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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default More robbing questions

    I have a very small and weak hive (only 5 frames drawn) that has undergone two bouts of robbing in three days. The first one was minor, and I solved it with a wet sheet, and removed the frame feeder I had placed in there a day earlier. Things were fine for a day, then the robbers hit again. The second was far worse. I decided to close the hive down for three days and see if I can make them go away.

    I've screened the top entrance and closed up the lower entrance. I have a screened bottom board, so I don't think ventilation will be a problem. The hive is in the shade of a large umbrella during the hottest part of the day. I have two feeders inside the hive (placed back in after the second robbing bout started), one with syrup, and one with water. I've verified that the bees use them, so I don't think food/H2O will be a problem either.

    This evening when I cracked the lid to see if the bees needed more water/syrup, a literal horde of bees swarmed out of the hive -- like a horror movie --, and immediately began buzzing around the hive and trying to get in via any crack and seam they could find. I would estimate that maybe a third of bees in the hive were trapped robbers.

    My question for you is, is there anything else I should be doing? Should I remove the feeder with the syrup in it? There's a little honey, but I'm not sure how much honey the bees will need for three days. I have no other hives to draw stores and brood from.

    Another question, there are a lot of bees clinging to the underside of the screened bottom board. They're calm. Are these my bees that want to get back in?

    Frankly, I'm not optimistic. It's a weak hive, honey stocks look a little low, I'm not sure about pollen, I'm definitely short of bees, and I'm not sure I even have a queen anymore. To make it worse, I'm as green as can be.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    N. Las Vegas NV
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: More robbing questions

    I would put a solid bottom board under that hive, reduce it to one super, inner cover
    and close the entrance to allow one or two bees at a time to enter.
    I wouldn't think it is that hot in Utah to have all that ventalation.
    Here in Vegas it has bee 110 or better the last few day and all i have done to my hives is put a screened top cover on.
    Hope you get your problem solved

    Larry SDSC00020.jpg

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: More robbing questions

    Thanks. I had the entrance reducer in, with a 2-bee width. I'll go ahead and reduce it further.

    Why put in the solid board? Just to make things a little more secure? It's been 100 degrees lately, and I wanted to make things as comfortable as possible if I was going to shut them up for a few days.

    I hope I get it solved, too. Spring seems so far away....
    Last edited by Splatt; 07-12-2012 at 06:40 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    East Dorset, VT
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: More robbing questions

    Why have you not put on robbing screens? Here is a simple one you can make in minutes. . . .

    http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/facult...bingscreen.pdf

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: More robbing questions

    Because I'm so green I'm ignorant of many things. I'll give it a try. Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: More robbing questions

    Done! I had all the stuff I needed in the woodpile, shed, and workbench.

    The wood is old 2x2s, the cross pieces are cut down frame wedges, the screen was from a roll in storage. Everything is stapled together. Not bad for a bit of emergency construction! Took all of 10 minutes. I'm not sure 4" is quite high enough, but it seems to befuddle almost all of them. I also took the precaution of reducing the entrance to one bee width.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: More robbing questions

    Good job. I usually put them on at night so all the hives foragers orient to it in the morning. Shouldn't need a reducer once they all use it. Good luck!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: More robbing questions

    Should I screen off the top entrance at the hole cut in the middle of the top cover (the bee escape hole, where I have the screen now), or at the groove milled into the front edge of the top cover? Currently, the robbers can make it under transport cover, but can't get into the hive.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: More robbing questions

    Thanks. I haven't seen many foragers leave, so things may be dicey for a little while.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Spicewood, Texas, USA
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: More robbing questions

    Among other issues, I had a severe robbing problem going on. Today, I reduced the entrance of the Top Bar Hive by 90%, and sat and watched for about 15 minutes. Before doing this, the guard bees were few, and they barely put up a fight anymore. After the entrance was reduced, six or so at a time attacked each intruder, which by now had to try and enter a space no bigger than about 3 inches, as opposed to having about 2 feet of access space into the hive.

    I also moved the false back WAY forward so they'll have much less inner space to defend.

    I like to think they're feeling much more empowered now!

