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Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:33 am
One of my 4 hives is being robbed. I tried closing the upper entrances and using an entrance reducer at the smallest setting but this did not stop the influx of robbing bees. I finally closed up the hive altogether so no one goes in or out. Now after four days the robbing bees have not given up; still trying to get in. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of dead bees and wax cappings all over the ground. My questions: Can this hive be salvaged? I’m not sure what to do about the bees that are still trapped inside the hive. Should I let them live? Are they all robber bees inside or is some of the original colony still alive? And what about the queen? Is there a chance I still have a queen bee inside that hive or has she been killed by the robbers? I’m reluctant to tear the hive apart for an inspection because it will probably set off more robbing. Note: I’m still feeding the bees trapped inside with sugar water but should I just let them all die? Note: I don't have another location where I can move this hive.
Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:56 am
You do need to know what is going on inside your hive. I would wait until early evening to go into the hive and inspect. If trouble starts, there is less daylight time for mischief. I would not smoke the entrance to the hive, but would put a little smoke under the outer cover before going in. I would also want heavy smoke in the air and keep it heavy while inspecting. I don't know that it really helps, but it may keep the smell of honey and open comb covered to some degree and buy you a few more minutes before chaos gets started.
Robbing may be the result of a hive with queen problems or may just be a really strong hive taking advantage of a weaker hive. If you have a live queen and enough of her workers to salvage the hive, you may need to reduce it to fewer supers if it has several, or even put it in a nuc. In any case, I would get a robber screen and put it on the hive if there is a colony to be salvaged. My nucs that are strong enough to go into 10 frame hives have reducers on. Any that are less populous have nuc robber screens on. Most of my regular hives have reducers on now, and I keep a supply of robber screens on hand for those times where I trigger a frenzy among my bees and have to calm things down.
The number of dead bees and the wax shards are indicators of serious robbing, but I have seen situations like that where the queen and enough bees have survived to make the salvage effort worthwhile.
Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:35 am
About the only solution is to move them. If you have no other place to take them, bring them to my house. After a few days, you can return them home with a robber screen on and they should be OK if they have a queen now. If queenless, you may want to combine them with another hive.
If interested, my number is336-302-2708.