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  1. #1
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    Default capturing robbing bees

    i had a perhaps crazy idea after reading a post on Honey Bee Suite of capturing the robbers that are plaguing my week hive and keeping them to build up ht hive they were robbing容nslave the attackers.

    i took an old hive body with old comb with honey still in it and set it out. it took a few days to build up to a full robbing scenario, but it was covered yesterday. last night i added two empty shallows to the top. the bottom shallow has a large hole with a triangle bee escape covered witha screen. the bee escape leads to another empty shallow with the top coved with a screen.

    my thoughts were that bees would enter through the hive entrance and walk to the top of the frames and get into the open space above in the bottom super. the light coming through the escape would lead them out through the escape into the upper screened super.

    after a few days in the trap i was planning to move the screened super to super my weak hive but keep the screen between the two groups for a few days, then let the captured bees leave through a top exit or just shake them out in front of the hive and let them go back in through the front door or fly away.

    when i left for work this AM there were about 50 bees caught in the trap様ess than i had hoped in 4 hours of robbing. i'm rethinking my design. maybe a top entrance through holes in the side into the screened empty supper then down to the honey in the hive body.and let the bees rob most of the day, then at mid day, put inward facing cone escapes and fill the box until the robing stops.

    thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    792

    Default Re: capturing robbing bees

    If there is a huge number of robbers in the hive, I simply close the hive up an move. Robbers and all.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: capturing robbing bees

    They remember the location of their old hive for up to a month. So if you introduce these robbers to a weak hive in the same yard, they will rob it.

    Moving the hive MIGHT work but I don't know. On a few occasions I've had a hive being robbed and beyond saving, the whole hive being a mass of chaotic robbing. If the queen is still alive, I've put the whole thing robbers and all on the truck, and taken it to a new location. Then I've watched the activity to try to figure if the robbers will join the hive. There is a lot of confused activity and aimless looking bees and I know many of them are robbers, and it can stay looking like that for a day or two. Whether they join the hive or eventually fly off and die somewhere, I have not been able to work out.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  4. #4
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    Default Re: capturing robbing bees

    Interesting considerations.

    My thought in confining on top of my weak hive, but separated by a screen was that after a few day, they would be acclimated to the smell of the resident queen and more likely to stick around and less likely to be attacked.

    Theoretically, could one set up a hive to be robbed and then close it off and capture the bees as a package and confine them with a new queen (protected) for a number if days and create new colony? Maybe with the addition of a frame of brood?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: capturing robbing bees

    Quote Originally Posted by kendal.l View Post
    Theoretically, could one set up a hive to be robbed and then close it off and capture the bees as a package and confine them with a new queen (protected) for a number if days and create new colony? Maybe with the addition of a frame of brood?
    If you plan to catch robbers, you are going to get field bees. They are the ones doing the robbing. If you plan to introduce a frame of brood, you will need to leave the nurse bees and housekeepers on the frame and move them too. You don't have a very good mix of bees for a new start. To make a good start as a package, you should have 6000 to 9000 bees minimum, Two to three pounds.

    Not a good way to start a new hive.

    cchoganjr

  6. #6
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    Default Re: capturing robbing bees

    Kendal.l there are a few threads on beesource where people have tried this. It has always ended in tears.

    If doing it in the same yard it is certain to fail. If moving the robbers somewhere else there MIGHT be a small chance, but it is still not going to give great results for the reasons given by Cleo Hogan.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #7
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    Default Re: capturing robbing bees

    The robbers have oriented to their own hive, that orientation lasts for life. If you keep them in your yard where the robbing is going on, they will just continue to rob that weak hive and take it back to their own original home. Confining them in with a different queen and brood will not change it. Your only hope is to move them five or more miles away, and hope you are not moving them in the same direction that the robbers home hive is located.

  8. #8
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    Vancouver, WA, USA
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    Default Re: capturing robbing bees

    I have the same situation.
    My colony collapsed and they tried to make a new queen a few times. I had "Chilled Brood", and all the bees died off and the brood died as well. When I inspect my hive with no feed I only see 1 or 2 bees.

    So now when I feed the hive I see this
    http://imageshack.us/a/img59/8666/1tzq.jpg
    On the outside, and inside I see
    http://imageshack.us/a/img825/905/snx6.jpg
    I already ordered a new queen and she arrives next week.
    I can catch the bees and put them into a nuc box, but it sounds like they will return to their original hive.
    My only other alternative is to catch bees that are over 5 miles away and use that to start a new hive.




  9. #9
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    Default Re: capturing robbing bees

    Quote Originally Posted by disc999golfer999 View Post
    My only other alternative is to catch bees that are over 5 miles away and use that to start a new hive.
    The other alternative is to take some brood and bees from another hive to make a little nuc & introduce the queen to that, which has an excellent chance of success, the use robber bees method has almost zero chance for success.

