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Bottom board pattern with fighting


Landing area looked busy, and it appears to have some fighting going on. When around back and pulled out the SBB and found this. To me it looks like the dark area are a lot of bee parts , the lighter area is comb parts. It’s been a couple weeks since I open the hive, I’ve been leaving them to themselves since I last harvested , awaiting the winter. Fall so far has been warm still lots of forage for them. I can open the hive easier

later this week, any reason to open it sooner? Robbing behavior?


Could be robbing, could be hornets/wasps. I would reduce the entrance to around one inch wide, ASAP.


Oh duh, I should have known to reduce the entrance. Thanks dawn.


you haven’t recently put any new/old frames into the hive? I have found when I put an old frame into a hive the bees often chew off a lot of the wax etc and you end up with debris on the slider. It’s odd how one sided the dark bits are- clearly something different happening on one side of the hive than the other. If it is wasps- it must have been a lot of them? Keep an eye at the entrance to see if you can see wasps entering the hive. You might want to do an inspection too to see what is going on in there. .


No new frames. No wasps that I saw, it was bees on bees. I’ll be watching this week…


If reducing the entrance doesn’t stop it, you will need a robbing screen, or even consider moving the hive. If it is a Flow hive, I would put the slider in the upper slot too, to reduce the honey smell escaping from the hive. Please act soon - robbing can reduce a hive to almost zero in just a few days.


OK couple questions for when I opened up later this week:
One. From what I understand Chalk brook is not a huge deal as long as it’s dealt with, like removing affected frames. So I should do that? Winter is coming… I use foundationless frames, so I don’t have anything except empty frames to replace them with. I have two boxes which is what I need for the winter, so I guess I would consolidate as much as possible in the one box and leave the empty space at the top?
Two. I’m almost certain there is robbing going on but what I expect to see when I open it up as evidence of this?


The main thing with chalk brood is to remove any mummies from bottom board, if the bees aren’t doing it themselves, and from the ground around the hive, as once the spores enter the soil they remain viable for up to 15 years. Unless you find a frame which is predominantly Chalk Brood affected, rather than removing it let the bees deal with it themselves. Too much space will affect their ability to get on top of it as it’s harder for them to maintain optimum temps/humidity, so consolidate brood/hive as much as possible. Much of the debris on the bottom board, especially the darker area looked similar to that which I have found in my hive affected by CB. The darker wax particles could be from older wax in brood nest where the bees have been dismantling cells to access brood affected, plus the mummies once black (indicating active fungal spores) become very brittle and crumble to leave a ‘dust’, also the head of the larvae are generally unaffected, which may account for those found on the board.
I haven’t experienced robbing so am not as sure as to what you are looking for. However it has been described to me as the face of the combs being rough & torn in appearance, the sound of the hive is different, more agitated & bees fighting at front entrance, also may be headless bees around hive entrance. I’m sure others will have valuable additions to make. :slightly_smiling_face:


Don’t leave any empty space. If you have a partially filled box, get some Follower boards from your favorite bee supply store (or make one if you are skilled with wood). Use those to fill the gaps by placing them at the outer boundary of the nest. Otherwise you will come back to a hive of crazy comb in the Spring (best case) or a completely dead hive from cold and condensation (worst case).


Finally was able to open the hive today- my queen is dead there’s no brood, what brood there is is dead. Of my two boxes there’s about a half a box of honey rest of it’s empty. There are a few frames of pollen too.

I’m in Michigan. It’s been unseasonably warm, but I don’t know for how much longer. I’m guessing this is the end of my hive unless you think otherwise?


I think I will plug the entrance with grass and hopefully the robbers forget about my hive. Then is it worth feeding them 2:1 syrup? And hoping for the best?


I didn’t see a Queen, or eggs or larvae, but it’s october so I’m not sure how much I would expect to see. I did see queen cells that were opened like one had hatched out.


I am guessing you were not able to get any photos of the frames?


Don’t feed them while you have active robbing still. If you think they need feeding, I would definitely invest in a robbing screen. This one is pretty good and fits the 8-frame Flow hive:


ok, with work right now, i’ve just plugged it with grass until i can get a
better screen on.

no i didn’t get any pictures…my bad.

as for feeding, i was thinking longer term - after the robbing stops. as
in: is it still worth it to try to save them with winter coming .

  • not sure if you have had a queen hatch and not laying yet or something, but if you could get/buy a frame of brood from someone (with some larvae and eggs in it) to put in the hive, and condense it right down ( even a nucleus box or the like), perhaps that might help? They could attempt to make a queen then if they don’t have one.


Depending on how many bees you saw, yes, it may well be worth it. :wink:


Thanks for posting @marcos & sorry your hive is struggling. Today I plan to open my one hive that’s had nearly zero traffic at the front door for the past week or so - I popped the lid last week & two or three guards came up, but otherwise there was no visible population in the top brood box. It was a little chillier here then so I didn’t want to open it all up.

The hive right next to it, meanwhile, is bustling as usual. Really wondering what I’ll find & hope I figure out the right thing to do!


Yesterday I consolidated into one box and installed a proper robber screen to replace the grass stuffed in the entrance. There are lots of bees but they didn’t seem to care about the small amounts of capped brood I saw. Opened empty queen cells and even one queen cell that was open with a larva in it. Might that mean that a queen hatched and killed it? Time will tell I suppose. I’ll need to feed this winter for sure. I liked having 2deeps last winter…

I looked for mites, but only with my eyes and didn’t see obvious mites on bees. Not the best way to look I know. What do you do?

Thanks for all the advice.


Sugar roll test or alcohol wash. You may well be shocked at how many you find.