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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Newbee disclaimer... first year, two hives of packages, installed May 1. Each have two deep supers and one medium honey super. I installed honey super two weeks ago and noticed that there was little comb building going on. I heard that we are in a dearth, and decided to stimulate things by placing pollen patties and sugar water (boardsman feeders at entrances) to help out. I did this yesterday.

Today, when looking at hives, the first hive had half the sugar water gone. Wow, they are thirsty, I thought. I then walked to my second hive, which is about fifty feet away. This hive has always been the weaker of the two. I noticed the feeder also half empty, but I also noticed a flurry of activity. There were several battles taking place at entrance between bees, and a couple of dead ones on ground as well. Then they began coming at me. Usually I can get quite close to hives with no issues, but today they really were defensive.

My thoughts are that there is robbing at my weaker hive, and maybe the robbers are my bees from hive number one, or maybe from somewhere else. Any thoughts what I should do? I am considering going back tonight and closing up entrance to hive being robbed and letting things cool down a bit, maybe just leave a smaller entrance so they can more easily defend it. The level of defensiveness on the hive was a bit alarming :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for quick response. I removed boardsmen feeders. I had never used them externally before, and won't again. Wow! I put on entrance reducer on my weaker of two hives, and left the first hive alone. The first hive seems much stronger and capable, so their entrance is as it was. Number two hive (weaker) is now buttoned up with reducer. I guess I'll just monitor situation and then remove it as necessary. As for feeding, I will look into some other way to do it. Thanks!
 

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Yes, Boardman feeders are great for encouraging robbing. Not sure who uses them or why they are sold. Someone must like them them but bee supply companies should not be putting these things in every starter kit as if it is something that should be used.

If you feed, keep the feed inside the hive and reduce the entrance to give the bees a chance to defend themselves against robbers. I would not consider open feeding, even at a distance from the hive. It very often results in the type of robbing behavior that Ruthiesbees witnessed. At best you are simply moving the carnage from view of your apiary, at worst, you have taught the neighborhood bees the art of robbing and they will inevitably find weaker hives when you let the feed run dry. Not to mention that you have trashed any honey that might be being made in your hives or in your neighbor's hives if there is a flow on or you have honey supers on and you are supplying every hive in the neighborhood with sugar water.

Keep the feed inside the hive that requires it.

Wayne
 
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