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Author Topic: Robber Bees Question  (Read 3670 times)
Jeff L
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« on: July 23, 2006, 10:41:23 PM »

Have a new hive. Been feeding them sugar water for the last few days. Today this feeder is full of bees. But..... got to watching them today, and their not mine. So I took this feeder away. Now I'm worried about them getting into this hive. Coming from the North and then heading back North. Not entering my hive. It's not a strong hive yet. There's some still lurking about. They're just slightly smaller and seem to fly faster than my bees, but look exactly like honey bees. Is there anything I can do to thwart these suckers?? Thanks.
Jeff
("newbie hive" thread)
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latebee
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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2006, 10:48:36 PM »

I am assuming that you are using a "boardman" feeder. Try using a hive top or frame feeder. If that fails see Michael Bush's post on robber screens.
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Jeff L
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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2006, 11:08:52 PM »

Latebee, have had this hive for a week. Posted about it on the Newbie Hive thread. So am not thorough with the terminology yet. Have no idea what a boardman feeder is. My feeder is just a white plastic tray that a jar lid fits into. The jar sits upside down on this tray and has small holes that the sugar water drips from. I set it on top of my hive. I'll have to do my homework and see what hive top and frame feeder means. Hopefully one is a hidden type. These robbers will be  back. They just found it today. Lucky I noticed it so soon. Will also look for MB's post. Thank you!


Jeff
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Ted


« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2006, 12:07:36 AM »

Quote from: Jeff L
 It's not a strong hive yet. Jeff
("newbie hive" thread)


any hive that isn't strong should have a entrance reducer on it so it can protect its hive, weak hives get a small entrance reducer and as they get stronger I open the entrance up, usually I do this in 3 steps, I have small 1 inch reduces, 3 inch reducers then open entrances,,,, that just how I work it....... I still use boardman feeder with a entrance reducer now on a few hives because I have more hives than top feeders and with the entrance reducers cut down to keep the hive protected haven't had a problem yet, I will not use a boardman feeder on a open hive, then I use a top feeder but most of the time I feed with a top feeder is when I am raising queens because when I have a hive with a open entrance it will not need a feeder unless raising queens or in early spring for bee build up........
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Jeff L
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« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2006, 12:28:32 AM »

Got it! Yes have a boardman feeder. Will switch to a hivetop. This is a better setup. If you read my "newbie hive" posts you'll be able to tell that I'm a rookie. I freely admit it. I'll get better though. I'm bound and determined to make this hive viable, but do know it's probably a 50/50 chance. Do have the queen. Will she move up to my new frames? Don't know. Will my bees work my new frames in this super above the mess below. Don't know. This hive is only a week old, but seems a liitle stronger to me. Even in 110 degree heat btw. They have shade, water, and honey for now. Was lots of honey in the initial moving of this hive. Oozing out everywhere. They're definitely eating it. Maybe don't have enough bees to make this hive survive . Give me three weeks. If the bees are still here, we'll be OK.
J.
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« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2006, 12:41:00 AM »

Quote from: Jeff L
Do have the queen. Will she move up to my new frames? Don't know. Will my bees work my new frames in this super above the mess below. Don't know. This hive is only a week old, but seems a liitle stronger to me. Even in 110 degree heat btw. They have shade, water, and honey for now. Was lots of honey in the initial moving of this hive. Oozing out everywhere. They're definitely eating it. Maybe don't have enough bees to make this hive survive . Give me three weeks. If the bees are still here, we'll be OK.
J.


if this hive is only a week old, one thing I don't understand is do they have at least 8 frames of the brood chamber drawn out? second thing is you shouldn't ever add a super to a hive that doesn't have at least 8 frames drawn for the brood nest and you should let them draw out 2 brood chambers first before adding supers, this time of year you should just worry about having at least 2 deeps if you in the north, (PUT YOUR LOCATION IN YOUR PROFIL SO WE KNOW WERE YOU ARE BECAUSE THIS WILL HELP A LOT) ....for young hives it is more import to get the hive going than to get honey.... work on the brood nest first and add your location so we know what you are dealing with.........
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THAT's ME TO THE LEFT JUST 5 YEARS FROM NOW!!!!!!!!

