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Author Topic: how do you know when.........  (Read 3275 times)
pembroke
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« on: July 07, 2006, 10:04:34 AM »

your hives are being ROBBED?   What can be done about it?  Thanks. Pembroke
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Chad S
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« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2006, 10:52:39 AM »

There are a bunch of bees hovering in front of the hive.  There is capping wax on the bottom board.  In extreme cases there will be hundreds of bees attacking.  With a small hive there will be very few stores, and it may be easy to tell there are two different tribes in the hive.

To prevent remove any syrup if you are feeding.  Reduce the entrance.  Or move the hive using the 3' or 3mile rule.  I have had my best luck using a location a couple of miles down the rd. to get things settled down.

Chad
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keeper007
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« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2006, 11:55:43 AM »

i read you can put grass in the entrance to help stop robbing
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qa33010
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« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2006, 02:36:07 PM »

My hives are in my backyard.  Last year I pulled the robber screen from my feral hive for measurements for a new screen to be used with my entrance feeders.  They were still quite weak then and I took longer than expected and robbing was going strong.   I used a sprinkler.  Then reinstalled the reassembled robber screen.  

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j110/mydarlingheathens/Robbing%20and%20Others/Robbingremainders1Oct05011.jpg

My one weak hive (SHB) has a robber screen and they are recovering nicely and no robbing problems.

David

EDIT:  Oh yeah... the sprinkler worked like a charm.  Within minutes they were thinned out and gone in about fifteen.  I ran it for a while longer for any returnees that missed getting wet.
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Everyone said it couldn't be done. But he with a chuckle replied, "I won't be one to say it is so, until I give it a try."  So he buckled right in with a trace of a grin.  If he had a worry he hid it and he started to sing as he tackled that thing that couldn't be done, and he did it.  (unknown)
NWIN Beekeeper
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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2006, 06:06:03 PM »

Robbing can best be deteched by watching the bees that come and go.  
If you watch your normal hive you will that your bees return flight is almost too low to hit the entrance.  You will also notice that they tend to enter almost immediately.  When the foragers leace you will notice that they gain altitude almost immediately after leaving the hive (this is because they are empty and light weight).

If you watch robbing, you will see the bees come in high and linger (as if to debate if they think they can get in).  You will also notice that as robber bees leave, they leave loaded down and almost drop to the ground before regain altitude (because they are loaded with honey).

Try to observe you hive at various hours of the day also.  
In the morning most of your bees should be out-bound, if you find a large number on the porch in the early AM, it is likely you have a robbing situation.  

The next question is how do you control or stop robbing.
You can do the sprinkler trick as mentioned above (this drives the bees home as if it was raining (but this tends to drive up the humidity in the yard too and this isn't good for honey evaporation.  The best way is to try to prevent robbing in the first place.  In the ideal work, your hives would be about equal strength.  But since this isn't the case you can either manually equal the hives by pulling and trading frames or you can reduce the entrance to a small enough size that it can be reasonably guarded.  I don't like trading frames around too much, its a good opportunity to spread disease, so I'd advise that you reduce the entrance (especially if the hive is known to be weak, a split, or a swarm that is slow to take off).

I heard once of someone taking all the covers off their hives, soemone told them that would prevent robbing?  I don't subscribe to that logic, but would I might do is open the entrances of stronger hives to compromise them when they are robbing other hives.  This forces a few more bees to stay home and guard the front door so less are out stealing.  

Robber screens also seem to work from what I;ve heard from other people.  I'm not a big fan of extra equipment so I haven't made/used any to really comment.  IF you use good common sense about your entrance reducers and if you have other good cleaniness, you'll normally chase it off before it gets to be a problem.

Robbing is often caused by other forces too.
You have to maintain your bee yard pretty clean.
If you have loose comb about the yard with honey in it, it can cause robbing.  And if you are sloppy with filling feed jars (espcially if you are using honey be healthy or other oils/smells to attract the bees).  I've not been spilling as much in previous years, but if you have to fill a lot of jars, it might be advisable to take an empty 5 gallon bucket to fill jars over (that way the spills are caught).  A little trick is to use the spills in your watering hole if you provide one openly in your bee yard (this way its diluted and it takes a lot more trips with much more water to steal equally what they would ahve gotten off the ground raw).

