In my earlier post, I thought that my bees were starving.
Turns out they are being robbed!
This morning I replaced the syrup, and a few hours later I checked on them to find the hive swarming with activity. I looked closer, and realized my bees were fighting – colliding in midair, rolling around on the ground, pushing each other out of the hive! The bees they were fighting with are darker, with almost black abdomens – definitely not my bees. They are being attacked and robbed by an outside hive!
I ran inside to do some quick research – I had read someone’s blog article about their hive being robbed, so I had an idea of what to look for. Here’s what I did:
- Removed the entrance feeder. Apparently having syrup out in the open can attract attackers.
- Closed down the entrance to the hive to the width of a single bee. That makes it easier for the bees inside to defend themselves.
- Covered the entire hive with a sheet soaked in water. This prevents outside bees from getting in, while supposedly allowing the home bees to find their way in and out. Mainly we want to keep the outside bees out, and allow the home bees to defend themselves inside the hive.
My guess is that the local feral bees are starving from the dearth of nectar, since there are no flowers left, and they’ve probably gone through their honey reserves just like my bees have. They’re out looking for anything, and they found the syrup that I’ve so prominently displayed.
If the colony survives this, I’ll certainly never use the entrance feeder again. I’ll need to find another way to feed them through the winter – maybe a candy board feeder inside the hive.
Poor bees. Saint Abigail and Saint Ambrose, please pray for my bees!