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Thread: Robbing

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  1. #1
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    Default Robbing

    I have some nuc robbing going on in the yard. If I take the feeders away, will the robbing stop. Or will they start going after the honey?
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Robbing

    In my experience, once they start they don't stop. I lost several nucs to robbing because they wouldn't stop even after I tried to divert their attention with open feeding. I finally had to move the remainder of the nucs to another yard where there was more foraging opportunities for the big hives.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Robbing

    You CAN stop it but it is difficult and you must attend to it immediately. Here is a link to some great info on robbing. I've had to deal with it a number of times. I was successful with a nuc after I blocked the entrance completely for 2 or 3 days. I'd open it at night so it could breathe and would check it first thing in the a.m.; if I saw robbers - or even suspected them - I shut it down again.

    http://www.countryrubes.com/images/Robber_Bees.pdf
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  4. #4
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    Apr 2012
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    Andover, Ohio
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    Default Re: Robbing

    In my VERY limited experience I have found that nucs defend their entrance better than a regular size hive if the entrance is a 1" hole. Two weeks ago I made up a nuc and their were already bees guarding the entrance hole 10 minutes later. I had serious robbing going on two feet away at a double deep hive but nothing at my two nucs.

  5. #5
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    Nov 2011
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    Winhall, VT
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    Default Re: Robbing

    My nucs have either a 7/8" hole (singles) or a 3/8" x 3" slot. Seems quite defendable since they are quite full of bees.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Robbing

    Yes, they WILL go after the honey. And you can lose your queen in the process.
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  7. #7
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    Jun 2011
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    Portland, Oregon
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    Default Re: Robbing

    I had some robbing in a nuc the other day, so I made a 3/8" thick "U" shaped shim and covered it with window screen. I tacked it over the entrance as a robbing screen, and the robbing stopped after a day.

    Here is a one minute vid of the screen with an explanation:


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Robbing

    reducing the enterence doesnt work when you have 50 bees bum rushing the enterence, I have tried that. Yesturday I laid a piece of screen over the enterence and they moved that. I have screen bottom boards and I am wondering if I can completly shut the front door. High temps here will be in the upper 90's the next couple of days.
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  9. #9
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    Aug 2010
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    Default Re: Robbing

    Quote Originally Posted by sfisher View Post
    If I take the feeders away, will the robbing stop. Or will they start going after the honey?
    start going after the honey ???
    If you have Honey why would you feed??

    I would reduce to a one two bee entrance
    A very small entrance, If you can move them as stated I think it would stop faster

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Robbing

    If you have a screen bottom board, do you think it matters as far as ventilation goes, if you completly close off the enterence of a nuc, for its first couple of days. And I'm talking about when its in the 90s outside.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Robbing

    I have to ask again ??
    Why would you be feeding a hive that has Honey in it

    As to your last question
    Yes you can close them off with screen bottom board
    Why are you closing them off ??
    I also feel if you put robbers screens in they will learn and use the new way out/in
    If you keep changing that, That will confuse them and IMHO somewhat retard their growth

  12. #12
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Robbing

    So much for the "feeding doesn't hurt anything" theory...

    Robbing needs to be stopped ASAP. Stopping feeding will not be sufficient, but it may be a necessary first step. Unfortunately you can't just take away what started the robbing and expect it to stop. It's much easier to keep it from happening than it is to stop it once it starts.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesrobbing.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Robbing

    My feeding theory is that there's no perfect way to do it. All options are fraught with dangers. So I try not to.

    I have used robber screens. Their whole point is that robbers are after a scent whereas home bees know how to get into their own house. So let the scent out one place, let the bees out another. My queen castles (mating nucs) have them built in and also serve as ventilation.

    Once it is happening and you do catch it, my method has been to let it finish, let the robbers get everything, then come in and do your repair work before the hive starves. Place some capped honey in and reduce entrances to one or two bees.

    I imagine I don't catch it every time because I do lose a couple hives over the dearth in the summer. I guess they should have tried harder. Can't protect them from everything, so I hardly protect them from anything.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Robbing

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Once it is happening and you do catch it, my method has been to let it finish, let the robbers get everything, then come in and do your repair work before the hive starves. Place some capped honey in and reduce entrances to one or two bees.
    Beg to differ here! What if he only has one hive??? Perhaps this is a case of what works for one won't work for another. Maybe your yards arent close enough to make it reasonable to try. But robbing can be stopped, it just takes some serious attention. I won't sacrifice my hive if I can keep from it.
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Robbing

    Michael, I reread your info on robbing (I can see I probably learned a lot of my tactics from reading that previously) and noted the part about reducing all hive entrances in the event of a dearth - which I think nearly everyone is in - ugh - including me. I had entrance reducers on all 3 hives - but at their widest opening, even for the nuc. No robbing issues as yet (since stopping one earlier this year). However, they were recently inspected and the inspector took them all off. I scratched my head and figured she knew best. I do have screened inner cover and bottom board. In your opinion, should I put them back on? I have felt before that this inspector does things to one hive because it is what is being done in another hive somewhere else - if you know what I'm saying. I wondered if that was the only reason she did it. I asked her why and she said as hot as it is they will burn up. I sorta felt I had as much of that covered as possible - including propped lids, even with screened inner.
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Robbing

    Quote Originally Posted by tommyt View Post
    I have to ask again ??
    Why would you be feeding a hive that has Honey in it
    Possible reasons:

    To keep the queen producing brood, to keep them producing wax, to keep them from being malnutritioned - they are reluctant to break into capped honey unless they have to.

    Bees that are malnutritioned all summer long are going to have a harder time fighting off diseases/parasites AND build up a healthy population of new bees to over winter.

    Unfortunately feeding does cause robbing - so does excessive exposure of open hives. Last summer it was a big problem. This summer I've kept most inspections to a quick peak under the hood unless I suspect a problem - check for visible brood and honey along the top and plenty of bees, then close it up before trouble starts. Not an ideal inspection, but Less stress on the bees and not much robbing so far.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Dayton, Ohio, USA
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    3

    Default Re: Robbing

    Sorry to hijack but I'm a first year and noticed this evening a few, maybe 3-4, outsiders trying to get in. My bees are significantly smaller than the intruders. However, my girls seem to be fending off the unwanted guests with ease. I'm fairly confident that I have strong hive (this is my only one and I'm in an urban setting). Started with a nuc in mid-April and have added 3 mediums to accomodate their growth. At what point should I start taking action, if any?

  18. #18
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    May 2009
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    Garland County, AR
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    Default Re: Robbing

    Jh, 3-4 outsiders being easily handled doesn't sound like a problem for a hive with 3+ mediums. Keep an eye on them and if a problem arises, come back and read this thread.
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  19. #19
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    Sep 2009
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    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
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    Default Re: Robbing

    From what i have read jhillard you take action as soon as you see robbing taking place. But if your hive is holding its own, I dont know what you can do to help. Just make sure your enterence is reduced for sure.
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Robbing

    David and Tommy, I answered the question about why I was feeding a nuc that has honey, in post #37.
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