    Sondra

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: More robbing questions

    Splatt I would think as long as the robbers cant get to the food source, your screen should be ok over the bee escape hole were you have it now. Just a thought though, I would turn the inner cover around so that the milled groove on the front edge, is faced to the back of the hive. Just a precation to keep them away from the front door. It shouldnt matter which way the hole faces. Steve
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: More robbing questions

    Quote Originally Posted by sfisher View Post
    Just a thought though, I would turn the inner cover around so that the milled groove on the front edge, is faced to the back of the hive. Just a precation to keep them away from the front door.
    That makes sense. I'll do it later when things have calmed down. I've been able to stand within 18 inches of the hive and they ignore me (raiders included), but today they're all a little testy, and I had one particularly feisty raider follow me all around the yard. Hopefully the neighbors didn't see my little version of the "bee dance".

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: More robbing questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Bleemus View Post
    Why have you not put on robbing screens? Here is a simple one you can make in minutes. . . .

    http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/facult...bingscreen.pdf
    Your suggestion may just have given my hive a fighting chance. Thank you.

    The screen works pretty well. It keeps the mob out, and most of the hoverers just zig-zag in front of it. Yesterday I noticed that some of the robbers were eventually getting in by flying over the top of the screen, or by crawling up the side and over. So I got the idea of putting a top on the screen and cutting a bee-size hole in it as far from the hive entrance as it could be. I installed it this morning, and like the other screen it's stopping the mob and the hovering bees. But I noticed that some of the bees are crawling up the side, along the top, and down in through the hole. The almost 2" wide top also provides a landing board for the raiding bees.

    I understand that a robber screen with an opening is probably not a 100% solution (that is, it doesn't prevent all of the robbers from getting in), but it tilts the odds in favor of the hive. I don't think that my alteration is any worse than having an open top robber screen, but I'm a new beekeeper. Does anyone have an informed opinion as to why the alteration I made is better/worse/doesn't matter?

    I'd upload pictures, but I can't seem to get it to work right now.

    Still being raided after three days. Gonna be a long summer....

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Chickamauga, Walker County, Georgia
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: More robbing questions

    One thing that I have always questioned about the traditional Lang, as it is traditionally deployed, is "that airport-sized landing deck." If you look at any bee-tree, the entrance is usually one relatively-small hole. You can easily defend that against all comers. But if your entrance/exit is an unobstructed space that's a foot long or more, it's indefensible. No wonder things get inside to cause trouble. Better to let 'em land on the "deck," if you please, but then to have to walk to the "door." Even if there's a bit of a queue, they'll take turns.

    On our hTBH's, the incoming bees simply land on the sloped sides, walk to the hole, and go inside past the guards, alternating with the outgoing bees who typically launch from the edge of the hole(s). Any invading creature has to "run the gauntlet," and it's just not gonna make it through.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Spicewood, Texas, USA
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: More robbing questions

    Yep! One of my TBHs has a really long entrance, while the other has 2 small holes on the side. I had substantially reduced the large entrance with twigs when I first installed the bees in that hive, but they or something had pushed most of the twigs away. I replaced the twigs so they have much less entryway to defend.

    The two-hole entry hive has really tight security, from what I can see. There is no landing deck whatsoever, but somehow there never seems to be a traffic jam either.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: More robbing questions

    I just finished my first solo hive inspection, on my hive that's under siege. Things actually look pretty good, in spite of the robbing. I have guard bees again. My smoker quit on me (of course), but the bees remained calm. They're drawing comb on another frame. Bees covered all the frames that have been drawn. I've got pollen, a good quantity of capped honey, and a lot of uncapped honey. The feeder was low, so I filled it. I didn't see the queen, but I do have eggs (single, middle of the cell bottom), larvae, and capped brood. I think that's enough evidence for me to conclude that I still have a queen.

    Of course, now the paranoia has set in: as careful as I was, did I squash her during the inspection? When do you quit being paranoid?
    Last edited by Splatt; 07-14-2012 at 11:28 AM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: More robbing questions

    Quote Originally Posted by SRBrooks View Post
    The two-hole entry hive has really tight security, from what I can see. There is no landing deck whatsoever, but somehow there never seems to be a traffic jam either.
    I reduced my entrance to a single bee width, and haven't noticed a problem, yet.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: More robbing questions

    Splatt your screen should be fine with the extra piece on top thats the way most of the ones that I have seen are.
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

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