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The Short Story:
I did it in no time because of all I'd learned here and on Michael Bush's site. :thumbsup: And because I'd read and learned ahead of time, I didn't panic, because I knew what to do - stop it NOW by covering with a wet sheet, then make a robbing screen to cover the entrance with (you can see it in the pictures below), and don't take your eyes off them for days after.

My bees and I thank you from the bottom of all twelve thousand of our little hearts. :gh:


The Long Story:
I inspected my hive Saturday, adding more pollen sub and sugar syrup. This is a new colony, my first in over thirty five years since my beekeeper dad died. I got it the end of June as a full strength colony in a single deep, and they need a little help since we've been in a dearth down here almost since I got them. Down here in HOT Texas, sugar syrup turns bad in as little as three days in hummingbird feeders, so I was concerned about it in the hive as well, even though I don't add that much at one time. I'd read about adding a tablespoon or two of vinegar to a gallon of syrup to help it keep longer, so thought I'd try it. I'd also read Michael Bush's admonitions that doing that can set off a robbing frenzy, so I watched the hive closely.

Sure enough ... a few hours later I saw what looked like a swarm all around the hive. TONS of bees flying all over. Probably from the bee tree across the creek, or from the one on my neighbor's place (not sure exactly where it is, but I beelined it to their fenceline last year so I know it's somewhere over in their east pasture, probably just a quarter mile from my house). It happened FAST! I had been looking out there every ten or fifteen minutes, and between one check and the next fifteen minutes later, there was a bee cloud. Amazing.

I ran out there and watched closely to make sure it wasn't just them still a bit upset from the inspection, saw fighting and lots of bees going in with empty pollen baskets and coming out with full ones. Yep, robbing. I knew because of reading here that I had to do something NOW. I remembered something else I'd read here - I ran to get a sheet, covered the hive, poured water over it, watched to make sure nobody found any holes I might have left open, and went back inside to think some more. By this time it was almost dark, so that and the sheet stopped it. For now.

I uncovered it in the morning and kept a close watch, knowing, again because of what I'd read here, that there was a very good chance it would start again. Sure enough, once the sun got up a bit it started again. But I was ready. I robbed a piece of 1/8 hardware cloth off a top feeder I'd just bought, made a Billy Davis robbing screen (thank goodness I'd read about THAT one, too) to cover the top entrance that was getting the most action, and reduced the bottom one.

It did just what I'd read - the robbers kept trying to get through the robbing screen directly in front of the entrance, not even finding the open ends. In just a few minutes, there was a mob of them right there at the hole. I watched for quite some time, grinning and laughing at them (yeah, schadenfreude - I had it), seeing that some robbers who were coming out of the hive got lucky and found the end exits to get out, but none that I saw figured out how to get back in. I watched for a bit 'til not many more were coming out, and covered the bottom entrance with wet towels, as well as the ends of the robbing screen, leaving the area over the top entrance open for ventilation (didn't know how long I'd have to leave them like that and was nervous about them overheating).

I went back inside, but kept a close watch on them still. By nine or ten the bee cloud was gone. I left it covered for a couple or three more hours, then uncovered it and kept watch closely, thinking I may have to cover it up again. But it didn't start again! WOOT!! Started about 7:30 the night before and was over by noon the next day. Now, two days later, still no robbing and the girls are still in there, happily working away (yeah, didn't want to disturb them even MORE, but I just had to peek a little). :banana: I'm still looking out there every fifteen minutes, and likely will be every day for the next week or more. But I'm cautiously optimistic. Excitedly, but cautiously.

So thanks y'all! Even though I don't post much, I am listening. And I greatly appreciate what y'all are saying. Because I'd read all that, I didn't panic because I knew there was a solution and it was in my brain because of all the reading I've done here, on Michael Bush's site, Lauri's posts and Facebook page, and elsewhere. I just had to stay calm, think for a minute, and find that solution. And I did. Because y'all put it in front of me to read. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. Every one of you.

Some pictures of the hive today with my handy dandy robbing screen. I've got some more hardware cloth on order and will make one of these screens for every entrance on every hive I ever have. Billy Davis, you are one smart man. :applause:
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Like the pictures! BeeSource and Michael Bush's site have tons of info, pictures, etc. to help you in just about any situation. Glad you got the robbing stopped. Good luck with your bees!
 

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you can use Vitamin C instead of vinegar. It will help you get the ph closer to that of nectar and help with spoilage. If you do some searching you will find Michael talking about it as well as a guy who tested the ph before and after the vitamin C. He mixed allot of syrup IIRC. I crunched his numbers from his test and came up with roughly two 1000 mg pills per gallon but I mix it in with my home made HBH as a concentrate and then just add it to my feed. Seems to keep the mold away so far...but this is my first year so do your own home work as it looks like you already do.
 

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Hippie, I'm glad your methods worked!
In my first year I have had to deal with robbing, yellow jacket attacks and bumble bee attacks. It's interesting that a bee's life is so filled with such concerns. It seems like a constant state of warfare for them. While I was dealing with the robbing issue a few weks ago I decided that it is part of my job as their keeper to help them fortify their hive. So I have minimized their entrances, while still providing ventilation. :pk: I left the robber screen on, and I have seen it thwart numerous additional robbing attempts. It has also helped to stop the bumblers and YJs. It allowed the bees enough time to get several guards on each of the invaders. Dead yjs and bombus on the ground.
:banana:
 
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