Is my hive being robbed?

I installed my nuc today. The installation went well (I think). After about 30 minutes most of the bees left in the nuc box had found there way into the new hive. The activity at the entrance seemed fairly calm.

About 1 hour later I came back to find a lot of activity at the entrance. About 20 times more activity compared to 30 minutes after I installed the nuc. Is the hive being robbed already?

To be safe, I reduced the entrance to 1 bee size and took the following video to get your opinion. Is this robbing? Should I take more precautions?

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Where is your Queen - did you set her cage into the new hive? they may just be doing cleansing and orientation flights - working out where they are

It was 5 frame nuc. The Queen was already on the frames.

if they were locked up for a while they need to do cleansing and orientation flights

How would I tell the difference?

If there was robbing the guard bees would be attacking and I’m sure you do not have that many stores in a nuc - also it would take longer for other bees to find and target your hive if it was new - did you spill any honey in the transfer?

I added 3 quart Mason jars of 1:1 sugar water to a top feeder. None spilled outside the hive. I still have the nuc box sitting under the hive which likely has some honey residue on it.

Have you organised to get a mentor and join a club?

You sound as if you need to see other people and how they deal with bees and get some experience

Yeah, a local mentor would be nice. I’m working on it.

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I thought the activity might just be orientation flights are maybe that I reduced the entrance too.
much for a 5 frame nuc.

I’d love to confirm that it is not robbing and open the entrance.more to see if that helps things.

I didn’t see any wrestling at the entrance which seems to be common in robbing

If.I watch the bees real close up is there a way to determine they are fighting/robbing/gaurding?

What does wrestling look like? (I realize I opening myself to some jokes with this question :slight_smile: )

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It will be something you learn from observing your bees and other peoples bees

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Thanks! I’m not being robbed! I didn’t see any of that kind of activity the entire time I watched. I opened the entrance and things calmed down. Initially, I had enough space for 4 bees to get through the entrance and I think that was causing congestion coupled. The congestion coupled with orientation flights made the hive look more active than I had seen when looking at other peoples hives (2 classes and a hive a farm I buy vegetables from).

Once I opened things up, things looked much less hectic.

I am blown away by how many bees are showing up loaded down with pollen already. About 60 bees every minute. Is that normal or are my bees better than everyone elses bees? I mean, they just moved into town, how do they know where all the pollen is at?

it is normal for the activity to increase as the bees begin to take órientation’ flights to work out their bearings, at first they wont travel too far from the hive hence all the activity around the entrance, as they circle further from the hive you obviously wont see as many hovering around the entrance. When bees are robbing they will fly with their legs splayed out as opposed to being tucked against their body, also if you were to smoke the entrance and it was being robbed, the robber bees would leave the hive where as the bees that live there would go inside, also extremely unlikely for a hive to be robbed if it has enough bees to cover and protect its own frames, you certainly wouldnt place sticky frames along side your nuc frames as they may not be able to protect them at first.


Great example ! Often even more defensive in a yellowjack attack !

It’s best to feed in the evening when the bees have stopped flying
The bees that find the food will tell the other foragers that there is food in the vicinity of the hive. They will then fly out to look for it, This activity could alert other bees to the fact that there is food around, and possible lead to robbing, especially if there are other hives close by.
By feeding in the evening the bees have time to find the food overnight, and thus avoids the activity you may seeing.

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Robbers fly straight into the hive; that’s why robbing screens work so well. You have normal bee activity. There are figure 8’s (orientation flights) and supplies coming in. If that hive was in my apiary I would open up the entrance a smidge. In most cases, bees don’t rob during a honey flow and the only time I ever experienced it was feeding during a dearth. I don’t have to feed syrup anymore for the most part since becoming well established :slight_smile: