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Robbery in bees’world

I can see Basti thoughtful checking closer the hives. Granpa Heinz worried too, but this is nothing new actually, he’s always a bit this way!

Buuut what are you looking at? Anything wrong??

Mmm there’s much movement…let’s hope it’s not robbery!

Sorry? I didn’t understand…

If you are wondering the same, this article is definetely for you! Yes, because bees are wonderful, but as anyone knows they are hard workers, collecting and collecting belongs to their instinct and nature (it’s not a mere matter of hunger), nothing can stop them and they can turn into pretty robbers! That’s why we speak about robbery in bees’world as well.

Robbery…is this a metaphore or is it for real?

robbery when it comes to lack of nectar sources
A field of rapeseeds – an importart Spring nectar sources

Oh no, it’s not a metaphore at all! We’re speaking seriously! Now we tell you more: there are some delicate periods of the year in which this phenomenon may happen, but what does it consist of? Bees litterally rob other hives, they enter other beehives to steal as many provisions as possible. But why? When? Those delicate period of the year we were mentioning here above are generally when we pass from the warmer season to the colder one, and viceversa. It might happen also when we have a particularly long winter or when there is a lack of nectar sources.

But why does robbery take place right in those periods?

Robbery means basically stealing provisions.

Try to ponder about it: summer is coming to its end, temperatures are lower and lower, nectar sources are less and less easy to find, the pre-winter anxiety officially starts. Bees want to collect as many provisions as possible. If they perceive that a family has much more and maybe it’s not that strong, they take advantage of the situation and they attack it. Something similar happens when the first mild spring days start, days in which trees have officially to bloom, winter provisions are about to finish and some beehives may have more than others.

Why does this happen? Can’t we avoid it?

The good beekeeper must take care to leave the right quantity of provisions and, in case, a balanced addition. However, due to lack of experience or superficiality, it can happen that they leave too less or too much and this might cause the robbery. Of course, this all depends also on factors that can’t be 100% clear, such as how much a family is really strong, how long the winter will be and so how many provisions will be actually used (sooo, a bit of luck is needed too). What is certain too is that bees are an anxious bottomless pit, the more they can collect, the more they will continue…It’s also for this reason, for example, that when we want to give additional food, we do it in the later afternoon/evening, when they are all back to their beehives. If we did something like this during the day, it’s quite sure that a robbery would start! It can also happen that a beekeeper has done everything right and another one, not that far away, has left not so many provisions, the bees of this last one would try to rob at the beegarden of the first one.

How do you understand that a robbery is going on?

This is a good question…you may notice much unusual movement in front of a beehive: it’s particularly crowded and there are fight signs between the stranger bees that tried to enter and those that tried to protect it. The biggest issue is that the family that gets robbed, if too weak, will die in the end. Actually, both families involved will get weaker due to the losses of the „fight“ and the beekeeper will be with one less family or, in any case, two much weaker one. This confirms once again that the good beekeeper has full interest in leaving enough provisions to his bees.

Is anything clearer now? Have you ever heard about ‘robbery‘ in the bees’ world before?

In case of doubts or questions, do not hesitate to tell us with a comment here below! 🙂

A hug,

the Gaeblini

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