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General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #8699  by Steve 1972
 31 Aug 2020, 21:53
Went through three colonies today to take supers of.. all three had eleven on between them...
What a fooking nightmare :o ..sorry for swearing but as soon as i pulled a super off the neighboring two colonies decided to rob in numbers and that went on till i was finished through each hive..
I still have a flow on here but dear lord i have never witnessed what i seen today..i was getting pinged left right and center and i could not count the stings in my suit ..one in the end of my thumb and leg made me go quicker which made them worse..i ended up taking only four off through the dilemma which did not stop there..
30 minuets later i had a failed attempted sting on the back of my head and then the dog's started getting stung..one of which was my 1yr old pup so reinforcements where deployed in the form of a good old tennis racket..
All these colonies have been babies all through the spring and summer up until now but something is upsetting them that i am not aware off..
 #8700  by Patrick
 31 Aug 2020, 23:40
I reckon you saw exactly what the problem is - it’s robbing season. There may be a bit of a flow still on around you but it’s all stopped around me combined with iffy weather and they can’t even fly most days. With the on / off weather there’s not enough to keep bigger colonies occupied and smaller colonies are using up stores faster than they are coming in. Many people will now have extracted their summer honey crop and not realised there is very little left in the brood chambers. A fortnight of lousy weather and they are starving and desperate. Folk may now treat for varroa, wait until the medication is over to feed, colony collapses and gets robbed out and they blame the treatment. Obviously not in this case, but it it will happen across the land sure as.

The wasps have also joined the party and are relentlessly hawking around my hives today. My bees are hanging out around the entrances and really on guard. Crack a crownboard and the wasps are straight in. All the plums got blown off and rotted, so thats over and now they are really on it.

I was rearranging a pile of extracted and I thought dry supers, a few bees found them and in no time at all it was a mass of manic bees and wasps. The residents attack anything that moves and the robbers turn manic as well.

My general advice is only disturb hives for essential reasons, heft to check stores if not already feeding and if you are feeding, make every effort to keep hives bee proof and don’t spill a drop of syrup anywhere, put on and top up feeders as late in the evening as practical. Its a war zone out there!
 #8701  by huntsman.
 01 Sep 2020, 00:23
You don't say if you used a clearing board. Canadian style (little red cones} work very well but should only be in place for about 24 hours or the bees will figure out how to get back up.

If you tried to take 3 or 4 supers off in one go, you are really going to upset them.

Perhaps using a clearing board and only taking off the top two supers a day per hive, might help.
 #8703  by AdamD
 01 Sep 2020, 09:18
For clearing, I occasionally use two crown boards - a crown board with porter bee escapes AND a board with a trapezoidal escape. This means that after a few days (or if you forget them) you can be pretty sure the supers are empty of bees.

Yep, robbers will follow the beekeeper around the apiary at times and also a spill of syrup or a forgotten frame left against the side of a hive can set off attempts at robbing throughout the entire apiary.

One (small and newly made up) nuc was being robbed over the weekend; yesterday there were no stores in it at all and no robbing bees, so I put a feeder on it hoping that the robbing had ceased. Within 15 minutes robbers had started again so I closed it up - robbers an' all - and moved it to a different apiary and opened them up. Both the existing bees and robbers will, hopefully re-orientate to the new location and be OK. On the old site, I left an empty nuc with a dribble of sugar syrup inside. The reason for this is that any robbers will enter the hive, take what they can and then realize the food-source is empty. If I had just left the hive stand empty, robbers would be looking for the hive and find the closest one and have a go at that.
 #8707  by NigelP
 01 Sep 2020, 17:19
Adam, I've found leaving the rhomboid ones on even for a week or so, no bees ever return into them once emptied. I have however, noticed that sometimes (particularly in hot weather or with hives with large numbers of bees) they can take a few days to clear. I suspect that beekeepers opening them up have assumed the bees have found their way back, but in fact they never left.
At one of my out apiaries (weather permitting) I often clear 2 or 3 supers at a time by leaving the rhombus boards on for 5/6 days before returning. Usually only a couple of bees left inside.

