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Without a doubt they work for me! I made mine with scrap 1/4" wood scraps and leftover screen from our windows. They saved my hives last year after I noticed a free-for-all in front of one. Now as soon as I see "robber scouts" pestering a hive they all get a screen. I put them on about 3 weeks ago. It might take a day or two for the resident bees to figure out how to get in and out but after that it's not a problem.
Make them or buy them, they work.
 

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Yes they do...if you place them on before the robbing starts...if robbing has been going on for a while, as in progressive robbing( Mangum, W (2012) Robbing: Part 2: Progressive robbing. ABJ 152(8): 761-764), the screens might slow it down but not eliminate it entirely.

Weak hives ( weak for whatever reason-and those reasons could be many), fed syrup during dearth, become a target...nucs made during dearth and fed syrup become easy targets also...hives with too much space to cover and guard also become targets...hives with too large of an entrance that cannot be guarded...

So, if you use the robber screens, consider them another tool that could help with robbing, if used correctly.

I noticed how as the summer dearth kicks in, the number of postings about robbing also increase:)...

One thing that works for me, besides using the robber screens, is feeding sugar bricks/candy to the nucs instead of syrup...or, if available, frames of capped honey.
 

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yes and they're super easy to make. Any future split of mine will have them AND I'm thinking of having them for the other hives just as a back-up. I know ther was some attempted robbing going on but not enough to harm the hives that were strong.
 

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Of course they do.

I think that all nucs (in a mixed-size yard) should have them from the get-go. Also all colonies that are substantially smaller, even if not nucs, than their neighbors might do well to be under the protection of robbing screens, dearth or not.

I made some that I like better than commercial ones, but I also have commercial ones (Betterbee) and those work just fine, too. I have anti-robbing screens on my smaller hives all season long as I have found that they don't interfere with the bees at all.

On my most vulnerable colonies (new splits) I actually use two anti-robbing devices: the regular, wood-framed front of the entrance type ones, plus across the entrance board I have an L-shaped piece of perforated metal screen entrance reducer with a sliding solid section that allows me to add a second check-point for the guard bees. I see guard bees outside on the surface of the main screen near the entrance. I see them patroling the front surface of the hive box under the robbing screen and I see sentries standing guard at the entrance reducer point. I assume there are also a cadre posted inside the hive behind the entrance reducer as well. My bees seem quite content to be safe behind the screens.

I know robbing is a natural part of bee behavior, but it carries some serious risks, and it is fairly easy for beekeepers to prevent, so why not? Beekeepers do lots of other things to and for their bees that are much more intrusive. I consider anti-robbing screens to be an essential piece of equipment for each stack.

I have enough screens so even my largest hives will have some protection as the foraging year winds down. Hives that have a fully-open entrance will soon get a screen device on the face which will allow me to slightly restrict and channel access for now, but will allow further reduction towards the end of September/early October when frost has zapped most of the flowers but we still have days warm enough for foraging. Anti-robbing screens in the early fall also prevent mice from getting any foolish notions on frosty nights, before I have fully winterized my hives. (I use flat wire mesh mouse guards later on under the insulation which is not compatible with robbing screens.)

Also if you have upper entrances (such as notches in the inner cover rim) be sure those are robbing-screened too. I have one hive which is profoundly top-entrance oriented. It uses a 1" round hole and a notched inner cover as its principal entrance year-round. It is a huge hive - 2 deeps and 5 mediums chock full of bees right now. I will use a nuc anti-robbing screen over the round hole, as well as a conventional one over the front entrance at the bottom of the hive. This hive is so strong, I'd pity any hapless would-be robber that tried to get in, so maybe robbing screens protect visiting bees, too.
 

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They really do work, don't know how I would do without them, before you spend money, research how others make their screens, the complicated ones you can spend money on, but the simple ones that take two minutes to make out of scrap screen are just as good. I still reduce my entrances during the dearth as well as having the screens on. I keep mine on all year long.
 

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With a little thought, robber screens could be simply made from #8 hardware cloth/screen.

Cut a piece of material that is 12-16 inches tall and two inches wider than the hive box. Cut the corners to create flaps on each edge. Bend the flaps on the sides into a L-shape so that the main field of the screen stands off from the front of the hive about and inch and so you have a "lip" to staple down (two bends on the sides). For the bottom you will probably only need one bend to staple to the bottom board. If your bottom board has a porch you will have to modify the screen a little to work with the side rails...no biggie.

Make sure the sides and bottom of the screen seal snuggly against the front of the hive and the bottom board.

At one corner of the top bend the screen over as you did the sides but cut a small flap maybe an inch long so that you can bend it up for an entrance. Lastly, wire a piece of metal flashing, cardboard, or whatever to the top half of the screen...maybe even cover 1/3 or so of the entrance area. The "blind" keeps the robbers concentrating on the entrance rather than spreading out further up the screen and possibly finding the "secret entrance".

I've got one of the Brushy Mountain robber screens and they nice. For a dollar's worth of screen and a little time, though, it seems easy enough to make one that does the same thing...reduce robbing. ;)

I remember someone posted a picture the other day of a simple one made in the shape of a "V" and stapled to the upper(?) hive entrance. Bees entered from the ends but the robbers apparently concentrated on the center of the entrance/screen.