    Couple of things, you should not set up the new hive where this one is, robbers already are ready to overwhelm any new hive at that location. The other thing is going by the pic anyway, that hive was set up to be robbed. Does not look like there would have been near enough bees to defend that feeder, combined with being queenless, the situation would have been impossible for them. If a hive like that needs feeding, comb honey is best but if not available, go in the evening, take out a comb and pour some syrup directly into it. Do not spill any, and restrict the entrance down to one bee. They will have the night robber free to organise the syrup you have given them so they will be at less risk of robbing the next day.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  10. #10
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    Default Re: capturing robbing bees

    Someone told me that I can catch the feral bees and then close them up in their new hive for 2 days and they will just stay there and not go back to their original location.

    Aybody had any success doing that?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: capturing robbing bees

    Quote Originally Posted by kendal.l View Post
    i had a perhaps crazy idea after reading a post on Honey Bee Suite of capturing the robbers that are plaguing my week hive and keeping them to build up ht hive they were robbing容nslave the attackers....... thoughts?
    I agree with you...........crazy idea!

  12. #12
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    Default Re: capturing robbing bees

    Quote Originally Posted by snl View Post
    crazy idea!
    I second crazy idea.

    How many bees do you think you could enslave from the robbing bees. I suspect not very many, in terms of what it takes to augment a colony. To do any real good it will take a few thousand bees. Not a few dozen or a few hundred. Additionally, if you are going to augment a weak colony, robbing, working, field bees is not what you want. These bees are about ready to die anyway. You want young bees to augment a weak colony. Bees capable of tending brood, drawing wax, fanning, cleaning the combs and cells. Not the job that robbing bees will do.

    My advice, if you want to save this colony, and if it can still be saved, is..... Move it 3-5 miles, hopefully where there are few wild colonies, augment the hive with a frame or two of brood, one chocolate colored that will emerge quickly, and a lighter colored frame that will emerge in another week or two, perhaps a frame of just bees with some stored honey. (In essence you have made a split, utilizing the queen, and the few bees remaining, from the weak colony.) Feed with sugar syrup, only give them the amount of comb they can protect, and, monitor closely, because SHBs love sugar syrup and weak hives.

    cchoganjr

  13. #13
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    Default Re: capturing robbing bees

    an update on the experiment. note: i'm not trying to save a hive being robbed, but to build the population of a small hive and to jumpstart the population of a split. it's for fun and learning more than anything.

    about 2,000-3,000 captured field bees were held for two days in the new hive with a queen and brood frame of brood and nurse bees. this morning i took out the dividing screen but closed the entrance and will hold them for another day (the article i read said it takes about 72 hours to turn allegiances of the average honeybee to a new queen/hive—we'll see how accurate that is). i have a screen on top of the hive so i can observe without letting out any bees. the bees were calm. no fighting was seen, just an occasional buzzing from a single bee for a few seconds. tomorrow i will open the entrance and see if the captured field bees fly away and don't return by checking the population tomorrow evening.

    i should mention that the origin of the field bees is mixed likely from several hives including some of the local black feral bees. there was a lot of fighting at the robing point (the hive was empty with no resident bees—the hive they were robing is not the hive i placed them in.). the first day after capture there was constant buzzing and flying in the empty screened box, but this settled after a day on top of the new hive with a queen/brood. after a day they were just hanging out on the sides of the box and formed cluster at night directly over the brood cluster on the other side of the screen.

    we are trying a second hive with a few variables. it will have a brood frame and a new queen as well, but we will hold the captured field bees captive inside the new hive for a full week before releasing them into the general population. this hive is also about a half mile from the capture point.

    i'll post the results.
    Last edited by kendal.l; 07-05-2013 at 04:44 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: capturing robbing bees

    Please update even if it does not work out how you hoped, so that future people can learn.

    Also there was an article telling you to do this? Is it on the net is there a link?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  15. #15
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    Default Re: capturing robbing bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Please update even if it does not work out how you hoped, so that future people can learn.

    Also there was an article telling you to do this? Is it on the net is there a link?
    will do—that's what the forums are for right? leaning and sharing.

    http://www.honeybeesuite.com/captive...ge-allegiance/

    this along with Michael Bush's site might be my favorite bee related blogs.

    if anyone has more scholarly articles about drift (forced or natural), please post them if you would.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: capturing robbing bees

    OK I read the article, sorry but in my opinion it is incorrect.

    Also, I note he has not actually done it himself, but cites what he says he has heard from other beekeepers. Doesn't say how he heard. Internet, personally, a chat site, who knows? Most of the beekeeping myths come around in this way, it's something somebody knows because they heard it from someone. It's often something that "sounds logical", or "makes sense". But we don't know who the original beekeeper was, their experience level, or what really happened that made them think what they did worked. Or even if the particular myth is some low probability idea that works 1 time in 50, and the person who tried it did it once, got lucky, and is now telling everybody it works.

