4 day old Nuc hive robbed

Hi all, I have installed 8 frame nuc on Thursday last week, 5 days ago now. It was a healthy nuc, lots of brood etc, queen identified and marked, some honey. On the evening of day 3 I noticed odd behaviour, bees trying to get in around the lid/roof and crawling in throught the FLO symbol on the roof.
Didn’t think much of it as I am very new to it all. Next morning about 9am the entire hive absconded. I thought they were swarming but it was absconding. The landed about 3m up a nearby tree and stayed put. Called around a friend and when we opened the hive, all 8 fames were COMPLETELY BARE. All stripped clean, no honey, no brood, no eggs, no larvae, no nothin! Total shock!!! They had not even been in there 4 days.

Spent the rest of the day retrieving the bees from very difficult spot. Successfully got them into a styrafoam nuc box and left them under the tree till evening. Robber bees kept attacking them even in this box, lots of fighting etc. Reinstalled them into the brood box late afternoon and observed still more fighting to the death.

So last night (still not being sure of what I was witnessing) I did some serious googling. Found out about robber screens and made one, installed it in the dark last night. Inspected the hive about an hour after sun up this morning but robbers were into the hive again already. I only had a very small opening at the top of the screen but I am guessing the robbers were so familiar with the hive they found a way in. So this morning I have gone last resort and put a wet sheet over and around the hive so none can get in or out.

My friend suggested sugar water out in the open for the robbers to draw them away but everything I read last night suggested this just futher encourages robbing so I have not done this.

I am in East Maitland New South Wales. Has been very hot and dry for several weeks too so probably not the best time to have been starting a new hive…

Any suggestions?


Oh, when we reinstalled them into the hive last night we also added a frame of honey and a frame of brood at the same time to replace some of what was lost.


Sounds like your region/area might be in a serious dreath so wild or neighboring Bee’s quickly took advantage of your somewhat weaker Bee’s.

Seeing you’ve reduced the entrance … I’d either block the top inner hole but I’d screen it … dont want to over heat your girls … I’d lower the SBBorad to allow cooling as you’ve said it’s rather HOT there. Got to keep some type of air open circulation ! If you do completely close main entrance with wire robber preventor … you could use the actual Flow-Super box on top of the brood box n add upside down feeder jars with 1:1 ratio sugar water. Remove your flow-frames n cover that entire end with thin plywood so it’s just an attic that you can provide sugar-water … not sure no access will totally discourage the robbing bees but it might keep your Nuc of bees from getting killer off or dying of starvation…

Maybe someone will read your note n come up with a miracle solution. Or maybe a new location at a friends 4 plus miles away for awhile. Maybe the new location won’t have robbers.

Sorry ! I have nothing better to add. I lost two hives to yellow jacket here in Pacific NW near Seattle last fall. It’s very frustrating !!

Good luck, :four_leaf_clover:


Move them, no other choice.
keep all your anti robbing in place

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Thankz Dee … that was my thots … keeping them at present location seemed a totally “No win win situation” !!

Curious Dee … is your Spring coming on early over there :point_right: :black_flag:󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿… we had a brief winter (very brief @ Christmas :christmas_tree:) but now trees n bushes with swelling buds n some almost 1 month early blooms … No much if any brood break … if the Wx would rise into the 50’s or 60’s F I’d like to check inside … but temps keep dropping at nite into the upper 30’s … I think :thinking: I’ve finally got the mites down where we can handle them finally !!! :+1:

Got to cruise here … picked up one furnace heat call for this morning …




No still winter here. Buds on willows are swelling but hazel catkins shut tight. Another six weeks of winter here

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Thanks for the input and ideas Dee and Gerald. I put the empty super on-top and put feed in there for them while I locked them up for the day. Gave them a reprieve from the fighting but still attacked all day. So I moved them last night as far as I could on my suburban block. About 35meters away and behind a hedge. Put a higher screen on and covered with wet towels only opening the front. It’s been about 4hours since first light now and so far so good.

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I’m wondering how you would go locking the bees up for the day, with enough stores to keep them going. Then you could set up a bee trap to catch the robbers. You could make like a reverse trap-out. With all of the robbers caught, there will be no bees returning to their hives to tell others via a waggle dance.

I think that a similar strategy could be employed to catch wasps etc.

If you could catch wasps or even bees in the same manner as you can catch flies, that’d be an ideal strategy I reckon.

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Hi Jeff, that is what I did yesterday, locked them up. Moved them last night and wanted to trap the robbers but wasn’t sure how. I left some sugar water where the hive was and sat there at sun rise with a can of fly spray. Can only had about 10 seconds worth of spray so that was short lived. So I took the syrup away and burnt a branch of dry leaves swinging it back and forth through the marouders. That was short lived too… Anyway it is 4 in the afternoon now and the shift of hive plus screen and wet towels over the hive seems to be working thus far!

Hi Richard, this is my video of a fly trap. Maybe something similar could be set up to catch bees, with honey instead of something to attract flies.


Thanks Jeff. I had forgotten all about those fly traps. Used to make the same sort of trap years ago when I lived out west. I used organic bait in that too but I must say your bait is much more savoury than the stuff I used :wink:
Well it is coming up to 7pm and the new hive position has not yet been discovered. Fingers crossed for tomorrow!

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When I said move them I meant more than three miles away.
There is no need to kill the robbers returning to the hive the next day. You simply leave an empty super with a saucer of sugar in it. Let the bees rob the sugar and when the dish is empty they will disappear having robbed everything.
I had a nuc being robbed last year. I shut the box up in the middle of the day, trapping a good number of the robbers. I took the box away the next morning and all the robbers just reinforced the numbers in the nuc.

Hi Dee. 3miles is not a luxury I have available to me. At the moment, half way through the second day after moving I have normal activity at the hive with no robbers present. I still have the towel over the top to mask any honey scent. I also removed the empty super last night and no have only the brood box in place. Is there a set time I should observe before adding the super with flow frames? What indicators should I look for?

You need the frames in the brood box to be 100% drawn.
You need 80% of them filled with brood and bees
Then the super goes on.
It will be a while before they are strong enough having been robbed bare
Good luck mate…robbing is horrid