Honeyflow.com | FAQ's |

Robber Bee's Helllp

Yesterday I saw such terrible horrible bees attacking my little hive!
I have put a wet sheet over the hive but there are so many robbers and I have not even put on the super yet.
What can I do and when is it safe to check if I still have a queen or open the nuc to check the destruction. :frowning:

You could look at the top right of the screen and click on the magnifying glass and type in “robbing screen” and you can find how to make one, an alternative is to clutter up the hive entrance with twigs with plenty of leaves on them so the robber bees can’t get into the entrance at high speed.
You need help and need it fast so contact your local bee group or the guy who sold you the nuc and you might get help there.
As you don’t say where you live in Victoria in your profile I have to leave it to you to locate your local bee group.
But are you certain what you are seeing is robbing of your hive and not orientation flights??
If it is robbing you need help ASAP or risk loosing all the bees in the nuc.

1 Like

Definitely horrid robbing bees, they are blackened, some are all black and some their rears where they have been attacked. I live in Kingsbury.

I been trying to contact the guy I bought my bees from but has not got back to me yet

Do a “Google” search for a bee group in your area and you might be able to get some help early tomorrow.
Do as I suggested about cluttering up the entrance and close it down till it is about a 2cm entrance first thing in the morning to give you ‘breathing time’ to get help.
Good luck

1 Like

I have stuffed the entry with grass and also closed the entry to 1 cm
and also thrown a wet sheet over the hive
but they are relentless. I am worried I have lost my queen.
I researched all I could online and found out that black bees are not a breed, but it is a mark of robber bees that are proficient at just robbing others. The reason they are black is because all their fuzz has been taken off from being attacked.
One guy says the best thing to do is to move the hive and put an empty box in it’s place. He showed that the robbers still attack the empty box! How dreadful.

Also, those website links are dead so I will have to google how to make.

Hi Janet, I agree with Peter.

I had a robbing problem and her majesty @Dawn_SD recommended to put on a robbing screen. It worked great for me and stopped robbing instantly.

Very easy to make. All you need is some rigid fly screen or mesh, and make some sort of frame, and put over the reduced entrance. I just used string and heavy duty rubber bands to hold it in place.

Robbers can empty a weak hive from its resources in a very short time, so do it yesterday.



Thank you, so much, and also for the website addresses.
Yes Peter is always looking out for me so thanks Peter too.
I found some screening and other doodads and I am about to set something up nowish.
I want to know when I can safely inspect the ‘damage’ and if I still have a queen, any info gratefully received. thanks again. :slight_smile:

Hi Janet - so sorry! Had this happen to my colony earlier this week, and I made this out of some hardware cloth. No tools but some good scissors and a few pushpins:


Hey Janet, they’re not going to rob the queen :slight_smile:

Just relax, put on the robbing screen and have an inspection. Tell what you find and we go from there. Chances are they’ll be right.

1 Like

Janet’s concern is legit, many times a robbing crew will kill the resident queen :open_mouth:


Really Eva? I didn’t know that. I have to apologise then, because I took it lightly. My experience with robbing wasn’t that bad then.

Thanks for pointing that out.

1 Like

Yes, I didn’t know that until I had to do some quick studying to make my own robbing screen the other day. I’ve always taken precautions along the way but didn’t expect to see it happen so early in our season…fluctuating temps are to blame I think.

Anyway, here’s some info on robbing from a very reputable beekeeping blog, with a good list of remedies - many of which @Janet_Hedger was in the midst of taking :+1:

Janet, let us know how things go! I’m in the same boat - worried about my queen, either because she was already dead or killed now…


Dawn did say to leave the robbing screen always on, unless excessive bearding is observed.

I removed mine because I’m in the middle of a flow, but I’m on the watch out, and will put it back on again.

The only thing that bothers me with robbing screens is that it hinders the bees’ ability to get their rubbish out of the hive. My next one will be with the opening in the bottom, for that reason.


Hey Eva you set me off on a research frenzy now.

According to Michael Bush:

Vicks Vaporub around the entrance will also confuse the robbers because they can’t smell the hive. It does not confuse the bees that live there.

Maybe it’s worth a try too in a pinch.

I’m also reading that queen-less hives are more vulnerable to robbing, rather than the robbers kill the queen.


Another item to add to our toolkits!

1 Like

I’ve seen robbing happen when there is a weakened hive in a dearth, my thinking is that robbing is a desperation decision by a starving hive rather than by a strong hive but bees generally would be rather foraging from flowers. I can’t say I have experience on having queens killed in a robbing event, She would be well defended in her colony, more likely the queen died earlier and the hive weakened out to become vulnerable, but then I also have little experience with robbing at my apiary, I spend a lot of time keeping the hives of equal strength and will feed syrup in a dearth. With my hives as close together as 10 cms I am either very lucky or my hive managements works.
I have never seen bees intent on robbing an empty box, sure a few bees would investigate an empty box as they are curious insects.

1 Like

Hi guys. The simplest and quickest robbing screen you can make with no tools or DIY skills is:

Cut a strip of wire screen the exact length of the hive entrance, and around 10cm wide. Fold it into a U, and wedge it into the entrance, leaving it protruding out. The bees will go in and out from the sides, while robbers try to get in from the front.

An even more effective version is:

Wedge in a couple of entrance reducers on each side, leaving an opening of around 10cm in the middle. The entrance reducers will fit inside the U-shaped screen, wedged into the entrance.

I hope I explained it well. If not I can try to draw one.

With the above design, the bees are able to cart their rubbish through the sides.


Please do. I can’t visualize what you are describing, although I am sure it would likely work.

1 Like