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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First year of beekeeping and was wondering about robbing and how one should react. It appears most of the nectar flow is slowing down this time of year in addition to the lack of rain and high temps. I have noticed bees rolling out other bees from the hive enterance as well as flying off with two bees tangled together. I have reduced the hive enterance to about 1/3 open. Is there anything else one should do at this time? I have been feeding the weak hive and have just started feeding the strong hive again with the lack of nectar flow. I am using a hive top feeder with a screened inner cover where bees can only get at the feeder through the hive enterance. I have read where robbing can wripe out a hive if not helped. Don't know at what point reducing the enterance or closing it would be called for??? I would appreciate any thoughts from those who have more experience with this issue. Thanks.
 

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do a search at the top of the page for "robber screen" cheap, works well. robbing is better prevented than fought. dont scrape any "burr" comb on the ground, be especially carefull not to spill a drop of syrup, and dont keep'em open long-especially after feeding.
good luck,mike
 

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Here is a reply form another thread. It is by Michael Bush

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

The main thing is to stop the robbing. NOW! Close them up. Cover them with wet sheets. Put on robber screens, but you have to stop it now or the hive is doomed. They will not last long in a robbing frenzy.
 

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I am not so convinced you are describing robbing...could simply be housekeeping. Need more info on what is going on at the entrance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
In reference to question about whether it is robbing...There were some dead bees on the ground -- maybe a couple dozen. There were 2-bees forcing another bee out of the enterance -- several times and I noticed bees flying off carrying another bee etc. It wasn't as bad as some describe like a swarm leaving the hive. This activity took place at the weakier of two hives. I added a robbing screen today and rubbed some vicks vapor rub around the front of the hive. Didn't appear to be as bad today. Thanks for the concern and any ideas would be appreciated. One question on the robbing screen. When do you close off the regular enterance to prevent robbing and let the bees us the"secret" exit/enterance? Thanks.
 

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I am brand new at beekeeping and am having a similar problem. I just purchased two nucs. One is clearly stronger than the other. I am feeding pollen patties and syrup at the top of each hive. I noticed the robbing behavior around the weak hive. Frenzied activity, bee wrestling with each other (not just the meet and sniff thing they sometimes seem to do), six or so bees ganging up on another bee, pairs (or more) of bees falling to the ground. The bees seem much more defensive than they did a few days ago, and much more defensive than the other hive. I can open the other hive and the bees ignore me. I start getting headbutted as soon as I get close to the weak hive. You can also see bees flying between the two hives. So, from all of that, I am fairly sure I have robbing.

When I noticed this yesterday as I filled the feeders, I closed all the entrances but one very small entrance at the bottom (maybe 1 inch by 1/2 inch). Today, the robbing behavior is still present, but less so...following advice I saw somewhere (and I don't know where because I think I've read half the internet today looking for answers!), today I stuffed the remaining entrance hole with grass at midafternoon. Everyone who is in is stuck in; everyone who is out is stuck out.

My questions now: how long do I leave them trapped? They only have the syrup for water and the syrup has been drying up in less than 24 hours although fortunately today is rainy so I expect there is some left. I couldn't check when I was out today because the bees were too frenzied...I didn't dare open the top of the hive. What happens to all of the weak hive bees trapped outside? Also, any quick suggestions of alternates to Vick's Vaporub? I'd have to take a two-hour round trip to town for that....which I will do tomorrow, but getting late now....

I am going to try to make a robbing screen...will the currently outside bees find their way back in? I am worried about this weak hive losing any bees!

Help!

Farmgirl
 

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Update:

Added a robber screen to the weak hive, so no longer worrying about the inside bees not getting water. Just worrying about the outside bees that belong to the hive finding their way in when the outside bees that don't belong to the hive can't.

These hives are about 25 feet apart. Do I need to move one of them to another spot? How far away? I can go about 1/4 mile max.

Thanks

Farmgirl
 

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I try to remove the robber screen the first night right before dark so that the foreign bees could go home. Then after dark or early the next morning (warning: robbers start early) I put it back on.

That way the bees start out where they should be and the inside robbers don't figure out where the entrance is as they are leaving.
 

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Thanks for your suggestion regarding removing the robber screen in the evening....that seems like it would work! I obviously missed the first night and tonight too. I took a peek at them tonight and there were about three to four dozen bees on the outside of the screen/hive. It was getting dark and raining...I didn't do anything. Then came in and read your message, but by then it was already after dark. So.....I will have to try this tomorrow evening and hope that sorts everyone out. Next time I will know better! I seem to be saying that a LOT since I got these bees! <sigh>

Farmgirl
 
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