I have an image on my homepage from a robbing episode; the image has a robbing screen on the hive, you can't miss it. http://gooddoghoney.com/
you will know when it happens; it looks vicious and you will have a funny feeling like there are too many bees all of a sudden. If you ever have the feeling get the hive closed up, it's amazing how quickly it happens.
Note: a small beard of bees it not likely robbing. I've seen to many people see a cluster of been at the entrance and thinks it is robbing. You can tell, if they are fighting with the entrance bees then it's robbing. Head-touching or even a little head butting, it's not.
Yes, lots of hovering bees all around the hive, wrestling at entrance and on ground in front of entrance. Lots of bees trying to find alternative ways to get in i.e. bottom, sides, around outer cover, etc…I just reduced my entrances today as I found 4 of my hives displaying this type of activity…reducing your entrances should help…interesting that I had 2 other hives in the same apiary right next to the hives being robbed had no robbing type activity at all...
My kids called it Bee Star Wars when we had a robbing frenzy here. You'll know it when you see it. It was actually frightening to watch and goes incredibly fast.
I made robber screens...and I am no woodworker at all...and slapped them on all my hives. It can slow the bandit bunch down and help the weaker ones stay safer. I googled for a picture of one in action and looked at the price of premade and decided I could actually make one.
I bought a handful of $1.88 1x2x4 lumbers from Lowe's (discovered later Ace Hardware in our town has something similar but slightly more expensive, and the 4 foot length fit into my SUV between kid seats) some metal window screen, a box of wood screws and some staples for my staple gun. Used a jigsaw (I'm scared of DH's big heavy circular saw ) to cut some lengths off after measuring the hive entrances and and knocked them together on my kitchen table in about 5-10 minutes each. Each lumber made 2 screens for 8 frame hives. I have a couple extra so I can make more as I add hives or nucs.
Apparently the robbers wanted into a nuc today after I fed it, but I was able to easily close everyone up and put a stop to it. I like 'em and wish I'd just put them on like 2 weeks ago...before the dearth started. Live and learn.
I have had one hive that I think has went through it. I didn't see it till it was too late. I had to feed a couple of nucs that were lacking in stores, but I had robber screens on them. Went I went in today expecting to find nectar there was nothing. I went into a hive that had capped honey and brood. Added it to the nuc then sealed it up and moved it to my brothers farm. I'm fortunate several family members have farms and I candle that. What I have begun to think is even with 3 acres of woods adjacent to my hives. 120 acres of corn surround them. Then there is cattle ground that has been mowed with minimal flowers. I do realize bees forage over like 80000 acres, but I don't think in July and early augucst there is enough forage which sets off the robbing. When there is enough nectar everyones happy
Good thread folks, very informative...I'm a newbee too, with three hives. I've been monitoring this myself and haven't had any robbing yet. I've not found any pieces of capping on the entrances or noticed any fighting. The experienced beeks always warn about hive front feeders causing robbing too. I started with those but have pulled them now.
Thanks for the information. I think my hives are ok, just busy-nothing like the pictures you showed Kenargo. I will try my hand at making robber screens, thanks for the info Spring. I try to visit my bees daily, at least from a distance. I am amazed at how attached and protective I feel.
A forum community dedicated to beekeeping, bee owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about breeding, honey production, health, behavior, hives, housing, adopting, care, classifieds, and more!