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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hate to wear you all out with questions but I've already got a problem. Both my hives are getting robbed by bigger darker bees. I draped wet sheets over both hives but all the book says is take it off in a day or two. How do I keep it from happening again? Besides going in the reduced entrance they seem interested in the top of the hive under the edge of the cover and where the hive top feeder sits on the brood box. Thanks again.
James
 

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>>they seem interested in the top of the hive under the edge of the cover and where the hive top feeder sits on the brood box

The bees are not interested in the hive, but the feeder and sugar inside it. They are either after spilt surip or have found access to the surip inside. To prevent them from robbing from under the cover, you can place a peice of cloth under the lid to seal the cracks,Burlap maybe?. If they can't get access to the surip, robbing will stop within an hour or so. I reduce all my enterence on splits made or packages hived, until they get their feet under them. That way they can better defend themselves.
Keep the questions coming

Ian
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Ian. My wife gave me and old bath towel and I cut some strips from it. I'll stuff them in the gaps on the side where the top cover fits. I dont think they are getting in there but they can smell the sugar water. I'm going to put some masking tape over the seam where the top feeder sits on the brood box too. I would like to make the hole in the entrance reducer even smaller but havent figured out a way yet. I may just stuff a little dried grass in one side. Im going to leave the sheets on till I get home from work tomorrow also. Thanks again.
James
 

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If there are a lot of bees going in that crack and coming out then you have access somwhere. Open up the top and see if any of those bees are in there. Sometimes you have an inner cover with a notch on top of the feeder. They may be getting in the notch.

Reducing the entrance is always a good idea if they are being robbed. Make sure there is only one entrace and it's fairly small. If that doesn't work, I would close the entrance up completely for a whole day and then open it the next day. Sometimes not being able to get in for a day causes the robbers to go elsewhere and lose interest.

Sometimes you just have to give up feeding this hive if it brings in robbers. I've seen hives completely robbed out before.
 

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Don't get too worried about the robbing. As long as you stop the outside access to the surip, and leave a somewhat small entrence into the hive, the bees will defend the colony just fine...

Ian
 

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Is your queen from a package that was just installed?
Did you check to see if the queen is OK?
Is your entrance bigger than a nickel?
How big of a package was installed or was it a nuc?
Did you spill sugar syrup on the ground or is the feeger leaking?
Are the bees putting up a defense at all? do you see bees fighting at the entrance?

If they are flying around the cover without getting in, this may be a good sign. This means they are looking for an easier entrance than perhaps the main entrance.

Are the bees organized at all within the hive?

If you need to open up the hive, do this early in the morning or late evening before dark. Do not stimulate any further robbing.

If you answer these questions it may help someone direct you a little. The thing with most questions, are you able to answer them?
 

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Galveston,
Please don't be offended by my question--I did notice this is your first year with bees. Are you sure these bigger, darker bees are not drones? I'm just remembering when I first got my package 7 years ago, I thought the same thing when I saw those big fat drones going in my hive.
Regards,
Denise
 

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>Are you sure these bigger, darker bees are not drones?

The "bigger, darker" thing has been bothering me too, but I couldn't put my finger on what it would be. You may have nailed it. Usually other robber bees are either the same size (if you're not using natural sized 4.9mm foundation) or smaller if the robbers are feral, not bigger. Do they sound like a B52 compared to the nice little hum of your workers? Do they look way too fat?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sorry to be so late getting back to you all. The other bees were darker but it may have been an illusion that they were bigger after checking out some dead ones on the outside of the hive. They were definately fighting and stinging each other. The darker bees would come out of the hive and climb the front and the other bees would attack them and sting and they would both tumble down to the landing area. There were also a whole bunch of bees hovering right in front of the entrance. Whatever it was, I went out before daylight on Monday and took the wet sheets off and stuffed some cloth up under the gaps where the top cover hangs down. When I did, one of the covers clunked into place, I'm thinking this may have started the whole thing, unexcusable but I was a tad nervous. I also stuffed the entrance hole with grass loosely. When I got home from work the hives both looked normal to my inexperienced eye. I hope I was wrong, I cant check on the queen for three more days according to my book. I will get back to you with the next disaster or success story as soon as I can look inside. Thanks all
James
 

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I figured they were getting in the top to the feeder. They were darker because robbers are bald. The other bees fighting them pull their hair out and leave them shiny and black. I would keep an eye on it in case the robbers decide to come back. Sounds like it's under control. Be patient. You are right, you should wait to open it up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Michael, you are right. I went out just now and peeked under the top covers and the hive that was getting the worst of it had bunches of dead bees in the feeder. It was also low on sugar water. The other hive had plenty of feed left and no dead bees. For some reason I didnt get the top settled down correctly when I put it on after hiving. I'm planning on going out before I go to work in the morning and and taking the top off and covering the end of the hive top feeder that the bees come up in with a towel to keep the heat in and then scooping the dead bees out and adding more sugar water and then making darn sure the top cover is firmly in place.
 
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