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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Delaware County, New York, USA
    Posts
    178

    Default RELENTLESS robbing!

    This is my second season of beekeeping and the robbing by my stronger colonies has not relented all summer. I had two colonies survive the winter, then I took in four new nucs in April. Because of this robbing, I have 4 hives left and one is being raided into oblivion as I write. Three out of six is not good.s

    What do I do? I have no idea how to make this stop.

    Is this nature's cruel way of bee natural selection???

    I'm going to add some more nucs shortly. What should I do with these? Put them in another location on my property? ANY advice is desperately needed and would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: RELENTLESS robbing!

    do a search at the top of the page for "robber screen". cheap, works well. be sure to only feed inside.
    good luck,mike
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Default Re: RELENTLESS robbing!

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesrobbing.htm

    Robbing needs to be stopped immediately. Plug every crack and entrance (duct tape may help) use screen wire on the entrance so they can ventilate. Maybe put some water in an empty comb or a feeder so they can get water. But stop the robbers getting in altogether. After a few hours most will go home. Then you can open it up to one bee wide (3/8" by 3/8") in the screen wire you stopped the entrance with. Meanwhile you can be making a robber screen if you like. You can also put wet sheets over the hive both to confuse the robbers and to keep the hive cool. If you don't stop it immediately they will kill the queen and the hive will be doomed. After that they will steal every drop of honey and the hive will starve. And that is if they haven't already killed them all...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Delaware County, New York, USA
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: RELENTLESS robbing!

    Michael,

    Thank you for your comment, and for this article - which I read before and found very useful.

    I believe the problem is that here in the Northeast we've had a drought situation for the last month. No rain, hungry bees. Every time I look inside my hives I find the stronger hives with some stores - not a great deal though - and I find the colonies started from nucs with absolutely NOTHING. (There is so little honey inside my colonies that the only honey I have taken was to keep on reserve to feed - and I've used this up already on the robbed colonies.) Even to my inexperienced eyes I conclude robbing. And it just has NOT stopped. I leave for the weekdays and every weekend I find the same thing.

    When I have witnessed it, I start moving hives around - placing the robber where the robbee is and vice versa. This immediately stops it. Problem is I can't be here all the time.

    I'm thinking I'll have to move either the stronger or the weaker to another location on my property. But that means placing them in an area unprotected by my electric fence. Yes, we have bears. So it's a gamble that they'll not get hit by bears, or a sure bet they WILL be robbed.

    What would you suggest?
    Last edited by Stone; 07-11-2010 at 06:18 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Default Re: RELENTLESS robbing!

    Like I said. Stop it even if you have to stop the hive altogether, then leave only enough room for one bee in and out. Do this on ALL the hives and the robbers will have a traffic jam at home as well... make sure you use screen so they can ventilate.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Accord, NY
    Posts
    333

    Default Re: RELENTLESS robbing!

    Locking the nucs up for a couple days (with food-water-ventilation) will not hurt the nucs, and you'll know for sure weather it's robbing.
    From MB's link:
    "One issue is being sure they are being robbed. Sometimes people mistake an afternoon orientation flight with robbing."
    Does the robbing happen all day long or at certain times of the day?
    Drones coming to feed in the early afternoon make a ruckus that can look like fighting but they are just fat, hungry beggars whining for food. I do look for fighting as a sign.
    Also your stronger, established colonies will naturally gather more stores than the starting nucs (i.e. one colony of 60000 will store more than two nucs of 30000 bees.) Seeing more stores in last years colonies is normal and does not incriminate them.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,064

    Default Re: RELENTLESS robbing!

    Don't let them starve though. Give them dry sugar or candy or something.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Delaware County, New York, USA
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: RELENTLESS robbing!

    Thanks for your advice. I just moved the weakest hive to the other side of the meadow about 100 yards away from the other hives. I'll leave a small opening for the entrance.

    Is it still advisable to reduce the size of the entrances of the remaining 3 hives?

    I inspected this hive a week ago with a local beekeeper. When he saw the spotty brood pattern, he commented that the queen is failing or she is old. I guess this hive is a perfect victim for robbers.

    I took a bar of honey from one of the strongest hives. Should I feed this to the weak one or will the other bees pick up the scent and start robbing again?

    I have empty comb that I can fill with sugar syrup, a la Dave's Bees. Would you advise this?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Default Re: RELENTLESS robbing!

    Yes, I would reduce them all while there is no flow. It will slow down their ability to have a robbing frenzy... but reduce it with screen so they can ventilate.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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