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Seems a hive down the block has taken a fancy to my hive that I got about a month ago. They are in an Owl box with a 3" hole in the front. I cut out the bottom of the owl box floor, and set it on a deep box with 10 frames (1 month ago). Once I noticed the robbing this weekend, I closed up the top 3" hole, and opened up the bottom of the deep box with a standard landing board, and put in a restrictor with about 2" opening. I did this last night around 6:00pm. The robber bees were back this morning with a vengeance, but they had not yet discovered the bottom entrance. But my bees hadn't discovered the bottom entrance either. Its a stand off of bees at the closed off entrance, and some are fighting.

Added note, the bees have not moved into the bottom box yet. I opened it up yesterday, and found some bees down below, but there wasn't any new comb. I added a 1 gallon Mann-Lake feeder in the frames to help them along, but now am concerned that I may have thrown gasoline on the fire.

Any thoughts? I love opinions too.

Cheers, Phil
 

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robber screens. look on here for designs but basically it moves the exit to the side so the hive bees can come n go but the robber bees dont know how to get in.
mine were being robbed too and this helped a lot. Easy to make..you can make quite a few in an hour of just basic woodworking and window screen. Also use Vicks vapor rub at the entrance. Confuses/masks the smell the robbers are honing in on.
 

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I'd temproraily hold off on the feeding and concentrate on getting the robbing under control.

Instead of a two inch opening, make it a one-half inch opening. Add bee-proof screening to the rest of the opening if you have ventilation concerns.

I'd consider a robbing screen (like those intended for nucs) over the 3" owl-opening. I have one hive that is completely top-entrance focused. They would go NUTS w/o their top hole, even if I had a hole the size of a carton of cigarettes below.

Once you have the robbing sorted out, resume feeding, but only completely inside the hive, and not near one of the entrances. Feeding is a long-term need. Stopping robbing is an emergency.

Edited to add: Adding good anti-robbing screens always makes things look worse for a day or so as the home bees grapple with the new pathway. But add the screens - and keep them on continously - anyway. If you're worried about befuddled "locked-out" home bees only open the screens, briefly, after dark and close them up well before daylight.

Enj.
 

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I had a robbing incident three weeks ago, one of my two hives was taking advantage of it's weaker neighbor. They took everything and killed the queen before I realized what was happening. (lesson learned) I read about the robber screens and made one for each hive without an entrance to use because I needed to move both hives a few yards. Have a new queen also, this morning all was well, came home this afternoon and they were back at it trying to rob their neighbor hive again. Took the screens I made and locked both hive up. After about half and hour the weaker hive had a lot of bees on the screen trying to get out. The other hive had a few crawling around inside. I seem to have captured a lot of the other hives robbers, so now they will stay a day or so and get used to their new home. Plan to make two screens tomorrow with small entrances to control the robbing. Once replaced I believe I will leave the screens with the entrances on for the rest of the summer. I use examples I found here on the forum that also where I read about robbing and how to identify it.

Greg
 

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When my nucs were being robbed, I made robbing screens because I didn't have time to wait for an order to arrive, and I am far from a woodworker.....if I can make them, anyone can.

Stuck them on, and yep...everything looked way, way worse for a while. Bees were trying to get out, bees were trying to get it. I decided to not watch for a few days and let them sort it out. One nuc was decimated anyway (I was able to rebuild it).

Took me about 5 minutes per hive to make these little screens. Each hive has one now, even my big hives. I used a small piece of lumber from Lowe's and some window screen, along with some screws and a staple gun. I used a large drill bit to drill a single bee-sized hole in the top board.

I switched to fondant for a while to help get the robbing under control. Without the syrupy smell, the robbers (my own hives!) finally went away. I need these nucs to draw some comb though, and pretty quickly, so I feed them syrup at night, only what they take overnight, to help with that. I noticed they weren't drawing comb with fondant, but the syrup at night is helping, and they have fondant during the day.

So far, robbing has been the single most scary thing that I've had happen while beekeeping...even more than the bees that got in my veil! Robbing is the pits.
 

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I wouldn't say my robber screens took 5 minutes to make, mine take more like an hour each, but then I have to scavenge the materials from old bee packages, etc. They are completely rigged together and the bees probably think they live in the slums now...

But I now have robber screens on my 2 smallest hives so far, one a 1-medium nuc, and one a 2-medium. I have robber screens on order but they are taking forever to get here, so I have to rig up something in the meantime.

The nuc that I put the robber screen on several days ago has had no more issues with crowds of bees trying to get in, even tho I have a top feeder with syrup in there. This is a new queen who I can see but she has not started laying yet, unless I just can't see the eggs.

The 2-medium hive was a June/July split that sure hasn't gotten very big, but it may have been being robbed all along and I may not have known it. I looked yesterday and there was a lot of brood but zero honey. I knew I had to act quickly. I ended up putting syrup in there and totally screening the hive shut for the rest of the day, even tho I shut out the foragers. Last evening I unplugged them, and this morning I got the robber screen on them. Their syrup is dry that I put in there yesterday, so that's not a good sign, because I don't think they could have emptied that alone in one day. I also saw some pupae being carried out of the hive by bees. What's that all about? Another subject, but I am perplexed by that.

I have one more hive I'm feeding that I'm anxious about. It's bigger but still needs protection, esp. since I'm feeding it. I saw much capped brood in there yesterday but no honey. I reduced the entrances to 2 bottom holes, no top entrance, and this morning the jar of syrup was empty. Hmm.

I have a friend about 3-4 miles from here who found the same thing in her smaller hives recently: no honey. She was surprised, she's been a beek for years. So I don't know if we're in an unusual dearth or what.
 

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Let's see if I can load a picture of my nuc robbing screen.




Super fast and easy to build. I had the screen and screws as well as staple gun. I did have to buy the furring strips/wood, which were $1.80 each. Discovered later that the local hardware store has similarly sized wood pieces. I cut the strips with a jigsaw, as I'm not fond of DH's circular saw, and we don't have a table saw or any other woodworking equipment, and I used my little cordless drill to place the screws and drill the hole in the top. I screwed it to the nuc, so it is a permanent piece of hive equipment.

Periodically, I lift all the frames out of the nuc, place them in a cardboard nuc for safe storage, dump it upside down to get out dead bees, and put the frames back in.

I do wonder how the SHB got in...the only opening is the little hole as shown...but this nuc had a whole bunch of larvae in it two nights ago..
 
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