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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,222

    Default Robbers are back!

    Saw a black bee trying to get into my remaining hive yesterday, so today I checked in the morning and afternoon -- plenty of hives around to provide robbers.

    Sure enough, this evening there was a big commotion on the landing board and bees fighting. I put an entrance reducer on, but it didn't really fit well, I'll have to go out tomorrow and pry up the bottom box, the slot is a bit tight. Or look for one I made that fits. Anyway, since it didn't go all the way in, I put some scrap wood on top and in front so that there is only a couple bee's width of space for entry and exit.

    Things quieted down quite a bit. Stuffed a couple cracks between boxes as well (will glue some wood on this winter to close those up). I'll check in the morning to make sure they are still OK.

    No bees got in the hive, none were leaving heavy and there are no traces of wax or honey on the entrance. I closed the upper entrance, and had a lot of bees investigating the seams between boxes, so I think I'm still OK. This hive isn't up to proper strength yet from superceding the queen a while back, another round of brood will get them up to scratch, but that's a couple weeks away.

    Too late tonight, but tomorrow I'll probably make a robber screen and fix things up properly, I'd hate to lose this hive, they made a good honey crop too.

    Peter

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,098

    Default Re: Robbers are back!

    Fighting on the board is given that robbing is ongoing, Bees bussing around hives, underneath or around top cover is a good indication thay are investigation, finding the easiest way in. Make a robber screen maze. Basically use 1/8" or smaller mesh. so that the bees come out the reduced entrance and leave vertically or to the side. Usually deters the robbers, they want a quick meal.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,243

    Default Re: Robbers are back!

    This is what robbers look like

    Good Luck, Mike
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,098

    Default Re: Robbers are back!

    **** THEM ROBBERS!!! Pesky little devils! LOL!!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,222

    Default Re: Robbers are back!

    They are somewhat more than pesky around here, they ripped a weak hive of mine apart earlier.

    Fortunately, although the bees dislodged part of the "stacked scraps" robber screen I assembled in a hurry this morning, all is well. Big orientation flight going on when I got home, there for a while I thought I was done for, but they seem to be doing fine with the entrance reducer in place.

    Thousands of hive beetles in the oil tray though, I'll have to stay on top of that.

    I'm going to even up the boxes this winter too, to cut down on the cracks. Annoys me endlessly. Robbers look a great deal different when they are flying in and out of the entrance, though, carrying honey and dumping brood outside.

    Peter

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,098

    Default Re: Robbers are back!

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post
    They are somewhat more than pesky around here, they ripped a weak hive of mine apart earlier.
    I had a minor problem 3 weeks ago. One of my splits had a failed queen, the bees absconded and pandominum errupted. I smoked a few thousand bees out of the box. The robbing improved greatly the next day once the hive was gone. Still some investigators until rain stopped it.

    1000's of hive beetles sounds bad. I got a normal summer population in my hives. A few here or there. Squashed about 4 per hive yesterday. Im gonna try putting alumum catering pans under the hive with mineral oil. See what falls in!

    I got a few wax months in my splits, no webs but I see the larvas doo doo on the inspection board. My buddy left a few brood combs out in the yard in a box and forgot about em, wax moxes infested, hundreds of em. Then he released them in the yard. What a dumb ass, hes new so can't be too hard on him. Im thinking that is the cause of my problem, usually wax months arn't an issue around here unless a hive is really week, like in spring with alot of open comb and small populations of bees to guard. Once the population grows the bees run the moths out. These splits are pretty strong and queenright. Hoping the moths clear up after the next brood cycle..



    Has it been really dry in evansville? We'de been blessed with rain all summer long, knock on wood the cold front drops an 1in this weekend!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,222

    Default Re: Robbers are back!

    Nope, been perfect up to this week. First week in months without at least half an inch of rain, so I'm going to have to water tomatoes for the first time.

    My brother says his bees seem to be filling the supers we extracted last week back up, so it looks as though we may be getting a really nice honey crop -- 30+ pounds per hive so far.

    The hive beetles are due to a pair of hives gone bad, got really badly infested, and since there are no natural predators (other than ants) so far, I'm growing quite a crop. I have a tray of oil under the screened bottom board, and poured out thousands of them today. The bees are keeping them more or less corraled, and I'm going to put some Beetle Blasters in the supers as soon as they arrive from Kelley's (probably tomorrow). Any food grade oil works, I've just been using cooking oil. It spills on the concrete pave stones under the hive, but I figure that just kills more beetle larvae.

    Peter

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,098

    Default Re: Robbers are back!

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post

    The hive beetles are due to a pair of hives gone bad, got really badly infested, and since there are no natural predators (other than ants) so far, I'm growing quite a crop. I have a tray of oil under the screened bottom board, and poured out thousands of them today. The bees are keeping them more or less corraled, and I'm going to put some Beetle Blasters in the supers as soon as they arrive from Kelley's (probably tomorrow). Any food grade oil works, I've just been using cooking oil. It spills on the concrete pave stones under the hive, but I figure that just kills more beetle larvae.

    Peter
    Good to know you got the same rain as us in Louisville. Stellar year so far, pulled 4-5 gallons off each of my big hives and just like you the comb is filling up again.

    Not sure what I'de do with that bad of infestation, I hope it never happens. I would probably cut out, trash the comb and try to move the bees. I think in large populations the beetles slime the comb. The beetles fecal matter builds in the comb, contaminates the comb, pollen and honey which causes fermentation and rot. More less render it unusable by the bees, they don't want to touch it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,222

    Default Re: Robbers are back!

    Well, you got way more than we did last week, only rained a bit here and all week there, I think.

    Hopefully the soybeans will make lots of nectar this year, I'm in the middle of about half of a square mile of them. Between the soybeans and white dutch clover last year (and it was a horrible year for beans) my hive made 60 lbs of honey starting from a swarm. With some luck they will fill things back up quickly.

    You can wash out the comb after getting rid of the small hive beetle larvae and the bees will re-use it. They will leave a hive with too many larvae in it though -- lost two this year, I'll be keeping oil traps in use for the foreseeable future.

    Peter

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,098

    Default Re: Robbers are back!

    I moved my hives this year to a new location, still in the city or the burbs of Louisville. There is a 128 acre field of beans about 3/4 mile as the bird files from my hives. The field is right off the Ohio River, no more than 300 yards away. Right now I see plenty of bees working the clover and wild flowers around the fields. Not sure if they are my bees. Im excited to see what happens next month, if the beans bloom is a good nectar. Im sure the bees have no problem making the commute.

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