Never be afraid to try something new.
Amateurs built the ark,
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Jeff L
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TwT
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2006, 01:38:01 AM »

Ted just read your post, and also looked up the term entrance reducer. I know what one is now.  Ok, now my bees are entering the super with the messy comb in it. Messy meaning honey and brood all mixed together. The queen is in there somewhere. These bees are still in this hive and working, this is why I assume the queen's still there. My bees are entering from two SMALL corners into this comb box. (for lack of a better term) Both entrances are very small with many bees always crowded around these. Would this work the same as an entrance reducer? The top of the "top" super with the new waxed frames is opened enough for bees to enter. Some are just now taking this route. What they're doing I don't know. Hopefully starting to "frame up". Have that shallow super underneath the comb box (shouldn't be there I know, my mistake, but's full of honey that's dripped down. This equals food, so I'm not messing with it.) bees are entering there also too to eat I assume.
 What's my question? Dang I type so slow I forgot.
Ok now I remember, will these two small entrances work the same as frame reducers? Hope so as I'm not going to monkey with this setup. My goal is to get these bees through this "unsettled" period and then come spring, purchase ALL NEW frames, supers, etc. My boxes are old, hence the corner (warped) entrances.  I'm hooked on this bee stuff!! No turning back now. Thanks!
Jeff
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« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2006, 01:48:56 AM »

Quote from: Jeff L
Ted just read your post, and also looked up the term entrance reducer. I know what one is now.  Ok, now my bees are entering the super with the messy comb in it. Messy meaning honey and brood all mixed together. The queen is in there somewhere. These bees are still in this hive and working, this is why I assume the queen's still there. My bees are entering from two SMALL corners into this comb box. (for lack of a better term) Both entrances are very small with many bees always crowded around these. Would this work the same as an entrance reducer?


yes, its the same...

Quote from: Jeff L
k now I remember, will these two small entrances work the same as frame reducers?


yes, but its called entrance reducers Wink

Quote from: Jeff L
Hope so as I'm not going to monkey with this setup. My goal is to get these bees through this "unsettled" period and then come spring, purchase ALL NEW frames, supers, etc. My boxes are old, hence the corner (warped) entrances.  I'm hooked on this bee stuff!! No turning back now. Thanks!
Jeff



you are hooked and any info you need you can ask and get aswered on this site by more than one, most the time you will get more different answers that most will work..... good luck and welcome to beekeeping!!!!!
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2006, 02:16:32 AM »

Jeff.

It sounds like this hive came from a cutout.  Yes? No?
If so you will want to work the frames containing the cutout comb off of the hive as it will cause problems later.  The best way is to let them draw out one box of new comb, then put that box of new comb on the bottom, add a super and place the box of cutout comb on top.  You will then be able to harvest the honey from the cutout comb via crush and strain and process the wax for reuse or sale.
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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!
Jeff L
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« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2006, 03:08:19 AM »

Drawn out, not framed up. Entrance reducers. Gotcha. Brian, cutout? Yes, but only because this hive was too big for my super. Same spot as last year but MUCH larger. Wasn't prepared for for this hive to be so big. The plan was to get it all.
 Now, the comb is NOT framed. Just in a frameless super. Just set in there, but not squished. Lots of room for the bees to move around. Have the new super on top. Hoping it gets drawn out. Will your advice still work with a non framed cutout? I would think so. Thanks.
Jeff
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latebee
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« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2006, 09:38:36 PM »

You have received sound advice from some great bee keepers here.If you spend the time to follow thier instructions the situation will be under control in a short time. Have a ball beekeeping!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2006, 01:15:22 AM »

If the comb is not framed and just placed in the hive, regardless of how carefully or artfully, the hive is illegal.  The laws in all 50 states requires that the comb be on removeable frames.
Failure to keep a hive with removeable frames will result in a huge fine and destruction of the hive if a bee inspector stumbles onto it.