Just a thought.
Ed
 

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As a first step against robbing, I weekly check bee activity at the entrance of each hive, and adjust entrance size so the entrances are always just a little crowded. Usually, this, by itself, is enough to prevent the robbing from starting.

If I am seeing a lot of robber scouts sniffing around a hive, or I decide to feed a weak hive, I then put on a robber screen.

I think the trick to the robbing issue is to prevent it from ever starting, and I sometimes will run a robber screen on a struggling hive all season long.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...=eZeMIfcz7Yye-QMq3T5Sbg&bvm=bv.72676100,d.cWc
 

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They work. I automatically put them on any weak or small hives, and all hives that are being fed during robbing season.

They do no harm to any hive.
 

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I made some that I like better than commercial ones, but I also have commercial ones (Betterbee) and those work just fine, too. I have anti-robbing screens on my smaller hives all season long as I have found that they don't interfere with the bees at all.
Would you care to share a pic of your screen. Every year robbing is a serious issue at one of our apiaries.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I just posted this on another thread, but I rigged this one up tonight. It won't win any beauty contests, but I really need it n-o-w. Brushy Mtn. has them on sale for $13, I may get more from there.

RobberScreen.jpg

From now on, robber screens all around, at least from mid-July on.
 

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Don't matter what they look like as long as they work!
Can't tell from your pic......what is keeping the bottom of the screen secure? The first place robbers try to get in is all around the hive entrance, make sure nothing can squeeze under.
 

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I might be missing it from the photo, but where do the bees go in and out?

The purpose of a robber screen is to move the entrance from the expected spot (that the robbers would be flying to) a distance away so that the bees from the hive will orient to that relocated entrance but the robbers will not find it easily. The screen that we make has a wooden frame around it so that the entrance is about 6 inches higher. It can be closed with a metal piece if you desire. The bottom part of the frame (directly in front of the normal entrance) has a place for a different metal piece. This piece can be removed to leave the entrance open, put in with the top down to provide a bee-proof blockade that also lets air through, or with the bottom down to allow bees to pass, but not mice. With this, you could leave it on a weak hive for a good chunk of the year and just manipulate the metal pieces to change its use.

The thing I worry about with any of these is having enough ventilation. The bees need to be able to keep the hive cool and cure honey. If they are weak enough, a small entrance is good. As they strengthen, the screen will need to be removed.

Chris Cripps
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Yeah, the screen is just sitting on the bottom board, but it does reach the bottom, and they'd surely get scratched if they tried to go under. The screen is pretty stiff, more like a hardware cloth mesh, if you've seen that screen that packages come in, which is what it is. And it has a cut out (actually a flap if you use your imagination) entrance about 1" wide on the top right of the screen, which you can't see from the photo. So basically the screen comes out about 3/4" from the hive, folded on the sides and top to form a little box, with a cut out entrance near the top corner.

Don't look at my photo, Betterbee! It's ugly and unprofessional, but it works in a pinch. LOL.

For ventilation, I have an Imirie shim up top (under the top feeder) that has screen stapled across it, so the access way is blocked. The robber bees actually sit on that little screen all day.

When I went out at 7:30 a.m. to put this on my nuc (which is merely a 1 medium super), one of the big hives had a highway going from their hive to the nuc. I had left one Imirie shim open on the nuc last night, a single bee size, and that was enough for them. Well, now the party is over.
 

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Someone posted this link awhile back and I have it saved in favorites. I made a bunch of these, modified to my carpenter's skills. The difficult part was finding a local place that sold #8 hardware cloth.

http://www.beekeepingforums.com/threads/5223-Robber-screen-moving-screen

I also have about 4 of the Brushy Mountain ones--Mann Lake now sells them. They are great for moving hives and for robber screens. ML once had them on sale for about $11 each.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
bevy's bees -- So 3/8" gap is all you need behind the screen, for the bees to come and go from the hive?

When you say 1X, do you mean 1 inch?
 

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The link is not mine. I made something similar--no top piece for moving. Mine are like the first 3 pictures as I was only making robber screens.
I use the Brushy screens to move bees, as I don't do it very often.

The frame wood top is outside the final screen, the side frame is inside against the front of your hive. Not sure what "1x rip" means. I'm not even sure I used 3/8 wood piece, mine might be 1/2 inch. They work and I'm able to make them myself, so I'm happy with them.

I kept and empty hive on the work table to insure a snug cut/fit...because I made a couple that were not wide enough by just a bit and bees get around it.
 

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If you need robbing screens, it's too late to order them, even with express shipping. It would be like shopping for a fire extinguisher. There are a lot of plans on the internet, and you can copy one from the pictures in catalogs fairly easily. The first ones I needed were made from scraps of wood and window screen. They worked just fine. One thing that I picked up, I forget from whom, is to smear some menthol (e.g. Vick's Vapo-Rub) on the entrance. When robber bees try to go to where the honey smell is, they can't get in, and when they go to the new entrance, it smells nothing like honey.
 
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