Week 16 – 25 ~ Robbing and Fall
August 24th 2008
Robbing is the term used by beekeepers to describe bees stealing honey and/or pollen without having gathered it…like when wild bees come into your hives and steal it from your bees!
Maybe it is the desire to get something for nothing….maybe it is the lure of easy money or food in this case….maybe it is simply available and obtainable and so it is taken without any moral issue….simply survival. However you wish to see it the result is less pollen, honey and food for the winter for your bees and less honey for you.
The third hive that I started, the one started with bees that had swarmed from one of my first hives, have been happily building out their hive. I added a super that contained relatively clean comb from my original purchase just to see if they would clean it up and use it I was also hoping that they would be able to build out two supers faster this way.
Today I noticed three yellow-jackets congregating on the outside of this hive. I then noticed one go into the hive…could this be happening? Did they have a nest in there? It turns out they they were going in to take honey. Most of the honeybees were using a hole in the top super to go in and out of leaving the large open slot at the bottom of the hive open to anyone. There were no guards or honeybees using that larger entrance.
I stuffed the main entrance with pine cones ( for lack of something better), leaving an opening of about an inch for the bees to come an go.
September 1st 2008
Today when I checked the hives I noticed yellow-jackets bothering another hive. They were not bothering thehive that had the pine cones stuffed int he entrance so it appears that this may have worked. I made some inserts that will reduce the entrance to the hives and placed them in the opening.
The opening is 15 inches by 3/4 and I cut these inserts at 12 inches. This will leave a 3 inch opening to come and go and I am hoping they will also allow the bees to enforce who comes into their hive….we will see.
Bee attacking a Yellowjacket
It could have been a bit more in focus but this was just one of many yellow jackets that repeatedly came around and tried to enter the hive opening. Occasionally one would just walk right in and disappear into the hive. More often than not though the yellow jacket would be aggressively attacked by one honey bee and driven away. It impressed me how these mellow little honeys bees would transform into rambo and drive them away. I had been attacked by a yellow jacket before and I know how aggressive they can be. It sort of seemed as though they knew better than to go into a honey bee hive and steal honey but if one could sort of casually enter and not get attacked then was ok.
October 11 2008
Fall is upon us and the lurking yellowjackets are diminishing. The bees seem to like the new smaller entrances. They seem better able to fight off the yellowjackets.