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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I'm a newbie. I just installed my first package of bees Sunday a week ago. Everything went well.

I installed a plastic entrance feeder I purchased from Brushy Mountain. I believe the feeders were defective as there were gaps in the base that allowed robbing bees to enter the hive. I was able to caulk the gaps and stopped the robbing. I also closed off the hive the day before yesterday. Yesterday I thought I would add a screened inner cover due to heat here in SC. I also added a hive body so I could put a feeder inside.

When I removed the top and inner cover, there were about 50 or so bees on top of the inner cover. As soon as they saw daylight they flew out and straight to the feeder. I suspect these were robbers I had trapped in the hive when I closed it up.

Because of this, I didn't added the feeder. I forgot about the notch in the solid inner cover when I added the hive body and screened inner cover. Some of the bees that flew out began going back in the opening.

When it became dark, a took a wad of aluminum foil and plugged the hole. This morning, the robbers were back but couldn't get in.

What do I do if I have trapped robber bees in the hive?

Will they eventually join the hive as I read in the Practical Beekeeper?

What if they are a different breed from the Italians I purchased?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Was there any other evidence of robbing behavior? dead bees, frantic behavior, fighting bees...

Bees will intermix after there pheromones become indistinct (2 days or so)

Package bees are genetically different from the start. They're shaken from lots of different hives. You probably already have different "breeds"
 

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> I believe the feeders were defective as there were gaps in the base that allowed robbing bees to enter the hive.

The idea of a boardman feeder is defective... putting tempting syrup right by the door... but most of them are designed with that defect, that there is access without even rounding the corner of the door.

>When it became dark, a took a wad of aluminum foil and plugged the hole. This morning, the robbers were back but couldn't get in.

I would screen the opening and leave just enough room for one bee. This makes a simple robber screen, or make a real robber screen.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesrobbing.htm

>What do I do if I have trapped robber bees in the hive?

Nothing. They have a stomach full but what else can they do at this point?

>Will they eventually join the hive as I read in the Practical Beekeeper?

Only if you confine them for 72 hours or more, and I don't recommend closing a hive off that long.

>What if they are a different breed from the Italians I purchased?

They are all mutts.

Feeding is the leading cause of robbing. Essential oils or vinegar or Clorox in the feed makes it worse. I would limit access and stop feeding them. If you are afraid they will starve steal a frame of capped honey from a strong hive...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
>
Feeding is the leading cause of robbing. Essential oils or vinegar or Clorox in the feed makes it worse. I would limit access and stop feeding them. If you are afraid they will starve steal a frame of capped honey from a strong hive...
I am feeding with Honey-B-Healthy added. Unfortunately, this is my only hive.

I saw the robbing screen on your website. I was afraid the robbers I may have trapped will learn from my bees how to get in and out so I have them still closed up. I do plan to add one as well as moving the feeder inside the hive.

We are supposed to be in for some violent storms today and tomorrow so it may be Thursday before I can get one built and installed. That will be pushing 72 hours.

Thanks!!
 

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I'm in a similar environment to yours. Our nectar flow is on. It would, ordinarily be impossible to incite robbing with sugar water alone. It can be difficult to get the bees you intend to feed to take it.....much less others. Heck....I could put an open feeder out in the yard and would probably never get any interest. I would eliminate the honey be healthy.
Good luck.
 

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>I am feeding with Honey-B-Healthy added.

That is probably the primary cause of the problem. Next would be the boardman feeder. Next would be too large of an entrance for the strength of the hive. Next would be feeding in general...

>I saw the robbing screen on your website. I was afraid the robbers I may have trapped will learn from my bees how to get in and out so I have them still closed up.

They will not. Robbers have a different view of things. They don't remember the way out and back in.

> I do plan to add one as well as moving the feeder inside the hive.

My guess is there is nectar coming in. I would stop feeding. If you won't stop feeding, I would at least stop using the HBH.

>We are supposed to be in for some violent storms today and tomorrow so it may be Thursday before I can get one built and installed. That will be pushing 72 hours.

In the meantime they have no source of water, pollen and maybe nectar?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
>In the meantime they have no source of water, pollen and maybe nectar?
Sorry, I did place a dish of water and a pollen patty on top of the solid inner cover just not a feeder.

I read somewhere the HBH promotes brood creation. When the hive was open, the bees were going through 2 quarts in 2.5 days. I was told by another beekeeper to feed them until they won't take it any more. Is that right?

Thanks!
 

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> I was told by another beekeeper to feed them until they won't take it any more. Is that right?

If you feed them until they won't take it anymore they will most likely swarm sometime in the next month or less. They will just keep taking it and backfill the brood nest and the queen will have no where to lay. Feeding is one of the leading causes of beekeeping problems. It brings ants, robbers, causes the brood nest to get backfilled, causes moisture problems in the winter if it's not done early enough in the fall. Feeding should be done for a reason. When there is a nectar flow there is no reason. When there is not a nectar flow it's even more likely to cause robbing.

>I read somewhere the HBH promotes brood creation.

It's a package. It's spring. They will make as much brood as the number of bees is capable of on the nectar and pollen they gather. I see no reason to believe that HBH will make them capable of raising more...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
> I was told by another beekeeper to feed them until they won't take it any more. Is that right?

If you feed them until they won't take it anymore they will most likely swarm sometime in the next month or less. They will just keep taking it and backfill the brood nest and the queen will have no where to lay. Feeding is one of the leading causes of beekeeping problems. It brings ants, robbers, causes the brood nest to get backfilled, causes moisture problems in the winter if it's not done early enough in the fall. Feeding should be done for a reason. When there is a nectar flow there is no reason. When there is not a nectar flow it's even more likely to cause robbing.

>I read somewhere the HBH promotes brood creation.

It's a package. It's spring. They will make as much brood as the number of bees is capable of on the nectar and pollen they gather. I see no reason to believe that HBH will make them capable of raising more...
When I get home this evening, I will pull the feeder and setup a makeshift robbing screen out of window screen until I can build one like on your website.

Thanks!!!
 

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I quit using HBH because every time I used it, it caused robbing no matter what time of year. Maybe I just have weird bees in the area, feral or my own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I pulled the entrance feeder this afternoon when I got home. They were not happy. After an hour or so, I was able to get a full length hive reducer installed with the 1 inch opening.

Went down just now under the cover of darkness and added some screen wire. Hopefully this weekend I can build a more permanent robbing screen.

I really appreciate all the help!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Meant to ask this question.

At times, I saw what appeared to be a bee carrying off another bee. What the heck is that?
 

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Probably "undertaker" bees carrying off the dead. You'll see them sometimes just get a foot or so from the entrance and dispose of the dead, just drop them off the landing board, or even fly out of sight carrying off the dead. Depends on the undertaker. They are cleaning out the hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Probably "undertaker" bees carrying off the dead. You'll see them sometimes just get a foot or so from the entrance and dispose of the dead, just drop them off the landing board, or even fly out of sight carrying off the dead. Depends on the undertaker. They are cleaning out the hive.
WOW!! Didn't know that. I thought they would just dump them outside the hive. They definitely carried them off beyond my sight. I thought it was a robber hooked up with one of my bees running her off.

Haven't seen any dead in front of the hive except for the ones I saw eaten, so maybe that's what that was.

I could sit for hours watching these bees. Some come out of the entrance, do a somersault, or back flip and some fly about a foot and hit the ground, then take off. Its very relaxing and entertaining.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
On last question concerning robbing.

I have a more permanent robbing screen installed now. How long should I leave it in place?

Thanks
 
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