In September, this is the time when robber bees will become more frequent, possibly attacking your hive and stealing honey. This is not good for the hive because it weakens the hive before winter, and robber bees can attract predators that can destroy the hive. The reason why robber bees become more frequent is because they are trying to hoard as much honey that they can find. So if they have to steal the honey from another hive they will. The problem with them stealing the honey is that they can lower the number of bees within the hive, and possibly kill the queen if she's caught in the middle of the fight between the bees. The robber bees will also not stop robbing the hive until the hive has little to no honey left. There are numerous ways that robber bees can be bad for the hive so knowing how to protect your hive from robber bees is essential.
How to know that your hive is being attacked by robber bees?
- Increase of dead bees by the hive.
- Low bee population.
- Wasps, or other predators are around the hive.
- The hive is louder and more active when inspecting.
- Noticing that the bees going in don’t have pollen on their legs.
- Wax on the board in the front.
- The robber bees sway side to side in the air waiting for an opening to rob the hive.
- Increase of bees in the opening.
- A small cluster of bees looking like they are fighting in the opening.
- The robber bee leaves the hive and flies low to the ground. (This is because they are too full and struggling to fly)
How to protect your hive from robber bees?
- Use the entrance reducer with the smallest opening.
- Make sure the queen is alive and well within the hive. (She gives off pheromones if robber bees are within the hive)
- Use only an in-hive feeder during the Fall as entrance feeders can attract robber bees.
- Keep your bees healthy and strong to protect them from being targeted by robber bees.
How to stop robber bees?
- Use an entrance reducer with the smallest opening. This will allow bees to guard the hive better.
- Put a wet towel by the opening, this will confuse the robber bees, and they will forget about the hive. The other bees that live within that hive will be fine.
- Seal your hive off for several days. This will allow the hive to kill off any robber bees, as well as let the robber bees forget where the hive is at. Just remember to feed your hive, and have a screen bottom board to cool your hive off.
Products used to help stop bee robbery