Question about robber screen usage and other anti-robbing methods

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by NCnewbeek, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. NCnewbeek

    NCnewbeek New Member

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    Hi all,
    This is my first post to this forum, so thanks in advance for feedback. My weakest hive has been getting robbed for about a week and a half. We tried the wet sheet method, Vicks vapor rub, and everything else I could find online. Installed a robber screen a few days ago and it seems to be helping, but there still seem to be a steady flow of bees in and out through the robber screen entrance. Certainly hoping that these are bees from my hive and not the robbers, but it's made me question whether I installed the screen correctly. I removed the hive's entrance reducer when I installed the robber screen. Should I have left it on? I know that the robber screen is essentially an entrance reducer, but wondering if a second reduction at the main entrance would be of benefit or not.
    Also wondering if the robber screen can be used with other methods? Would a combination of the robber screen and wet sheet be overkill? It's hot here (mid 90s most days), so I don't want to overheat them (the hive does have a screened bottom board). If it weren't so hot, I'd consider just closing the hive up for a few days, but I think that's risky in this heat.
    Any other ideas? I don't have enough land to relocate the hive far enough away, so that option is out.
     
  2. kebee

    kebee Active Member

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    First I want to welcome you to the forum, and it would help to have left the the hive reducer in, the bees would have been able to define the hive better, with a robber screen on the robbers can still get in but the hive can protect the entrance better for the other bees cannot get a run on the entrance like they could before. Since they have been robbing the hive they will still be around a few days until they find out they cannot get in easy now.

    ​Ken
     

  3. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Robber screens are the way to go. Entrance reducer should be removed and the robber screen tightly installed. Most robber screens have openings at the bottom and at the top. I always close the bottom one because that's where the robbers are going to try to get in. I install the robber screen after the girls are home for the night and then open the upper opening so that they will reorient to that exit/entrance. If you put it on during the day when the girls are flying, they may not be able to find their way back in (just like the robbers!). If the girls are oriented to their new entrance, they will be merrily coming and going while the robbers will be smelling the honey and other beehive odors coming out at the bottom and will not find the upper entrance. Too, if there is no frenzy going on at the entrance of the hive, the bees you see coming and going are most likely yours and not robbers.
     
  4. ibeelearning

    ibeelearning Member

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    I quote Michael Bush on robbing: Stop it. Now. http://www.bushfarms.com/beesrobbing.htm

    If you use screen to close the hive, it will still have ventilation.

    I like to think I can read the activity at the entrance to determine whether robbing interventions have worked, but for me the "proof" would be whether the stores keep disappearing.
     
  5. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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  6. Stevebug

    Stevebug New Member

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    While screens help a lot my question is, how are the bees on the inside doing? If they have been robbed out for a while they may be in bad shape. Check for the queen and remaining stores. Also no one has mentioned the better way to handle robbing in a hive. Close it off and move it a few miles away for a brief time. Give them time to recover, build up stores (feeding) and if you had robbers in that hive they would become part of that hive. I know this is a harder solution but one in which I have used to good success. Also if anyone has more than one hive then feeding them all at the same time will most times quench the urge to rob. Reduce that entrance to the smallest you can too. Hope you survive this attack. Nothing sadder than finding what you thought to be a thriving hive empty and all the bees gone.
     
  7. jwsbees

    jwsbees New Member

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    I just had a hive robbed out. I put on a screen and it still continued. Now that I have it stopped I noticed something I thought was odd. The landing board was covered with bees torn in half, also larvae... Devastating!!!!
     
  8. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Best defense against robbing is building up the bees numbers. I have watched a robbing hive tear the duct tape at the edges of my robber screen off my hive and enter enmasse. They killed my first hive. I presently have a little nuc in my apiary with 3 large hives. All are fed using top feed jars set in screened openings in migratory covers. The opening to the nuc is one bee, was originally 3/4 of an inch square. I just shove sticks in accordingly to adjust the space down if the other hives start checking the nuc out.