Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 29
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default How do you identify robbing?

    And more importantly, how do you distinguish it from other entrance activity?

    I mostly ask because almost every afternoon at least one or more of my four, seventeen day old hives has a big cloud of bee's in front of it and a huge amount of two way traffic at the entrance, easily 20x more bees in the air than at the other hives. This activity goes on for about half an hour at a time before subsiding to normal levels. I don't see anything that looks like fighting at the entrance but it is hard to tell with the amount of bees clogging it.

    This is my first year with more than one hive and since my bees are the only (domesticated at least) ones within several miles I never worried about robbing before but now I wonder. I would probably just write this activity off as orientation flights but I thought those where just for new bees and my hives are still to new to have emerging brood. I've been seeing a few wasps around the hives and I've also been wondering if from time to time one gets in and the bees go nuts.

    I'm pretty sure that nothing bad is going on but It would be nice to know what the definitive (I know, I know, bee keepers hate the word) signs of robbing are so if and when it happens I can identify it properly and not ignore it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,003

    Default Re: How do you identify robbing?

    Robbing bees will fly fast from the hive. They gotta get home w/ their illgotten gains.
    Robbers are shiny looking too, being wet w/ honey.

    When you open a hive which is being robbed, the robber bees will fly up off of between the combs in a pissy attitude, some stinging and others flying away.

    When you see bees frantically working at trying to get into hives, or a hive, from places other than the main entrance, chances are they are robber bees. Check what's going on inside. It may be too late to salvage the colony. The colony maybe too weak or queenless to be viable.

    But, if it is still a good colony, duct tape all the cracks and reduce the entrance down to the space of a couple of bees, making entrance gaurding easier.

    I hope that isn't too many answers.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,084

    Default Re: How do you identify robbing?

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

    Sometimes people mistake an afternoon orientation flight with robbing. Every warm, sunny afternoon during brood rearing you'll see young bees orienting. They will hover and fly around the hive. This is easily mistaken for robbers who also hover around a hive. But with practice you'll learn what young bees look like doing this. Young bees are fuzzy. Young bees are calm compared to robbers. Look at the entrance. Robbers are in a frenzy. Local bees might have a traffic jam at the entrance but they will still be orderly. Wrestling at the entrance is pretty much a give away, but lack of fighting at the entrance does not prove they are not being robbed, it just proves they have overcome the guard bees. One SURE way to tell if they are being robbed is to wait for dark and close the entrance. Any bees in the morning who show up trying to get in are probably robbers. Especially if there are a lot of them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: How do you identify robbing?

    I usually watch for the fights...not only at the entrance, but any time I'm in the hives. If I see one pair of bees wrestling around in the hive while I work, I figure somebody "just got lost" ... but if that becomes 5-10-20 pairs, it's time to close it up before I end up causing my bees to get robbed.


    Hope that helps some,
    Rob
    Last edited by robherc; 05-21-2012 at 03:58 PM. Reason: typo

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: How do you identify robbing?

    Thanks for the answers.

    It looks like these are just orientation flights, but It shouldn't be possible for me to have any young bee's yet so I'm still confused.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,084

    Default Re: How do you identify robbing?

    All bees have to orient. If you just installed them they will have to orient. But once they have you probably won't have orientation flights again until the new bees start emerging.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    florence sc usa
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: How do you identify robbing?

    I was reluctant to post this as i was so saddened by it. both my hives have fallen victim to robbing and it is my fault. Open feeding on top of the hive. Lesson learned.http://s1055.photobucket.com/albums/...ent=image7.jpg

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bristol, Pa
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: How do you identify robbing?

    I really wish people didnt use photobucket. the photos are so small for the rest of us to see. picasa does it way better and will not delete photos when too many people look. sorry for ranting.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: How do you identify robbing?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post

    Check what's going on inside. It may be too late to salvage the colony. The colony maybe too weak or queenless to be viable.

    But, if it is still a good colony, duct tape all the cracks and reduce the entrance down to the space of a couple of bees, making entrance gaurding easier.

    I hope that isn't too many answers.
    I have two five-week-old TBH's. Both have 12+ combs and built up well and are still taking 3 pints of syrup per day. This morning when I went feed them, there were lots of bees in the air and I saw several wrestling matches and bees chasing other bees on the front of the hive. I have reduced the entrance to about 1 1/2" and used the smoker on the outside to try to disrupt the situation but the wrestling continued so I stuffed grass in the entrance and went to work (at home thankfully). Just before lunch I went out in the backyard to check and noticed the grass was gone and the wrestling continuing. I threw a wet towel over the entrance (a Michael Bush tactic). Now what?

    HELP!! I am a new beek and I don't know what to look for in the hive (as you suggested looking). How can I tell if it is still "viable"? I suspected that it was queenless during my inspection on Saturday because the only brood I saw was capped. I put a bar of open brood from the other hive in on Sunday (re Michael Bush's book).

    How long do I keep them penned in and what determines my next steps?

    Any help would be much appreciated! I don't want to lose this hive!

    Thanks for your help!!!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    florence sc usa
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: How do you identify robbing?

    Quote Originally Posted by leonphelps View Post
    I really wish people didnt use photobucket. the photos are so small for the rest of us to see. picasa does it way better and will not delete photos when too many people look. sorry for ranting.
    Is anyone else having this problem? When I click on the site I get nice big photos.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: How do you identify robbing?