Cut the comb so that it will fit into the frames then tie, wire, or rubberband them to keep the combs in the frames.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2006, 01:00:16 PM »

First you need to get rid of the robbers.  After dark, close up the hive with screen and a stapler. (#8 hardware cloth is best, but screen will do).  Don't open it until the robbers are gone the next day.

If you have then in a shady spot and a way to give them some water, you could close it up at the height of the robbing and leave it closed for 72 hours until the robbers reorient to the hive.  That will boost this hive.

After the robbing has stopped, because the robbers can't get in, put a robber screen on.

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/RobberScreenHiveSide.JPG
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/RobberScreenOutside.JPG

The idea of the screen is that the robbers go by smell.  They will hover around the front trying to get through the screen.  The locals go by memory and follow the path they used to leave.

If you're not willing to build a robber screen (I bought screen doors from Brushy Mt and modified them) then use #8 hardware cloth and reduce the entrance to 1/4" by 1/4".
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Michael Bush
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Jeff L
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« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2006, 12:05:47 AM »

Just returned from vacation and the hive is still full of bees. Lifted up the super on top to look at the comb BELOW and there are many bees plus the comb is getting larger. Still nothing in the top supers waxed frames though.
 Now the robbers were just after the sugar water I think. I removed this. They seem to be gone now. (I put it back out the next day AWAY from the hive and these robbers found it right away again)

Question: How the heck do I know if robbers are still present and going INTO my hive?? How do you tell the difference between my hives bees and robbers from elsewhere?

Thanks for the info btw! Willl probably do this regardless of robbers MAYBE being gone. Hive does have shade and water. Bees have now found this water. So far so good.

Thanks to all who replied also!

Jeff
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2006, 01:24:10 PM »

>Question: How the heck do I know if robbers are still present and going INTO my hive?? How do you tell the difference between my hives bees and robbers from elsewhere?

Close up the hive after it's totally dark outside, with some screen wire and a stapler.  Any bees that show up in the morning are most likely robbers.  Especially if a LOT of them show up hovering and crawling.

There are many other signs too, but this is not so subjective.  Of course wrestling at the entrance is a sign, but a really demoralized hive won't even do that.  Torn up comb that is not neatly uncapped but just ripped up is another sign of robbing.  Lots of bees that don't seem to know where the entrance is and they are crawling and circling the hive.  Not to be confused with the sudden hovering of a lot of young bees doing orientations.  The young bees doing orientation usually are fuzzy and light.  The old bees doing the robbing are usually dark and oily looking.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Jeff L
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« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2006, 10:28:44 PM »

Thanks for the info. Been watching them closely every day. From reading your robber symptoms, I think this hive is free of them. Very orderly going in and out of the entrances, and just lifted up the top frame box and looked under and there's lots of new CLEAN comb. Good sign I think. Them robbers were just after the sugar water I think.

Last question as I don't want to be a pest. Hive has two entrances due to the boxes being old and warped. One entrance has quite a few larger bees coming and going. These larger bees which I think are drones seem to prefer the north entrance, but have seen some use the opposite entrance also. How many is quite a few? More than twenty and less than forty. That's close. Anyhow, from what I read drones go out and hunt for queens in the summer, and they are larger than the workers. This description fits these larger guys in my hive. They're stout like the Governator here in CA. Arnold S. Do you think these are drones, and is this normal for this time of year? Thanks!!!!!

Jeff
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Jeff L
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« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2006, 11:38:18 PM »

Michael, hey you are right on the money about robbers. Went out tonight and sprayed some more sugar water on my top box with the new waxed frames, and it wasn't 1 hour before they showed up. Could tell because they didn't know where the entrance was. Just buzzing about this hive, looking to get in. Buncha bad little girls. So I closed the hive up for the night. Thanks for the help!
J.
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