Arrivederci, Italian Bees…

Italian honey bees bearding outside the hive e...

Italian honey bees bearding outside the hive entrance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I must have had a premonition when I posted about “bee on bee” crime.  I wuz robbed!!

I’m leaving town this afternoon for the weekend, and I went out to check the hives.  My Buckies were flying wildly, but my Italians were strangely silent. Worse than silent. Nowhere to be seen.

Fearing the worst, I opened the hive.  It had been stripped clean of honey and brood.  The only things left were a few sniggering wax moth larvae.  They and the denuded frames went straight into the dumpster.


My Italian bees had always seemed a bit too fragile and beautiful for their own good. I didn’t have to smoke them before inspections. They followed me around while I gardened, gentle and curious.

In retrospect, what I thought was aggressive grooming behavior at the entrance to their hive was actually my Buckies subduing their unwelcome adopted siblings. Even though the two hives were nowhere near each other, apparently the Buckies could sense the competition, and were having none of it.

I will have to revise my thinking on robbing situations. They don’t all look like “The Attack of the Killer Bees From Outer Space.”

No, this one at worst looked like “bearding” due to heat. It was a nearly bloodless coup. It probably started the day I installed the package of Italians and fed them that tasty sugar syrup.

So what now?  I called the nearest breeder, but they’re out of packages for the season.

But my Buckie hive is huge!

So I’m going to try an even split.  My first ever!!  If my Buckies don’t want competition, let’s see how they do with creating a second hive by themselves.

More later…


16 thoughts on “Arrivederci, Italian Bees…

  1. Becca says:

    OK, wait, I’m not exactly sure what happened here. Did the Italians leave? Did they go into the other hive? Were they killed?

    • Unclear. I don’t think they were killed. No, um, evidence of that. And I still see little golden bees flitting about.
      I think they joined the other hive, but there won’t be any Italian progeny. I’m sure the Queen didn’t survive.

  2. Emily Heath says:

    I’m confused – I’ve never heard of robber bees stripping a hive of brood. Surely that would be wasted effort. Could they have lost their queen and gradually died out?

    Either way, bad news for you. Sorry to hear this 😦

    • That is definitely possible, but I saw the queen right before I left for London.
      And the combs were completely clean of honey. It was like they had been extracted!!

  3. bigsmileu1 says:

    So sorry to hear about the Italians. I know you were very proud of them. What a sad day. 😦

  4. How sad, what a horrible discovery for you! You can’t help but wonder where they went. Amazing how we can always learn from nature.

  5. […] Arrivederci, Italian Bees… ( […]

  6. So sorry to hear about this. It must have been such a shock. And a mystery as I am just as puzzled as Emily about what disappeared. The honey I can understand, but there was no sign of brood in whatever form at all?

    • There were some dark mummies on the floor of the hive.
      I think something happened to the Queen and the robbers came afterwards. Emily was right.
      I tried a new Queen release method, and it may not have worked. I may have had a laying worker.
      The split from the Buckie hive seems to be working though!! 🙂

  7. […] Arrivederci, Italian Bees… ( […]

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