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Author Topic: Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr  (Read 413 times)

Offline CoolBees

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Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr
« on: February 03, 2020, 11:48:57 am »
Last year I learned how fast a hive can get robbed out - less than 6 hours from healthy (younger/weaker/newer) hive to nothing left.

By early summer, I was able to protect 5 remaining young hives with homemade robbing screens - from then till now. The screens protected them from robbing bees, as well as Yellow Jackets and other various marauders.

I left my 4 strong hives without robbing screens for the duration.

Now - after "winter" - as my hives head into spring and the flow: my 4 "strongest" hives are the weakest. And the 5 weak hives (with robbing screens) are by far the strongest.

I found this quite interesting. At first glance, it appears that a hive is much healthier when not exposed to the constant daily stresses - that are prevented by robbing screens.
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2020, 12:05:19 pm »
Last year I learned how fast a hive can get robbed out - less than 6 hours from healthy (younger/weaker/newer) hive to nothing left.

By early summer, I was able to protect 5 remaining young hives with homemade robbing screens - from then till now. The screens protected them from robbing bees, as well as Yellow Jackets and other various marauders.

I left my 4 strong hives without robbing screens for the duration.

Now - after "winter" - as my hives head into spring and the flow: my 4 "strongest" hives are the weakest. And the 5 weak hives (with robbing screens) are by far the strongest.

I found this quite interesting. At first glance, it appears that a hive is much healthier when not exposed to the constant daily stresses - that are prevented by robbing screens.



I am always asking questions and eager to learn!
They, (questions), are running wide open in minds eye even now! lol
I will have more later my friend.
Thanks for posting this informative and interesting information.
Phillip


.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2020, 02:18:31 am by Ben Framed »

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2020, 01:56:40 pm »
Interesting Alan!  Would you mind sharing a picture of one of your robbing screens?  I'm thinking about trying to make some this year, and I'm shopping around for ideas.  I have some prefab ones, but they are pricey to buy, and as you mentioned, a really nice piece of equipment to have around. 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline paus

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Re: Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2020, 02:05:47 pm »
This made ?????????????? I have just finished a DSBB with two methods for entrances.  My DSBB all have gates for the normal entrance that can be closed for moving or for any other reason.  I added the PVC look down entrance, from a post on facebook,  supposedly stops entrance of SHB into the hive. This made me think that robbers will try to get into the closed entrance, because that is what they are used to and also that is where the odor will be coming from. I can think of other advantages of the PVC entrance for weak hives, maybe.  Time will tell, after I put some small swarms and cutouts in this type of DSBB with secondary PVC entrance, maybe, maybe WE" have stumbled on one solution that stops or slows multiple problems ie: robbing and SHB.

Offline CoolBees

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Re: Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2020, 05:55:28 pm »
Interesting Alan!  Would you mind sharing a picture of one of your robbing screens?  I'm thinking about trying to make some this year, and I'm shopping around for ideas.  I have some prefab ones, but they are pricey to buy, and as you mentioned, a really nice piece of equipment to have around.

Haha! My screens are REALLY complicated! (Not!).  :cheesy: :cheesy:  :grin:

I bought a roll of replacement Stainless Steel window screen from Home Depot for about $4. A pair of scissors and a box of thumbtacks finished off the requirements. (1 roll of screen can do dozens of hives).

That's all I've used since then, screen and thumbtacks. Very cheap, very easy - and works. Even works for moving hives.

Here's a Pic of one of my early attempts ( I used staples on this one).

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I've opened the entrances more now - based on what they need, as viewed by conjestion. I'll try to get a more current picture for you tomorrow.

Also, I've switched to #8 hardware cloth now. Didn't have it available when I had my 1st emergency situation, so I grabbed what was available.

You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2020, 09:21:39 am »
Paus, I am considering trying the PVC portals as described by Langford at Woolley Bees. I do not know if this is the same set up as the one that you found on Facebook? Van and I have talked about this here before and I tend to agree, as you indicated, they may serve a two part purpose. Stopping SHB and  robbing?
Blessings,
Phillip


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« Last Edit: February 04, 2020, 01:45:10 pm by Ben Framed »

Offline CoolBees

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Re: Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2020, 01:37:00 pm »
As promised: here are some current pics of the screens I've been using. These are the "window screen" type, that have been in service since last spring.

