Help, I'm being robbed!

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by pistolpete, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    it's 100% my fault. We live in a small town and I thought I knew all the bee keepers in the area. The closest being about 2 miles away, and me having only one hive, I was not worried about robbing. So I set my extractor outside for the bees to clean up. I also had some supers with bits of honey left and I put them inside my bee shed (my bee hive is inside a shed with an outside entry) so that my bees could clean them out via the inside entrance. That worked well for a few days, but today I got home to find lots of activity everywhere and bees fighting inside the shed as well as on the landing board.

    The hive is very strong, but with the volume of robber bees I see, I'm worried that they will be overwhelmed. I sealed off all the supers beside the hive, sealed the top entrance, and put on an entrance reducer. I also piled some loose leaves in front of the entrance.

    Is there anything else I can do to remedy my rookie mistake? Can I seal off the entrance with mesh and feed the bees for a couple of days until the robbers give up trying?
     
  2. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    pistolpete,
    move the supers, and the extractor if you haven't done so, yes, if you don't have a robbing screen, you can use hardware cloth, or your mesh. remove the entrance reducer if you use hardware cloth to cover the the bottom entrance.
     

  3. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Bees from your own hive can get worked up when presented honey never mind the neighbors or feral colonies when there in no flow on. It is a good practice to never do anything that will encourage robing. The hive if they are strong will protect their hive from robbers. In the future place the supers back on the hive over an empty super or inner cover. The extractor wash it out with a little hot water brush it around and feed it to the bees in a feeder.
     
  4. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    ApisBees writes
    Yes, I sure found that out the hard way. It was like a tornado of bees around my hive this evening. I put an escape board over the supers that I had stacked beside the hive and most of the bees left. The stragglers I brushed off and the supers are now in my basement. I did put them on the hive originally, but they cleaned them up and promptly started filling them again (chimney pattern). Since they had no chance of filling them by winter I tried the stack beside the hive.

    The hive is quite strong, should I put on a robber screen or not? It's late tonight, can I wait till tomorrow evening or will there be a lot of damage in one day?
     
  5. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    pistolpete,
    the mistakes are behind you now, some years i don't put the supers back on to let them clean them up, and this is one year i won't because of our nectar dearth, this will also encourage robbing. i'd put the robbing screen on anyway, irregardless of how strong a hive is, you will eliminate it and save the lives of your bees. if your neighbors bees are hungry, they will keep coming back even with a strong hive. iddee's robbing screen is great, if you can't get that whipped up, just use the hardware cloth. get it on as soon as you can...., i would do it in the morning, and i wouldn't wait until tomorrow evening, the sooner the better for your girls....
    :grin:
     
  6. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    OK, I drove down to my work, put together indee's robber screen and put it on the hive. I sure am getting a lot of mileage out of the yard of hardware cloth I bought this spring. screened bottom boards, escape boards, vented top boards, now robber screens. I should buy stock in the company that makes it :) I'll do a hive inspection on Sunday and see what kind of damage was done. Working 65 hrs a week doesn't leave me a lot of extra time right now.
     
  7. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    If the supers are placed directly over the brood box the bees may not take the honey down but store in in the supers. If you leave the inner cover on between the brood and your honey super, or place an empty super no frames in it on and the honey suppers on top the bees will move the honey down.
     
  8. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    yes, I tried it that way, but it did not work for me. My guess is the hive was just too full of bees. it's been bursting at the seams since early august. Also the top brood box was 95% capped honey, so they had nowhere to move it down to. I removed 8 of the frames in the top brood box and extracted them. Then I replaced them with frames that were drawn out and mostly filled. I checked today (one week later), and the second brood box is once again 90% capped.

    Now I have a dilemma: At the moment my bottom brood box is about 15% honey, 20% pollen, and 65% brood or empty cells. The top brood box is 100% capped honey. On top of that I have an empty box with 3 frames that are mostly filled, but not capped. I am also using this box to feed the uncapping mess back to the bees. What should I do with these 3 frames? The options that come to mind are: trade them for 3 capped frames from the second brood and extract, trade them for 3 frames from the bottom brood that are mostly empty, freeze them till spring.
    Also is this enough stores to winter the bees or should I be feeding for another couple of weeks? we've already had first frost, but the days are warm and foraging is still heavy.