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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey,

It's me again. I taped a piece of screen over the opening last night as Michael Bush recommended. Early this morning I checked them and there were no bees around the hive. I removed the screen and the bees just burst out. Around 8:30 a.m. I checked them again and there seemed to be some wrestling activity but nothing like yesterday.

Should I return the screen? I'm thinking about taking the feeder off to discourage the robbers. The robbers are Italians, same as mine.

The robbers seem to be going for the syrup. I left the reducer on but now my girls who are returning with pollen are having a time getting into the hive.
What now?

Mimi's Bees
 

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If your colony is real strong, taking the feeder off might help. If it is weak, the robbers will just go after their stores. There is a design for a robber screen (I believe it is in Laidlow's queen rearing book) that uses a board with a large screen covered opening on the front and a small hole below and seperated from the screen for the true entrance. The theory is that the robbers will try to get in through the screen while the local bees who go out through the bottom opening will find their way back in. I've used these on a few breeding nucs with variable success. The most important thing is to keep the true entrance small enough for the colony to defend.
 

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It's better to have a little traffic jam at the entrance then to give the robbers an open invite. I would leave the reducer on for at least a couple of days until the robbers realize that it's too expensive to try to get into your hive. Either that or get a robber screen to put on your hive.
 

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Yep, I just put the reducers on both my hives...unfortunately, it wasn't Italian bees that were robbing....it was those great big oversized gigantic Yellow Jacket looking things. They were actually snatching my bees and carrying them off to eat them I suppose. I found bodies of my bees cut in half. Yesterday morning both hives were really freaking out, after I reduced the entrances, much, much better. It's funny, when I was suited up yesterday my plans were to kill those big bees...they must of seen me and flew away. Took the suit off, one hour later, they were back. That's when I decided to put the entrance reducers on...even though we are in the middle of a major Goldenrod Flow.
 

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I have a robber screen on, and plan to leave it on until cold weather, maybe even longer. I only have one hive and have not seen any sign of robbing, so I could probably get by with out it, but I am not going to take the chance.

They are very simple to make.
 

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I'd put the screen on as a reducer and leave some room for the local traffic. If they have enough stores, I'd pull the feeder. If they don't, I'd try to leave it on if you can. Lift the hive and see if it feels light or heavy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the imput, everyone. Donna, I thought about the drone thing, but the robbers were following a typical pattern...hovering around the hive and crawling over it. The girls were very upset.

My husband made a robber screen and although the my girls weren't too happy at first they did begin to find their way in. The robbers disappeared almost right away. I'll probably leave it on as long as I'm feeding. I am determined to see this hive to spring.

I found a good site with info for making an emergency robber screen with an adjustable window screen. It's called Linda's bees.
Thanks again and take care out there,
Mimi's Bees
 
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