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Author Topic: Which is worse? Starving or fighting the robbers?  (Read 490 times)
TwoHoneys
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« on: August 27, 2013, 05:01:02 PM »

A number of my hives are without any stores, so I broke down and fed them early last evening. Before feeding, I reduced all the entrances in the event of robbing. This morning, as the sun hit the hives, robbing began.

I threw a wet towel over the entrances, and eventually things calmed down.

However, I feel as if I need to feed again.

But lately I've been wondering which is better...is it best to feed or not to feed? Feeding seems to simply invite mayhem around here. 

Can some of you articulate the pros and cons of feeding? I seem to need convincing that it's worth the onslaught.

-Liz
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Moots
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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2013, 05:11:25 PM »

How are you feeding?  Are you doing open feeding?

Why don't you feed internally?  I may be wrong, but don't see how that could promote robbing...
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iddee
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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2013, 05:24:25 PM »

External feeding, such as open feeding or boardman feeder induces robbing.

Honey B healthy, essential oils, ETC. induces robbing.

Internal feeding with ONLY sugar water and reduced entrances USUALLY has no robbing.
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TwoHoneys
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2013, 07:04:28 PM »

I use top-entrance hives...I converted the bottom boards into a feeders. The robbing occurred in my bottom-feeder hives. In other words, I feed inside the hive.

-Liz
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tefer2
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« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2013, 07:25:26 PM »

Is the syrup leaking out the bottom of the hive?
Feeding this time of year requires robber screens for us.
iddee has a great design for them and they are simple to make.
I just don't know how to make it work for a top entrance hive.  need help
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dprater
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« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2013, 09:17:50 PM »

I tryed to feed a weak hive two weeks ago, also feeding inside the hive. I'm sure other hives could smell the sugar water and started robbing. I had to take out the sugar water, took a frame of honey from another hive and close them up for 2 days. Moved them 100 ft and they are doing good now.

dan
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2013, 09:59:23 PM »

Try dry sugar.  It almost never leads to robbing...
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Michael Bush
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Wolfer
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« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2013, 10:53:09 PM »

I've lost a few hives to robbing in the past but don't have much trouble anymore.
1- the entrance on all my hives is whatever size it take to be full of bees all the time.
2- I don't feed weak hives. I feed strong hives and exchange frames with the weak one.

I try not to feed much but sometimes you have no choice. Last year I was really busy and didn't have time to make sure they were all up to weight. I would moisten 10 lb of sugar until there were no dry spots and fed on a piece of plywood 200 yds from the hives. It would take them several days for three hives and the nearby ferrels to take the 10 lbs. I've wondered if something like this would give robbers something to do. Open feeding syrup will set off a frenzy but the damp sugar didn't seem to. If or when I have robbing problems again I might try it.

If you have a lot of light hives this won't help much be cause it takes them too long to work it.

When I do feed I use the Baggie method. Hope this helps
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T Beek
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« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2013, 06:27:11 AM »

If I was a honeybee; I'd much prefer going down fighting rather than starving.  Don't know for sure but suspect bees may feel the same.  Starvation is no fun at all.

In my own experience, Open Feeding works very well "if" you can place it far enough away, at least 100 yards from the beeyard and if there is some sort of barrier (trees, fences, buildings) separating them, it works even better.

Feeding just "one" starving colony in the beeyard will usually encourage robbing by any others so If you must feed inside the hive "feed them all" regardless of suspected need.  This alone Seems to keep all concerned occupied  Smiley and unlike open feeding you can provide 'just enough' to keep the stronger colonies/robbers busy and 'more than enough' to those suspected of being light/starving.

When feeding a weak/light colony always REDUCE entrances to allow for 1 or 2  bees at a time.

Dry sugar, as MB suggested can work very well, but during warm weather bees may ignore it, including those close to starving.  Getting it wet can help entice them.
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