JEFF
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Patrick
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« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2006, 02:50:59 PM »

The more I read here the more I wonder if I have a problem.  Is robbing obvious enough that if you look closely you will know for certain you have it?  I have bees all day hovering around and coming in from a high angle.  I have observed that some are just practice flying (landing, flying up in a cork screw, landing again) but some seem to just fly up hover then go in.  Many bees crawl up the front and then take off though, I have to say, I am not seeing the dip on take off.  It’s more of a crawl up…. Jump… hover.. then go.  There is no fighting. I have observed a few bees flying into other bees crawling up the front and knocking them down but no fighting. Tis is not happening in great numbers maybe 20 bees, but it goes on all day. Meanwhile bees are coming in with the low dip and bees are shooting out and off. I think I may have a case of reading too many posts on this excellent site then projecting what I read on to my bees.  
cheers
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Within that little Hive
Such Hints of Honey lay
As made Reality a Dream
And Dreams, Reality-
E.D. 1884

<img src="[url]http://banners.wunderground.com/weathersticker/miniStates/language/www/US/CA/Eagle_Rock.gif
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pembroke
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« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2006, 03:38:50 PM »

Thanks for all your replys. My hive is a very strong hive and probably can take care of the entrance. After all the replys I'm not sure that robbing is going on after all. Will watch hive a lot closer  from now on. Thanks for the sprinkler idea. Pembroke
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qa33010
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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2006, 01:08:30 AM »

I'm sorry.  I forgot to add that when I saw the robbing I thought it was orientation flights.  That was until I saw the fighting and dying bees at and around the entrance.  Then I knew.  Glad my son saw them first.

Good Luck!

David
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Everyone said it couldn't be done. But he with a chuckle replied, "I won't be one to say it is so, until I give it a try."  So he buckled right in with a trace of a grin.  If he had a worry he hid it and he started to sing as he tackled that thing that couldn't be done, and he did it.  (unknown)
Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2006, 07:16:32 PM »

If you see wrestling and hovering it's pretty much a sure thing.  If you only see hovering then are you seeing it all day long?  If you look in the hive being robbed the comb will be torn and shredded as opposed to carefully uncapped.

If it's being robbed I would totally block the entrance after dark that night with screen so they have ventilation.  In the morning all the bees you see trying to get in are robbers.  If there are none, then open it up.  If there are many wait until they all leave.  24 hours won't hurt.  Then screen all but 1/4" of the entrance closed.  1/4" by 1/4" will let one bee at a time through.

A robber screen is a good idea.
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/RobberScreenHiveSide.JPG
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/RobberScreenOutside.JPG

Since the robbers go by smell and not by memeory,  Vicks vaporub at the entrance is helpful.
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Michael Bush
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Patrick
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« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2006, 08:43:47 PM »

Quote
If you look in the hive being robbed the comb will be torn and shredded as opposed to carefully uncapped.


Michael,

Once again, Muchas Gracias.  Much more definitive.

cheers,
Patrick
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Within that little Hive
Such Hints of Honey lay
As made Reality a Dream
And Dreams, Reality-
E.D. 1884

<img src="[url]http://banners.wunderground.com/weathersticker/miniStates/language/www/US/CA/Eagle_Rock.gif
" border=0
alt="Click for Eagle Rock, California Forecast" height=100 width=150>[/url]
Patrick
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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2006, 05:36:04 PM »

Well I went in and looked today and found exactly what you said to look for. There were 2 spots on 2 frames each about 2" x 2" of shredded wax cappings. Is there any other reason I would see this?  I put an entrance reducer on (one bee wide)  and I will follow your suggestion and put a screen over the opening tonight.  What do I do about all the bees that like to hang out on the front when it is hot at night?  (Just wait until it is the dead of night and put the screen on then?) How long does it take to correct itself?  Much Thanks.

cheers,
Patrick
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Within that little Hive
Such Hints of Honey lay
As made Reality a Dream
And Dreams, Reality-
E.D. 1884

<img src="[url]http://banners.wunderground.com/weathersticker/miniStates/language/www/US/CA/Eagle_Rock.gif
" border=0
alt="Click for Eagle Rock, California Forecast" height=100 width=150>[/url]
Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2006, 01:57:36 AM »

Try putting a slatted rack between the bottom board and the 1st brood box this will give a place to ahng out without hanging out of the hive (bearding).  Usually with a slatted rack the bees will crowd back inside the hive in the cooler evening air.
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Patrick
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« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2006, 01:38:51 PM »

