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Author Topic: Hive almost dead from robbing  (Read 1345 times)
patook
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« on: April 08, 2009, 02:31:12 AM »

Hello, I am a new beekeeper and have made a huge error, I left the opening fully open all winter long. Now, my hive is being robbed and has almost been wiped out. In fact, I thought it was dead. However, I found one frame with about a dollar bill sized section of brood and my queen sitting almost alone. There is a war going on and I am afraid my hive is loosing.

I need some advice on how to save the hive. I cut the opening down to about 3 inches but I think I need to do more. There is no honey in the hive, but my hive has a beemax top feeder which is attracting the robbers into the hive. I think I should do one of two things and would appreciate any advice.

First, I could cut the opening to 1 inch.

Second option is to close the hive entrance completely with a screen. They have access to syrup and I could put a "brood-builder" patty in there as well. This will let the hive build up to levels where it can defend itself. It may also let the robbers stop considering my hive as their main source of syrup.

If I do the second option, how long do you think I should leave the hive closed up completely?
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2009, 03:54:03 AM »

Do you have another hive you can borrow some brood and bees from?  If so, and the other hive is strong enough, take a couple.  If not, this is a good example of why it's better to have two hives than one.

Are there enough bees to cover the brood?  If not, the brood is likely already dead, but you could TRY sealing off the hive with some screen, putting in a patty and some syrup, then incubating the hive by putting it someplace with a heater that can keep it at around 95-100 degrees Farenheit for anywhere from 3 days to a week or so.  It would be a long shot though, and most likely you won't be able to save them if that's the case.

If there are enough bees to cover the brood, then feed them with the patty and syrup and screen off the hive for 2-3 days max, then open it but leave a robber screen on it, maybe even move the hive some distance away and monitor the situation; if further robbing takes place, screen it off again for slightly longer... lather, rinse, repeat.

That's what I would do anyway, others might have better tips for you.  Good luck with it.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2009, 07:08:52 AM by SgtMaj » Logged
Two Bees
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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2009, 07:30:41 AM »

Where are you located?
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« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2009, 09:09:43 AM »

How many hives do you have now? Do you have access to another beeyard? I like the idea of taking from a strong hive to support the weak one. You could also swap locations of a good with a weak to add numbers instantly.

Also consider consolidating what you have into a nuc to allow them to build up.

Need more info though, your location, number of hives, how many hives? Access to another bee yard?


...JP


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« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2009, 09:55:04 AM »

Reduce to a 4 or 5 frame nuc, add brood and nurse Bees if possible, move to new location, reduce entrance to one or two Bee widths, and feed - feed -  feed.
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2009, 10:09:20 AM »

Close them up as well as you can. 

Order a package or plan a split.  As heartbreaking as it is and as much as you want to save them, even if they survive with so few bees they will build up so slow that you won't get much out of them anyway.
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Rick
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2009, 10:18:45 AM »

Close the entrance down to 1/4 to 3/8 inch.  I have a cleat that I screw into the bottom board at the entrance.

Get some bees and brood from somewhere and move that hive.  It will give them some breathing room to recover.

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patook
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« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2009, 10:42:31 AM »

Thanks everyone for the advice. I am in Denton Texas which is north of Dallas. This is my only surviving hive. The other is dead and it looks like it died for the same reason. There was no sign of foulbrood in either hive.

As for the existing hive, the capped broad was the size of a dollar bill and there are bees, but I don't know how many are robbers and how many are mine. My hope is that sealing it off will let the workers work rather then guard.

I will put a patty in and close it up for a few days, then open it up to the small notch on the 1x1 board that came with the hive kit. I guess I should wait until night to close it up to get the highest ratio of my bees to robbers.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2009, 06:03:04 PM »

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

First stop the robbing.  Close the hive up altogether. Leave it closed until no robbers are trying to get in anymore.  (usually most of a day)  Then see the above link for options.
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Michael Bush
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patook
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« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2009, 01:53:31 AM »

Well, I closed them up tonight. They have syrup and a brood-builder patty inside. I hope they take the patty, last year when I fed them a patty, they did not eat it. My friend suggested I make it with syrup and not water so I tried that this time. Does anyone know if they need a source of water other then syrup?

Today there were alot of bees at the small entrance but no fighting. I think that could mean that they were my bees or that the hive was overrun. Tomorrow I will be able to tell I guess, if the hive is covered with bees trying to get in, then I know it was overrun. If it was overrun, I might try to force some of the robbers to join the hive. I read in one of the links someone sent that you can do that.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2009, 06:00:28 AM »

>Does anyone know if they need a source of water other then syrup?

If the syrup is 1:1 they will probably do ok with no other water.  If it's heavier a source of water would be a good plan.
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Michael Bush
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patook
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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2009, 02:11:07 AM »

Today was much too windy to be sure, but there were only three bees trying to get in the hive today. I noticed a few hanging out on the sides of the hive last night when I closed it up so these could be the same few bees. Tomorrow I will know for sure.

I really hope I can save these girls.

Thanks everyone for the great advice.

Bob
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2009, 05:28:52 AM »

Give us an update when you can.
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