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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Drain, OR
    Posts
    424

    Default Once robbing starts, will they keep going until the robbed hive is empty?

    Is robbing a death sentence if it starts? I was thinking the other day about how foragers will remember where they have been going for a few days, and that they will keep going back if a source is there, or there isn't a better source somewhere. It made me wonder if robbing will typically doom a colony. It seems like the robbers would just keep coming back until they can't rob anymore. This would mean either they robbed all the honey, or the home bees are able to defend them now (due to robber screen, reduced access, etc., etc..).
    A backyard hobbyist, keeping hives since '09. ~ http://www.sweetthangchocolates.com
    Zone 8a/8b

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    662

    Default Re: Once robbing starts, will they keep going until the robbed hive is empty?

    Yes, the robbers are merciless to the week hive. Rob until the honey is gone or the hive defends itself.

    Best solution is to make an entrance reducer with the entrance one inch deep and opening 3/8 high by 1/2 wide and place on a flat entrance board. This creates a 1 inch long tunnel, if you will, that is not much larger than a bee(two bee widths) and one guard/very few guards can monitor incoming bees.

    The robbers, in my experience, seem to figure out the robbers screens.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Drain, OR
    Posts
    424

    Default Re: Once robbing starts, will they keep going until the robbed hive is empty?

    Makes me want to check the mating nucs this weekend... Was planning to anyway :P
    A backyard hobbyist, keeping hives since '09. ~ http://www.sweetthangchocolates.com
    Zone 8a/8b

  4. #4

    Default Re: Once robbing starts, will they keep going until the robbed hive is empty?

    To make matters worse, when the summer temps get high, the bees must be able to bring in significant amounts of water. An entrance reduced to allow one or two bees to pass is just not enough to allow the needed volume of foragers. Even with good ventilation (screened bottoms and all) water is still essential.
    Damned if you do and damned if you don't.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    662

    Default Re: Once robbing starts, will they keep going until the robbed hive is empty?

    Can only suggest a Miller feeder with water, so bees have full access to water. Unfortunately water is temp of the hive but will evaporate and provide some cooling.

    Another option is an invered jar of water with 1/16 holes over a hole in a inner cover.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Once robbing starts, will they keep going until the robbed hive is empty?

    Quote Originally Posted by mgolden View Post
    will evaporate and provide some cooling.
    That is how it works.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Bloomfield,KY
    Posts
    279

    Default Re: Once robbing starts, will they keep going until the robbed hive is empty?

    I just lost a small swarm yesterday that I had placed in a nuc last week due to robbing. My fault I didn't get them to my nuc yard. They didn't stand a chance in my production yard, by the time I got homeand found it th queen was already writhing in the bottom along with the rest of the dead bees.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Williston, Vermont, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Once robbing starts, will they keep going until the robbed hive is empty?

    How far away should you move the hive after robbing has begun? I don't have tons of space, but, I could move them a few hundred yards away. Any thoughts as to whether or not that would make any difference?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Gordonsville,VA USA
    Posts
    114

    Default Re: Once robbing starts, will they keep going until the robbed hive is empty?

    I don't think moving them would help, unless very far away from all other bee hives in the area, and they do and will forage a wide radius. I used a piece of screen folded and laid that in front of the entrance reducer, so the resident bees could come up from behind, the robbers had to walk the walk of death. They gave up and went home. HBH seems to get it started , plain sugar water is best and inside, whether top feeder, or pickle jar inverted (this is best) surounded by another box, shut off upper entrance. All one can do, if it all out attack, the water hose on fine mist helps too.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Bloomfield,KY
    Posts
    279

    Default Re: Once robbing starts, will they keep going until the robbed hive is empty?

    I have a yard for my nucs about 12 miles away and don't feed unless absolutely necessary, when I have to feed Iusually pull surplus frames from production colonies but if that isn't possible I always feed with covered feeders.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    384

    Default Re: Once robbing starts, will they keep going until the robbed hive is empty?

    My extremely limited experience (exactly 1.5 weeks) tells me "yes", if you don't do what you can to beef up the defenses.

    My brand new hive (small, weak, 5 frames) started getting robbed the day I opened it up. I closed the hive up temporarily to give me time to think and plan. I reduced the entrance, installed a robber screen, and opened the hive back up. The robbers were still there, but the screen kept most of them out. As has been pointed out, some eventually do figure it out. However, the screen kept the mob out, and only rarely did one get through.

    I did an inspection a week after the robbing started, and found that the hive was doing well. More honey, eggs and brood, and they were drawing comb on adjacent frames. You can't close up a hive forever, and I think the screen did the trick.

    A week and a half later, and I still see raiders buzzing around the hive, but not in great numbers. Hopefully things still look good this weekend.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    875

    Default Re: Once robbing starts, will they keep going until the robbed hive is empty?

    vermontryan a couple hundred yards wont get the job done.
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cary NC
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Once robbing starts, will they keep going until the robbed hive is empty?

    I saw my colony rob another in my neighborhood this week. It was a sad site and made feel guilty like my children had commited a crime.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,770

    Default Re: Once robbing starts, will they keep going until the robbed hive is empty?

    A robber screen will go a long ways to slowing down the behavior. A couple days of rain helps too. I've had robbed hives that teeter on the brink so it helps to address the situation sooner than later. In some cases, especially in the fall, stopping the robbing is great but you really need to assess the condition of the robbed hive. Also, robbing is sometimes "under the radar" with a hive being robbed looking innocently like a busy hive, leaving the beekeeper to think that the colony seems to be doing quite well.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Pittsburgh PA
    Posts
    399

    Default Re: Once robbing starts, will they keep going until the robbed hive is empty?

    Ive had good luck with exchanging the places of the two hives. If I can I give a couple frames of bees to the weak hive as I'm switching places. The weak hive gets all the foragers and a couple extra frames of bees and gets stronger. The foragers/ robbers get confused and I chuckle :-)
    There is no greater satisfaction than the satisfaction of a job well done.

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