    Quote Originally Posted by beepopnc View Post
    I have two five-week-old TBH's. Both have 12+ combs and built up well <snip> there were lots of bees in the air and I saw several wrestling matches and bees chasing other bees on the front of the hive. <snip> I stuffed grass in the entrance and went to work (at home thankfully). Just before lunch I went out in the backyard to check and noticed the grass was gone and the wrestling continuing.
    With 12 nicely drawn combs in each hive, there's a pretty good chance, IMHO, that your bees can defend themselves pretty well.

    Your bees removed the grass probably because it was interfering with their ventilation.

    If you want to know if your hive's still "viable," you can check on them in the evening, after the bees have stopped flying; that way you won't be making it harder for them to guard against the robbers in the process

    If you're wanting to do something proactive to help stop the robbing of your hives, since I see you like Michael Bush's information, here's a link I'm sure you'll enjoy: http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmisc.htm#robberscreen (clicking on the two small pics gives you nicer, blow-ups of them). Try making up one of those, then install it over your hive's entrance at night. Your bees will re-orient to be able to get in through it, robber bees won't have nearly as easy a time

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: How do you identify robbing?

    Stevedc- I prefer the size of the photos I upload onto my own site, as I can leave them larger & "zoom in" to see details that can't be seen on the smaller images hosted by photobucket et. all ... but not everyone feels like paying $45/year to be able to upload pics whatever size you feel is best?
    Of course, beesource also lets you upload your photos directly into the post, but I hear some people are having trouble with that functionality

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Natick, MA
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: How do you identify robbing?

    Quote Originally Posted by stevedc View Post
    Re photobucket - Is anyone else having this problem? When I click on the site I get nice big photos.
    I can't get into it at all from behind the firewall at work. Flickr is fine - is photobucket somehow more suspect?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Posts
    159

    Default Re: How do you identify robbing?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Robbing bees will fly fast from the hive. They gotta get home w/ their illgotten gains.
    Robbers are shiny looking too, being wet w/ honey.

    When you open a hive which is being robbed, the robber bees will fly up off of between the combs in a pissy attitude, some stinging and others flying away.

    When you see bees frantically working at trying to get into hives, or a hive, from places other than the main entrance, chances are they are robber bees. Check what's going on inside. It may be too late to salvage the colony. The colony maybe too weak or queenless to be viable.

    But, if it is still a good colony, duct tape all the cracks and reduce the entrance down to the space of a couple of bees, making entrance gaurding easier.

    I hope that isn't too many answers.

    Thanks for the tip. I just realized that my weaker hive probably needs the smallest entrance reducer of just 2 bees width. I am using the 4 inch one. I have seen bees jet away, but when I have opened the hive, none have flown upwards away from the hive as you said.

    Can you ever abuse the entrance reducer? What I mean is, can you leave the space too small and cause the bees to be upset or hindered? I feel as though maybe I am being to loose, and opening the areas to wide too soon....which is worse?

    Thx -Lori

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: How do you identify robbing?

    All bees have to orient. If you just installed them they will have to orient. But once they have you probably won't have orientation flights again until the new bees start emerging.
    Thats what I thought but this is day 18 and I know for a fact no eggs where laid until day 3 so I'm still a ways off from the first possible new bees.

    This happened again yesterday BTW, this time with all four hives at the same time, it was pretty intense standing in the cloud but no one was acting aggressive towards me. I took a short video and will have it up later today. I'm too tired right now. I work for the fire/ambulance service and we had a bus wreck this morning with extrication and I'm wiped out after that.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: How do you identify robbing?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheRatLover View Post
    Can you ever abuse the entrance reducer? What I mean is, can you leave the space too small and cause the bees to be upset or hindered? I feel as though maybe I am being to loose, and opening the areas to wide too soon....which is worse?
    As long as the bees can get in/out, and VENTILATE the hive, the reducer is causing no problems for them. Seeing as you're in 'Diego, I'd be somewhat worried with the heat, and maybe recommend switching to a "robber screen" type entrance reducer instead, if you can. That way your bees will have PLENTY of room to fan for ventilation, and the robbers will be held at bay @ the same time...really a great little invention

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: How do you identify robbing?

    For me it was war going on at the landing board. Bees were fighting bees! What was worst is I followed the advise of an acquaintance and took frames of harvested honey and put them out for the bees to clean up. That called in the neighborhood bees and it was clear, even to a newbee like me what was going on. But they were definately roll and tumbling with each other at the entrance and when I closed it up to 2 bees wide my hive prevailed...

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Posts
    159

    Default Re: How do you identify robbing?

    I heard that the varroa bottom board 'trap door' which is the plastic insert should be removed. Today it is already 88 degrees outside. My hives are shaded, but should I remove the 'trap door' for better ventilation?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: How do you identify robbing?

    Someone experienced should answer this but I am and thank you for reminding me. My bees were also bearding after going into the hive and I realize now it was because of the heat so I'm going to remove mine tonight...

    I've never heard of it as a 'trap door' but rather as a monitor board...same thing?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Posts
    159

    Default Re: How do you identify robbing?

    Mann Lake called the bottom board a 'varroa trap with drawer.' Yet it's a screened bottom board. Odd name huh?

    -Lori

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads