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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Thanks for looking over my question.

I have a question about sealing up a hive during a robbing incident.

I've only had to deal with two incidents of robing in this first year of beekeeping, and I do have a quick question.

My second robbing experience was yesterday. There was a small gap where a couple of mediums meet, and things shifted causing a small gap that went unnoticed. When I went back a few days later, I saw a bee frenzy. They were clearly making their way into the hive though the gap, and I saw fighting out in front as well. I was able to reposition the boxes to close off the gap, and I did totally seal up the main entrance using mesh screen as well.

I did periodically open the entrance up just slightly, at which time a decent amount of bees would leave the hive. Since the sun was starting to set, I'm guessing they were trespassers making their escape? I did that a few more times until the sun set, then I left a 1" opening for the night. This morning things looked back to normal.

Are there any real concerns about sealing robbing bees within the hive that I might be unaware of? And what happens to them? Hang out until they can leave? Fight all night or get accepted (over time)?

Also I do have robbing screens, but since I did not see any cappings around the entrance and things look back to normal now, I'm hoping that I stumbled across this shortly after it began, so at this point I'm not using them.


Thanks,
b1rd .
 

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I don't think you need to worry about robbers left in the hive. These are foragers and the oldest bees.
If they are not killed in the fighting they will only live a few more days. Robbing is traumatic to the whole hive and it needs to be stopped ASAP. Shutting down every entrance is the fastest way... if the wx is hot shade is needed as well as ventilation. You can cover the entrance during daylight and go back and open it when dark to allow the hive bees caught outside at shutdown to re-enter. The robbers will return the next morning so either leave the hive closed for 4 or 5 days or cover it with a wet bath towel that covers the entrance. The house bees will figure out how to crawl around the towel and robbers will be confused. Robbing can take a lot of time to fix and you could get the queen killed. Shutdown is frequently the best answer.
Work to prevent an episode... feed in the late PM or early AM. Don't spill anything and have your feed protected inside an empty box if possible. Always reduce entrance sizes when there is no flow; I use a 5 inch opening as my widest. Watch several youtube videos so you can recognize robbing vs orientation flights.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank-you very much for the information.

Regards,
B1rd.
 

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It was my pleasure. I usually lose 1 hive every year at the end of our spring flow to robbing. It's really hard for me to recognize robbing vs orientation and pee flights. I now go by the rule of ANY FIGHTING and it's ROBBING. This year I did NOT lose a hive. I'm more vigilant at entrance activity and also when and how I feed. I am also using a couple of the GUARDIAN entrance devices and I think they helped. After the flow I reduced that entrance with in half with a piece of thin expanded foam packing material. A bee in nature lives in a tree cavity with a small entrance, the don't need a 4 lane hiway to get in and out. Best of luck this spring and keep reading this forum; good info and great people from all over the world.
 

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I had massive robbing problems this fall. One hive ended up queen less and another’s population was decimated. It’s the first time in many years I’ve seen it this crazy, but I should have expected since it was so dry this summer. So, yes, robbing must be brought to a halt as soon as possible or your hive will suffer.
I’m in the process of building robbing screens and making sure my equipment is sitting flat, not warped or damaged so others can get in.
 

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I've been losing a hive every year to robbing until this year. I was having a hard time determining robbing vs graduation orientation flights. This year I have tried 2 GUARDIAN entrance devices that probably helped because of the smaller entrance and that entrance (6 ") was halved after the flow stopped. Don"t spill syrup feed, don't leave honey supers uncovered, don"t leave the hive open very long, feed late in the day and most important recognize the problem quickly and stop it. Completely shut the hive down for several days if necessary. At least reduce entrance greatly and cover with a wet towel to diffuse the aroma of honey. Vapor rub at the entrance may help. I tried robbing screens but the robbers went around them.
 

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Beesmart robbing screens go on every hive. Full stop no exceptions. In winter mouseguards replace them late November through early March. No incidents have taken down a colony after using these. One had a brief seige last year so I closed off and alternated entrances on the screen and it stopped. No open feeding except for dry pollen in February. Genetics help. I have Carniolan and Russian mutts. The Italian hybrid is the culprit.
 
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