Friday, April 18, 2014

Might have some robbing going on.

I refilled the bees' feeder today and they acted weird.  There were quite a few bees milling around at the entrance, which they normally don't do.  Normally, they are clustered to the end of the entrance toward the feeder.  They come and go from there, which I still think is a little odd.  I would think any bees feeding there wouldn't be going out anywhere, but would just be going back into the nest.  But maybe they get used to going there when they feed, so they go there when they leave anyway, or something.

Anyway, they were milling around the center of the entrance, and when I put the feeder back on (my wife had taken it off before I got home, so it had been off for a couple of hours at least) a lot of bees came out and covered the bottom of the hive body above the entrance.  I've never seen them do that.  I thought I might have just upset them, but it seemed they had to have already been upset about something anyway, so I watched them.  I didn't see any of the wide-spread fighting that I've seen on youtube with robbing, just a couple of "disagreements" that I thought may have just been brought about by a bad landing.  But eventually, I'm 99% sure I saw a bee leave carrying pollen.  So I cut one of my entrance reducers down so that it would fit in place with the feeder on.  I cut the end with the large gap, so I could put the small gap toward the other end of the entrance.  I don't know if there actually were robbers or not, but it looked like that confused all of the bees, but they seem to bee fine now.  Of course, it's night now, and the few that are outside of that small hole are still more than are normally out at night, so maybe either it annoys them, or they are watching for robbers.

The gap I'm using is only big enough for a couple of bees to go through at a time, so even though my hive isn't very strong, they should be able to protect themselves.  And this weekend I am doing a full hive inspection, so I'll move the feeder inside when I do and put an empty box over it.  I've been planning that anyway, since I've been getting sugar ants lately.

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