Bee robbing is a phenomenon observed in beekeeping. It is a situation where the beehive is attacked by the invading bees from other hives to steal the honey. This invasion is a serious danger for the bee colon being invaded as the defending bees fight to the death that results in the loss of many lives and in the worst situation the entire colony is destroyed. If it is a robbing season and you observe such a situation around your beehives, follow the given suggestions to halt the disaster.
Most of the beekeepers misunderstand the robbing oppositely and think that their weak hives are getting a life. If you observe any unusual activity around your colonies, observe carefully. Robbing bees normally approach the weak hives without nectar and pollen on their feet.
They don’t enter the hives directly rather fly from side to side waiting for the right moment to attack. See if there are fights happening on the landing board or your bees are black and shiny. This shine comes from shedding their tiny hairs during the fight. You can see many wax capping inside the hives on the floor. If these signs are there, your hive is attacked. The following measures can be adopted to avoid the situation.
Wide open entrance makes the hives vulnerable to invasion. During the ribbing season, reduce the width of the entrance to the level that only one bee can enter at one time. You can use entrance reducer or grass stuffed clumps to reduce it.
Minimal entrance helps the attacked bees to defend against aggression more effectively. While reducing entrance keep an eye over temperature. If it is significantly hot, narrowing entrance can impair ventilation.
Queenright Your Hives
Bees are tended to attack queen-less hives more that the queenright ones. Make sure to queenright all your hives in the robbing season. Furthermore, combine all your weak hives to create some strong ones.
Cover the Hives
Soak a bedsheet or a towel in water and cover the hive that is under attack. It will prevent the attacking bees to enter the hive. Resident bees seem to be able to find their alternate ways to enter. Re-wet the sheet if it is too dry or hit outside. You can remove the sheet in few days when you observe that the robbers have changed their behaviour.
Install Robbing Screen
Robbing screen is tremendously effective devices that helps the resident bees to get in and out through an alternative entrance and confuse the robbing bees meanwhile. The attacking bees are after honey-scent and continue to butt into the screen. If your beehives are weak, robbing screens are a must-have.
Avoid Exposing Honey
Never leave honey out in the open. The bees smell the nectar and find a place to steal it. Particularly never expose it near the other hives in the nectar dearth. Harvest the honey with your spurs covered after you removed them from the colony. Don’t spill the sugar syrup while feeding your bees. The slightest amount of any seducer can intrigue a disaster.