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war on wasps and robbers

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GGbees 

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Hello, I'm new to the forum and thank you for accepting me.
This is our second year keeping bees and we have just 2 colonies in WBCs. Both were doing OK until we noticed a lot of wasp and robber action over the past few days. We have reduced the hive entrance, and then we put a second square section of wood in front of the entrance to make things even more difficult. The wasp traps have been out for months and were doing a good job but the last few days its been incessant and we are getting desperate. The wasps have been coming out of the cone escapes under the roof so we have blocked one side up and put a wasp trap over the other. The WBCs are heavy so moving them is going to be tricky. Have also been advised to try spraying the hive with a vinegar solution to mask the scent. Is there any reason why we can't just totally close the entrance up for a day or maybe two in the hope they will go away?
Any other ideas?
Apologies this is a bit of a rant but it is soul destroying watching the carnage and feeling a bit helpless.
 
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You have to stop the robbing .. it's not just that they will rob the stores out - the fighting that goes on in the process will weaken your colonies and they whole things gets an awful lot worse.

Have a look on here for tunnel entrances ... make sure that there are no gaps in the lifts around the WBC - if there are seal them up with aluminium or duct tape. If you can get a piece of 1" diameter tube and run that from the entrance to the brood box out to the outside of the lift ... seal around it with foam rubber or more aluminium tape so that the only way the robbers could get at your brood box is via a long 1" tube then your colony will be better able to defend the entrance. A sheet of glass or perspex propped in front of the 'new' entrance will confuse the majority of wasps.

Seal up the cone escapes - they are not needed.

But ...you have to act quickly ... wasps are now sweet feeding and the honey in your hives is a manget - if they get on to it you can lose a colony in days.

If you haven't got a tube - make something up with anything you have to hand - make a small square tube out of plywood, or hardboard. Cut up a plastic PET bottle and make a tube out of that ... anything ... do it tonight.
 
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Talk about robbing....I had a severe case only last week. The little robbing tykes totally decimated one of my colonies. I must admit I was amazed as the colony was strong with bees on 9 frames. I was met by the sight of a pile of dead bees on the ground outside the box and a huge pile of dead and dying bees inside. Also, the entrance way was closed down to mid point. All the stores were robbed out. That's all that was left of the colony were a cluster of bees sheltering in the back corner furthest from the entrance. Amazingly the queen was still there but I doubt very much that they will survive from the onslaught that must have ensued. I bet it was a real battle royale!:mad::mad::mad:.
 
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Yes .. it's a horrible sight ... I once lost a nuc to robbing. It was another of my colonies doing the robbing - they are totally merciless. The nuc, I thought, was strong enough - clearly not. The aftermath was tragic to see and it happened so quickly. You don't get a second chance .. if you don't catch it quickly it's often too late.
 

Hebeegeebee 

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I have sealed up the entrance of colonies to deter robbers - ensure the hive does have ventillation (mesh floor); if the colony is full, then adding a super to give extra space whilst the colony is shut in may be beneficial.
 

Arfermo 

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Talk about robbing....I had a severe case only last week. The little robbing tykes totally decimated one of my colonies. I must admit I was amazed as the colony was strong with bees on 9 frames. I was met by the sight of a pile of dead bees on the ground outside the box and a huge pile of dead and dying bees inside. Also, the entrance way was closed down to mid point. All the stores were robbed out. That's all that was left of the colony were a cluster of bees sheltering in the back corner furthest from the entrance. Amazingly the queen was still there but I doubt very much that they will survive from the onslaught that must have ensued. I bet it was a real battle royale!:mad::mad::mad:.
I had a case like that a few years ago but although they were extremely weak, I revived them by closing the entrance entirely and spraying with weak syrup. That got them moving inside the hive. Then added frames of BIAS and stores from other hives after removing any 'foreign' bees and several litres of feed in contact/rapid feeders over next few days. Within a week they were totally revived and going strongly at which time I re-opened the entrance. Worked a treat but maybe I was lucky?
 

Ping-Ping 

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All of the above plus tip the scales.

Sit and watch which direction the wasps leave in. Watch and confirm the direction. They fly dead straight home, if that's where they are going. Walk in that direction and look for a wasp nest - you will see them descending to it - usually on the south side of a bank or hedge, in the undergrowth within about 400m. Put your bee suit on, blow a blast of ant killer powder in the entrance until the hole is white.

At this time of year the queens have flown and the robbing is by vagrant workers. You don't have to feel guilty. You are a farmer, after all.
 
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Talk about robbing....I had a severe case only last week. The little robbing tykes totally decimated one of my colonies. I must admit I was amazed as the colony was strong with bees on 9 frames. I was met by the sight of a pile of dead bees on the ground outside the box and a huge pile of dead and dying bees inside. Also, the entrance way was closed down to mid point. All the stores were robbed out. That's all that was left of the colony were a cluster of bees sheltering in the back corner furthest from the entrance. Amazingly the queen was still there but I doubt very much that they will survive from the onslaught that must have ensued. I bet it was a real battle royale!:mad::mad::mad:.
Did they by any chance, survive?
 
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Hi Monbees, Transferred them into a nuc (just a single frame and poly packers) and then out of the apiary. Put a syrup feeder on them. Yep....They have survived (amazingly may I add!!). Wether they survive in the long term though is yet to be seen?
 
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Hi Monbees, Transferred them into a nuc (just a single frame and poly packers) and then out of the apiary. Put a syrup feeder on them. Yep....They have survived (amazingly may I add!!). Wether they survive in the long term though is yet to be seen?
That's wonderful, so far, so glad you've tried; l always give no-hopers a chance!
 

Swarm 

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Hi Monbees, Transferred them into a nuc (just a single frame and poly packers) and then out of the apiary. Put a syrup feeder on them. Yep....They have survived (amazingly may I add!!). Wether they survive in the long term though is yet to be seen?
Hope they pull through for you, it's such a great feeling when they do.
I had a little nuc that found themselves in trouble with wasp attack this year so I closed them up and brought them home. Dummied them down but wasps found them within no time and no entrance mod had any effect.
Only thing for it, decided to ring around and find out if there was anyone who needed a queen. I struck lucky with my first call, local beekeeper a couple of miles down the road had a failing queen and we was going to unite her colony. Having commented how nice and gentle my black bees are when he saw them, he jumped at the chance so I grabbed the nuc and dropped her down to him.
Surprisingly, she was still laying and had a small patch of brood on one frame, bless her. Horrible to watch but a great outcome, my beautiful home reared black queen has survived and better still, she will add some lovely drones to the area next year ;)
Probably a better outcome than keeping her myself, at the end of the day you can't keep them all.
 

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