NZBF: Today i understand robbing

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245
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Christchurch
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As a new beek I always wondered if robbing is going on. Busy air in front of hive etc all had me thinking I might be.

Yesterday came home to bees all over the concrete, bees with their guts hanging out, bees wrestling and tumbling ...

Today even worse.

Now I know what robbing looks like. It's pretty unmistakable in this instance.

Attached photo is just todays carnage as I cleaned up yesterdays.

Lots of black backed bees around ... not mine.

I've got two hives. The one being attacked is the one i didnt take honey from 4 days ago. Smaller but strong with two solid brood boxes.

I'm not wanting to close the entrance.. 32degrees plus and tomorrow more of the same. I'll lean a board across entrance to 'shade it tonight' and see if that helps deter robbers. I'm told entrances in shade are less attractive to robbers.
 

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Mummzie

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you could reduce the entrances but also increase ventilation by inserting small props between the boxes ie matchsticks/kebab sticks.
Also have the crown board lifted to create a small air vent.

If the robbers have found the hive they are likely having a planning meeting about tomorrow, so shading it may not suffice.

Good luck.
 
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Grant

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Agree with @Mummzie Might be worth putting a reducer on especially if it has the holes in it for the ventilation.
 
245
156
Christchurch
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Beginner
I have some white plastic capping for network cabling .. it's about the perfect size to close entrances. I'll perforate that, close the entrance, crack the boxes with match sticks and shade it. See how it goes.

What size holes can bees get through?. I was about to reach for my 5mm drill bit when the memory that a 3.4mm gap is accessible by worker bees swam through my vague memories.
Should 3mm be okay?
 
1,304
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Also be aware poking matchsticks between boxes for ventilation will allow the hunting bees some food scent to home in on and could result in a frenzy as they try to squeeze in the gap..
you need to make sure there’s no reward for their efforts.
I would reduce entrance, if youre worried maybe sit some plywood or leafy branches or something on the lid strapped on to add shade, if they get hot they can always hang outside. If it is robbing and they’re not grunty enough to defend you should move them away for a week or so.
 

Josh

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Make it rain, if water restrictions allow. Spray the hive with a sprinkler, your bees stay home & cool. Robbers are deterred.

ivd also read throwing a wet sheet over the top works.
 
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245
156
Christchurch
Experience
Beginner
Make it rain, if water restrictions allow. Spray the hive with a sprinkler, your bees stay home & cool. Robbers are deterred.

ivd also read throwing a wet sheet over the top works.
Funny you should say that. I had turned the hose on fine mist to cool down the area in case heat was an issue but also to deter the robbers. It worked for a short time.

It's definitely robbing. Lots of fighting, bees with guts out after stinging. Etc. Lots of black backed foreigners floating around.

I've hosed down concrete again .. get rid of bodies. 2 - 3 wasps predation g the dead bees. Got a lure coming on order as have noticed growing numbers of wasps in neighborhood.

Tomorrows another day.
 
245
156
Christchurch
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So hive entrance made smaller, two boxes and hive mat cracked for ventilation. Leaning a spare top cover against fron of hive to make shadow over entrance.

My first blocker was 8mm dowel. The bees inside rolled it out. Funny creatures. Made blocker from network capping with 1mm slots to let air through.

Area cleaned of dead bees. Let's see if it works.
 

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Alastair

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I'm not sure it's robbing either, doesn't quite seem like it.

To really know, we need to see a video.

Here is an example, in one of my own hives, of something that your bees could have. Not robbing, but a virus.

The apparent fighting is actually bees attempting to eject sick bees, and the black coloured bees are affected by the virus. Which is why this disease is sometimes called "black robber disease", it looks like the hive is being attacked by black robbers.

 
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To check whether it's robing or not, close the hive up in the evening and then take a look in the morning. If there are bees outside, it's robbing as they are trying to get in. You can (quickly) add a super on top before-hand to give them more space if they are crowded and it's hot.
Robbing tends to continue later in the day compared to non-robbed or robbing ones.
 
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9
9
Hastings
Experience
Semi Commercial
We use a sopping wet drop cloth to cover a hive that is being robbed. It can be remarkably effective.
We use the same (damp not sopping wet) when we are harvesting our honey to keep bees off the supers on the trailer.
 
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245
156
Christchurch
Experience
Beginner
To check whether it's robing or not, close the hive up in the evening and then take a look in the morning. If there are bees outside, it's robbing as they are trying to get in. You can (quickly) add a super on top before-hand to give them more space if they are crowded and it's hot.
Robbing tends to continue later in the day compared to non-robbed or robbing ones.
I'll try that tonight.
Weve seen black backed bees on the local clover and flowers ... very definitely strangers in our parts . Also bees trying to get in the blocked entrance parts while others happily head to gap and guard bees.
We put on a super 3 weeks ago which they arent drawing out or filling. The plastic queen excluder is getting filled in but that should have some space too.
I'm watching the shaded entrance today to see what happens. Might try damp cloth too. Although that gets dry really quickly at present.
Thanks
 


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