Robbing?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Cupcakus, Jun 6, 2013.

  1. Cupcakus

    Cupcakus New Member

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    I'm sorry I don't have any video or pictures, it was by chance I noticed them and didn't have a camera handy.

    I usually notice a lot of activity outside the hives in the late afternoon, around 5pm or so. I just assumed it was the foragers coming home for the day, but today I noticed that only one of the hives had a LOT of activity way more than I've ever seen, and the other barely had any. I started to worry they were robbing... in the calm hive I only noticed bees leaving, and in the busy hive I only noticed bees arriving, very few were leaving. I did see a little pollen coming in, and I didn't really see any fighting at the entrance, or torn up wax. A few were up on the sides of the hive and landing boards with their abdomen's in the air.

    I don't know maybe it's not enough information to base an opinion on, the lavender has started blooming here so we should have a flow, but both hives might be out of syrup, I feed again this weekend. They had a lot of stores last weekend.
     
  2. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    Often in the late afternoon they young bees will leave en masse on short orientation flights. They mill around on the landing board a bit, then take off and do a few spirals above the hive, then return. The bees tend to be lighter in color and "fuzzy". Robbers tend to be experienced foragers near the end of their life and are usually darker and nearly hairless. Robbers tend to investigate around the hive, looking for an alternate way in and actively avoid brushing against other bees.
     

  3. The Bee Guy

    The Bee Guy New Member

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    Bees landing anywhere except the landing board that are moving around looking for a way in without alerting a guard bee is probably a robber.
    You will see a lot of activity, fighting at the entrance and such.
    If you're using an entrance feeder take it out.
    Reduce the entrance to about 1 inch so the guard bees can defend it.
    If you must feed use a feeder above the brood boxes, keep the feeders enclosed so the outside bees won't even know it's there.
    Italian bees are notorious for robbing weaker hives.
    It can happen very quickly.
    I know I've lost one hive already to robbing.
     
  4. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    When in doubt, put robber screens on both hives (there are diagrams on here, or you can just use a staple gun and windowscreen, and an entrance reducer). Screen them after the foragers are home for the night, do suit up while you do it, especially if you use a staple gun, they are noisy. I use a patch of window screen about 6 inches high and a little wider than the hive, put a couple of staples in the bottom box, and at least one in the center of the bottom board. I put my entrance reducer in the opening first. Usually works, fast easy and cheap