It's not that the bees are hot in my case. It's that when I put the entrance reducer on (one bee wide) it caused a major log jam.  I just took it off at the end of the day to let them all get back in there, then I screened it off after dark and after the last porch sitters went in. (as instructed).
your servant
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Within that little Hive
Such Hints of Honey lay
As made Reality a Dream
And Dreams, Reality-
E.D. 1884

<img src="[url]http://banners.wunderground.com/weathersticker/miniStates/language/www/US/CA/Eagle_Rock.gif
" border=0
alt="Click for Eagle Rock, California Forecast" height=100 width=150>[/url]
Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2006, 01:25:25 AM »

Well look at it this way.  A slatted rack provides that much more distance to the obstacle run that a robber bee has to manuver through thus, the chances of the resident bees getting it and killing it are improved.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
Patrick
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« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2006, 12:48:38 PM »

How long can you really keep a robber screen on?  Seems like the undertaker bee has her work cut out for her.
cheers,
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Within that little Hive
Such Hints of Honey lay
As made Reality a Dream
And Dreams, Reality-
E.D. 1884

<img src="[url]http://banners.wunderground.com/weathersticker/miniStates/language/www/US/CA/Eagle_Rock.gif
" border=0
alt="Click for Eagle Rock, California Forecast" height=100 width=150>[/url]
Michael Bush
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« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2006, 10:23:39 PM »

>How long can you really keep a robber screen on?

365 days a year if you want.

> Seems like the undertaker bee has her work cut out for her.

The ones in my observation hive always haul the dead to the top and then the bottom and then all over and finally out the door.  I don't  know why.  I don't think the robber screen will make any difference.
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Michael Bush
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Patrick
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« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2006, 06:14:25 PM »

Ok, I have screened off the entire entrance for 24 hours. The robber bees still persist. I plan on opening the screen tonight to 1 bee width. I assume the robbers will be back again tomorrow even though they could not get in all day today.  
My hive is still weak from a late start in May. Only one super is complete and the top super is just getting started (slowly).  I was wondering if the screen with the opening reduced to 1 bee wide is better that a robber screen, which has the opening not reduced.  Can I have both the robber screen and the reduced opening?

Much Thanks
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Within that little Hive
Such Hints of Honey lay
As made Reality a Dream
And Dreams, Reality-
E.D. 1884

<img src="[url]http://banners.wunderground.com/weathersticker/miniStates/language/www/US/CA/Eagle_Rock.gif
" border=0
alt="Click for Eagle Rock, California Forecast" height=100 width=150>[/url]
Rich V
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« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2006, 01:14:01 PM »

Michael:

The robber screen seems like a good ideal. Where can I find plans to make one?

Rich V
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Patrick
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« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2006, 01:20:30 PM »

A Few things I've learned.  Screening off the entrance of my hive was and interesting experiment.  In the AM there were many robbers (100- 200) and it was helpful to know that none of these bees were mine since mine were screened in.  Over the course of the day the amount of bees at the entrance grew and the effort and scope of their trying to get in really seemed to intensify.  The amount of bees at the entrance at its peak grew to about (800-1200) and there were now bees working at every crack and air hole on the hive.  With the entrance open and reduced this behavior was non-existent both before and after the experiment. I had a ventilated top cover on the hive; it gets hot here in Southern California, bad idea.  The vented cover may have been the source of my trouble.  The vent seemed to be acting like a chimney broadcasting the sweet smell of honey.  The bees realizing that the entrance was blocked really went to work on the vented cover.  I also learned that my hive was not super bee tight. Many bees were trying, and some smaller ones successfully, to squeeze themselves through the tiniest of crack both to get out and in. A lot of the robbers were caring pollen? Sure some of my bees may have gotten out but not that many. Also, as night fell the robbers did not leave about one hour after dark there were still about 500 bees hanging on the screen at the entrance.  I thought the robbers were supposed to go home?  What’s going on here?

Cheers
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Within that little Hive
Such Hints of Honey lay
As made Reality a Dream
And Dreams, Reality-
E.D. 1884

<img src="[url]http://banners.wunderground.com/weathersticker/miniStates/language/www/US/CA/Eagle_Rock.gif
" border=0
alt="Click for Eagle Rock, California Forecast" height=100 width=150>[/url]
Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2006, 02:36:13 AM »

Your bees are getting out and then having trouble getting back in because of the robber screen.  It does work on reducing the intrusion of robber bees but it can also confuse the home bees.  I've found the best solution is to just drop back to a 1 or 2 inch opening which can better be defended.   Also  putting a lathe bridge over the opening seems to give guard bees a better place to work from and they will stand guard outside the actual entrance.
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