On a brighter note checked my Nucs with 2 expensive breeder queens, spotted one but not the other. Both nucs are calm and placid which makes me think both have been accepted.
Interestingly no eggs, but also no (or very few) eggs in any of the other colonies I inspected. I'm presuming last weeks cold wet windy weather put the lot off laying.

On a poorer note, 4 hives at one site on the heather have produced the grand total of 2 uncapped frames of heather honey....that stuff is going to be gold dust this year.
Looking better at another site, but yet to have a fully capped frame....heather still looking good as is the weather so will leave for another couple of weeks.
 #8709  by Chrisbarlow
 01 Sep 2020, 17:25
NigelP wrote:
01 Sep 2020, 17:19
On a poorer note, 4 hives at one site on the heather have produced the grand total of 2 uncapped frames of heather honey....that stuff is going to be gold dust this year.
Looking better at another site, but yet to have a fully capped frame....heather still looking good as is the weather so will leave for another couple of weeks.
I took one colony... Fingers crossed they're doing better, time will tell.
 #8711  by AdamD
 01 Sep 2020, 18:26
"One (small and newly made up) nuc was being robbed over the weekend; yesterday there were no stores in it at all and no robbing bees, so I put a feeder on it hoping that the robbing had ceased. Within 15 minutes robbers had started again so I closed it up - robbers an' all - and moved it to a different apiary and opened them up".

This lunchtime I was walking across the car park at work - where the nuc had been moved to - and saw a large bee on the concrete. I picked it up and it was my marked queen - unceremoniously dumped 20 metres from the hive. Looking across at the entrance a lot of bees were outside obviously looking for their queen. I dropped the queen just outside the hive entrance and when I left for home this evening there was a pile of bees on top of the corpse of their queen.
At least it wasn't an expensive breeder!
 #8720  by Steve 1972
 02 Sep 2020, 19:57
Regarding previously helpful replies to my last post..
Angry bees and robbing bees and wasps and feeding are well established in my head these days..i extracted six supers from two hives last week..one hive is a mongrel colony the other is a 2019 F1 buckfast..attempted robbing did occur but i was quick but smooth with my manipulations..bees where very calm and no stings to anyone or thing..

My latest episode was with two mongrel colonies and a F2 buckfast Queen..after thinking i now know where that aggressive problem arisen ..THE F2 colony..

The four F1 Buckie colonies (from nucs) to full brood boxes are a dream no matter what is going on..even with constant wasp attacks..the darlings are good with me but still murder wasps..
Thank you for the pointers my fellow forumitets .. ;)
 #8721  by Steve 1972
 02 Sep 2020, 19:59
Steve 1972 wrote:
02 Sep 2020, 19:57
Regarding previously helpful replies to my last post..
Angry bees and robbing bees and wasps and feeding are well established in my head these days..i extracted six supers from two hives last week..one hive is a mongrel colony the other is a 2019 F1 buckfast..attempted robbing did occur but i was quick but smooth with my manipulations..bees where very calm and no stings to anyone or thing..

My latest episode was with two mongrel colonies and a F2 buckfast Queen..after thinking i now know where that aggressive problem arisen ..THE F2 colony..

The four F1 Buckie colonies (from nucs) to full brood boxes are a dream no matter what is going on..even with constant wasp attacks..the darlings are good with me but still murder wasps..

This was supposed to be a Edit and not a quote ..i find this forum hard to work but so be it..
Thank you for the pointers my fellow forumite's .. ;)
 #8732  by NigelP
 03 Sep 2020, 19:22
Cutting the lawn today was attacked ferociously by a lone bee and I was no where near my hives. Bugger stung me... Yet when I mowed right next to hives nothing was interested in me. Where did she come from and why attack me?...weird.
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