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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have one double deep 10 frame hive in my backyard that was started from a nuc in late April. It is sitting on a freeman trap BB and I removed my screened top cover and replaced it with the standard inner yesterday. I also added my first entrance feeder yesterday and also moved my hive over about two feet. I reduced the entrance by about a third. At noon today they were going like crazy. I hoped it was just reorientation but noticed four dead bees on the ground at the base. Never had dead bees at the base so I decided it was robbing and threw a wet sheet over it. I have to go to work in the morning so anything I can do will have to bee late tonight or early in the morning. When do I take the sheet off and do I do anything else other than remove the entrance feeder? Thank you for any advice!
 

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I just dealt with this too! It's horrible, isn't it?

Wet sheet all the way to the ground and an entrance reducer -- I closed mine up entirely -- while you run buy some wire window screen and a staplegun. Cut a strip to fit the entrance and staple it on to allow ventilation but keep your bees in and robbers out.

I also moved my suffering nucs. I moved them from the immediate vicinity to deploy my defenses then moved again to further confuse attackers.

Suggestions also made to me included the following:
Shut the offending hive if possible
Feed the offending hive if possible
Open all the hives, which puts them on the defensive side
Entrance reducers to allow one bee through at a time...I had this in place already, but if you don't, it's a great idea. You could even put on a reducer to allow no traffic.

Robbing screens will be placed on all new or small hives in my yard from now on.

After the emergency screen went on, the robbers climbed all over the nucs searching hard for a way end, but they gave up. I know the poor nucs have food and water, so I'm leaving them closed in with the screen for another day or two, then I'll put on robbing screens and open them back up.

Good luck!
 

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4 dead bees doesn't sound like a robbing attack to me. What do you mean by " they were going like crazy?" Did out see actual battles or just a lot of bees outside the hive?

It's possible that you are approaching a robbing situation due to the installation of an entrance feeder. (I've never used one as I took to heart the warnings to NEVER use one of these to feed. I use a pail feeder over the inner cover, enclosed by a deep box with the top cover on that.)

I'd get rid of the Boardman feeder before doing anything. And is there a nectar flow on in your area or do you need to feed?

Wayne
 

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"When do I take the sheet off and do I do anything else other than remove the entrance feeder?"
I would take the sheet off now, reduce the entrance to about 1 1/4 square inches, and leave the hive alone. In the normal course of things, new foragers orient, foragers of all ages reorient if there is cause for doing so, and old or injured bees die. I hope it goes well for you.
 

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I also added my first entrance feeder yesterday and also moved my hive over about two feet. I reduced the entrance by about a third. At noon today they were going like crazy. I hoped it was just reorientation but noticed four dead bees on the ground at the base. Never had dead bees at the base so I decided it was robbing and threw a wet sheet over it. I have to go to work in the morning so anything I can do will have to bee late tonight or early in the morning. When do I take the sheet off and do I do anything else other than remove the entrance feeder? Thank you for any advice!
Like Wayne said,

Four dead bees doesn't necessarily sound like a horrible case of robbing. First thing to do is ditch the entrance feeder. Entrance feeders lead to robbing.

Sounds like you have already reduced the entrance some. Reduce it more. A robbing screen helps, if you can make one tonight.

When robbing is severe, I move the hive. Better than loosing a full size colony worth several hundred dollars.

Shane
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wayne, I think you're right about the entrance feeder being the root of my problem. I'm pretty sure what I saw was battles because the bees that were the getting the brunt of the attack were much darker than my bees. You have me pegged because I added the feeder against my better judgement. After reading enough Michael Bush, I am anti-feed but my greed to split drove me to go against that mantra. I think we are at the end of a flow which help goad me into the feeder as well, but....I'm still learning to interpret the behavior at the entrance. I pulled off the sheet and removed the feeder. Lesson learned. Needless to say, I'm done with the entrance feeder. Thanks for the advice! Since I'm not the beekeepers' meeting kind of guy, this forum is a wonderful place for advice.
 

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Once robbers have a hive "on target" simply removing the feeder won't stop the attack. The feeder induces the attack, but once started, the attackers will continue. You need to reduce the entrance maximally, or move the hive to reset the robbing clock.
 

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Wayne, I think you're right about the entrance feeder being the root of my problem. .
interesting. I had a couple of "defensive" hives, one went repeatedly queenless, actually the mother hive of a strong daughter hive. Finally I did a newspaper combine putting the queenless mother hive over the thrivingg queenright daughter hive. After a few days, my wife noticed "something going on" with her "garden hive" 4-500 feet away. home made supers( larger cracks between the boxes), & telescoping top cover, I had spaced them up a bit for ventilation. plus ,after covering the hives for weed spraying in the neighbor hood, she totally removed the reducer boards.
bees were pretty much going at it, stinging each other, crawling in and out at the cracks.
we duck-taped the cracks, and reduced the entrance to about 1/2x5/16. finally seems to have settled down. I will probably relocate the hive this weekend, before opening back up.
I checked the combined hive this afternoon, I do not know if the strong ones killed the weak ones, or they all went back into on big defensive colony, but they seem to be settled now.
interestingly, they did not seem to bother the (strong, tight, but open entrance) hive on the bench beside them, nor the nuc boxes 75-100 feet away.
had I read this thread earlier, I would probably have done much more in response to this situation.
cheerio.
 
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