If you have robbing this time of year in Alabama, I would suspect Africanized taking over. Italians shouldn't be robbing. I can't even get them to clean supers.Do a google search for robber screens. In the meantime, close them up til dark, then open them. Only the home bees will still be there, if it is robbing.
If it is dry enough in Alabama it could be early robbing.
If BuzzMe is not savy with orientation flights and he started from a package it could also just be a case of mistaken id (no pun intended Iddee).
No matter how it turns out... robber screens are worth the effort and expenditures. It is one of the best ideas I ever obtained from Iddee himself. Robber screens are also an excellent investment if your hive turns out to be a bit nervous... makes them much less likely to jump at everything that moves pass their front door.
Iddee - Hello again. I don't know if the invaders are Africanized or not. They have similar markings to my gentle Italians but are much darker in color. Also many of them were much bigger than most of my girls. Perhaps Drones; do they join in robbing?
tecumseh - Yes, of course I may be mistaking as I have no prior experience with this. I can say that these "invaders" looked different (see above) and there was no question that they were fighting; grappling and rolling behavior which continued in flight and as they fell to the ground.
--Solution: I did close the hive completely for about an hour but I was concerned that prolong closure may harm the bees inside. When reopened, many bees rushed out to buzz the entrance for twenty minutes or so before settling down. I had made the mistake of purchasing the metal hive reducer and still have no idea how to use it correctly; I modified it with duct tape to make it work.
Party Over! ancing:
--Suspected cause: Honey Bee Healthy. I had not read the two post concerning robbing and did not know about the connection between HBH and robbing. (Thanks to OPs for those - Bjorn? and Iddee?)
Further actions: Needless to say I will not be adding HBH to my sugar syrup; for a while at least. I will also build a robber screen right away. :drinks:Cheers
:hi: Thank you Iddee and tecumseh again for your timely replies and valuable information.
Yes. Thank you alleyyooper.
It seems that robber screen are a DIY item, particularly for the 10 frame hive.
I am actually having trouble finding plans for one. I am not sure that I am clear on the purpose. Is a robber screen simply a screen closure for the hive allowing ventilation and not any bees or is its primary function to screen the original entrance and provide an alternate entrance for the "house" bees?
The ones Roger was showing at one of the bee meetings last fall was two uprights 3/4 x3/4 x6" screwed to the front of the hive from the bottom board up as far apart as the entrance is wide. Then staple on 1/8 inch hardwear cloth(screen) from the bottom board up. Seems the hives girls learn they have to go up and out to forage and the robbers cant figure out how to get in. Or not haveing a strait shot it isn't so easy to get by the defenders.
I can say that these "invaders" looked different (see above) and there was no question that they were fighting; grappling and rolling behavior which continued in flight and as they fell to the ground.
yes definitely robbing and not orientation flight which looks 'somewhat' the same without the bees wrestling around on the ground and typically no small pile of dead and dying bees at the front door.
another BuzzMe snip:
I did close the hive completely for about an hour but I was concerned that prolong closure may harm the bees inside.
you would of course want to have concerns in regards to high temperatures and eventually water but you can close 'the girls' up much longer than most people seem to suspect with little or no adverse consequence. a lot of time I will just close the hive up and place it in a dark corner of a shed or outbuilding. we use to put 'the girls' on a truck (about this time of year as a matter of fact) and screen them in for a trip that required 2 days + a little. if the temperature got hot or the trip got longer than expected we would water the load down with sprinkler hose.
it sounds like you have defined HBH as the culprit and I am sure there is some validity to that assumption. I should add that the kind of feeder you use may be part of the problem.
Thank you all very much for your comments. :hi:
I believe that the robbing is well under control at this point. I now have, apparently, many more of what I believe to be Guards and with Wally's expert advise, a neighbors assistance and several attempts, I have a fine robber screen in place.
tecumseh - I have a hive top feeder. On Wednesday (day 2 after installing bees) I added one gallon of sugar water in hope of diluting the very strong and sweet scent of the HBH solution. I realized afterward that the amount of HBH in the water remained the same. However it does seem to have had some effect; at least to my slightly congested nose.
:yahoo: Whatever the reasons, it now seems that the robbing has been reduced to sporadic incidents of attempted robbery. I even saw some bee coming home laden with pollen.
On a negative note - I believe that the robbers (wild bees?) are carrying mites. I have a SHB trap under my bees which I have checked every evening. However I had failed to fill it with oil on the day that I installed the bees and when I examined it that evening I saw what I believe to have been wax flakes and some debris but no mites or beetles. My robbing problem began the next morning and I had still not added the oil. That evening however, as I prepared to do so, I notice three pinhead-sized glossy reddish-black creatures in the tray. I have been told that I should not medicate the bees (other than HBH) until the Fall. I hope that my bees do not become infected.
Again a special thanks to Iddee for his kindness and to all of you for your help. Thank You!