Is SIERRA1 being robbed?

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Is SIERRA1 being robbed?
Paul's picture
Not robbing IMHO

I don't think it is robbing. Robbing will start slowly, accelerate, and go on all day. My theory as to what is going on here is old bees, whose time is up, leave the hive to die. This is probably not conventional wisdom but I can show you other curves where "the bees leave and don't come back".

Explanation: If the queen lays 1500 eggs a day, approximately 45 days later, 1500 bees should die. If you saw 1500 dead bees in front of the hive, you would freak out. If the queen lays 1500 eggs EVERY day, approximately 45 days later, 1500 bees should die EVERY day. If you saw 1500 dead bees in front of the hive EVERY day, you would really freak out. My point is that you don't see this, therefore the bees are not dieing inside the have, hauled out by undertaker bees and carried away by ants. The only conclusion I can draw is when it is time for a bee to die, it leaves the hive to die a distance from the hive. 1500 bees dieing every day in the hive would place a tremendous burden on the hive.

Notice the weight drop only occurs on days with warm temperatures and no rain - days with good flying weather. You only "see" this when there is a dearth. That is because on days when something is coming in, the loss is masked by the weight gain. I also do not believe that this is "normal foraging behavior" where the old bee go foraging and are so old they can't find their way back. This is because if there is nothing coming in, the scouts would not return to tell everyone to where to forage.

The only conclusion I can draw, and this is consistent with 1. life span of the bees, 2. lack of large number of dead bees near the hive, 3. other bee behavior (not hesitating to sacrifice their life for the survival of the hive (stinging), is the bees leave near the end of their life span. There should be "pent up demand" (for lack of a better description) to leave when weather is bad. Thus, on nice days, after a period of rain and cooler temperatures, you would expect to see more bee leave.

Just my 2 cents worth. I am very interested in other peoples interpretation. I first saw this in the fall and called it Fall Die Off:
until I saw it in the spring, too. Basically, you can see it anytime there is nothing coming in. The models of hive population such as HoPoMo and simulations I have run, support this theory.

Nate's picture
Also agree - probably not robbing

It would be very unlikely to not see a major increase in the rate of weight loss. Once the word's out that the buffet's open... every buzzer for miles around is going to be coming in for a free meal.

If you sit outside the hive if you see more activity than you'd expect - especially dive bombing the entrance - that's probably robbing. If you see a bunch of bees crawling around on the outside of the hive at the cracks, and cover... that's robbing. If you see the wrong color bees or hornets... that's robbing. If you open the hive and the cappings to your honey stores are shredded and your bees are super crabby that's robbing.

Looks to me more like a lack of pollen/nectar or a sick hive. check for mites or a under performing queen?

Is SIERRA1 being robbed?

Fwd from Randy;
"Colony weights crashed last week, due to a combination of nectar dearth, strong colonies full of brood, and poor flight weather. We had colonies starve. Last weekend was the worst (7 and 8 May). On 9 May, warmer weather returned, and colonies began gaining weight again."

Unfortunatly I think this colony is circling the drain, Adrian

Adrian Ogden

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