I am guessing my honey is being robbed by a larger bee type and would like some help and advice please. It seems around 4-5pm a larger bee is visiting my hive. There is a lot of activity out front but no fighting, I can’t see them flying off laden and unsure what is happening. Three strong brrod boxes and flow super almost full Thanks
They look like drones. I suppose in a way they are robbing your honey, but the hive wants them, and they don’t eat that much.
Normal hive behaviour, don’t worry about it.
For it to be true robbing, you would see bees wrestling and trying to sting each other, with lots of dead bees on the ground outside the hive.
Now I feel dumb! Thanks Dawn!
I thought drones would have been done with by now so didn’t think of that!
Don’t feel dumb. It would have been dumb not to have asked when robbing was a big issue.
Drones are usually thrown out of the hive late August or September in the northern hemisphere, depending on nectar flow and your climate. If you see bees fighting, ask again, and you will get a lot of different ideas to try. Reducing your entrance now may not be a bad idea any way, as robbing can get pretty bad in July.
Edit: - one more thought, drones usually come back from the DCA (mating area) between 4 and 6pm, whereas robbing goes on all day. Just another clue for you look for in future.
Thanks for your insight. So much to learn.
Got some news for you Graham, you will never stop learning about bees and the hive management, that is what makes bee keeping so interesting. When you think you have it worked out there will be something new happen.
I agree with Dawn, I see drones and no sign of fighting in the pics. When robbing is happening the landing area looks like an all in brawl.
Those are drones, unsuccessful ones :
They may or may not belong to your hive but will beg their way in and your ladies will feed them.
Hey Graham, you are not alone! I thought the same thing early on in my beekeeping! I wondered where are these big, noisy bees coming from and why are my girls not even putting up a fight? I even made myself a robbing screen then one day the penny dropped
Thanks all. Much appreciated.
Thank you to all of you. I have the same thing going on right now and you answered my questions. Thank you.
The great thing about drones: no sting! So you can pick them up and play with them:
A great beekeeper trick: when showing someone the hive- walk over- grab a drone- put it on your tongue and close your mouth! Then open it stick out your tongue and let the drone fly off!
Guaranteed to impress, astonish and bewilder!
Obviously- make sure you 100% can tell the difference (if you get stung on your tongue -and live- don’t blame me!)
Graham, This is my favorite time of the day to watch the bees. Not only are unsuccessful drones returning but this is also when most orientation flights take place for the young bees making their initial flights out of the hive. Lots of circling around the hive as they set their internal GPS’s to know where to return. I also thought robbing was taking place with all the activity going on in front of my hive. I’m new to this forum but really like the tone and generosity of the wise Beeks that participate. I’m a second year Beek with 5 gives so know enough to be dangerous but also know that I have a LOT to learn!
I found this forum, I think last April, after looking in on several others. Like you I found it refreshing to find open discussions and ideas. There is a never ending thirst for knowledge and there is so much help on the forum by generous members here plus the humorous banter.
Remember, there is no stupid questions if you don’t know the answer.