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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Pendleton County, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    64

    Sad Robbed in January :(

    Yesterday morning I did a quick hive check, and all seemed right with the world. It was nearly 70 degrees here and my bees were flying. Very shortly after the hive check, my husband dumped out what was leftover of a deer food/attractant (called Final Feast) in our driveway, approximately 250 yards from our bee hive. He was cleaning his car and wanted to throw the bag away, so he just dumped what was left out (probably 2-3 cups). It smelled like peanut butter. Within half an hour, it was over run with at least a few hundred bees, some of which did not look like mine (mine aren't really bright, they are sort of drab colored and were caught from a feral swarm last year). I even witnessed fighting between the bees. So, I walked to my hive, and sure enough robbing was also going on. Bees were fighting, rolling on the ground, attacking each other. The other bees were more yellow than mine, and it was obvious there was a lot of them flying in front of the hive and trying to get in. My guards were fighting like heck, but I did see some make it in to the hive. I have an entrance reducer on, but grabbed what I could (a handful of mud) and reduced it down to about the size of one bee. For a while this seemed to help, but within another hour it seemed that there were tons of the stray bees all over the hive. I put a wet sheet over the hive.

    This morning I went to check and the sheet was off of the hive, and I see bees that don't look like mine leaving with full bellies and flying off. I am surprised because it is cooler in the 50's and raining.

    I folded a few leaves and blocked the entrance the rest of the way, and then put the wet sheet back over the hive, and added a bucket of water on top so it won't blow off.

    Is there any hope at all? Have they killed my queen, or all of my guards? Is that even possible in such a short time? I don't see a lot of dead bees around the outside. Tonight is supposed to drop in to the 20's, and tomorrow and Tuesday will have highs more seasonable, in the 30's. Surely that will at least stall the robbers, right?

    My hive seemed very strong with a lot of bees, so surely that is in their favor. I hope.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,712

    Default Re: Robbed in January :(

    Only time will tell. The colder weather will stop the robbing. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you and the bees.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Pendleton County, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: Robbed in January :(

    Thank you, Mr. Beeman. I'm hopeful, since the hive seemed strong, but trying to be realistic just in case it goes badly.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: Robbed in January :(

    If you lived closer I'd say it was my thieving Italians
    Now you know why many like myself advise against any outside feeding
    I NEVER outside feed yet my hives were robbing out my weakest hive yesterday
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Pendleton County, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: Robbed in January :(

    Thanks, Mike. I am sick about it, and did not realize, and neither did my husband, that the bees would be attracted to the deer food. Lesson learned the hard way. And, I wish money wouldn't have been so tight last year and I could have gotten two hives, but I only have one. Another lesson learned, and I am thankful I have two more hives sitting here to put together.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
    Posts
    885

    Default Re: Robbed in January :(

    Sounds like you did everything you could. I recently had a robbing of smaller hive and I tried something new. I had a plastic tablecloth backed with a soft felt like material in my shed. I covered the hive after reducing the entrance down to a couple bees with the soft side out and roped it around the hive. It overlapped the entrance, straped about halfway down. This was going on at dusk and I had to go to work so I was trying to do something quickly. Then I took my home made bee robber mix and sprayed the cloth well all over the hive. In the morning, early, I did it again after screening the entrance completely so no bees out that day. I watched throughout the day and the robbing stopped. I left table cloth on and opened the entrance for 2 bee size the next day. Everything fine after that.
    Does the wet of a sheet diminish honey smell from inside, I wonder, or is that for weight?
    It sounds like you caught it quickly, my bees are now back to normal and entrance population looks the same as usual. We are having very warm weather here and bees are busy with pollen.
    Hope yours are ok too.
    Bev
    Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prvb 16:24
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    LaGrange; Oldham County; Kentucky
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: Robbed in January :(

    Quote Originally Posted by StacieM View Post
    Thank you, Mr. Beeman. I'm hopeful, since the hive seemed strong, but trying to be realistic just in case it goes badly.
    As you know I'm not far from you in Ky and my single deep Italians robbed my two deep Russians to death.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,783

    Default Re: Robbed in January :(

    In a severe dearth, when a larger starving hive wants your hive's stores, even a wet sheet with a sprinkler aimed at it isn't enough.

    Strong hives work. Build them up as strong as possible and never outside feed. (I lost my bees about October 5th 2011 learning this.)
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

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