Here's a garden hive with screen.

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Notice the newspaper bits down in the screen. This is the hive I recently had to combine a queen to. (Haven't had time to check how things are going inside yet).


This is a Nuc with screen.
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This Nuc was the one that requeened over New Years. So this queen is about 30 days old. Notice that this hive pulls larvae every night, and the bees clean them up during the day. I took this pic this morning, and they haven't cleaned up yet.

Hopefully you can get an idea of the screen size, and opening size I've been using. I adjusted the openings throughout the last year based on watching the comings and goings of both the hive, and potential robbers. Adjustments are easy with the Push Pins. These screens are a few pennies each to make.
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2020, 02:08:35 pm »
Cool, are the larva on entrance chill larva?  Thanks for all the info, Mr. Alan.
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2020, 02:22:19 pm »
Thanks so much for the pictures, Alan.  Man, it doesn't get simpler (and cheaper) than that!  I'm surprised that the large opening at the top works well.  The prefab ones have tiny little top openings, and I would have thought robbers could find their way in if it was large.  But I guess if the screen is high enough they just go for the bottom where the hive entrance is.  I'm definitely not buying a robbing screen ever again!  :grin: 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline CoolBees

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Re: Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2020, 02:25:51 pm »
Van, I'm not sure. They seem to be pulling larvae in small qty's each day - of all ages. It's the only hive doing it. I've never seen this in person before. Our temps here have been 55-70 days, and 37-50 nights. The hive has about 6 medium frames of bees right now, which is to say, the lower box is completely full of bees, and the upper box (1 of my last remaining deeps) has part of a frame. Last check 2 weeks ago showed 3 frames of brood, and the new queen. The deep frames above are 70% full of capped honey. If things go right, this hive should "explode" in size in the next 3 weeks. So ... I'd love some advice on this one.
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Offline CoolBees

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Re: Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2020, 02:40:32 pm »
Thanks so much for the pictures, Alan.  Man, it doesn't get simpler (and cheaper) than that!  I'm surprised that the large opening at the top works well.  The prefab ones have tiny little top openings, and I would have thought robbers could find their way in if it was large.  But I guess if the screen is high enough they just go for the bottom where the hive entrance is.  I'm definitely not buying a robbing screen ever again!  :grin:

No worries Member - but pls remember, I'm (5 yrs) new at beeking - with many failures. I'm making it up as I go along. I had tighter entrances at first. When conjestion became a problem, I opened them up. When they were opened far enough, I saw robbers getting in, and fighting, so I closed them some. Now, I watch almost daily. I see robbers and scouts on the outside of the screens, but nothing getting thru. The robbers seem to go for the smell.

Critical notes: the sides are really where I've observed robbers trying to get thru, so I've made sure they are closed tight. Also, I found about 10 inches of height works best - for me. Hope this helps.

Anyone who has different experiences - pls feel free to chime in.
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2020, 02:44:27 pm »
Van, I'm not sure. They seem to be pulling larvae in small qty's each day - of all ages. It's the only hive doing it. I've never seen this in person before. Our temps here have been 55-70 days, and 37-50 nights. The hive has about 6 medium frames of bees right now, which is to say, the lower box is completely full of bees, and the upper box (1 of my last remaining deeps) has part of a frame. Last check 2 weeks ago showed 3 frames of brood, and the new queen. The deep frames above are 70% full of capped honey. If things go right, this hive should "explode" in size in the next 3 weeks. So ... I'd love some advice on this one.

