Merde! (Yes, please, pardon my French, but that’s the only expletive that fits today.) The ladies of the hive are royally PO’d. I worked these hives on the 19th and the ladies were just a tad testier than usual. Today I would say that they were a whole lot unhappy.
I was placing feeders on the hives. I hadn’t even gotten the cover off the hive when they came swarming out to show their displeasure. I had to beat a hasty retreat and put on the bee jacket (which I’ve only worn once before) and the serious gloves (which I’ve never worn before) and use the smoker just to get the feeders on.
True, it’s hot (officially 89ºF but feels like 94ºF) and humid, intermittently overcast, but really! That reaction, the dearth, the fact that I’ve seen some fighting between bees on the landing board, tussles and stinging at the water source, make me think something has disturbed the colony.
Given reports from other beekeepers in the area of robbing, I made a quick trip to Bailey Bee Supply for robbing screens for my hives, going for prevention rather than having to try to stop robbing in progress.
This video shows the fighting when “foreign (robber)” bees try to enter. That’s something I don’t want to see at my hives. Both my colonies are queenright and strong so guards can defend against a few invaders but it can get to a real “frenzy” that will just wipe a hive. Prevention is the way to go.