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Author Topic: Recognizing robbing?  (Read 509 times)
rubeehaven2
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« on: March 25, 2013, 07:14:26 PM »

I am always reading about robbing, and what to do if you see it happening.  But, I haven't exactly read how to recognize when it's happening.  I mean, face it, all of those bee's, (of the same breed), look alike.  So, knowing who belongs and who doesn't can be confusing!  But, then it hit me while watching a video posted with a large number of scouts inspecting "dead outs" stacked in someones back yard. He knew it wasn't robbing, because there was nothing in them to rob.  So, can I assume robbing evident when a small swarm army is flying around a hive?

Being a first year beek, I  really don't know much about bee behavior.  But, we learn a bit more everyday!

Thanks, Rich
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AllenF
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« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2013, 07:37:08 PM »

Lots of bees at the entrance.   Fighting, rolling around with each other.   It is a site.   There has been lots of pics here posted over the years.  You could do a search here on the forum or maybe a quick couple of videos on Youtube of bees robbing. 
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hardwood
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« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2013, 08:10:28 PM »

There is a very specific flying pattern the robbers use...kinda like holding pattern.

Bees robbing honey.wmv


Fighting at the entrance is a good sign as well.

Scott
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RayMarler
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« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2013, 08:16:16 PM »

Bees around all the cracks in the hive, the lid and box seams and cracks, looking for a way in. Fighting at the front entrance, wrestling on the ground in front of hive. The robbers coming in won't be carrying pollen. The buzz is louder and different pitch. There are different degrees of robbing, some is low key and  not as noticeable. When it gets bad, it's the above and what others have said.
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kathyp
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« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2013, 08:19:52 PM »

Quote
The buzz is louder and different pitch.

and they are often pissy.  if you get near them and they start butting you, or you get stung for no reason, it's probably robbing.  the other time you'll see lots of activity around the hive and in front of the entrance, is orientation flights.  if you take some time to watch, you'll see that orientation flights are organized.  bees usually facing the hive and flying an up and down pattern.

robbing is chaos.
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« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2013, 08:46:23 PM »

Hey guys and gals,

Once you recognize that robbing is going on, is there a way to stop it?

Thanks

David
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rubeehaven2
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« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2013, 09:18:04 PM »

Thanks for the input.  I guess if it happens, it will be somewhat obvious whats going on!

Rich
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rubeehaven2
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« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2013, 09:42:38 PM »

From what I've read and heard- if the hive is being robbed, reduce the size of the entrance.  Even as small as just allowing one bee in or out at a time if necessary.  They can defend the hive easier.  When the robbing stops you can make the entrance larger again.

Rich
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capt44
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« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2013, 10:32:21 PM »

When things got dry around these parts last August I lost 3 hives because of robbing.
It can happen in an instant.
One thing that triggers it is an entrance feeder being used on a weak hive.
I don't use them anymore.
First remove the feeder if one is present then reduce the entrance to around 1/2-3/4 inch or so.
The smaller entrance will be easier to defend.
Use a top feeder of some sort, I used the baggie system.
The other bees didn't know it was there.
When you see bees coming in with no pollen and landing away from the entrance then milling around trying to dodge a guard bee they are usually in the robbing mode.
Italians are notorious about robbing weaker hives.
Since I went to a top feeder system and reduced the entrance on my new weaker hives I haven't had a robbing problem.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
tryintolearn
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« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2013, 09:16:56 AM »

an all out robbing attack on a hive can be devastating.  they can completely rob a hive out in a day or even a few hours.  I've seen it here in my yard.   after attending a field day at a local beekeepers meeting,  i saw the hives there had robbing screens on them.  all my hives have robbing screens on them and even through winter i keep them there always now.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2013, 09:53:55 AM »

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

Sometimes people mistake an afternoon orientation flight with robbing. Every warm, sunny afternoon during brood rearing you'll see young bees orienting. They will hover and fly around the hive. This is easily mistaken for robbers who also hover around a hive. But with practice you'll learn what young bees look like doing this. Young bees are fuzzy. Young bees are calm compared to robbers. Look at the entrance. Robbers are in a frenzy. Local bees might have a traffic jam at the entrance but they will still be orderly. Wrestling at the entrance is pretty much a give away, but lack of fighting at the entrance does not prove they are not being robbed, it just proves they have overcome the guard bees. One SURE way to tell if they are being robbed is to wait for dark and close the entrance. Any bees in the morning who show up trying to get in are probably robbers. Especially if there are a lot of them.
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