Robbing of queen castles
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    Santa Cruz, CA USA
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    72

    Default Robbing of queen castles

    New beek here. I had some success in grafting 10 queen cells. 5 emerged. Placed them in nucs. One got robbed. Virgin is gone. How do I prevent robbing? I started open feeding. I thought it might lend a sense of abundance to the yard and tame the raiding impulse. Good or bad idea?

    I have a main colony in a 10 frame hive 2 deep. The nucs are a few feet away. I donít have access to another yard.

    Thanks for your input.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    St. Charles, MO, USA
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    96

    Default Re: Robbing of queen castles

    Robbing screens help greatly. Open feeding can attract robbers. It is often preferable to feed inside the hives and feed every hive in an apiary during a durth if robbing is a problem.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    Santa Cruz, CA USA
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    Default Re: Robbing of queen castles

    Thank you. Will robber screens effect the mating flights?
    Also, I think the only bugs around are my bees and some yellow jackets. Is open feeding still a bad idea? I cannot feed the queen castle /nucs individually.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    St. Charles, MO, USA
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    Default Re: Robbing of queen castles

    As long as the robbing screen is built right and doesn't cause a traffic jam of bees trying to get out and/or in and is easy for the bees to figure out how to get out of it, it should not cause a problem with matting flights. The only problems I've seen are when the opening is too small and bees can't get out easily.
    If open feeding is your only option, then set the feeder up a good distance away from your hives. The dance they use for things that are close to the hive (about 50 yards or less) doesn't pin point the source. So, the bees just fly around looking until they find it so you will end up with bees looking for ways into other hives. You also don't want to attract the yellow jackets to your hives.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Campbell River, BC, CA
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    1,638

    Default Re: Robbing of queen castles

    Quote Originally Posted by Andhors View Post
    I have a main colony in a 10 frame hive 2 deep. The nucs are a few feet away. I don’t have access to another yard.
    You may call it a nuc, but the full size colony has another name for it. They call it a 'feeder'...

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    Santa Cruz, CA USA
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    72

    Default Re: Robbing of queen castles

    Feeder, I have heard that! Lol

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Yuba County, California, USA
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    6,546

    Default Re: Robbing of queen castles

    I never open feed, especially not with not laying queen mating nucs in the yard.

    I make my mating nucs up with frames of stores so I do not feed them at all until a new queen is actively laying and there is a frame of brood going.

    I never use robber screens on my mating nucs.

    If conditions are so bad that I'd have to use robbing screens, then I would not be raising queens and having mating nucs in the yard. I'd choose another time of year to raise the queens.

    I'm just a hobby beek though and many others do things differently than I do.
    Live real time bee chat, most evenings...
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  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
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    1,450

    Default Re: Robbing of queen castles

    I operate from a single yard, and sometimes make-up nucs in a dearth - which is not the best time, for sure.

    Mesh anti-robbing screens are the answer - I find they pose no problem for returning virgins or the other bees, providing they're installed right from Day one.

    Feed - I only ever feed 'internally' (syrup in inverted jar feeders or fondant), and always very late in the day. Robbing is triggered by excitement, rather than syrup or fondant, both of which are odourless.

    If robbing should ever break out, and you're able to identify which hive is doing the robbing - then you might try feeding it small amounts of very weak syrup (say, 1:4) in order to remove their motivation for robbing.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Newtown, ct
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Robbing of queen castles

    Quote Originally Posted by Andhors View Post
    I cannot feed the queen castle /nucs individually.
    Why do you say you can't feed the castle independently? I do not have a castle but a 4 over 4 side by side nuc. I just use a queen excluder on the top and then a standard 10 frame feeder above that. I have also feed standard 5 frame nucs with division feeders, an eke a baggy or another box and an inverted 1 gallon bucket.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Geauga, Ohio
    Posts
    432

    Default Re: Robbing of queen castles

    I saw lots of activity in my 3 frame nucs very early the day after I made them - and I knew that was too many bees to be native to the small nuc. It was too early for an orientation flight too. Robbers!!!

    Open feeding triggers robbing behavior, IMHO. And it triggers odd behavior from the bees - out very late, or early, drawn to flashlights since many caught out after dark, and not something I want to deal with. Just sayin'. It can be a solution to a problem for a given situation, I'll grant that. Can't picture that being the case for me ever tho.

    I have a 3 way mating nuc, entrances are 1" holes on front, left and right close to bottom, center hole close to top. I installed mesh robber screen- a fancy name for what I actually did, which was put 3 nails around the entrance, force metal screen (like for a screen door) on so the entrance was covered, and secured with clothespins. I used the screen to make a tunnel - the mouth of the tunnel had to be more than 1" from the entrance hole, or the robbers could swoop in. It was OK if the tunnel was around 1/2 in tall and wide, it didn't need to be just one bee in width, as long as the mouth was not too close to the hole. The robbers are very persistent at flying at the hole (covered by mesh), and can find a direct path in, but don't seem to take a path in that involves walking on the face of the box more than about 1".

    The screen tunnel-mouth for the top hole was aimed up and a bit to the left. The screen tunnel-mouth for the left and right bottom holes was aimed at the outer corners of the box. I got 3/3 back mated, which has not been the rule this summer. :/

    Hope this helps. So many little things matter so much for successful queen rearing!!!

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA USA
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    72

    Default Re: Robbing of queen castles

    Thanks for the great suggestions all!

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,768

    Default Re: Robbing of queen castles

    > I started open feeding. I thought it might lend a sense of abundance

    As you should have now observed it had the opposite effect...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

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