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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Tyler, TX
    Posts
    49

    Default Robbing problems

    This has been a crazy year for me personally and I haven't had the time I would have liked to observe in the bee yard. I was out of town for a couple of weeks and I came back to my bee yard in turmoil. In that time robbing got crazy out of control. I came back to 10 dead hives that were robbed to death. I've put feeders in the remaining hives and have been feeding. Nope....still robbing.

    As I'm sure y'all know, it is hard to get robbing stopped once it starts. I have windrows of dead bees under my hives! I've been blocking the entrances of some hives that were being hit hard just to give them a day without that pressure and a chance to tend to hive business. Last night I blocked all entrances after filling up the feeders. All hives have full screened bottom boards. I'm going to move some hives to another location today. Any suggestions?

    Fall flowers are blooming and as far as I can tell they have no interest in gathering nectar. They'd rather keep robbing.
    23 years. Chemical free. 20 hives

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Default Re: Robbing problems

    Feeding only makes robbing worse. I would try to equalize some things. Give some capped honey to the ones you are afraid of starving. Reduce all the entrances to nothing until the robbing stops. Open them up to just two bees wide on all the hives (weak and strong). It will cause a traffic jam on the strong hives and make a defensible entrance on the weak ones. When the robbing is under control, if you think you need to feed, feed just at dark and only what they can put away by morning.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesrobbing.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Tyler, TX
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Robbing problems

    I agree. Feeding usually just makes it worse. I do not like feeding inside of the hive as I think it is a bad idea all the way around. I am at the.....I'm going to lose them all if I don't take emergency measures point. Also in the last 2 weeks fireants have suddenly taken an interest in the hives and made major inroads in the stores. I normally do not use poison, but I did use fireant granules late yesterday afternoon. Another reason I closed up the hives. I also put petroleum jelly all the way around the legs of the hive stands to deny the ants access.

    I reduced the entrances as far as I could several days ago and it has not made an appreciable difference. That has always been sufficient in the past but not this time. I'm beginning to think my bee yard is cursed this year
    23 years. Chemical free. 20 hives

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Default Re: Robbing problems

    First you close them off altogether with screen (for ventilation). In a few hours, the robbers usually leave. You can also move all the hives to a different place than they were with none at the old places. You can also leave the covers off of the strong hives which causes them all to stay home. The first thing you have to do is stop the robbing at all costs. Once it's stopped you can make other adjustments...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,928

    Default Re: Robbing problems

    Are they robbing each other or is it an outside source of bees.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Tyler, TX
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Robbing problems

    They are robbing each other.

    I have all the entrances blocked with wire today. I'll try removing the wire late this afternoon and see how they do. I'll use the removing the lids suggestion too if this doesn't fix the problem.

    I'd like to go back to using a feeding station rather than using the in hive feeders as soon as possible.
    23 years. Chemical free. 20 hives

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Lakeland, Florida
    Posts
    545

    Default Re: Robbing problems

    Robbing screens. There are some plans onsite here for them. On MB's website too. That was the only thing that got mine to stop and to protect the hive being robbed. Easy Peasy to make. Next year, now that I know, I will have one ready for every hive I have come this time of year.
    3 hives/2 nucs

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Mount Airy, Frederick county, MD, USA
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Robbing problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Santa Caras View Post
    Robbing screens. There are some plans onsite here for them. On MB's website too. That was the only thing that got mine to stop and to protect the hive being robbed. Easy Peasy to make. Next year, now that I know, I will have one ready for every hive I have come this time of year.

    +1. I had one nuc robbed to oblivion in just a few hours. All of my hives now have a robbing screen, to slow robbers leaving to go wreak havoc and to keep robbers out.

    Here is a picture of mine:



    Very fast and easy to make, and I am far from a woodworker.
    Newbee with three hives and two nucs, zone 6b

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Robbing problems

    I had an issue where my robber screen looked like yours SpringGreen and all the bees in the screen were dead. They were completely crammed in the screen and had a two to three inch hole. I use upper entrances, so the robber screen entrance is facing down. I wasn't home for a couple of days and I am guessing they didn't get enough ventilation and died. They have been pulling dead bees out for half a week now.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Red Deer, Alberta
    Posts
    121

    Default Re: Robbing problems

    I think most put the entrance at the top of the screen. No?
    Started with 2nucs then 3 swarms 2 cut outs it's been a busy first year I'm near Red Deer.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Tyler, TX
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Robbing problems

    Going to try this. http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2...er-screen.html

    It should work and would skip the problem of bees not being able to remove dead bees and debris from the hive easily. I have my entrance reducers turned to the smallest opening. I'll leave a bit more overhang on the side closest to the entrance and will fold that over and staple it if necessary.

    About to start cutting wire and I'll release the hives that are being hardest hit first and release the worst offenders last. Thank you for the suggestion of a robber screen! I've just never had it at this level before, so have never needed to do more than reduce the entrances. This seems to be my year that pays for all the other years that I had smooth sailing.
    23 years. Chemical free. 20 hives

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Robbing problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzlightyear View Post
    I think most put the entrance at the top of the screen. No?
    Yeah works great when you have a bottom entrance. Not so much with a top entrance.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Tyler, TX
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Robbing problems

    and so now they are just forming large balls underneath the hives rather than trying to find their way back into the front entrance since I have screened bottom boards. I think they would be doing this with the robber screen with a frame as well.
    23 years. Chemical free. 20 hives

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Tyler, TX
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Robbing problems

    I have the screen fairly snug around the landing board. Think I will bow it out on some of the hives and see if that helps, but still confuses the robbers.
    23 years. Chemical free. 20 hives

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Robbing problems

    I found it best to do it late at night or early morning before the sky even starts to lighten. Then they have to come out that way and it confuses them less. At least in my experience. YMMV.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Tyler, TX
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Robbing problems

    More arch is what was needed. I was trying to make it too hard for the robbers and ended up making it too hard for the residents. There are still a lot of bees on the outside of the mesh that I assume are residents since they have pollen, but they are making their way slowly inside. I'm guessing this will impede gathering activities for several days, but hopefully it will stop the robbing. As soon as the fall honey flow is going strong I will remove the screens.
    23 years. Chemical free. 20 hives

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Utah, USA
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: Robbing problems

    Screens don't have to be elaborate. I opted to not make nice permanent screens and they work fine. My first ones were too long and the residents could not find their way in, but the shorter screens are quite affective.


    WP_001674.jpg WP_001675.jpg
    Workingtosavetheworld1beeatatime:-)~ Researching winter loss prevention- 12 yrs, 2 recent - 10 Hives, WARMBEES.COM

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Utah, USA
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: Robbing problems

    I have found screens to be helpful, particularly with honeybee robbing, but to a less degree with yellow jackets. I am having the worst year for yellow jacket wasps than I've ever encountered. They have totally killed several mating nucs and driven off or killed and taken all the bees from these small nucs. The pressure from the yellow jackets is certainly straining even stronger hives. I have noticed the screens work very well at least initially, but the persistent yellow jackets will also learn how to go to the side entrances.
    Workingtosavetheworld1beeatatime:-)~ Researching winter loss prevention- 12 yrs, 2 recent - 10 Hives, WARMBEES.COM

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