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Should we give up?


I installed a package in June and the queen wasn’t accepted. The hive was robbed while we were waiting for the new queen. She was out of her cage and seen walking around within the week. Here we are three weeks later and being robbed again. We have a feeder inside the hive, the entrance is reduced and the robbers are coming right in without a problem. Seems all we can do is close up the hive for a few days every time this happens.

We only have this one hive. We are close to giving up. Is there anything else to try?


You could try a robbing screen. They are pretty easy to make and quite effective:


Some other thoughts, is your feeder leaking? Where is the plastic slider in the screened bottom board - is it in one of the slots, or have you removed it? How much is your entrance reduced?


You could stop feeding. Close the entrance off with screen wire and after the robbers go away, poke a hole in it with a pencil, just big enough for one bee…



Thanks for your response. This is what we did last time. It wasn’t
successful long term. The robbers just come in one bee at a time.


A robber screen is certainly helpful, but if you use screen to reduce the entrance it does much to confuse the robbers. Sometimes a colony is too far gone by the time you’ve caught it. Especially if they are queenless. Robbers seem relentless if they are queenless.


I would put them on an a floor with an entrance underneath the hive and move them away.


I wish I could but I live in a subdivision and there’s no where to move
them to.


I’m wondering if I should try to lure the robbers? Otherwise, beekeeping
is over until the spring when we can try again.


Ok. I would never try this: really frowned on here in uk where there are lots of bees and beekeepers near eachother but I have seen robbers put off by open feeding sugar syrup some metres away from the hive. Anybody else heard of this?


I had someone else suggest this but I don’t want to anger my neighbors.


Hi! Hoping it’s ok to re-boot this topic. It’s quite similar to what I’m experiencing here in Geraldton, Western Australia. I inspected my brood box yesterday after noticing lots of dead bees, and a large reduction in numbers of bees coming and going from one of my two FlowHives. Couldn’t find any eggs or larvae or Queen. Very small amount of capped bread one one frame.

Today it was very apparent that there was robbing going on. The robbers are coming from my second hive about 2 metres away! I reduced the entrance, and covered the robbed hive in a damp sheet.
I’m hoping to have a new Queen express posted, arriving here in 24 to 48 hours.
I’m hoping for any advice. Can you re Queen a hive under duress like this? Do I attempt to confine the hive, or just reduce the entrance until the Queen emerges from her cage? As a ‘newbee’, I’m feeling a bit challenged, and hope my efforts are on the right track?


That’ll be ‘capped brood’ :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Hiya Debra, you have done the right thing reducing the entrance you could even add a robber screen. You could have used a frame of brood from your other colony and let them make their own queen. I’m assuming it’s still warm up there. Are there still drones about? Is anything in flower? Have you harvested your Flow frames this year?
Out of curiosity where do you get your new queen shipped from?


Thanks so much @Skeggley. I’ve seen pics of robber screens, and may have a go at making something like it, but I’m not known for my carpentry skills.:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: In the mean time, if have obstructed three quarters of the entrance, and the hive is draped with a sheet.
If I can’t get a Queen from Perth (awaiting confirmation from Jack at Beewise), then I’ll try transferring in some brood from my second hive.
I think we are on the tail end of some flowering ?paperbarks, and pepper trees. Not much around from what my untrained eyes can see.
I’ve taken 18kgs of honey from this hive, which was started in Sept 16. First harvested in Feb 17. When I opened this hive up two days ago there are another 4 FlowFrames fully capped. I’ve left it there.

This hive was going gangbusters up until this point, in terms of bee numbers and production, so the Queenlessness has come as a shock.
I haven’t noticed drones if I’m being honest. I’ll pay more attention, and look more closely.
Yes, it is still pretty warm here, daytime maximums around 30deg, overnight mins around 12 to 16deg
Thanks again. :blush:


@skeggley… update. No Queens available, so I went with taking a frame of brood today. I’ve also put a robber screen on. My next move is to move the robbers hive to another property more than 5kms away. That should sort out those looters!
Cheers, Deb


Yeah I was surprised you could get a queen so quickly, thought you had a secret source. :slight_smile:
I find I hear the drones before seeing them, much louder, generally around the middle of the day…
With the robber screen on you shouldn’t have to move the hive away. If they are unsuccessful in raising a productive queen I think the next move would be to combine them until next year.
Maybe even worth combining them now, all depends on drones I guess.


Thanks! Sorry about my ignorance, but could you please explain why the drones come into decision making about combining the hives?
I’m really grateful for your input!


No drones about = no mating prospects for a newly hatched queen :cry:


Although your virgin queen would not mate with drones from her colony it is a good indication that there are drones around in other colonies in your area and therefore be able to go forth and be successful when she flies to the drone congregation area (Boys club. ;)) The queen has a limited time after emerging from the cell to mate and if unsuccessful she will be useless.
It’s still warm, I still have drones in my area and I’d imagine it would be warmer up there, so you may be lucky, or rather she may be lucky.
Who knows what the weather will be like in a couple of weeks though…
Have a peek in a weeks time and if there are no queen cells, combine.
I’m going to call on @Dee and @Dawn_SD and @JeffH for confirmation as I’m sure they will have more ideas.
Keep us updated, keen to hear what happens.


Thanks @Eva! I should have thought of that! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: