Robber Bees Are Thieves
Robber bees are known to rob other hives of the honey those bees worked so hard to make. They usually do this if their hive is weak or if there has been a drought or other extreme weather conditions that kept them from proper access to sufficient nectar to create their own honey in abundance.
A scout robber bee goes out looking for a hive that may be weak enough to break into, preferably with a low population of worker bees so the colony is not well defended. A vulnerable time of year for beehives is autumn, when robber bees and yellow jackets seek food going into winter.
If you are a beekeeper and your hive is under attack by robbers, you need to stop the robbing right away or it can wipe out your colony very fast.
In this 1:36-minute National Geographic video we see some robber bees intending to plunder an angel bee colony of its honey. Angel bees are quite small, but they can put up a good fight to defend themselves and the spoils of their hard work.
In the 2:03-minute video below by BeeGuardian, they suggest that beekeepers use screen over the entrance to stop robbing. Screen allows air to flow for hive ventilation but reduces the size of the entrance which makes it easier for your bees to guard their main port of entry. The size of the screen can be adjusted depending on the severity of the robbing. The hive you see in this video has been getting robbed for 1-2 weeks. Robber bees tore open the honey cells and honeycomb cappings are scattered on the landing board. Then they found another way to get in at the back of the hive.
This last video is by Ditchdoc 129 and is a bit longer at 8:49-minutes, but this relatively new beekeeper admits he made some big beekeeping mistakes and it really cost him and his honeybees. He felt awful that he let down his bees—his “girls” and that they paid the price. He made this video to teach others from his mistake.
If your hives have been plundered by bee robbers who came thieving, please share what you learned from the experience so you can make sure it doesn't happen again over on our Facebook page.
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