Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Robber Screens

I purchased 2 packages of Honeybees from Sam Comfort of Anarchy Apiaries ( He works with natural cell and treatment free bees.

My hive did not have a Queen. Two swarms left the hive (on the L), and somehow the hive ended up Queen less….Virgin Queen may have been killed on a mating flight. I don’t know….the package has lots of young bees to help the new Queen get the hive going.

Each deep hive body only had 1 medium frame of capped honey and I have to feed the bees. Unfortunately….right now we are between flows of nectar. A “dearth” it is called. The Pepper Bush should bloom before much longer but right now all I have are a few blooms on the Bottlebrush and it is not keeping all the bees in the area happy.

What is the reason the one on the L is 2 deep boxes and one medium?…… The bottom box had the original bees. Between it and the one above, I put a sheet of newspaper…and dumped the package of bees in it…secured the Queen cage to a frame and then put an inner cover on. The newspaper has a few slits in it. The two or three days it takes them to chew their way through gives them a chance to become part of the hive and no fighting. The next box is smaller. ..called a “medium super”…I use that to feed them. There are two flat sticks with a quart jar of sugar and water mix ..upside down. The cap has holes in it…the bees can get under the jar to the “syrup”.


The “robber” bees come from other hives like these…or feral hives. According to the page I read about “robber” screens…the “robbers” are in such a hurry to get inside the hive they head straight to the entrance at the bottom…the screen stops them.  After awhile they get discouraged and leave…(after awhile could be days)

Right now I have the entrances reduced in size. I may be able to open them up a little later today.

The smell of honey in the hive and the sugar syrup draws them.


The board on the top has a “bee” space behind it for the resident bees to come and go.  This is looking down into the bee opening.


I guess they remember the way home….the “robbers” are so busy on the screen they don’t go up and over. If they do figure it out we can lay a board across the top and close off most of the entrance.

I also put out an open feeder to give the “robbers” something to eat and to pull their attention away from the hive. It is in the front yard….hives in the back.


I took 3 furring strips…stapled window screen to them for the bees to walk on. The sticks float. Otherwise, the bees would drown. I can see at least 2 that didn’t make it and a lot of red ants. Had to put vaseline on the plant hanger to keep them off.

They can go through a quart of syrup in a very short time.  It may have helped.


The number of bees on the “robber screens” is much less this afternoon. The open feeder is empty and has been cleaned out.  I’ll give them some syrup first thing in the morning.

I checked the hives yesterday…both Queen cages were empty. The reason they come in a cage? They may not have been in the hive the “package” of bees came from and it gives them a chance to get their scent (pheromones) through the hive and become accepted as the new Queen…other wise they might kill her.

So much to learn…I just hate doing it at their expense.

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