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NZBF Tips for identifying robbing and dealing with it

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Have noticed over the past few days a lot more activity with one of hives. 
 

bees are still bringing in pollen but each day seems to be a period where there are a lot more bees coming in and out of hive and generally flying round in front. 
 

I can’t see any fighting but am wondering if this is just normal behavior or robbing. 
 

I have reduced the entrance size and also put some leafy branches in front of opening which seems to calm things over time. 
 

any thoughts or extra things to identify robbing?

 

thanks. 

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robbers will tend to be inside the hive and if you lift off the hive mat for a second or two, a great many bees may fly out on their way home with full bellies. Those are robbers looking for an easy way out to avoid the entrance. If you lift off the hive mat and all is normal, then you haven't got robbing, but put the hive mat straight back on again quickly anyway, as we don't want to kick it off either..

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Thanks all. Sounds like they’re not robbers as it has been happening in the afternoon after rain and plenty of pollen still coming in and no sign of fighting.  Think I’ll remove the leaf camouflage I put in the front!

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20200425_105241_copy_2145x1997.thumb.jpg.8a5a5d09dfd20d815d616bd5298e23b1.jpgI have also had lots of potential robbers around. Some of the congestion though, seems to be the traffic trying to get in and out of restricted entrances. I only have 3 mice excluders and 4 hives so one hive just has block of wood.

I have only left a couple of bee spaces for them to come and go. Is this enough at this time of year through the daytime?it's not bad at the moment but when it gets really warm, it gets very congested.

20200425_103824.jpg

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Posted (edited)

@Wildflower

love the hive decorations.

In the last photo, with the rock...there's a couple of bees with pollen queued to get in. There's no fighting in the photo.

My call would be congestion based on that and the other photos..

Different location and different conditions, but I have very few of my hives with reduced entrances yet.

BTW....blocks of wood work fine. An old frame top is one of my go-to entrance reducers.

 

 

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If you use Apiguard - or another strong thymol based varroa treatment in the hives, they can look like they are being robbed as the bees behave differently. And I have had silent robbing - where I was putting in sugar syrup in the autumn and not uderstanding why the colony was not gaining weight. Until I noticed activity late in the day at the entrances of two hives. The robbers and the robbed, as it turned out. The robbing hive was unliftable! If you are not sure which hive is the robbing hive, if you have a quick eye you can shake icing sugar (old books suggest flour) on the leaving bees - and see which entrance they arrive at.

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