Bees are clustered at entrance of hive

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billrountree
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Joined: May 21st, 2017, 12:03 am

Bees are clustered at entrance of hive

Unread post by billrountree » May 21st, 2017, 12:21 am

Hi, I'm new here and new at bee keeping, so sorry for my ignorance on the subject, hoping to be an expert in a few years.
Anyway, I've had my hive for a year now, the bees are very tame, have not been stung once. Last night I noticed instead of being inside the hive like they usually do when it gets dark, a few, maybe 30-40, were gathered at the entrance. This afternoon there was a good sized cluster, about the size of a cantaloupe, at the entrance of the hive. I was standing about 8' away and was stung twice. Obviously, something is going on, as these bees have always been pretty tame. Tonight, they have settled down, but again, there are 30-40 gathered at the entrance. I don't think they swarmed, but can't be sure.
Any ideas?
Thanks,
Bill (San Diego, CA)

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BadBeeKeeper
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Joined: April 2nd, 2016, 2:01 pm
Location: Penobsot County, Maine

Re: Bees are clustered at entrance of hive

Unread post by BadBeeKeeper » May 21st, 2017, 5:58 am

Typically, when they are swarming they are not particularly aggressive, though the sight may be impressive.

Is it possible that you have some robbing going on? What is the condition of the hive (size, presence of brood, queenright, etc.)?

Do you have a known population of AHB in your area?
I don't think they swarmed, but can't be sure.
Yes, you can. Inspect your hive. Note the size of the population, presence of swarm cells, or queenright with no swarm cells.

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Countryboy
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Location: Central Ohio
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Re: Bees are clustered at entrance of hive

Unread post by Countryboy » May 21st, 2017, 10:32 am

First year colonies are usually much smaller, and more docile. Second year colonies have a much higher population. If you have 10 or 20 times as many guard bees this year, sooner or later you find one having a bad day.

The bees hanging out is sometimes called bearding. It's a sign that you do not have enough supers on the hive. (The bees may be preparing to swarm. You won't know until you go through the hive and inspect it.)

Personally, I would make sure they are not doing swarm preparations, and then I would super the daylights out of them. I would also rejoice that I had a healthy hive with so many bees that can make me lots of honey.
B. Farmer Honey
Central Ohio

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