Alan, I am reaching> < I mean really reaching>. You have been striving for hygienic bees. Could this possibly be a spin off? Could it be that the bees are finding something they do not like and pulling the larva? I think so. What, I do not know. I will take a guess. Didn't you lose a hive to mites the past season? I am really guessing and have not seen your frames  or a close up on these pulled larva.  It is good the screens are in place that way the bees can't simply fly off to dispose of the larvae as easily or simply dump them over to the side. I would recommend inspecting each one of these larva with a magnifying glass if need be. Look for attached mites!! That would be my first suggestion since you already have had mite problems and go on from there?
Blessings,
Phillip

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2020, 02:49:25 pm »
No worries Member - but pls remember, I'm (5 yrs) new at beeking - with many failures. I'm making it up as I go along. I had tighter entrances at first. When conjestion became a problem, I opened them up. When they were opened far enough, I saw robbers getting in, and fighting, so I closed them some. Now, I watch almost daily. I see robbers and scouts on the outside of the screens, but nothing getting thru. The robbers seem to go for the smell.

Critical notes: the sides are really where I've observed robbers trying to get thru, so I've made sure they are closed tight. Also, I found about 10 inches of height works best - for me. Hope this helps.

Anyone who has different experiences - pls feel free to chime in.
Great tips, thanks a bunch.  I am probably going to build something instead of just using the hardware cloth.  I like the convenience of being able to just set the screen on the landing board, and I found a really easy plan for one, but I was concerned about the fact that the one I was looking at had the whole top open.  Well I am concerned about that no longer.  :happy:
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline CoolBees

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Re: Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2020, 02:49:49 pm »
Phillip - I did not loose a hive to mites last yr, or the yr before. However - I've had to work to keep mite levels under control. I just finished a round of OAV treetments - 5 weeks on Sundays and Thursdays. This particular hive was queenless, so I stopped treating it after 3 broodless applications - which makes me think that mite counts should be low here.
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline CoolBees

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Re: Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2020, 02:51:22 pm »
About the screens - its fun watching YJ's bite and tear at the screens, and the bees ignore them. Makes me laugh!
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline paus

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Re: Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2020, 03:02:23 pm »
I have got to try the thumb tacks and screen as you do, so easy.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2020, 03:06:14 pm »
Phillip - I did not loose a hive to mites last yr, or the yr before. However - I've had to work to keep mite levels under control. I just finished a round of OAV treetments - 5 weeks on Sundays and Thursdays. This particular hive was queenless, so I stopped treating it after 3 broodless applications - which makes me think that mite counts should be low here.

Awesome I am glad of that.  Another thing to consider after inspecting the larvae, (And I still recommend inspection the larva). Considering this is a strong build up time. As we know it takes a lot , I mean a lot of resources to keep up with the pace that our bees are going in order to raise babies, feed all the workers, and nurse bees, along with making enough honey to feed our bees not to mention enough pollen to make bee bread to feed the larva. The busiest time of bees is coming, if not already here where you are. Keep in mind I am just trying to help.  Could it be that the bees are not yet receiving enough nectar and pollen combination to keep up with the royal jelly or jelly demands that are required to keep them moving forward? I have read that they WILL pull larvae if resources are short. If that is not the answer, you will need to look further. In either case this pulling of larva will leave a shotgun looking pattern in your frames of brood, do not confuse this pattern with a bad queen you may have a grand hygienic queen and the bees are doing their job well.
Phillip

Offline CoolBees

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Re: Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2020, 03:22:30 pm »
Phillip - it could be a pollen shortage in this hive. (They've got everything else they need - that I know of). ... but ... they are pulling capped brood, not young larvae. So probably not.
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Offline CoolBees

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Re: Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2020, 03:29:30 pm »
BTW - I know how to work with wood, I'm an engineer, and I have all the woodworking tools. But these screens were born during an emergency - and a country boy scrambling around the garage searching for an immediate solution. So ... the screens are ugly ... they are embarrassing ... and they worked ... so I kept makimg adjustments & using them. ... "Don't fix it if it ain't broke" ... is what they always taught me.  :grin:

It's great, 'cause I can slip out after dark, pin the top of the screen shut, and the hive is ready to be loaded for movement in the morning. Very simple.  3 birds + 1 stone = UGLY-but-good. :cool:
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Observations on robbing screens - after 1 yr
« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2020, 05:09:20 pm »
Phillip - it could be a pollen shortage in this hive. (They've got everything else they need - that I know of). ... but ... they are pulling capped brood, not young larvae. So probably not.

Whatever the problem is I hope you find it soon and correction is easy. Best to you my friend.
Phillip