Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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Robbing screen blocked entrance and trapped bees inside?

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Robbing screen blocked entrance and trapped bees inside?

Has anyone ever had this happen? All of my hives have a Cookeville style robbing screen and they work very well. I run all 8fr mediums and my hives are mostly 5-6 boxes high right now. It‘s been hot recently (mid-atlantic) and they’ve been bearding. We have also had lots of pop-up downpours in the afternoon.

Yesterday I saw that one of my hives had no activity and seemed to be blocked off at the entrance. The other seven hives in the yard were fine and very active. I pulled off the robbing screen and there was a PILE of bees blocking the bottom up about 1-1.5” (no entrance reducer, just the screen). I pulled apart the hive and there was about an inch of dead bees on the screened bottom board and the frames were empty of all honey; there was no brood either. I found the queen (excellent queen, very productive) and the surviving bees (maybe 1/4-1/3 of the original population) and moved them to a new box with 2-1 sugar and the fully drawn (but empty) frames. I will try to add a frame of brood as soon as I can. No mite frass and zero count a month ago. No wax moths. No hive beetles.

I am thinking that a storm hit and washed the bearding bees down behind the robbing screen and trapped them inside. There is not an upper entrance on this hive (robbing is a serious problem here in August). The death of the inside bees was likely from the heat. And they ate all of their supplies (and brood?) and would have died if their predicament wasn’t discovered.

I cannot find any other examples of this happening. Has anyone else heard of or seen a clump of bearding bees washed down and trapped behind a robbing screen?

submitted by /u/DrFiveLittleMonkeys
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