What to do if your bee family is attacked to rob honey

What to do if your bee family is attacked to rob honey

"Robbery in broad daylight"

They steal all living forms that live on our planet. But if the highest living forms of their own kind are sometimes punished for theft, then among insects, theft is one of the main occupations. Even a bee colony welcomes its thief bees, who bring stolen honey from other hives to the colony.

A thief bee will not only bring a stolen bribe to its hive, but, if necessary, will show its “colleagues” how to get into someone else's bee family, bypassing its security, in order to steal ready-made honey or nectar that has just been brought by bees ...

Not all bees in their bee colony are stealing. Strong young bees work on flowers and bring "honestly earned nectar" to their families. And so that he or the ready-made honey is not stolen - each bee family keeps a small bee guard at their entrances, which does not allow stranger single thief bees or other insects into the hive that want to profit from the brought nectar or ready-made honey.

Mainly bees are engaged in petty theft, for it is already difficult for them to collect nectar from flowers or to fly far behind it. Thief bees, climbing into other people's hives, almost always take risks. If they are caught by the bee guard, then, without hesitation, they will take their lives. But if a bee or several bees try to enter someone else's hive, not empty, but with a bribe, then the guard of the bee family will not kill them, but let them into their family so that they give the bribe they brought.

Once, observing the bees that live in my glass hive, I noticed a bumblebee trying to climb into the entrance to the bees. Finally he managed to get into the hive without much difficulty. The "security service" of the bee family did not immediately find a bumblebee in their hive, which, having got there, began to look for some food for itself. If the bribe was weak, and the bees brought less nectar, then they would better guard their hive and be meaner. But there was a bribe, and there was practically no one to deal with the bumblebee in the hive. It was necessary to quickly take nectar from flight bees. Finally, several guard bees noticed a bumblebee in their hive and tried to attack it. But he managed to escape from them to the upper building. The most amazing thing is that none of the hive bees, except for the guard bees, reacted to the bumblebee. Each bee was engaged in its own work in the hive. Some bees built honeycombs, others pulled propolis from the legs of flight bees and carried it to the right place, others laid the nectar in honeycombs, and there were those who simply rested after the flight. And only the guard of the hive, consisting of a dozen bees, chased the bumblebee. A bumblebee was running around the hive, trying to find a way out into the street. Behind him are several dozen guard bees. But which entrance was not guarded, the bumblebee, of course, no longer remembered, so it flew into the light at the first one that came across. At the exit he was met by the guard of the entrance. He tried to crawl out into the street, even climbed onto the landing board, dragging the bees clinging to him, but the "reinforcements" that arrived in time to guard the entrance quickly took his life.

This is how bees deal with all single insect thieves who enter their hives without demand and encroach on the bees' strategic food - honey or nectar.

But if any bee colony can protect itself one hundred percent from single insect thieves, then defenders do not always emerge victorious from a major intervention, when one bee colony attacks another.

The reasons for a large bee robbery or attack are different: they can be caused by the actions of beekeepers who, having taken all the honey from their bee colonies, forced them to rob other bee colonies. And also if, in a time-free period, the beekeeper did not remove the frames with unsealed honey badly or did not remove the spilled honey. The reason may be a weak summer bribe - the bee colony did not collect enough honey over the summer, then it also has to look for food in other bee colonies so as not to die of hunger in winter.

The beekeeper, when examining the bees in the hive, should use portable boxes that are tightly closed on top, where you can put unsealed frames with honey, which are not needed in the hive at the moment.

If the beekeeper leaves an open box with unsealed honey frames on the street not far from his hives for some reason and for some reason, for some reason, the beekeeper leaves an open box with unsealed honey frames, then not only his own, but also other people's bees from other apiaries will immediately fly into the honey frames and start with them. take honey. They quickly mobilize bees from their colony for this. During dehydration, they will try to protect the honey frame from competitors. When the honey in the frame runs out, the bees will start looking for it in the surroundings. Since they do not find honey in the vicinity, they become angrier. They will try to get into the nearest other people's hives in order to plunder them. Of course, the guards of bee colonies are trying to repulse the "interventionists", but there are too few guards, and there are too many robbers. After all, the bee guard, as shown above, is designed for single insect thieves. The reconnaissance of the "interventionist bees" is looking mainly for weak bee colonies that will not be able to give them a worthy rebuff. When they find such a bee colony, they inform their friends and they attack with all available forces. Having interrupted the bee guard, which is on duty at the entrance, the "interventionist bees" penetrate into the hive, the "inhabitants" of which have not yet fully guessed about the intervention and "have not announced mobilization." The main task of the "interventionist bees" in someone else's hive is to find and kill the queen. If they succeed, the resistance of the guardian bees ceases. Upon learning of the death of their uterus, they stop killing robbers. Having collected as much of their honey, which they so diligently protected from enemies, they can fly away to the robbers' family or scatter among other bee colonies.

How can you save your bee family from such a large bee robbery, if it has already begun? Close all entrances in the attacked hive. Quickly raise the roof of the hive, which should have ventilation holes covered with iron mesh, put a frame of water or a heavily soaked rag on one part of the canvas, lift the other part of the canvas so that the bees can get tired, and quickly close the roof of the hive. Then the "interventionists" will not be able to get into the hive. And your bees will begin to ventilate the nest through the ventilation holes, which, as mentioned above, are in the roof of the hive, maintaining the desired temperature in it. To cool the nest, water will be taken from the frame or from a wet rag that you left on the canvas.

In a few hours, the "interventionist bees", not finding an opportunity to enter the hive, will fly away to look for honey to another place, and the robbery of your bee family will stop.

Dmitry Mamontov, beekeeper
Photo by the author

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