Black Bees moved in on my feeders

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Baxter, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. Baxter

    Baxter New Member

    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I live in Trinity, NC. I've noticed that more and more black bees are showing up at my feeders. I have a hive of Italians and a hive of cordovans.

    Anyone have a feel for the likelyhood of these being wild bees? I'm just curious, also anyone know where I can buy black bees?

    Thanks

    Baxter
     
  2. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

    Messages:
    1,696
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    "Black bees" are the signs of bees on the last week or so of their lifespan. Many times, these are the robber bees. They have nothing to lose in fighting it out for a bit of honey. Black bees are seen more at feeders, late season, and robbing situations.
     

  3. Baxter

    Baxter New Member

    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    They don't appear to be that old, their wings seem unfrayed, some of them look really young.
    I thought they may be western europeans.
     
  4. Baxter

    Baxter New Member

    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I haven't noticed ant going in or coming out of my hives.

    I'm feeding from 5 one qt mason jars, the feeders are mobbed.
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Baxter may I assume based on post #4 that you are feeding external to the hive?

    a new worker bee arrives in the world quite fuzzy with hair that kind of just sticks out like a really bad hair day. as a worker bees get a bit of age on them they loose their hair and obtain a black and sometime slick appearance to their thorax and most especially their abdomen. it is quite often these that show up for raiding outside feeder or for robbing.
     
  6. Baxter

    Baxter New Member

    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Yes, I am feeding on a platform about 20 feet from my hives. I'm feeding out of 5 seperate 1 quart mason jars.
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    my experience suggest that open feeding will almost always create a bit of robbing and most times does not put feed into the hives that need it the most. sadly the strong hives pick up most of the syrup and the weakly populated hive may pick up nothing.

    there are inexpensive options for feeding internal to the hive. the easiest and cheapest is a one gallon zip lock baggie. does a good job, requires minimum intervention by the beekeeper and pretty well eliminates robbing. here it also seem to limit any ant problems associated with feeding.
     
  8. Baxter

    Baxter New Member

    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I can see them making a beeline from the hives to the feeding station, I assume they are returning to the hive with any nectar they pick up. I see your point though, I may do some internal feeding to my weaker hive. I have 5 one quart feeders, I would assume the weaker hive's workers could get some food too.

    This is my first year keeping bees, so, I don't know what the heck i'm doing, but it sure is fun
     
  9. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

    Messages:
    1,696
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I would suggest you continue with open feeding.

    But lets set the record straight in using the terms strongest and weakest hives. You feed "light" hives. No amount of feeding will make a hive "stronger" at this time of the year. I feed light hives, not weak hives. I combine weak hives, cull out the weak queens, and do not waste time perpetuating bad genetics and weak queens.

    Of course the strongest populated hives will get more feed. Let them! They will cure the syrup, process, and cap much faster than a "weak" hive. You really think a "weak" populated hive will do all the work it needs to get accomplished before cold weather? Open feed. Then transfer over filled and capped frames of honey to "light" hives as needed. I never care if one hive gets more or less than another. Your the beekeeper. You manipulate, move, balance, and should do what is needed in the best way you can to help your bees.

    I open feed all the time. The yellow jackets feed from the perimeter. Sure they get some. But they also are not bothering my hives. The strong hives, they are happy as well. They are not focused on the weaker hives (which I don't have...but do I have "light" hives.)

    While I will also feed inside the hives, I also like to open feed. I can fill the jars every morning before the bees become active. I don't need to open up the hive each day. I don't need to put on a suit every day or fire up the smoker.

    Here is a picture from earlier today.

    [​IMG]

    And another picture from another yard with a couple troughs as feeders.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Baxter

    Baxter New Member

    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Bjornbee, thanks for info, I have one hive, italians, that's doing outrageous, another hive, that's a split off of the first, it's doing well enough, I introduced a cordovan queen, when I split it, from the first hive.

    I like feeding outside, the bees pay me no nevermind, light on me, walk around, picking up, i'm guessing salt, an any syrup that spilt on my hands.

    My curiosity was about these black bees, wondering whether they were western european black bees, and whether there was a chance they could be feral. I don't know beekeeping well enough to have a clue whether it's probably another beekeeper, keeping black bees.
     
  11. Baxter

    Baxter New Member

    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Excellent, I posted a pic of 2 of my 5 feeders, and a pic of my 2 hives. If you will notice the outter cover stands above the top super, this is because I propped the cover up to ventilate the hive, the devils built comb and when I took the props out, its held up by comb and hioney.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Baxter writes:
    This is my first year keeping bees, so, I don't know what the heck i'm doing, but it sure is fun

    tecumseh:
    and let's keep it that way.

    give the background of your pictures I would think you likely have some feral hives around. the black bees really does not suggest you have a feral colony. some folks (the lab lady at the bee lab for example) can look at a small sample of bees and determine if they are from a feral or managed hive. I must admit I have never been able to notice this extremely small difference myself.
     
  13. Baxter

    Baxter New Member

    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks Tecumseh,

    I'm going to try and get a package or a nuc of black bees, next spring.