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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got a call to check some friends hives today. They had called me a few weeks ago about a lot of robbing activity, and I had told them; Reduce the entrances and maybe shower the hives with water to calm down the robbers. I had also asked them to get an idea as to what direction the robbers were flying.

Today I find one queen-less dwindling hive with lots of dead bees in the bottom with many who had their abdomens cut in half. The other 4 hives, minus one that got destroyed by robbing, have very little honey stores left.

So out of an original 6 hives, only 4 are left. The weak 5th hive survivors will be combined with one of the 4. It is obvious that these hives did not rob each other because of the dearth of honey.

Has anyone else experienced this before?

I am going to make some winter insulated quilt boxes with a plan on feeding these bees through the winter, both sugar syrup and pollen patties. I might also donate some honey supers, but not add them until the weather is cold enough to prevent that from being stolen.

There is one neighbor with mostly nuc hives, maybe around 20-30. Some of the bees seemed to be flying in that direction, but that is just conjecture.

Not entirely sure how to plan for this in the future, except maybe make sure all hives are strong and reduce entrances sooner.
 

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I’ve had to deal with it from my own neighboring yards,another beeks yard, and more importantly yellow jackets. They have to be strong enough to defend the hive by the end of the flow, and sooner for yellow jackets. It keeps me from making splits after mid-may.
 

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It is obvious that these hives did not rob each other because of the dearth of honey.
Not necessarily. It's possible that the strongest of the bunch robbed out the weakest and then got robbed out themselves. During robbing, 30+ lbs is possible to be robbed out daily.

I’ve had to deal with it from my own neighboring yards,another beeks yard, and more importantly yellow jackets. They have to be strong enough to defend the hive by the end of the flow, and sooner for yellow jackets. It keeps me from making splits after mid-may.
Wow, things must be really tough in your location. I make splits as late as first week of August. While robbing is an issue for these late splits, and I do lose some to it, most are able to build up to be winter ready colonies.
 

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Robbing tends to produce an opposite reaction in mine - the colonies seek out the treatment free neighbors, and in return, they are rewarded with 5%+ mite infestations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Robbing tends to produce an opposite reaction in mine - the colonies seek out the treatment free neighbors, and in return, they are rewarded with 5%+ mite infestations.
Yah, I realized that. We had been doing a 3-4 day interval OAV schedule. So I took out some ApiGuard and told them to stick it over the brood on a 3 x 5 card and forget about it. The bees will chew up the paper and kick it out the front door. Just an extra precaution. It sucks losing the majority or all of your hives.

I am pretty sure we have been mite bombed before. Mite counts were low in past years in the fall and yet the hives succumbed to mites in about December.

I am going to stop over to the neighbors apiary and introduce myself and try to ask "innocent" probing questions on his mite management strategy. (maybe he will say, "My bees put up a ton of honey these last few weeks".)o_O
 

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Robbing is almost always caused by the beekeeper. Something he did, or did not do.

If hives are properly housed, healthy, and enough bees, they won't get robbed. That's apart from the beekeeper doing something like leaving honey or syrup exposed, leaving a hive open too long, and similar.

The main cause of hives being robbed in fall is varroa mites. Hives got a lot of mites they will be a target, even though to a casual glance from outside they may not appear much different to any other hive.

If a hive is being robbed do not put apiguard in it. The fumes from apiguard disrupt the hive and greatly increase the risk of being robbed. A non disruptive treatment such as apivar should be used.

Many times I have been accused by somebody that my nasty bees are robbing their hive / hives. In pretty much every case the problem is that my bees are well provisioned, healthy hives, and the other guys hives are weak, poorly managed, or varroa infested.
 

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Robbing is almost always caused by the beekeeper. Something he did, or did not do.

If hives are properly housed, healthy, and enough bees, they won't get robbed. That's apart from the beekeeper doing something like leaving honey or syrup exposed, leaving a hive open too long, and similar.

The main cause of hives being robbed in fall is varroa mites. Hives got a lot of mites they will be a target, even though to a casual glance from outside they may not appear much different to any other hive.

If a hive is being robbed do not put apiguard in it. The fumes from apiguard disrupt the hive and greatly increase the risk of being robbed. A non disruptive treatment such as apivar should be used.

Many times I have been accused by somebody that my nasty bees are robbing their hive / hives. In pretty much every case the problem is that my bees are well provisioned, healthy hives, and the other guys hives are weak, poorly managed, or varroa infested.
Completely agree.
In one of my yards this year i had 2 hives that were having problems in Aug. Same treatments as others in the yard but either queen or some other issue. Both were strong and had stores but brood was faltering.
Before i could put robber screens on (normal yearly process in my yards) they were both robbed out. I wish i was a little earlier so i could have used those bees in other colonies.
 
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