Robbing Activity after Split?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Cumberland County, TN, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Robbing Activity after Split?

    All,

    We're second year bee keepers and just did our first walkaway split one week ago. Not much activity with the new hive, but definitely bees inside, some coming and going, but nothing compared to the origin hive. Today I noticed a flury of activity for about fifteen minutes around both hives and then back to what we saw before. I plan to get into the hive to check, but I'm wondering if this is robbing or something else? Tried to upload a video, but in lieu of that here's a pic.

    Thanks,
    Lou

    hive.jpg

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,262

    Default Re: Robbing Activity after Split?

    Could be nothing but orientation flights. Did it occur in the late afternoon? Robbing generally will go on until dark if you do not close off the hive. Regardless, you should have an entrance reducer set to the small opening in place on a walkaway split, or a robbing sceen. It will be about four weeks before you have any new bees to defend the hive after this bit of brood emerges.
    When you go into the hive, ragged edges on the comb of the honey frame would be a potential sign of robbing. That and dead bees. Check to see that a queen cell or two have been started. Probably won't be capped yet, but clearly identifiable. Not much else you can do at this point.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Cumberland County, TN, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Robbing Activity after Split?

    JW,

    Thanks for the reply. The activity was in the latter part of the afternoon, but only lasted a short time (maybe fifteen minutes that I observed). I had an entrance reducer in place for most of the first week, I put it back this morning. I'll check the hive today for any signs of robbing and any queen cells starting up. So much to learn, but we're enjoying the process so far.

    Lou

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Could be nothing but orientation flights. Did it occur in the late afternoon? Robbing generally will go on until dark if you do not close off the hive. Regardless, you should have an entrance reducer set to the small opening in place on a walkaway split, or a robbing sceen. It will be about four weeks before you have any new bees to defend the hive after this bit of brood emerges.
    When you go into the hive, ragged edges on the comb of the honey frame would be a potential sign of robbing. That and dead bees. Check to see that a queen cell or two have been started. Probably won't be capped yet, but clearly identifiable. Not much else you can do at this point.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
    Posts
    1,379

    Default Re: Robbing Activity after Split?

    Robber screens are the best way to prevent robbing from beginning. Robbing is easier to prevent than stopping. If you can, install them when you make the split, before the new colony has a large forager population. That way it is less confusing for them and less stressful for the observer.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Cumberland County, TN, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Robbing Activity after Split?

    Alex,

    Thanks for the reply. Based on your suggestion I made up a robber screen and put it on the hive. I had stopped feeding the original hive due to a good pollen flow, but I'm thinking it might be a good idea to feed the split for a little while?

    Lou

    Robber Screen.jpg


    Quote Originally Posted by AHudd View Post
    Robber screens are the best way to prevent robbing from beginning. Robbing is easier to prevent than stopping. If you can, install them when you make the split, before the new colony has a large forager population. That way it is less confusing for them and less stressful for the observer.

    Alex

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,550

    Default Re: Robbing Activity after Split?

    Or just reduce the entrance with some window screen or #8 hardware cloth. It's simple, cheap and foils robbers almost as well as a robber screen.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Idaho Falls, ID
    Posts
    684

    Default Re: Robbing Activity after Split?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Or just reduce the entrance with some window screen or #8 hardware cloth. It's simple, cheap and foils robbers almost as well as a robber screen.
    Agreed. I call them "displaced entrances" (probably picked up that name from elsewhere). I take #8 hardware cloth, bend it into a "Z" and put it over the entrance. Have seen weeks after removal home bees landing on the side and walking to the actual entrance.
    -- Joe
    "Make your own decision and embrace the consequences." -- jwcarlson

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