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I have only one hive on my farm now and until I got this hive, had not seen a honey bee around here in ten or more years. I removed the entrance reducer from my hive this afternoon because the activity of the bees was causing a lot of congestion at the reduced entrance even though I had the "summer" opening open.

It helped immediately with the congestion but I read later that the summer entrance should be left in place to help the bees defend against robbing. Does that mean defend against a different group of honey bees or maybe yellow jackets or just what does it mean?

Although I've only been doing this for 3 weeks, I feel like I have a strong hive. But just in case, should I put the reducer back in place?
Thanks,
 

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robbing is when other bees are trying to rob the hive. It's easy to identify if you know what to look for.... if you see lots of bees trying to get into the hive in a very frenzied fashion with lots of fighting going on at the entrance chances are it's robbing. Someone on here posted a picture but I can't remember now who it was.... youtube may have some videos, and someone else on here put up a great post about the robbing screens that they use.

In our bee yard if we suspect robbing is going on or that it might start we reduce the entrances immediately. We hope to get some of the screens like the ones that were posted on here this year.
 

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a well populated hive rarely gets robbed. it is the weak hive and those with weak queens that seem to be the prime suspect. play flight (where the young bees take their first flight and memorize where home is located) and robbing look somewhat alike. with robbing you have a bit different tone generated by the bees and you have guard bees and robbers wresting around on the ground (most of the time in good enough numbers that it is difficult to ignore).

robbing screens help in such situations. actually to me robbing (by the bees and not by humans) is really more like looting than robbing.
 

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One other little tidbit about reducers. If you are using a solid bottom board, the reducer greatly cuts down the ventilation in the hive. When it is hot or humid, you will see a lot of bees fanning at the entrance.
 

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Along with what Tec said, robbing also seldom, if ever, happens during a honey flow. In the mid to late summer dearth is when you need to worry about it.

Mama Beek, did you mean these?








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Great pictures Iddee!
To me, that looks like robbing. Playflights look more like "bobbing and weaving", Lazy figure 8 kind of stuff. Robbing looks more frenzied, zig zag. I also don't think you see the kind of build up in the entranceway with playflights like you do with robbing (especially in those pictures)
 

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perrybee writes:
I also don't think you see the kind of build up in the entranceway with playflights like you do with robbing (especially in those pictures)

tecumseh:
# 6 was a very nice description perrybee. with robbing the accumulation of bees is entering the hive and at leat when play flight begins the new bees come flowing out like water.
 

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It means that if you have a weak hive and a dearth is on in the summer and there are feral hives in the area or you or your neighbors have strong hives , there is a good chance they are going to attack your hive,kill all your bees and take there stores. If you haven't seen a honey bee in ten years before you got yours, then you have nothing to worry about. :thumbsup: Jack
 
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