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Opened my hives (6) last weekend and it looks like the one I thought was the strongest is getting robbed. The entrance is reduced to about 4 inches. There is an open vent hole in the top box. I put out pollen feeders last night, but was going to anyway. I am in Northern IL, and the goldenrod appeared last week. Yellow jackets are present and attacking but the bees seem to be holding them off.

Here is my plan.

Tonight put on adjustable mouseguards one inch open with grass clippings across entrances. Also put branches with leaves.

Tomorrow afternoon open all the tops for an hour. Read it in a bee magazine.

Please comment if you have suggestions.
 

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An anti-robbing screen - in my experience it's the only sure-fire method of stopping robbing ... preferably install one before it even starts. If robbing has already become established, you may also need to reduce the entrance size above the screen.
LJ
 

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I agree that a robbing screen is in order. If you don't have one make one. You could also throw a wet blanket over the hive and put a sprinkler on it if your hoes will go that far. Shut that vent hole and rub Vicks on your mouse guard or screen
 

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Don't believe everything you read:D Seriously, how would this not make the problem worse with more entrances?
I came across this idea in a book. The idea was that if you open all the hives, they all go into defensive mode, including the original robber hives. Now, this would only work against the bees in your yard, if the robbers are from elsewhere (or are yellow jackets) I can't imagine this working. I have no experience with this, just relaying what I read, doesn't seem like a great idea honestly.
 

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If you have a helper then relocate the hive a few feet away and place an empty box on a bottom board* with a top where the hive was. Now go put a robber screen on the hive that you just moved.

Robbers will continue to attack the empty hive at the old location. Foragers will come home to the empty box. After sundown the robbers will have given up and gone home. The bees in the empty box are the foragers that have come home. Dump them into their home hive. Put the empty box back on the bottom board. The next day if the robbing activity at the empty box has ceased then move the hive back home, but keep the robber screen on it.


*if you don't have another bottom board or top then cobble something together, a piece of plywood with a stick to prop up the end for an entrance. The message has gone out and waggle dances are being done in a hive somewhere to send bees to that hive. So give them a distraction.
 

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My experience with full sized hives that are under constant attack from yellow jackets is that they have something wrong with them. Yellow jackets are excellent predators and like all predators, they are going after the weak or the sick. If the hive appears to be strong, it cannot be weak, then my bet is that it is sick and you just don't know it yet. Just about every hive I have ever had that was under attack from yellow jackets was dead by January. Almost every one of them was not killed by yellow jackets but by mites. The same goes for robbing attacks from other honey bee colonies. They don't rob strong healthy hives. They only go after the weak and/or sick hives.
 

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My response is on par with squarpegs commwnt. If you aren't feeding syrup I would look at the hive closer. In my experience only weak, nearly hopeless hives will be robbed out. Did this hive swarm and perhaps didn't successfully requeen themselves.

What evidence drew you to the conclusion of robbing?
 

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IF this is the only indication of robbing:
Yellow jackets are present and attacking but the bees seem to be holding them off.
....this is not even robbing.

Yellow jackets will never be able to overcome a healthy hive (even a small but healthy and densely populated nuc can easily hold back yellow jackets).
Yellow jackets are scavengers and do sense weakness and that's what they are telling you about - weakness in the hive (like hyenas sensing that a sick buffalo will soon fall, and so they are circling him and just waiting and probing). Yellow jackets also pickup the crumbs after the major robbing assault already took place (like hyenas picking up after lions).
They may be telling that the hive has already been robbed out and you just missed the main show (if they freely go inside and out; sounds like not the case yet).

The bees do full-scale robbing and that is serious business then because bees can recruit and bring back with them tens of thousands of helpers.
I don't even worry of the yellow jackets and the like (because they NEVER can recruit and bring back tens of thousands of helpers; jackets and wasps just do not have that big colonies to be able to attack in the thousands).
Not a worry at that, just a very common mis-conseption and easy "explanation" that goes around, about yellow jackets robbing out hives. They really don't.
 

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I came across this idea in a book. The idea was that if you open all the hives, they all go into defensive mode, including the original robber hives. Now, this would only work against the bees in your yard, if the robbers are from elsewhere (or are yellow jackets) I can't imagine this working. I have no experience with this, just relaying what I read, doesn't seem like a great idea honestly.
I used this method last year and it does work. It is kind of counter-intuitive but it stopped the robbing that was in progress. I left the hives with the lids off for an hour or so but then put the lids back on but left them offset by about 3 inches. I closed them at sunset to prevent chilled brood. The next day, the hive was being robbed again so I reopened all of the lids and it stopped it again. There were no problems with robbing on the third day.
It really took a leap of faith to implement this but seeing how successful it was, I won't hesitate to use it in the future.
 

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Close off the hole in the inner cover and rub some Vicks around the entrance will stop robbing instantly and buy you some time to get a robber screen on.
 

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I switch the weak hive to the attacking hive spot and the attacking hive to the weak hive spot. I smoked both hives then moved them. that worked for me, that was about 4 weeks ago. the weak hive was a new hive and I think I might have killed the queen, checked last week and the weak hive had small patch of brood and i am hopeful they will continue to grow
 

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An anti-robbing screen
I agree that a robbing screen is in order. If you don't have one make one.
Saw robbing activity for the first time on a weak nuc I'm nursing... still wondering if the nuc has a shot at overwintering. Well, I think I know the answer, but anyway.... Saw the signs of robbing and shut the entrance completely. I cobbled together an anti-robbing screen and put it on the next morning. Just as stated, the robbers don't work to figure out the "maze" and bees that start inside the hive figure out the screen just fine. Great advice.
 
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