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Author Topic: robbing help  (Read 462 times)
flntknpr
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« on: June 28, 2013, 09:18:54 AM »


I am in my first year of keeping bees and read this forum every day.  It has been very helpful. 
 
Until recently everything was going well.  I have three hives (started from packages in late April of this year) that have been growing quite well.  As of a week or so ago all three had filled a second 10-frame deep box.  Here is where the trouble started.  I got a little greedy and on Sunday I pulled three frames from two of the hives to make two nucs.  So, each nuc consisted of 1 frame with lots of eggs, 1 frame with lots of capped brood, and one frame of mostly capped food.  I added one empty frame and a division board feeder to each nuc.  I felt the large hives were strong enough to recover from this before winter.

All looked good, except I think I pulled the queens from both of the source hives, as the nucs did not have queen cells three days later and the source hives a covered with dozens of emergency queen cells.  I think the source hive will recover the loss of the queens, so I am not too concerned about this.  Upon inspection the source hives were at least 85-90% built out in both boxes, so I decided it was time to stop feeding 1:1 syrup and add honey supers.  Now the source bees are cut off and they are robbing the nucs blind.  The nucs are only about 50 feet away and there is a lot of traffic between them.  I have reduced the nuc entrances to just about 1/2" but they are still robbing.  I am worried if I stop filling the division board feeders in the nucs than the bees from the source hives will just continue robbing the stored food in the nucs (which they are probably already doing).   

To sum it all up, I now have bees filling the honey supers with syrup they are robbing from the new nucs.  Any ideas on how to correct the situation, other than going back in time and not pulling the frames in the first place?
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Arkwood
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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2013, 11:01:12 AM »

Look up Robbing screens NUCS or just robbing screens. You can also buy these online from bee supply sites


I'm no expert but thought this might help you. I've read to install these at night, the Bees that live in the hive will figure out how to leave and in doing so know how to get back in. Robbers go by smell. I also read if you have these on several hives, the bees know how to enter theirs but not others. There is info out there to read...

Hope this might help

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flntknpr
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« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2013, 11:34:48 AM »

Thanks for the suggestion arkwood.  I can make some this evening and install them after dark tonight. 
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danno
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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2013, 03:42:29 PM »

Robber screens do work but they should be able to defend a reduced 1/2" enterance.  Why dont you just move your nuc's.  Also its not really robber season when there is so much in bloom.  Are you sure they are being robbed and not just really busy
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flntknpr
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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2013, 04:19:01 PM »

I like the idea of moving them, but for now I could only move them within my property (10 acres).  Is this far enough to hinder the robbing?
I am convinced they are robbing.  I can watch them leave the nucs and go straight to the old hives.  Each nuc is cleaning out 2 liters of syrup each day.  I am not sure of any major flows here locally, but I could be wrong about that. 
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sterling
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« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2013, 06:04:17 PM »

When you split the hives you moved foragers bees also and they are taking back to their home what you robbed from them and the house bees in there will probably not try to stop them because they know them.
The simplest thing you can do is move them a couple miles away for awhile.
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duryeafarms
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2013, 06:02:44 AM »

I'm wondering about your feeding the source hives until the middle of June. Did they ever stop taking syrup during your spring flow? If there wasn't an earlier flow, nor one now (as you mentioned) providing an alternative to syrup, robbing sounds logical.
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RHBee
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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2013, 06:33:53 AM »

I didn't see where you have reduced the nuc entrances. If you haven't now is the time. I usually make the entrance so that it's about one bee width. If robbing is what you see then you should also see fighting at the entrance. The robbing screen is the ticket look up UC Davis. In that thread several types of robbing screens are described.
Good luck,
Ray
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Later,
Ray
Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2013, 09:22:40 AM »

http://bushfarms.com/beesrobbing.htm
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
flntknpr
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« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2013, 09:51:29 AM »

Thanks for all of the suggestions.  
Unfortunately reducing the entrance and even adding a robber screen did little to slow down the robbing.  So here is my current effort.  Yesterday afternoon I switched the frames to new nucs with screen bottoms.  Last night I replaced the entire tops with screen (just stapled down).  I then moved them into a cool shop building.  My plan is to leave them there for just a couple days to break the robbing cycle.  Just for fun, I left the old nucs in the old spot and this morning (even though it is unseasonably cool) there were 100+ bees inside each empty nuc, and lots more flying around them.  They are still coming from the old big hives.  One bit of good news is that both nucs have laying queens.
 
 So, not I have two nucs closed up inside for a little timeout.  I am now trying to figure out what to do with them after tomorrow.  I think putting them back in the same place would just start the same cycle of robbing again.  I am trying to find somewhere farther away to put them, but have not found anywhere yet.  I have another spot on my property they could go that is about 300 yards away, but I am not sure that is the answer.  

Also, should I keep feeding them?  Right now they are locked up with a full division board feeder.  

One last question, since these are potentially viable hives with laying queens, should I consider moving them to 10-frame boxes when I move them back out of the shop?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2013, 03:15:24 PM »

>Also, should I keep feeding them?

Feeding is the leading cause of robbing...
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
flntknpr
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« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2013, 03:18:11 PM »

I would like to try not feeding them, but did not know if this was wise with such a small nuc.  Any thoughts?
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RHBee
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« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2013, 03:54:58 PM »

>Also, should I keep feeding them?

Feeding is the leading cause of robbing...

Michael, Doesn't that depend on the type feeder you use? I mean use of a boardman vs hive top. Also, use of stuff like HBH?
Thanks
Ray
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Ray
Michael Bush
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« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2013, 08:41:25 AM »

> Any thoughts?

If the nuc needs stores, steal some capped honey from a strong hive.
   
>Michael, Doesn't that depend on the type feeder you use? I mean use of a boardman vs hive top. Also, use of stuff like HBH?

Certainly some feeders are worse than others, but all of them promote robbing and ants.

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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
flntknpr
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« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2013, 09:20:26 AM »

Thanks for the help.  I will keep them inside for a total of about 72 hours, and then relocate them to a different part of my property.  I will also move them to a deep box and stop feeding.  If they seem short of food in a few days I will take a couple frames of capped honey out of the strong hives. 
It is kind of nice having them keep me company in the shop.  Maybe I will have to build an observation hive in there over this next winter.
Thanks again,
Jeff
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