Robbing vs. Orienting

When bees are low in resources and nothing is in bloom (in a dearth), they will become desperate and rob the weakest hive around. While this can be dangerous (as seen in the clip below) it can be the best way to help their hive to survive.

Robbing can be especially prevalent if I’m not doing my job as a beekeeper, keeping the hive closed off enough so it can be defended.

So what does it look like to have robbing occurring with a hive? There will be multiple bees hovering around ALL parts of the hive, looking for a way in that will be less dangerous than the front entrance (remember, there are guard bees that will attempt to eliminate intruders at the front entrance). Often robbing bees will try to find a crack in the back or the top cover. So what is this then?

This is orienting. New bees who’ve hatched need to spend time outside the hive getting their bearings before they head off foraging. You can tell the difference between the two because there aren’t any bees behind or under the hive attempting to break in.

Did you know? Guard bees will tear off the hairs or intruders to encourage them to leave.

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