Preventing my bees from robbing other beekeeper's hives?
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  1. #1
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    Default Preventing my bees from robbing other beekeeper's hives?

    I keep my hives in a rural neighborhood with many other hobbyist beekeepers in the area. In other words, there are lots of other nearby beekeepers with a handful of hives in their backyards. I treat my hives for varroa mites using oxalic acid, Apiguard and MAQs. Some of these other beekeepers practice treatment-free beekeeping. One result is that my hives are frequently exposed to mite bombs, meaning that my hives will rob out the TF beekeepers' hives weakened by varroa, and bring those nasty mites back to my own hives.

    I am pretty good at keeping robbers out of my own hives. Does any one have any suggestions on how I can reduce how much robbing of other peoples' hives my own bees do?
    --shinbone
    (7th year, 13 hives, Zone 5b, 5500')

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Preventing my bees from robbing other beekeeper's hives?

    if i were in that situation i might consider making up and 'gifting' robber screens to the others in the neighborhood.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Preventing my bees from robbing other beekeeper's hives?

    Or join them and start treatment free beekeeping. what a chance!
    zone 8a, sc, dadant square, wax comb, tf, 4 years beekeeping
    www.vivabiene.de

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Preventing my bees from robbing other beekeeper's hives?

    Quote Originally Posted by shinbone View Post
    One result is that my hives are frequently exposed to mite bombs, meaning that my hives will rob out the TF beekeepers' hives weakened by varroa, and bring those nasty mites back to my own hives.
    Does any one have any suggestions on how I can reduce how much robbing of other peoples' hives my own bees do?
    How do you know this? Don't all bees test/rob the weak? I like squarepeg's suggestion, everyone I know loves free gifts Ultimately though, you can only control what you can control. Perhaps, when you know they are about to start robbing these mite bombs you can offer them honey or syrup in your yard instead Then your neighbors might want you to stop feeding your bees because their bees are coming over to indulge themselves
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Preventing my bees from robbing other beekeeper's hives?

    [QUOTE=fieldsofnaturalhoney;1596802Then your neighbors might want you to stop feeding your bees because their bees are coming over to indulge themselves[/QUOTE]

    oh no, they will love that! Spares them costs.
    zone 8a, sc, dadant square, wax comb, tf, 4 years beekeeping
    www.vivabiene.de

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Preventing my bees from robbing other beekeeper's hives?

    Shinbone, robbing is only one reason your bees aquire mites. Focus on what you can control accept what you can’t. Bees rob that is what they do, survival of the fittest.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Preventing my bees from robbing other beekeeper's hives?

    conventional wisdom is that the propensity to rob is a trait that might be expressed to a lesser or greater degree in the same way that the trait of defensiveness might be expressed given the right circumstances.

    (sorry i don't have any links but base that on comments seen on this and other forums)

    my bees seem to show a decreased propensity to rob. i say that because i can find colonies dwindled down to almost nothing during dearth times and the other colonies in the yards don't bother robbing them until they have completely died out.

    my understanding (again citing conventional wisdom) is that italian strains while known to be good in the honey production department are also known to have a greater propensity to rob, (as well as not taking brood breaks during times of dearth).
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Preventing my bees from robbing other beekeeper's hives?

    Don't give them a reason to rob. If they are not on a flow, have feed in the hive. Keep the treatments coming...
    South Texas Apiaries, LLC
    www.Facebook.com/SouthTexasApiaries

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Preventing my bees from robbing other beekeeper's hives?

    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    Or join them and start treatment free beekeeping. what a chance!
    Its hard to be TF when people are constantly letting package bees collapse around you, been there done that

    Realy the essayist and most productive thing you can do is likly just add another pass with your provap110 to your fall when you see a late fall flow out of no were.
    Last edited by msl; 01-12-2018 at 03:47 PM.
    "management decisions based upon hard data.The easiest person in the world to fool is oneself"- Randy Oliver

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Preventing my bees from robbing other beekeeper's hives?

    Carniolan bees are supposed to be less prone to robbing. You might want to pick up a few of them and get rid of the Italians.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Preventing my bees from robbing other beekeeper's hives?

    What I do is provide robbing screens and free lessons on monitoring, and I treat their hives.

    Nancy

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Preventing my bees from robbing other beekeeper's hives?

    Shinbone says the issue stems from “TF” beekeepers in his area I doubt they would be very receptive to your offer. He also says there are a lot of them. There is no silver bullet he just needs to monitor and respond.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Preventing my bees from robbing other beekeeper's hives?

    I mostly run Italians, but I am thinking their robbing tendencies are not doing me any favors.

    Of the common bee species that are good honey producers, which has the lest tendency to rob? I am thinking Carniolan or Buckfast . . . ?
    --shinbone
    (7th year, 13 hives, Zone 5b, 5500')

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Preventing my bees from robbing other beekeeper's hives?

