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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went out to look at some of my hives today and one of the deeps I split into two, giving me two nucs. I put this on top of a strong hive last week and when I went to look at that bee yard today, I found a lot of action going on. It is about 52 degrees here so I thought I would see some flight, which was nice. However, a lot of action was going on at thr strong hive that had the double nuc on top of it versus the other hives. So I was somewhat curious to see if it was robing and I popped the lid and sure enough... it was robbing.

So... I researched a lot about Palmers method of overwintering nucs and we talked about it a lot here but what I did not realize is that given the minimal temprature for bee flight, that could cause robbing from bottom hive.

any ideas?
 

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The bottom hive is, was queenless. The bees know it and that is why they are robbing. It has nothing to do with overwintering nucs on top of strong hives, unless you accidently removed the queen from the strong hive when making up the nucs,

Jean-Marc
 

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WE OVER-WINTER NUCS OVER 2 STORY HIVES ....THE ONLY TIME WE SEE ROBBING IS WHEN THE NUCS ARE VERY WEAK ,QUEENLESS OR ARRANGEMENT IS LOOSE-FITTING ....YOU REALLY NEED TO GET THESE NUCS STRONG AND MOVE THEM ONTO THE HIVES AFTER THE WEATHER COOLS AVG 45 DEGREES .....WRAP IN FELT PAPER AND LEAVE ONE DEFENSIBLE SIDE ENTRANCE FOR EACH NUC .....LAST YEAR WE HAD A 90 PER CENT SUCCESS RATE ....WE DO CULL OUT ANY WEAK NUCS IN LATE AUGUST....IT TAKES A LITTLE WHILE TO GET THE HANG OF IT .....TAKE CARE ...DEAR CHIEF ....IF YOUR NUC IS QUEENLESS YOU ARE LACKING FRESH GUARD BEES AND USUALLY THE POPULATION IS HEADED DOWNWARD ....YOU NEED A CRITICAL MASS OF BEES TO GET THRU ANY BEE SITUATION ....
 

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Chef:

Bees understand whether one colony is queeless or not. Why they rob I dunno, free lunch I guess. All I know is they do.

Jean-Marc
 

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I've pulled queens out of nucs to ship them and waited until the next day to do a combine so they would know they were queenless and not ball the new queen in the combine. By the next day they are almost always being robbed. The other bees QUICKLY discover they are queenless and this seems to be an incentive to rob them. There are other times (when I didn't remove the queen) where it seems difficult to tell if they were queenless before the robbing or because of the robbing.
 

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the chef sezs:
I do not understand how being queenless is linked to robbing.

tecumseh replies:
set two equal hives or nucs side by side one with a young vigorous queen and one with an old failing queen. pretty soon a bunch of the workers from the failing queen's hive will drift over to the virgorous queen's hive. (this is a very easy experiement to witness if you purchase packages- the next packages where the queen arrives dead set it up next to a similar package with a live queen-takes maybe 2 hours).

so my guess is that the mechinism is set by first the loss of workers. then as the old queen continues to fail the queen pheromone that glues the whole unit together also continues to weakens so the hive ability to be organized and defend itself also fails.

at least that's how I have always figured it worked.
 

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This year I took a 8 frame box and routed a groove down the center. Cut down a plastic queen excluder and fitted it into a grooved top bar I could fasten some canvas to. I set it up with two queenright nucs and put it in the same yard with my other overwintering nucs. I just checked it last week and both queens had 2 frames of brood right next to the queen excluder. That's about twice as much as the seperated nucs. One of the other nucs that I have setting next to each other was dead out and robbed out probably by the girls next door.

Not enough samples to make any conclusions but it looks like it might be a good system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have a hard time seeing the workers from one hive rob another hive. What I mean by "seeing" is them going back and fourth. Do you think one could dust a little powdered surgar on the bees that are flying at the entrance of the weaker hive to see if they go into the stronget hive?
 

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The powdered sugar should work, but from what I have seen with treating with powdered sugar, you would have to see an awful lot of dusty bees in the suspect hive to be sure. I have been amazed at the amount of drifting that seems to take place even when no robbing is going on.
 
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