Sealed hive during robbing — how long is ok?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Kyle, TX, USA
    Posts
    3

    Default Sealed hive during robbing — how long is ok?

    Good evening! I’m about to complete my first year of beekeeping. As fate would have it, my hive was attacked/robbed by a strong colony 3 days ago. I was able to intervene around 4pm. Reduced the entrance and put up a sheet. The next afternoon, they were back. This was two days ago. I’ve since sealed up the hive completely. In the evening I’ll lift the top cover and put pollen/sugar/water for the bees. My question is, how long can the hive be sealed up for? Of course, I’d unseal it as soon as the robbing behavior disappears and have a reduced entrance, but I don’t want to do that prematurely. Thanks y’all! Kyle, TX

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Lumpkin County, GA
    Posts
    892

    Default Re: Sealed hive during robbing — how long is ok?

    I wouldn't have them sealed up more than a day.
    One thing that has worked for me in the past is to open the lid of robbing colony and keep it open for several hours. Robbing stopped in my yard in about 30 minutes. I keep 5 - 7 hives in each of the out yards and couldn't figure out which hive was doing the robbing. So I I opened the inner and outer covers for all of the hives (except the one being robbed) and it was amazing how the robbing subsided. Once the robbing subsides, let the bees out of the hive being robbed. I would guess that the robbing bees will stay at their own hive to protect the opening.
    It seems counter-intuitive but this worked for me.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Minden LA, (NW Louisiana)
    Posts
    297

    Default Re: Sealed hive during robbing — how long is ok?

    Look into a robber screen. You can make up a simple one with a wood frame you fix over the hive entrance. Or you can go super simple and just bend up a screen to fit over the hive entrance. The robbers go to the screen in front of the hive entrance, I think zeroing in on the scent of the hive. The hive bees will figure out the alternate opening, usually well to the side of the hive entrance, and soon come and go as normal. The robbers will give up after a couple days.
    Vicks vapo rub around the hive entrance has worked for me too for an emergency solution.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Landing, NJ, USA
    Posts
    1,026

    Default Re: Sealed hive during robbing — how long is ok?

    I hope you didn't mean airtight. Carbon dioxide buildup would have killed them, probably within hours.
    Bill

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,243

    Default Re: Sealed hive during robbing — how long is ok?

    Quote Originally Posted by whiskers View Post
    I hope you didn't mean airtight. Carbon dioxide buildup would have killed them, probably within hours.
    Bill
    Also if the bees are actively hauling water for hive cooling, you will interfere with that. What Greeny says in post #3 is a better way to go.
    Frank

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    1,815

    Default Re: Sealed hive during robbing how long is ok?

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    Also if the bees are actively hauling water for hive cooling, you will interfere with that. What Greeny says in post #3 is a better way to go.
    In my experience it's the ONLY way to go - nothing beats an anti-robbing screen - the target hive can carry on functioning as near normal as possible under those trying circumstances, and the robbers will eventually give up - although that may take some time.
    Sealing-up hives (hopefully with an OMF (SBB) in place), spraying the robbers with water etc etc., can all help to arrest the drama for a very short time, but the only sure-fire "walk away and leave things to sort themselves out without constant attention" is some form of anti-robbing screen - which doesn't need to be elaborate - almost any kind of mesh will do (as long as bees can't pass through it, obviously).
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

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