When will the robbing stop?!
About 8 days ago our hive started getting robbed. We left some previously spun frames in a tupperware box, but the lid was accidentally left open a crack. I closed the hive up for 2 days and the robbers kept coming. Since then I put up a robber fence. It's been in place for about 6 days, but the robbers keep coming. I know this because they keep probing the same cracks between the hive bodies, but there's no way to get in. The cracks are too small.
My robber fence has a 3/4" hole on the lower left that leads into the hive and a 3/4' hole in the upper right that leads outside. It's about 6" tall with a 1/8" screen across the front. During the day there's all kinds of coming-going activity. There's always a bunch of bees inside the screened area. There's usually 1 - 5 dead bees inside the robber screen at the end of the day.
Here are my questions:
1. Do robbers learn an efficient way in and out of the robber fence? Could they just be flying in like they own the place?
2. When will they go away so that I can harvest my honey?
3. To test the attack response, at the end of the day, when all the bees are inside, I beat on the side of the hive a few times. The response is immediate. Bees coming pouring out of the hive into the robber cage. I get out of Dodge at that point.
4. What should I do?
Thanks for any help/advice.
Re: When will the robbing stop?!
The bees are busy sealing up the cracks in the hive right now, so the bees you see are probably not robbers but your bees sealing cracks. If they are "busy" at the crack poking their jaws in there, they are very like applying propolis.
Do you have bees landing on the face of the hive and crawling around looking for the entrance? Bees fighting on the landing board and dead bees piling up in front?
If not, likely you have a good fall flow and a very busy hive -- one if mine is working like crazy, still doing orientation flights in the early afternoon, another thing often mistaken for robbing. Your bees will fly right into the entrance, robbers land on the hive, then search for the entrance since they are not oriented to it.
If you have lots of bees hovering in front of the hive and going in and out, but flying in circles around the hive, that's orientation flights, new bees are learning when home is. Looks like a robbing event, but if you look closely, the bees are flying into the entrance but leaving from the face of the hive, not the other way around.