    The hive you are going to move might work but it's a very outside chance. The hive you are not going to move, if you do it the way you say, will not work. But go ahead though, nothing like finding these things out yourself it's the best way to learn.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  17. #17
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    Default Re: capturing robbing bees

    Update on hive 1 (10 feet from the hive being robbed where the field bees were captured)

    Before the addition of trapped bees there was little activity 2-3 bees a minute. Mind you it was only a queen an a frame of brood/nurse bees. The field bees were held captive for roughly 3 days--half in the trap, and half on the new hive. Yesterday I removed the screen which allowed the populations to mix and shut off the exit. The plan was to open it this am, but the bees pushed it open somehow yesterday while I was at work.

    Today I'm observing about 50 bees a minute coming and going. The bees are various colors and sizes including all black feral bees. I've watched several black bees exit turn and fly back and fourth for several seconds then a few orientation circles and then fly away. I've seen other black bees come out dance about the go back in. I had no black bees to my knowledge before. No robbing apears to be going on short of the occasional bee that tries to get in but is mauled and cased off.

    Based on the black bees and the 10 fold activity, I think it worked but we are trying a more controlled trial.

    We set up another hive at a different location a few blocks away with a brand new box, caged queen and two brood frames. we put a super with honey and 3lbs of trapped field bees of mixed origins/hives. The super is screened on both sides so the two population can't mix. In a week we will let out the field bees an see if they stay. If we end up with a bustling hive of foraging bees, I think it will be proof that the field bees adopted the new hive.

    I'll report back next week.
    Last edited by kendal.l; 07-06-2013 at 09:18 PM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: capturing robbing bees

    The first hive is probably toast, did it have much honey?

    The second hive with the 3 lb's robber bees, how far away is it set up from where the robber bees were collected?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  19. #19
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    Default Re: capturing robbing bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    The first hive is probably toast, did it have much honey?

    The second hive with the 3 lb's robber bees, how far away is it set up from where the robber bees were collected?
    the first hive had almost no honey in it. it was very weak after a queen failed. it contained a single frame of brood from another hive, an new queen and about a quarter frame of bees left from the previous failing colony.

    perhaps you did not read what i wrote. the first hive is doing great. the robber bees are going out and foraging and then returning容ven bringing pollen in. there is no robbing, no comb is being destroyed or cleaned out, no fighting save the occasional stray bee which is not let in (i saw 3 in as many hours of observing the hive today). there is 10 times the activity and the bees coming and going and include colors of bees not present before the addition of the robbers擁 have a picture of a solid black ferral bee passing a standard striped one at the entrance, but it won't attach.

    all signs say the robbers were assimilated. truthfully i cannot say how many did not stay and flew home, but it is obvious that there are easily a few thousand more bees foraging for this hive and spending the night in the hive that were not there before the addition. they have had a day-and-a-half to leave, but they have not. most surprisingly as i watch their flight paths, they are not going to empty hive to rob where they were caught (still with a few frames honey and only a 10 feet away) but rather are crossing the yard to forage for nectar and pollen in the Boston Ivy which is in full bloom after a recent rain. not only are they not robbing out the new hive i put them in, but are not robbing out the hive where they were caught. apparently they have been rehabilitated from their robbing ways. LOL

    we know that a hive can change loyalties to a new queen when a new queen is added to a hive, it just takes a couple of days in a shared space. why is it so hard to believe that the same behavior can happen by adding the workers to the queen? we also know that bees will return to their hive if it is moved by confining them or getting them to reorient when they leave for the first time. all we have to do is tap this ability to reorient and accept a new queen. we also know that colonies can be combined if the worker bees are kept together in the same air but physically separated so they can't fight until they take on the same smell.

    it's not the easiest way to create a larger colony but, it's working.

    the second hive is about 1/2-3/4 mile away.

    i'll keep posting updates.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: capturing robbing bees

    Quote Originally Posted by kendal.l View Post
    perhaps you did not read what i wrote..
    OK well if you say so, I'll have to believe it. Just, I've done a bit of reorienting bees in my day & your logic in paragraph 4 does not square with my own experience. But if you are sure it's happening, I'll have to believe you. 99%.

    Couple little discrepancies though, you collected more than 3 lb's of robber bees, which is a heckuva lot of robbers to be in a hive, massive robbing obviously. When things are that bad I'd expect an empty hives honey to be cleaned out pretty quick. But you say that after all this time the empty hive still has honey in it. You sure that 3 lbs of bees were robbers? Cos having that many robbers and the hive not getting cleaned out is another thing I've never seen before, either.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 07-07-2013 at 01:45 AM.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

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