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Author Topic: Still robbing?  (Read 307 times)
HomeSteadDreamer
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Location: Tallahassee, FL


« on: July 09, 2013, 02:01:54 PM »

Ok I had a langstroth that had a small swarm in it.  I had a queen castle that was getting robbed out and the queen was missing.

I combined these two and added a frame of capped larva/open larva/  with bees from a third hive to boost the population.

I moved these all into a new location (about 50 ft. from the original location).  I smoked them while combining and then stapled screen over the openings so that for 24 hours they were all in the hive and hopefully becoming more like one hive. 

The next day.  The hive was opened up with the entrance in the narrowed and in the middle. A 'robber screen' was placed over the opening.  The robber screen was a bent piece of screen that bees would have to approach from the side, walk-in to get in the hive.

A few days later (today).  There are numerous bees on the screen.  There appears to be some fighting/killing with many bees (5-7) beating up on a single bee outside the screen. 

I have not fed this hive.

I gave them a frame with honey at the top but need to get in there and add another frame of honey as this hive doesn't have much and I don't know how many foragers came over with the combine.

So questions....

It seems to me the robbers may have significantly more numbers than the hive... Not sure but that is just my impression

1. What to do to stop the robbing? or does the robbing screen work well enough to just let it go until they stop on their own.

2.  Should I add honey frames and screen them back in for several days to discourage the robbers?

3.  Is it time to give up on this hive?

4.  Is this the same add a frame of larva each week until the numbers are so large but this approach worries me because two of the hives I combined had been robbed out and were I think fighting starvation.  So just adding larva and honey seems like the honey will just continue to get robbed.

5.  Should I open the hive?  Does 'local' hive bees break into honey in a different way than robbers.  I know robbing looks rough.  But I expect the hive bees would have to access the capped honey for the larva and for the nurse bees.  Is there a way to tell them getting into the honey compared to the robbers?
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BlueBee
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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2013, 02:13:28 PM »

I have used robber screens and I don’t think they worked very well in my situation.  What I do when I have a robbing situation is close the entrance down to a bee or two width and leave them bee.  When the entrance is down to a bee or two wide, that limits the flow of traffic just like narrowing I75 down to 1 lane for construction.  Less traffic means less honey robbed out and a more defensible entrance.  I tend to believe a robbing screen confuses the house bees just as much as the robbers and that’s not good.

I've never had a hive robbed completely out when the entrance was reduced to just a bee or two width.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2013, 02:23:47 PM »

>1. What to do to stop the robbing? or does the robbing screen work well enough to just let it go until they stop on their own.

Shut the hive down completely using screen wire.  After the robbers have mostly gone home, open a space just big enough for one bee to get out at a time.  You need to do this with screen for two reasons:

Ventilation
Confusion

The screen confuses the robbers.

A robber screen is fine too, but i would also reduce that entrance to one bee at a time...

http://bushfarms.com/beesmisc.htm#robberscreen
http://bushfarms.com/beesrobbing.htm

>2.  Should I add honey frames and screen them back in for several days to discourage the robbers?

Several days is too much.  They will need water and pollen and other things.  But you can close them for a day usually with no issues if they have enough ventilation.

>3.  Is it time to give up on this hive?

I would reduce it down to one bee access with screen wire and leave them alone for a while.  They might surprise you.  Or they might already be queenless...


>4.  Is this the same add a frame of larva each week until the numbers are so large but this approach worries me because two of the hives I combined had been robbed out and were I think fighting starvation.  So just adding larva and honey seems like the honey will just continue to get robbed.

There is no point trying to deal with other issues until you deal with the robbing.

>5.  Should I open the hive?  Does 'local' hive bees break into honey in a different way than robbers. 

Yes.

>I know robbing looks rough.

Yes.

> But I expect the hive bees would have to access the capped honey for the larva and for the nurse bees.  Is there a way to tell them getting into the honey compared to the robbers?

Yes.  Robber rip the comb apart.  Local bees carefully uncap it.

« Last Edit: July 09, 2013, 11:19:00 PM by Michael Bush » Logged

Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Finski
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2013, 02:37:06 PM »

If the hive is desperate, it cannot stop robbing.
Yiou should move the hive 2 miles away.

Once I moved a mating nuc for robbing.
I returned it after 3 days and robbing started at once.

robbing started from feeding.
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HomeSteadDreamer
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2013, 03:16:35 PM »

2 miles away isn't much of an option.
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