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Author Topic: Robbing & Pollin carries  (Read 293 times)
Spear
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« on: August 18, 2013, 03:51:52 AM »

 huh I'm very confused. I've got my 2 hives all set up and was very pleased to see yesterday that they were bringing in pollin already. However They have started robbing last night when I fed them, as instructed by the guy who gave me the bees. I right away reduced the entrance with grass to the weaker hive - got stung on the face as a thank you (was not wearing my suit because I didn't think I would need it since I was only feeding & closing up again - leason learned!) This morning I look out the window to see the robbers already trying to get into the weaker hive. I run down stairs and suit up, go to close the entrance compleatly with the wooden Kleet. As I take the grass out the bees that were trying to push the grass out come out so chase as many back in as I can and turn the kleet to close up the entrance compleatly, then I notice a bee carrying pollin trying to get in so I let her in and before I can close up again she comes flying out and heads for my other hive, two seconds later she is back! Now I'm confused because I know they are robbing but why are there pollin carriers flying around? I read up and found that robbers don't carry pollin!

I'm going to close up both hives tonight and feed them, then move them to a different location on my garden I hope that will confuuse them a bit and stop the robbing.
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2013, 06:24:44 AM »

First of all, I recommend that you close up your weak hive to an opening 3/8" by no more than 1/2". I keep even my 7 box hives reduced to 3/8" x 2" openings.
Bees cannot take a pollen ball and stick it to their legs and rob it like they can honey. They collect it from their body as dust and pack it on their legs a little at a time, usually while they are flying.
It may have been propolis that you saw. Some times the bees cannot get it off and it stays there or she may have gone in the wrong hive.
How close are your hives to each other?
Jim
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2013, 04:49:52 PM »

What you are experiencing is called drift, bees from one nearby hive landing and entering another. This happens a lot in a bee yard.  In my apiary I have 3  hives in a row spaced 7 feet (2 meters) apart, the bees from the middle hive often end up at the hive on one side or the other, making them strong and productive while the middle hive struggles.  The closer the hives are together the more pronounced this problem becomes.
To solve this problem face one of the hives southeast and the other southwest, this slight change of entrance allows a more definitive orientation on the hive location by the forager bees and should greatly decrease the drift between hives.
Drift can result in robbing if it occurs in great numbers if the hive of origin of the drifted bee accepts the errant bee back in to the hive and learns of the weakness of the other hive.

Quote
I notice a bee carrying pollin trying to get in so I let her in and before I can close up again she comes flying out and heads for my other hive, two seconds later she is back! Now I'm confused because I know they are robbing but why are there pollin carriers flying around? I read up and found that robbers don't carry pollin!

What you describe here is evidence of drift, the worker bee from a different hive with a load of pollen is allowed into a neighboring weaker hive, realizes its mistake and attempts to enter the hive it originated from but the original hive, having a stronger guard force repels any bee with a slightly different odor.  The forger bee with the load of pollen picked up a little of pheromones of the hive it temporarily entered so was rejected from its own hive and therefore returned to the other hive.

This could mean that the weaker hive is not yet being robbed and reducing the entrance size does not always prohibit a hive from being robbed, especially if it is already being robbed.  The use of a robber screen at the entrance of the weaker hive will redirect the entrance confusing the robbing bees while forcing the weaker hive to more narrowly orient on the hive due to the barrier the screen creates, reduces drifting because the robber screen is a physical and visual barrier that differentiates the hives from each other.
Weaker hives will accept any forager bearing gifts of nectar, pollen, water, or propolis. They need the whatever extra comes their way and will accept any productive forager into their hive, the drift bee becomes a member of the hive to which it errantly entered.   
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Spear
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« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2013, 04:54:37 PM »

Tonight after waiting till it was dark, I nailed a makeshift robber screen to the hive that is beeing robbed - no problem- I decided to do the same with the robber hive and was attacked almost immidiately! (good thing I suited up or I would of been stung on the face again) I backed off and brushed off the bee that were crawling on me to avoid beeing stung but got stung on the hand and leg anyway -Oh well 'par for the course' as my dad would say.
Now my question is why would this hive be more defensive than the hive that is being robbed?
Oh yes almost forgot I saw 3 dead bees on the landing board of the strong hive when I checked earlyer to see if they were heading inside - could this mean that they are the ones being robbed and not the other way around or are they robbing each other out?  huh  huh
I had the entrance to the weaker hive totally closed for a few hours today then opened it up and stuffed grass in so only a few bees could come and go at one time. This coursed a lot of congestion at the entrance and I noticed the stronger hive had very little acctivity - jut normal traffic. I also decided to put out an external feeder behind the hives - about 1 meter away (I have a small garden so can't put it much farther away than that) - the feeder was covered in bees when I came home around 20:25. Waited till after 21:00 to put on the robber screens. I don't think I'll get a screen on the strong hive if they are so defensive all the time.
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