose we will pay penance by being attacked by mosquitos all summer! :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


The fogging issue for mozzies. The same chemical being used for this fogging can be applied with a paint roller on the walls behind the bamboo left to dry will be just as effective if not better than fogging and covering everything. The mozzies hide in the folage. As a Vietnam vet, such work was my speciality in the day.


@itchyvet - i will tell them!!! if the bees land on said wall, it won’t hurt them?


Robert, ref the bees landing on the treated walls ! :frowning: Sorry, but YES, IMHO, it would effect them. However, my understanding of bee behaviour, there’d need to be a reason for them to land/rest on the wall in the first place. If the bamboo is relatively close to the wall, I don’t think the bees would go there. Monitor the situation yourself, observe whether they do rest there. Then decide on what your going to do. I have bamboo growing as well, all over the place, one whole side of my yard has clumping bamboo all along the fence giving shade and shelter from our strong Westerly breezes, I have yet to find any mozzies therein. My ponds have all got cold water Mountain minnows in them specificly for the mozzie situation. It seems to be well under control for us.



Recently, purchased an Acura Flow Hive. Received it on Monday, assembled it and coated with clear sealant to preserve the wood. Tuesday, purchased a queen excluder, (metal type) and today instaled the Flow Hive on the brood box, in which the swarm resided that I captured last spring. Boy, was I in for a surprise.
Other that the Flow hive, I purchase all my needs from local suppliers. They supply me with a lid for the hive boxes which has about a 13/4’ gap between the top of the lid, and the top of the frames. On the front and back of the lid are two holes fitted with mesh to provide ventilation.

A couple of days ago, I observed bees trying to gain access to this lid via the mesh covered holes, and I was wondering why they were doing this. Never observed this behaviour before.

Well today I found out. After removing the lid, I discovered the bees had built honeycomb in the gap between the inside top of the lid and the top of the wax frames. The honey comb was in a star shape and chocker block with honey. This after only a few weeks, amazed me. Bees were everywhere, comb had to be removed and frame tops cleaned up. Had 1/3 bucket of honey and comb with bees mixed in.

Fortunately, had at hand board lid to go on top of the Flow hive. But said lid has hole cut in center for ventilation, so I’m still expecting bees to go back inside under the lid. Hope I’m wrong.

My earlier Chinese knock off Flow hive, also had a flat board with hole in center, and the instructions said to place this on top, but seeings as I had a local lid,(as just explained) I used that instead.

Then I discovered, accessing the Flow hive slots to crank the inserts, allowed bees to escape as there was a gap between the top of the flow hive elements and the locally produced lid. This gap would not have been there, if I had installed the board with the hole in the center. So now, I need to also, lift the lid on that hive as well, and install said board to prevent access to the lid void and escape routes via the flow hive elements.

I’m a bit upset to see the amount of honey going to waste from this darn execercise and the bees I’ve lost as well. Hopefully, they’ll clean themselves up a little a re-instal the honey I’ve left in the bucket in front of their brood box.




The locally made lid sounds like a migratory lid. I use all migratory lids & I never use them without a hive mat over the frames. If the bees do fill the lid with comb & honey, it will be adhered to the mat & not the frames. It’s very easy to remove the mat, shake the bees out before removing the honey & comb. If I have a spare lid, I’ll swap it, then take the honey filled lid home to empty it out there. Generally I’ll be robbing, so I’ll scrape the honey & comb into the cappings bin. Then place it on a hive at home for those bees to lick it dry.

I converted my donated flow roof to be used like a migratory lid in conjunction with a hive mat.


Hi Jeff, The mat sounds like a bloody good idea. When I tried to lift the lid, despite it being loose all the way around, it still would not pop loose. I knew then, something was seriously wrong. Put more pressure on it and the FRAMES started to lift as well. Then I KNEW, I was in the proverbial. The comb then tore free, in half actually, frames dropped down and there was honey and bees everywhere. Bloody mess. Cleaned it all up, put top board on before replacing the cover and allowed the bees top sort things out themselves from the bucket of comb,honey and bees therein.
Checked them later, around 1700hrs, and they seem to be doing a stirling job of it.




Well done Eddy, just (I see you are in Perth), normally one would need to be aware of shb damage in a similar situation. Apparently you don’t have that worry.

The hive mat can be a piece of floor lino cut to sit over the frames that allows an all-round bee space into the lid.