Robbing from new split before new queen emerges
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    cincinnati, ohio
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    203

    Default Robbing from new split before new queen emerges

    I split a hive one week ago and there are two capped queen cells in there. Based on the timing, they should emerge next Wednesday. I moved a lot of bees and frames of brood over with the eggs when I made the split so the population in the hive is good. The hive is being robbed by my other hives. I have a feeder in the hive now because they took all the stored honey and they are eating the syrup. I put a screen across the front opening to stop the robbing. Is it a problem for the bees in the hive to be trapped in there until next Wed. when the queen emerges? The bees are trying to get out now to fly. Are there any other suggestions to control the robbing? Once the new queen emerges, I assume the bees will defend their hive better.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO United States
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    1,371

    Default Re: Robbing from new split before new queen emerges

    Yes, it will most likely be a problem, especially if it is warm. Reduce the entrance to a bee width, or make or buy a robber screen?
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    cincinnati, ohio
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    203

    Default Re: Robbing from new split before new queen emerges

    I do have a screen over the entrance now and the bottom board is screened, so overheating is not an issue. My concern is if being kept inside the hive for many days is a problem for the bees in there.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Lumpkin County, GA
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    810

    Default Re: Robbing from new split before new queen emerges

    Yes, it will be a problem to lock the bees in the hive for 6 days. Can you move the nuc to another location? Just because a queen emerges doesn't mean that robbing will stop.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    cincinnati, ohio
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    203

    Default Re: Robbing from new split before new queen emerges

    It is a large top bar hive, so I cannot move it from my backyard. What problem will the bees experience if they are in there for six days? There is plenty ventilation, plenty syrup, and no larvae that need pollen? Thanks

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
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    2,751

    Default Re: Robbing from new split before new queen emerges

    how many bars of bees are in the hive that is being robbed? and how large is the entrance hole? Once the feeders are removed, that will help dramatically. Queenless nucs can get picked on for robbing but this sounds like it was a larger split than just nuc-sized. I use the plastic needlework grid to reduce my round entrances down to one bee width. That is something any size hive can defend.

    As for locking the bees up till next Wed, I think we all agree that it isn't the best idea as they will end up pooping in the hive, and the robbing situation isn't going to go away on it's own once the queens emerge.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Lumpkin County, GA
    Posts
    810

    Default Re: Robbing from new split before new queen emerges

    In addition to the poop, you have dead bees and the need for water.

  9. #8

    Default Re: Robbing from new split before new queen emerges

    Do you think that once a queen emerges that the robbing will stop??
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    9,944

    Default Re: Robbing from new split before new queen emerges

    This is why it is a bad idea to make a queenless nuc and put it just down from the parent hive.

    Cos the older bees go back to the parent hive, and tell them all where the honey is that strangely got seperated from the main hive. Their mission is to get it back.

    For next time, move the queen, leave the queenless split at the original site.

    For now, stop feeding syrup, or the robbing will never end. Because it's a TBH the entrance could be away from the bee cluster, and robbers just walk in. Block all those entrances and drill a hole right where the bee cluster is so there are bees right there guarding it. That hole can be plugged later if you wish.

    How your feeder is set up is important. If it's one that hangs there like a frame and is open, it is impossible for the bees to defend it in a TBH, other bees just walk in and help themselves. My suggestion is a re design. Take the feeder out and make it so it has a lid across the top, and drill a hole in the side about 1/4 the way down. To feed, fill with syrup to the hole, then move some combs so the feeder can be put hard against a comb of bees. So they can go in and out the hole to get the syrup, but there are bees right there guarding the hole. Position the feeder so there are as many bees as possible between the feeder, and the entrance.

    Make the syrup as thick as you can. The thinner (more water) in it, the more the bees have to spread it around into less guarded areas when storing it to get the same quantity of sugar.

    So in summary. First thing is to re hash the entrance so the bees have a strong force guarding it. Second thing is to stop feeding. Third thing is to re do the feeder into something it is possible for the bees to protect.

    Wait till the bees have no stores left in the combs, then in the evening give them just a small amount, a one day supply, in the feeder, and repeat daily. With virtually no stored syrup the robbing interest will decline over a few days. Just do not overfeed or that will screw everything up.

    Once robbing has stopped, check if the queen cells hatched. Queen cells often fail to hatch in hives that have been robbed because the messed up bees could not maintain the proper temperature. If they didn't hatch give the hive a new comb with eggs.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    cincinnati, ohio
    Posts
    203

    Default Re: Robbing from new split before new queen emerges

    I moved thousands of bees and three full frames of capped brood from the old hive so I think they will not have a problem keeping the queen cells warm enough in 80 degree weather. The feeders I designed are only accessible from inside of the hive. By the time the new queen emerges, all of the capped brood should have emerged. With 10 to 15 thousand bees in there and a queen to make them more defensive, I think they should be able to protect a one-bee-width opening. When I made splits in the past with Langs, this worked well. Next time, I will move the old queen as you suggest. Hopefully my three hives will survive next winter and I won't have to make more splits. Thanks everyone for all the good advice.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    9,944

    Default Re: Robbing from new split before new queen emerges

    Quote Originally Posted by dulley View Post
    The feeders I designed are only accessible from inside of the hive.
    And the robbing would be inside the hive?
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Woodbridge, VA (But planning to move to NW Louisiana soon)
    Posts
    276

    Default Re: Robbing from new split before new queen emerges

    Quote Originally Posted by dulley View Post
    I do have a screen over the entrance now and the bottom board is screened, so overheating is not an issue. My concern is if being kept inside the hive for many days is a problem for the bees in there.
    Why not make your screen into a robber screen? You can make up a functional robber screen by simply bending the screen into a shape that allows access well to the side of the hive entrance.

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