Bees robbery is a condition wherein invaders coming from other beehives attack another hive. There are many reasons why this invasion is a serious concern for bee colonies. These include the following:
- If the beehive fails to defend itself during a robbing situation, an invading army may strip away the food of the colony.
- A hive that defends itself from robbery is going to fight to death. The battle may lead to the loss of many tiny lives and might even end up destroying the whole colony.
- Being robbed can change a hive’s disposition. The bees may become aggressive, nasty, and hard to deal with.
Most novice beekeepers often mistake this robbing situation to be the exact opposite of the problem. They think that there is something good happening because of the activity around their beehive. However, this is a natural mistake.
What’s the Difference between Abnormal and Normal Behavior of Bees Robbery?
During nectar flow, a busy hive might have lots of activity at its entrance. But, the typical behavior of the foraging bees is different from a robbing situation. There is a purpose why foraging bees come and go. They can shoot out straight from the hive and they quickly go up and away. Land, pollen, and nectar can weigh down returning foragers as they return to their beehive. Others may undershoot the hive entrance then crash-land almost near the bottom board.
There are instances when normal activity at the entrance of the hive can look strangely busy. Here, the young worker bees can take orientation flights. As they face the hive, they hover back and forth, up and down. They orient themselves to the hive’s location. You might spot hundreds of the young bees that float around the entrance of the hive. However, there is nothing frantic or aggressive about this exploratory behavior.
Unlike these usual busy situations, bees robbery takes on a sinister and aggressive look.
Some warning signs you should recognize
- If you look at it closely, you might notice bees that fight at the on the ground right in front of the beehive or on the hive’s entrance. They are engaged in full combat. These are guard bees that defend the colony to death. Such behavior is one of the top indications that there is robbing taking place.
- Bee robbers approach the beehive without getting weighed down by nectar. They don’t shoot straight into the hive entrance. They fly from one side to another instead and wait for the perfect moment to sneak pass guard bees.
- Unlike the foraging bees that will leave the beehive completely empty-handed, the robbing bees are going to leave the beehive completely weighed down with honey that make it hard for them to fly. Robbing bees have the tendency to climb at the entrance of the hive before they take off. Once they are airborne, their path of flight on a takes characteristic dip.
Bees robbery shouldn’t be taken for granted so make sure you put a stop to it before it gets serious beyond control.