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Thread: Robbing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Fredon, nj, USA
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    8

    Default Robbing

    New to beekeeping...and had been doing well until yesterday! My hive was about two months in, filling up the second brood box nicely, happy queen, etc...but after I put some sugar syrup inside the inner feeder yesterday morning, robbing began a few hours later. My guess is I may have not have closed the outer cover all the way somehow. I don't know. Anyway, today I reduced the entrance and had a wet sheet over the hive all day. Activity has definitely slowed and the angry buzzing has quieted.

    I have two questions...1. What do I do next? Leave the sheet for a few days and then examine the hive maybe? And 2. There's a huge clump on the outside of the screened bottom board...should that be alarming? They must be mostly my bees bc lots are carrying pollen.

    No idea who the robbers are bc I only have one hive. Guessing they are wild or maybe a neighbor has bees that I don't know about. So distressing!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,200

    Default Re: Robbing

    Welcome to Beesource!

    Remove the feed if it is still in there. I would close off the screened bottom. That open screen likely makes it easier for the smell to escape and be an attractant to robbing.

    Is that your only hive? If you have more than one hive, the robbers may have come from your other hives. Reducing the entrances of the other hives helps make it more difficult for the robbers to perform their mission.



    Leaving a screened bottom 'open' is controversial, in my opinion. Too much airflow is not desirable. Note that bees cool their hives via hauling in water and evaporating it - similar to a swamp cooler in a structure. If the outside air temperature exceeds 94 F, then having lots of [hot] air flowing through the hive works in opposition to the bees efforts at evaporative cooling.

    I built screens into my bottom boards, but do not leave them "open". They have oil trays beneath the screens, and the design effectively blocks bees from the tray and airflow from moving through the screen. An alternative to oil in those trays is lime or diatomaceous earth. If you want more ventilation add a top vent instead of an open screen bottom.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
    Posts
    826

    Default Re: Robbing

    Remove the feeder and the sheet and watch. The clump on the outside is more than likely your foragers that can't return home. Do you know what orientation flights look like? Were the bees fighting at the entrance? Positive it was robbing?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Fredon, nj, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Robbing

    Quote Originally Posted by Bees In Miami View Post
    Remove the feeder and the sheet and watch. The clump on the outside is more than likely your foragers that can't return home. Do you know what orientation flights look like? Were the bees fighting at the entrance? Positive it was robbing?
    I'm positive. I got right in the thick of it and observed for a while. Clumps and balls of bees near anything they thought might be a crack in the hive. Little bee gladiators, fighting to the death. Fights in the air, on the ground, carnage everywhere. And the noise was amazing.

    Just read about bee lining...very curious where the robbers are coming from! We live in a wooded area but there are farms all around us. My husband reminded me that a neighbor who used to have a hive died and his wife might not be taking care of his bees since his passing...could be the source.

    Thanks for your replies. Going out to take a look soon.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,528

    Default Re: Robbing

    Same here radar all my hives have screened bottoms but I kept them closed or just with a small opening during a hot spell. I do notice they will fan a bit during very hot humid weather or on a flow. They are fanning air out of the bottom entrance where the brood nest is located. When the inspection board is slid out a bit, they stop fanning at the entrance.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,701

    Default Re: Robbing

    Remove the sheet, remove the feeder, close off the bottom screen board, reduce entrance, and put on a robber screen. Robber screens work really well with a reduced entrance.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Fredon, nj, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Robbing

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    Remove the sheet, remove the feeder, close off the bottom screen board, reduce entrance, and put on a robber screen. Robber screens work really well with a reduced entrance.
    Done. Thanks all. Now we wait til morning.

    I'm not going to feed them again for a while-they were package bees so I fed them for quite a while. But there are wild flowers everywhere right now so they should be ok.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Fredon, nj, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Robbing

    Everything seems ok today! Keeping the entrance reducer on for a while...

    Do I dare inspect the hive or should I wait a few days? Really try not to disturb them too often but need to see what kind of damage we sustained right?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
    Posts
    826

    Default Re: Robbing

    They are NOT going to be NICE!!! I am sure they are still on high alert... I would wait a few days at least... Sorry it happened....robbing is heartbreaking to watch.

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