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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Alexandria, Virginia
    Posts
    160

    Default Robbing screens during nectar flow??

    Is it common practice to put your robbing screens during the nectar flow?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Auburntown, TN USA
    Posts
    262

    Default Re: Robbing screens during nectar flow??

    I haven't used robbing screens at all yet, however I would think they wouldn't be needed during a flow when plenty of nectar is available. When the flow ends, robbing can be a real problem, especially with hives of varying strengths in the same yard.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Alexandria, Virginia
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: Robbing screens during nectar flow??

    thank you

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    1,136

    Default Re: Robbing screens during nectar flow??

    I always have them on small colonies ( i.e. new splits), so that means they are on during nectar flows. This is to keep my bigger colonies from taking the easy way out. (Why fly 200 yards, when you can just go next door?)

    A well-designed robbing screen works by displacing the entrance point, which is different from just reducing the size of the entrance down to a one or two bee width. Size reduction, alone, might create traffic issues; but even then large hives will be OK with surprisngly small openings. I had one monster colony last summer that used a single 1" diameter upper entrance all last summer. It was two 10-frame deeps plus six mediums high. They seemd happy, and prosperous and hauled in amazing amounts of pollen and nectar.

    My screens are wood-framed and cover the whole width of the entrance area. They have screen fronts and are at least 7 " tall. The actual entrance points are in the top or upper side of the wooden frame. The size of the displaced entrance can be adjusted, but during periods of low robbing pressure they are about 1.5" X 1/2". Typically inside the screen, at the actual entrance, I also have entrance reducers in place, especially on a bottom entrance because I think the bees do better with less openess. But depending on the weather I might use a perforated metal piece, a bee-screen panel, a piece of cardboard or a typical wooden reducer - or some combination of these to create the reduction.

    On my full-sized colonies I will install the robber screens towards the tail end of the locust flow (which marks the end of concentrated spring frenzy here) so they are in place as the colonies adjust to the more diffuse summer foraging opportunities. But typically these robbiing screens would have their entrances pretty wide open at the start. I prefer to have the home bees well-used to their screens before there is need to reduce them very much (It makes for less chaos if the home bees know exactly where to go, while any would-be robbers are stuck cluelessly outside.) For most of the summer the entrances behind the screens are not much reduced or controlled. If I saw a lot of bearding or congestion, I would make short-term adjustments on the fly - even for just a few hours at a time. I do that fairly often.

    The full-width entrance that is typical on Lang equipment is driven by the box design, not the bees' needs. My barn-wall bees lived in huge cavities, and used 3/4" to 1" knot holes. Bees that I have observed living in tree cavities often have quite small, and very displaced entrances, as well.

    I consider robbing screens to be essential tools for IPM management of varroa. I don't want untreated or feral bees visiting my colonies and leaving mites behind as hostess gifts. Many beeks seem to see robbing screens only as emergency add-ons to their equipment and here on BS there is a lot of dismissive push-back against having them routinely in place. But to me they are an excellent remediation tool for one of the defects in the design of Lang equipment: the colonies' stores are not deeply and securely positioned within the hive and the entrances are virtually undefendable. So a lot of resources must be devoted to trying to guard the "nest egg". Since I can at least partially fix that with robber screens, I do, as the other attributes of Lang equipment are very useful for maintaning a managed colony.

    One thing, though: my bees are on the farm where I live so I can observe them every day. If my hives were in outyards where that wasn't possible I think that the use of robbing screens might present different issues.

    Enj.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Alexandria, Virginia
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: Robbing screens during nectar flow??

    COOLio!!!

    The entrance on my warm way is 3" with the porch the extends 5" in either direction; I have the screen pre-cut to give 4" on either side of the entrance so robbers don't/can't fly directly in to the hive when they see the big sign "FOOD: EAT ME" at the entrance....ya know what....I am heading out right now to put them on.
    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    I always have them on small colonies ( i.e. new splits), so that means they are on during nectar flows. This is to keep my bigger colonies from taking the easy way out. (Why fly 200 yards, when you can just go next door?)

    A well-designed robbing screen works by displacing the entrance point, which is different from just reducing the size of the entrance down to a one or two bee width. Size reduction, alone, might create traffic issues; but even then large hives will be OK with surprisngly small openings. I had one monster colony last summer that used a single 1" diameter upper entrance all last summer. It was two 10-frame deeps plus six mediums high. They seemd happy, and prosperous and hauled in amazing amounts of pollen and nectar.

    My screens are wood-framed and cover the whole width of the entrance area. They have screen fronts and are at least 7 " tall. The actual entrance points are in the top or upper side of the wooden frame. The size of the displaced entrance can be adjusted, but during periods of low robbing pressure they are about 1.5" X 1/2". Typically inside the screen, at the actual entrance, I also have entrance reducers in place, especially on a bottom entrance because I think the bees do better with less openess. But depending on the weather I might use a perforated metal piece, a bee-screen panel, a piece of cardboard or a typical wooden reducer - or some combination of these to create the reduction.

    On my full-sized colonies I will install the robber screens towards the tail end of the locust flow (which marks the end of concentrated spring frenzy here) so they are in place as the colonies adjust to the more diffuse summer foraging opportunities. But typically these robbiing screens would have their entrances pretty wide open at the start. I prefer to have the home bees well-used to their screens before there is need to reduce them very much (It makes for less chaos if the home bees know exactly where to go, while any would-be robbers are stuck cluelessly outside.) For most of the summer the entrances behind the screens are not much reduced or controlled. If I saw a lot of bearding or congestion, I would make short-term adjustments on the fly - even for just a few hours at a time. I do that fairly often.

    The full-width entrance that is typical on Lang equipment is driven by the box design, not the bees' needs. My barn-wall bees lived in huge cavities, and used 3/4" to 1" knot holes. Bees that I have observed living in tree cavities often have quite small, and very displaced entrances, as well.

    I consider robbing screens to be essential tools for IPM management of varroa. I don't want untreated or feral bees visiting my colonies and leaving mites behind as hostess gifts. Many beeks seem to see robbing screens only as emergency add-ons to their equipment and here on BS there is a lot of dismissive push-back against having them routinely in place. But to me they are an excellent remediation tool for one of the defects in the design of Lang equipment: the colonies' stores are not deeply and securely positioned within the hive and the entrances are virtually undefendable. So a lot of resources must be devoted to trying to guard the "nest egg". Since I can at least partially fix that with robber screens, I do, as the other attributes of Lang equipment are very useful for maintaning a managed colony.

    One thing, though: my bees are on the farm where I live so I can observe them every day. If my hives were in outyards where that wasn't possible I think that the use of robbing screens might present different issues.

    Enj.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    hinesville ga usa
    Posts
    515

    Default Re: Robbing screens during nectar flow??

    During a flow the robber screen is not needed, unless the hive is weak. I keep mine on all year, but I have a 1 1/8 inch round entrance with a swiveling block of wood ( a screw in one end ) I leave it in the closed position until the flow is on and open it until the flow dwindles. This enables more traffic without having to do anything to the main entrance.

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