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Author Topic: Robbing bees  (Read 904 times)

Offline Modenacart

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Robbing bees
« on: August 17, 2013, 12:36:21 AM »
I have two hives, one strong and one that is now very weak.  The week one is only three deep frames of brood and bees and some honey.  I am feeding both with boardman feeders and the weak hive is being robbed big time.  The robbing hive is flying directly to the weak hive and robbing them.  I just blocked off the entrance to the weak hive.

I am not sure what else to do, should I stop feeding both hives?  Should I just start open feeding somewhere away from the weak hive? 

I am in eastern NC.
Thanks,
Josh

Offline millipede

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Re: Robbing bees
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2013, 12:44:29 AM »
I don't like external feeders. If you can put an empty super on top of the hive and stick the feeder inside of it, I think you would be better off. Michael Bush has a good write up on robbing on his site. Stopping up the hive is a good start as the robbers will eventually give up. I hear tossing a wet sheet over the hive helps hive the smell. A robbing screen can allow the home bees to enter and exit while confusing the robbers.
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesrobbing.htm

Offline Modenacart

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Re: Robbing bees
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2013, 05:23:44 PM »
I blocked the entrance off with wire mesh.  The bees are able to barely squeeze through, but there doesn't see to be any more fighting.  There are some bring back pollen.  Today there has been a light steady rain all day.  I think it is getting better.

I hope it is done with by tomorrow night because I have to leave town all week. 

Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Robbing bees
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2013, 11:09:36 PM »
If all else fails do the following:
Set up community feeder about 50-100 feet from you bee yard to draw the robber bees away from the weak hive.
Place an empty super on the week hive and place several boardman feeders on top of the frames.

Life is a school.  What have you learned?   :brian:      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!

Offline samsungpizza

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Re: Robbing bees
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2013, 02:44:26 PM »
I'd reverse hive locations, early afternoon.

Offline Modenacart

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Robbing bees
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2013, 11:26:26 PM »
Well, the bees lost to the robbing and hive beetles. They absconded while I was on travel. I was glad to see them on my fence.  I moved two frames with honey and brood to a box and brushed the swarm into the box. I think I got the queen because I didn't see the remaining bees ball again.  I locked them in the box and added a top feeder. I plan on leaving them locked inside for a couple of days. I put all the old frames in the freezer and will add them back after three days.

The swarm was pretty pathetic. It may have filled a quart jar or so.

I hope what I am doing makes sense.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Robbing bees
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2013, 10:08:09 AM »
>I have two hives, one strong and one that is now very weak.  The week one is only three deep frames of brood and bees and some honey.  I am feeding both with boardman feeders and the weak hive is being robbed big time.  The robbing hive is flying directly to the weak hive and robbing them.  I just blocked off the entrance to the weak hive.

The fact that they are weak and the use of a boardman feeder are the problem.  Keep the quart jar and lid.  Throw away the boardman feeder.  Now, before you get tempted to use it again...

>I am not sure what else to do, should I stop feeding both hives?

Feeding is the leading cause of robbing.

>  Should I just start open feeding somewhere away from the weak hive?

I would feed the strong hive and steal capped honey from them for the weak hive.

Open feeding usually makes things worse, not better.  A feeding frenzy often causes robbing.
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen

Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Robbing bees
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2013, 10:27:29 PM »
Quote
Open feeding usually makes things worse, not better.  A feeding frenzy often causes robbing.

Only if it is done in or very close to the bee yard, moving the open feeder some distance away, especially near a natural nectar source, can actually deflect robbing, redirecting the robber bees to the open feeder rather than the nearby hives.
Life is a school.  What have you learned?   :brian:      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Robbing bees
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2013, 11:37:21 AM »
I've seen open feeding work.  And I've seen it fail.  Distance helps, but how much seems to vary too much for me...

You can also pull the cover off of the strong hive for a day and make them guard their hive instead of robbing...
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen

Offline Spear

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Re: Robbing bees
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2013, 02:47:20 PM »
I used an open feeder a few feet behind my 2 hives the moment they started robbing - the 1st day that I brought the hives home - and it stopped the robbing the very next day. I have very little space so I wasn't sure if it was a good idea to put the feeder so close to the hives but as I said it worked. I left the feeder - A 10 leter bucket feeder - untill it was empty - about 3 days - then removed it compleatly. The robbing has not started again and my bees are bringing in loads of pollin from the surounding gardens.  :-D

Offline Modenacart

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Re: Robbing bees
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2013, 03:55:47 PM »
I've seen open feeding work.  And I've seen it fail.  Distance helps, but how much seems to vary too much for me...

You can also pull the cover off of the strong hive for a day and make them guard their hive instead of robbing...
The inner cover also or just the top?

Offline Modenacart

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Re: Robbing bees
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2013, 05:13:56 PM »
I moved the hive as fat away as I could and put an open feeder as far in the opposite direction as I could, a couple hundred feet at least.

I have feeders in none if the hives now.  I saw a lot of bees flying out of the weak hive right after I opened it for cleansing flights and orientation flights.  It wasn't long before I saw dancing bees.

I am not optimistic.

Offline Modenacart

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Re: Robbing bees
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2013, 05:28:49 PM »
Well, I am going to move it again tonight. I put it in a shady location. I will move to a sunny location.