View Full Version : What does robbing look like?

08-23-2005, 01:03 PM
I mentioned in another post that I was sure my bees werenÂ’t being robbed. Traffic seemed to slow around the hive. I gave it some thought and decided to be sure so I reduced the entrance to the 3" opening. I just checked and there are a lot of bees outside the hive it almost looks like a big orientation flight. There is no fighting that I can see and some of the bees going in are carrying pollen. While I was watching a bumble bee tried to get in and it was challenged and rejected almost instantly after it landed. Is there any sure fire way to tell if this is a log jam or robbing?
I was thinking of closing the hive tonight and checking in the morning for activity outside the hive. If there are bees trying to get in then it would be a robbing situation, correct?


08-23-2005, 01:39 PM
Many bees will stay out overnight. There will be bees trying to get in tommorrow morning.
Lift your hive. If you can, you have a problem. If you can't, you don't.
A hundred pound hive is most likely able to prevent robbing. A forty pound hive cannot.

08-23-2005, 02:26 PM
Thanks. I never new bees stay out all night. I could always lift the hive (this years) so that doesn't seem to good an indication, but thanks for the reply

Michael Bush
08-23-2005, 02:31 PM
If you seal it up after dark when all the locals are home and look at daylight and you find a traffic jam, then they are being robbed.

08-23-2005, 02:33 PM
If you are in CT. this time of year, it is a very good, "or bad" indication. A hive body with lid and bottom board weighs about 35 lbs. The least you can winter on is about 40 lbs., preferably 60 or more. If you don't have a total weight of 75 or more, order packages for next spring.

08-23-2005, 02:37 PM
If I do seal it up and there are bees in the morning what do I do? Leave it sealed for a few days? I just fed them so I know there is food in the hive.

08-23-2005, 03:00 PM
Hello everyone, I have never heard that if you close your hive off at dark and in the morning if you have bees outside that is robbing. Some of my hives the bees will stay out all night on the front of the box and on the landing and in the morning real early I see bees coming home that did not make it before dark. I thought robbing was a mass of confussion right out in front of the hive and alot of fighting going on on the landing ramp and the ground in front of the hive. If the hive is weak and theres not enough gaurds then I usually dont see alot of fighting.

David Stewart
08-23-2005, 05:04 PM
Perhaps I'm misreading your post. You say you reduced the entrance to 3in and then noticed it looked like a large orientation flight? How soon between reducing the entrance and viewing did this occur? If it was within an hour or two, that may be all it was is a re-orientation flight since "home" looks different. I've "thought" I had robbing several times this summer and everytime I reduced, the incoming field bees would perform a new orientation flight sometimes creating a traffic jam when they decided all is well and landed together. Within a day, the traffic jam was cleared and all was back to normal.


08-23-2005, 08:41 PM
It was a couple hours later. Your point makes sense though. I blocked it off for the night. I get home at 8:30 am and usually there are a few bees around. If I don't see any bees hanging around the front I will open it back up.

08-23-2005, 09:18 PM
When I use a robber screen I have noticed that my bees will find their way in. The outsiders, however, give up shortly after and leave. This has been my observation and I only have the one hive.

I've also used this when I wasn't sure if robbing was happening to help my bees out along with an entrance reducer. I have a SBB so I don't worry about ventilation. After watching my neighbor's one hive rob the weaker I have not seen that at mine and it is not pretty.

Robert Hawkins
08-24-2005, 02:27 AM
Lp, re-read MBs post. It's not just if you have bees outside in the Morning. He said if you have a traffic jam. Big Diff. Also you're in CT. MB takes this into consideration without verbalizing it. Your bees should be clustering tonight while, JJ down FLA way probably doesn't cluster until Oct. and in fact need to stay out all night for the cooler temps.

Stuff like this make it more important to know the reasons behind the advice than the advice itself. Then you can know if it applies to your hives, your climate, your management style.

Good Luck today,


08-24-2005, 07:11 AM
Good answer Hawk Take care JJ

Michael Bush
08-24-2005, 08:46 AM
Hawk is correct. I'm talking about a traffic jam first thing in the morning. They will give up before long, but the robbers will be thick at the first if they are being robbed.

08-24-2005, 12:14 PM
No bees at 9am I saw little antenna trying to get out so I fed then and let them out. They went through a Gal of sugar water in 2 days, they must have been hungry.

08-24-2005, 12:55 PM
"If you have to wonder whether you are in love or not....you're not!"
If you are wondering whether there is robbing going on, there probably isn't. Feeding sometimes stimulates robbing. Don't add anything to it and don't serve it up hot. It's like a sign..EAT HERE. They will go through 3 gal in 2/3 days. Don't forget that it has to be evaporated down to honey consistancy. I.e. 3gals of syrup is not 3 gals of stores.