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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Made a new Nuc about 4 days ago and everything seemed fine.

I noticed today that there was some fighting going on in front and that there were several bees hovering around the sides, top, and bottom of the nuc. As I watched for a few minutes they never tried the main entrance and seemed to be looking for another way in. There were several on the inner cover clustered on the screened opening and they looked like they were biting at it.

I went ahead and closed the nuc up completely for the next few hours to give the hive a break. What can I do? It's likely there are very few foragers in this nuc as the majority of the frames I put in were capped brood and that the foragers that left the nuc probably went back to the main hive.

ALSO..... :eek: I started feeding two of my other hives in the same yard so they could draw new wax. Based on what I've read on this forum, feeding can jumpstart robbing. If I stopped feeding would that help? Help!!
 

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>Based on what I've read on this forum, feeding can jumpstart robbing. If I stopped feeding would that help?

Feeding is probably the leading cause of robbing and the leading cause of ant problems. The problem is that robbing is easier to start than to stop...

bushfarms.com/beesrobbing.htm
 

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I put robbing screens (from Brushy Mountain) on all 20 of my hives this year. I used them selectively last year and they really solved the problem, so I'm just putting them on all hives all the time. I move hives around from bee yard to bee yard as well, and they are handy for that as well.
 

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Agree with M. Bush--- The key to preventing robbing is to avoid starting it in the first place.

The trouble with high intensity management (adding feed to force off season comb) is that it precipitates other problems.

The internet is partly to blame here -- promoting a host of management interventions -- which performed in isolation do just what the promoters describe -- but taken in global context of an apiary cause problems. This is the "engineering fallacy" --- and you see it in many environmental fields -- the belief that every problem has a technical fix. "Not enough comb to quadruple in size, just feed". Tech fixes are fine -- but they are not whole systems, and an apiary of interdependent colonies is the pre-emininent "whole system".

So yes, removing the nuc to a new (>400 meter distant) location, adding robber screens, and reducing the entrance work to halt the robbing impulse. The larger issue is changing the management philosophy of the apiary, where colonies are being pushed to perform non-seasonal tasks.
 

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@BK79...gotta agree with ya. I've done the same thing as you. New split with new queen and did everything that I could even down to a 3/8x3/8 entrance but the robbing attmepts were just relentless. I kept it closed up the first day when i saw it but just how long you supposed to keep it closed up? at some point had to open it up to the small entrance i gave them but one of my hives just kept at em nonstop. Didnt see much activity at the entrance this morning and noticed a half pint cluster of bees hanging from the lid. Kinda sad lookin!. The only thing that comes to mind is to truck em 45 miles to my motherinlaws place and let em build the first month. She has a great place on the coastline so I think they'll do well. Gonna crack it open tonight when I get home to evaluate if worth saving but not lookin forward to it.
 

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Like many have said,

Robbing screens and a small entrance can help. Prevention is a great cure. When robbing starts, I tend to move the colony. Robbing is the pits.

Shane
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here is what I made based on what I saw online.
IMG_1527.jpg

Do I need to make some sort of entrance reducer on the top? or leave it wide open?

-bk79
 

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If robbing is aweful sometimes it can help to pull the tops off the larger hives or even separate hive bodies/supers on the strong hives. This forces more bees to stay home.
 

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Newbie, here. I was just wondering how the bees remove dead bees when there is a robbing screen on the front. Do they carry it up and over the top?
 

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Small entrances on weak colonies. I am talking about a 1/2 inch diameter hole is to large. I go about 3/8ths. I make my own. then cover it with a robber screen if it looks like robbing is starting remove feed from the hive, close entrance completely and insure the rest of the hive has no access a crack that attracts the bees keeps them busy but harmless. Best to not attract robbers at all. Hard to do with very weak nucs.
I have had ti suggested that you make the entrance a small diameter tube like a straw. robbers much pass the gauntlet to gain access. It is not a problem to let a robber in. letting it back out is when the real trouble begins.

I have actually heard of keepers trapping robbers in the colony and keeping them there for several days. boosts the population of the nuc. I have not tried it but am thinking about it. Devise some sort of inward cone that the bees do not find there way back out of.l
 

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Newbie, here. I was just wondering how the bees remove dead bees when there is a robbing screen on the front. Do they carry it up and over the top?
From what I have heard the bees will carry a dead bee all over the hive. So a robber screen is not necessarily much of an obstical. I make my screens so they open to the sides. I can then close up one side or another and only have one opening if I want.
 

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"Newbie, here. I was just wondering how the bees remove dead bees when there is a robbing screen on the front. Do they carry it up and over the top? "

I only have about 50 posts, but I have been around for a while and I can answer this question from recent experience. After my last robbing problem, I saw the house bees carry dead bees up a 6" robber screen and out the top and fly away with them. To give them a little help, check the bottom board. I found lots of dead bees down there and cleaned them off. You have to be quick about doing this because, in my case, opening the hive up brought those robbers back in a hurry. I stopped feeding and put robbing screens on and the robbing stopped and my nuc is doing well now.
 

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I've made my robber screens so they can go out the sides. Seems to be effective. And they can haul out the garbage pretty easy. It amazes me that something that simple would work.
 

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In watching the same nuc related behaviors mentioned above taking place, I fashioned a squared off tube, essentially a tunnel the size and shape of the entrance, out of #8. The length of the tube is the width of the nuc entrance, and the opposing ends cut away to allow bees to come in one end, make a left and traverse the distance to the other end, then a right into the hive.
I experimented with a short, 2 inch or so, upright tube, so they would have to walk down, then through the tube, but it didn't seem to make it any better. As it works now, the robbers congregate at the outside of the wrong end of the tube, where, just inside the hive but on the other side of the #8, guards are stationed. I watched the residents that are leaving making a few orientation loops as they left, then having no problems getting back in when they return. The robbers don't make the connection it seems. If they do make it in, the tube is easily guarded by the bees inside.
Same principal as the robber screen, but smaller scale and much simpler to make.
My robbery was fairly sublime, as they were going after the jar in the cover, and most of the bees in the hive were tending brood, so there was very little fighting in the hive proper. They were just going in and filling up and basically diving off the board back into their hive next door with the sugar water and HBH mixture. With the entrance secure, the illegals have to search and search for a way in, until they just decide to go back and forage like before. Whereas the first day I notice there was a cloud and a steady stream passing in and out, 3 days later there are only 1 or 2 on the screen or looking around the sides and back.

I did witness them hauling a carcass the length of the tube and removing them as well.
 

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as they were going after the jar in the cover, and most of the bees in the hive were tending brood, so there was very little fighting in the hive proper. They were just going in and filling up and basically diving off
Correct! Many people don't realize that robbing isn't always an obvious violent free-for-all. Often it is not at all obvious because the robbers are quietly walking in and stealing everything in sight without any fighting at all. If you are feeding a hive and the feed is disappearing - but the hive is still starving, then this is what is happening. Robber screens will fix it.
 
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