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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Posts
    5

    Sad my bees are being robbed 3 days after install

    So I went to my hive today to make sure the queen got out safely (turns out the attendants had died so she was blocked in), and I noticed some really gruesome behavior on the back of the hive. I pulled the outer cover off, and I saw at least 100 dead or dying bees on the inner cover, next to the inverted mason jar I use for feeding. I brushed all of the bees off, replaced the jar with a new, full one, and put the outer cover back on.

    Well, my inner cover has a notch which acts as a second entrance, and this notch is facing the back of the hive (maybe I have it on backwards). Never the less, this notch is the scene of something I was really hoping not to see. Bees are fighting, trying to get into the hole with the mason jar, and it just looks like a warzone. I'm using an entrance reducer at the front of the hive, and not much activity was going on there.

    So, I decided to smoke the bees near the inner cover and plug the hole with two sticks. I waited around for about a half hour, and despite the bees not being able to get into this entrance, there is still a lot of fighting going on at this part of the hive. I also noticed increased activity (including fighting) at the front entrance after I plugged this hole, but I guess that's to be expected.

    I was hoping someone could give me some advice on how to help my bees survive this robbery. Also, I feel like the worst beekeeper in the world, but if someone could tell me whether or not this is 1) normal and 2) whether or not my bees have a decent shot of surviving this ordeal, that would be awesome. In fact, any advice would be great.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Stillwater, Oklahoma
    Posts
    115

    Default Re: my bees are being robbed 3 days after install

    I just had some robbing and sealing the hive completely helped and gave me time to think. This is good: http://www.bushfarms.com/beesrobbing.htm

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,727

    Default Re: my bees are being robbed 3 days after install

    Your bees have a good shot at survival.

    You did the right thing to block that hole, having a hole near a feeder is never a good idea. A newly installed package takes a while to sort themselves out, and until they have their own identity as a hive they are easy pickings for robbers.

    So in addition to blocking that hole, shut down the main entrance to the minimum they need for coming and going, plus cooling. Have the hole in the middle nearest the biggest number of guard bees, not at the edge. If robbing still continues, remove the feeder. It is better the bees live on the contents of their stomachs for two days, than get wiped out by robbers. So, restrict the front entrance to the minimum. Then give it a day and see how the robbing situation is. If they are still getting robbed remove the feeder for two days. When you put the feeder back give them a small amount just before dusk. Do this daily, once robbing has ceased you can step up the feeding.

    One of the biggest catch 22's that new beekeepers face in regard to feeding, is they see the hive is robbed and has no honey, so they feed even more, despite the robbers. Exactly the wrong thing to do it's like throwing petrol on a fire. While the bees just want the robbing to stop they have the beekeeper throwing more syrup in which encourages the robbers. The poor bees are in a hopeless situation and usually end up being wiped out.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA, USA
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: my bees are being robbed 3 days after install

    I saw some robbing after I made my first split. I put a small piece of wood in that upper hole to block it. I also put on a robber screen from Brushy Mountain. It has a small opening about 4 inches up the face of the hive. the bottom is screened and can be left closed. The robbing seemed to have ended.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Natick, MA
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: my bees are being robbed 3 days after install

    I'm not sure if I have robbing or not. Are there any good videos on youtube showing robbing?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,727

    Default Re: my bees are being robbed 3 days after install

    Can't help with the you tube thing but 2 main give aways are bees fighting, and flighty, aggressive type behaviour at the entrance.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,380

    Default Re: my bees are being robbed 3 days after install

    If you happen to be using Honey B Healthy or essential oils in your syrup, stop using it for a while and just feed regular syrup. Your bees are very attracted to the scent in the syrup, and the robber bees would be also.
    To everything there is a season....

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