Robbing Nightmare

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Mark Smith:
Question for the group. I just experience the worst robbing massacre I have ever seen. I had several new splits in nuc boxes set up behind my house. When I set them up, the entrances where reduced down to literally one bees width. Started feeding them. Well Thursday I noticed signs of robbing so I covered them up with wet bed sheets. Now remember the entrance is reduced to just the width of one bee. Robbing got worse. So I closed the entrances completely for about 6 hours. The robbers would not go away. My closest yard is about 1/4 mile away. What more could I have done. I think most of the nucs are lost. What say y'all.

Are you sure they were robbers from other hives and not foragers from those nucs? I wouldn't have thought that a one-bee entrance would be indefensible.

Even of they were robbers, you have plenty of time left in the season to feed the nucs.

little john:
Robbers are a) motivated by prior intelligence from 'robber scouts', and b)  focussed on smell.  So - wet sheets and panes of glass are a waste of time. 

The best solution is anti-robbing mesh over the entrance, which really needs to be in place from the outset to outwit the robber scouts.  It's great fun watching potential robbers unable to figure out how to break in, while the residents simply walk around the side of the mesh, effortlessly.  But - if instead, word gets back to the 'robber hive' that there's easy pickings to be had, the situation can very quickly get out of control - as you've found out.
One way of stopping robbing in it's tracks is to fully seal the nuc entrance for 24hrs - but that requires a nuc fitted with some means of adequate ventilation.

Perhaps the best solution of all is something I'm working on at this very moment: to create nucs - not by splits or shake-outs which creates small, vulnerable colonies - but to create nucs over a parent hive, which should then generate a fully functional nucleus colony, complete with it's own workers, foragers, and most importantly - it's own mature guards.  I'll post more about this when I've finished the trials I'm currently running - providing they're successful, of course.

Last month when I was pulling honey, the 128 commercial hives that are close to my hives started robbing the hives real bad. I put 2 sprinklers over the hives and it stopped the robbing. Every time I tried to pull honey the robbing would start up again. The sprinklers really worked.

I have read twice, once on micheil bush's website, that rubbing some vicks vapor rub on the front of the hive helps hide the small but that the hive bees know where they live. 

Maby something to try with the things that you already have going on.

Good luck


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