    If a colony has a weak colony nearby and breeds and there is no flow they try to rob them. Some prefer robbing honey to syrup fed.
    Here robbing starts when colonies are harvested in summer and syrup is put on top. Some beekeepers starve their hives after harvesting, either because of neglect or because they want a fall harvest.
    Without a good flow this starts robbing.
    Robber screens prevent robbing but there still is some drifting.

    Shinbone says the issue stems from “TF” beekeepers in his area I doubt they would be very receptive to your offer.
    You never know if you start communication. Leave behind all prejudice and start contact.
    If someone like shinbone would talk to me, accusing me of being a mite bomb I would try to find a solution all sides could live with. But I would never let someone treat my colonies with chemicals or organic acids.
    zone 8a, sc, dadant square, wax comb, tf, 4 years beekeeping
    www.vivabiene.de

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Preventing my bees from robbing other beekeeper's hives?

    You never know if you start communication. Leave behind all prejudice and start contact.
    If someone like shinbone would talk to me, accusing me of being a mite bomb I would try to find a solution all sides could live with. But I would never let someone treat my colonies with chemicals or organic acids.[/QUOTE]

    I did not enter this thread with the view that it is anti treatment free beekeeping.

    My reading of the premise is a desire to have bees that do not rob other colonies as a way to minimize mite issues. I mentioned TF only because Nancy mentioned she offers instruction to local beekeepers on testing and treatment as a means to address the problem and that Shinbone mentioned that his area has a large number of TF beekeepers that by definition would not be open to her instruction. I monitor and treat but have no issue with those who chose not to. My bees are my responsibility not theirs, I have a TF beekeeper about 100 yards down the road, I do not hold him responsible for my mites, I respect his right to keep his bees as he deems appropriate. I try not to live in the world I wish for but rather the one that exists. We have many members on this forum that tackle the mite issue in various ways, ankle biters, hygienic, forced swarm and the like. Shinbone has introduced the elimination of robbing as another tool. I just happen to think it is unrealistic; robbing is only one of many ways mites are introduced into a colony. I do not judge any members motive or method. We have members along the whole spectrum from Nancy who pampers to the extreme to a member who takes all the honey, eliminates his colonies and starts fresh the next year. I respect them all. It was not my intention to offend anyone. I expect the same respect and would not take kindly to someone showing up at my door and suggesting that I need to install robbing screens or asking whether or not I monitor and treat. Shinbone I believe was asking what [B]he can do[B]not what others should do. Help him find those honest bees.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Preventing my bees from robbing other beekeeper's hives?

    Very cool post and attitude, thanks, MM.

    My co- workers are prophylactic treaters, IPM treaters, chemical free tf and live and let die tf.
    We all have something in common: there is no mite free hive around, no mite free treated hive too. Mites are everywhere in summer. Often it is claimed that mite infestation is a result of robbing or drifting, but how do you know?
    It could be your own mites are very prolific, treatment timing was bad or many other reasons. Mark your foragers and watch your neighbors hive entrance and you know.

    We are not isolated. This means drifting of bees into neighbor hives, no matter what, silent robbing going on... Robber screens prevent this a little bit. Robbing does not happen often if there are no weak queenless splits around. Not even then, if all colonies are well provided , and feeding combined with opening a hive is done in the evening.
    zone 8a, sc, dadant square, wax comb, tf, 4 years beekeeping
    www.vivabiene.de

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Preventing my bees from robbing other beekeeper's hives?

    michiganmike
    I did not enter this thread with the view that it is anti treatment free beekeeping.

    My reading of the premise is a desire to have bees that do not rob other colonies as a way to minimize mite issues. I mentioned TF only because Nancy mentioned she offers instruction to local beekeepers on testing and treatment as a means to address the problem and that Shinbone mentioned that his area has a large number of TF beekeepers that by definition would not be open to her instruction. I monitor and treat but have no issue with those who chose not to. My bees are my responsibility not theirs, I have a TF beekeeper about 100 yards down the road, I do not hold him responsible for my mites, I respect his right to keep his bees as he deems appropriate. I try not to live in the world I wish for but rather the one that exists. We have many members on this forum that tackle the mite issue in various ways, ankle biters, hygienic, forced swarm and the like. Shinbone has introduced the elimination of robbing as another tool. I just happen to think it is unrealistic; robbing is only one of many ways mites are introduced into a colony. I do not judge any members motive or method. We have members along the whole spectrum from Nancy who pampers to the extreme to a member who takes all the honey, eliminates his colonies and starts fresh the next year. I respect them all. It was not my intention to offend anyone. I expect the same respect and would not take kindly to someone showing up at my door and suggesting that I need to install robbing screens or asking whether or not I monitor and treat. Shinbone I believe was asking what [B]he can do[B]not what others should do. Help him find those honest bees.
    I really like the content of this post.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

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