Will installing a robbing screen force reorientation?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Almond, NY, USA

    Default Will installing a robbing screen force reorientation?

    I will be moving my hives about 200 yards from their current location. I originally planned on blocking their entrances after the move with evergreen branches, as I've done in the past with trapped swarms, to force a reorientation.

    I will also be installing robbing screens soon, around the time of the move.

    Now I'm wondering if installing just the robbing screens will work as well to force reorientation, while they learn how to get around the change to their entrance.

    Your thoughts?
    Zone 5A 2,200 ft.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Massac County, Illinois

    Default Re: Will installing a robbing screen force reorientation?

    Use the robbing screen the night, after dark, prior to the move. Close up all exits. After the move, leave the screen in place for at least 24 more hours. All exits remain closed. Then open the exits and place anything in front of the hive that will cause the bees to move out to the sides when exiting the hive. This will cause them to reorient to the new location. After a few days set hive entrance to normal. No screen etc.

    You can place a hive body at the old location to capture any foragers that we're not moved initially.

    Good Luck on the moves.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA

    Default Re: Will installing a robbing screen force reorientation?

    A robbing screen by itself? No. But as noted above it can be used as the means to shut them in during the move.

    What I find easiest is to lean a wood pallet up in front of the hive with the branches interlaced into the pallet's slats. I usually leave it that way for a week. If I want to check on anything that could be seen at the entrance, all I have to is fold the pallet down for a few minutes. Then I put it back in place, branches and all.

    I also turn the hive around to face 180 degrees from its old direction, even if I want it to eventually face the same way it was before. Once they are oriented to the new place, then I rotate the hive around, in a couple of stage over a few days.

    I am always prepared, though it's not always necessary, with a bee escape board on top of the moved hive (in place of the inner cover) and a left-behind catcher box deployed late in the afternoon of the first day after the move. If the left-behind box has any bees in it, then after dark I carry it to the hive's new position and set it on top of the stack, above the bee escape board, under the cover. I find this is easier and more effective than just placing it next to the moved hive or dumping the bees out. And it doesn't disturb the pallet/branches set-up, either. And since this is done in the dark, it's less risky.

    BTW, I used to move the boxes, one by one, to the new place. But I no longer do that. I strap the whole hive together (with at least two ratchet straps if I am wheeling it on a hand cart, or four if I am lifting it hoisted from the bucket of our tractor). This is much less disruptive to the bees as they are all moved at once, either after dark in the evening, or before dawn the next day.

    I never shut them in other than just before the move, and if moving multiple hives, while I move the others. Then I raise up the pallets with their leafy barriers, slip the screen(s) blocking the entrance(s) off, and let them sort themselves out. I sometimes will slide plastic political signs along the sides of the lower fronts to close up the open triangle between the front of the hive and leaning pallets. The signs are held in place by the straps which stay around the hive until I have rotated it around again about a week later. The bees really have to work to find their way out of my barriers.

    Many of my hives are routinely moved well more than 200 feet away from their centralized wintering stand to locations farther than that apart for the summer, and then moved back again in the fall. Done the way I describe, I find it's a non-issue.

    What I do is modification of what Michael Bush recommends about moving hives, changed up a bit and streamlined because I do it so often over the course of a year.

    I suppose it's possible my bees have simply become accustomed to this kind of move, but when I do it this way for other beekeepers in their yards, they get the same results.


  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Hillsboro, OR, USA

    Default Re: Will installing a robbing screen force reorientation?

    I've used robber screens to reorient. Worked pretty good. But I added some additional branches.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA

    Default Re: Will installing a robbing screen force reorientation?

    Robbing screens will work as well as anything.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Dane County, WI, USA

    Default Re: Will installing a robbing screen force reorientation?

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    A robbing screen by itself? No. .....

    It depends.
    A robber screen can be done so it is hard to exit too (not just hard to enter).
    It works. I got one of those.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.


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