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Robbing while harvesting honey

 
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agapetos
Guard Bee


Joined: 26 Jun 2012
Posts: 71
Location: 40km NE of Belgrade, Serbia

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:21 pm    Post subject: Robbing while harvesting honey Reply with quote

Hi,
I have 2 TBKH one next to the other. For several months I have postponed solving the cross-combing issues in my hives and yesterday at 2 pm I've decided to harvest the honey and fix all cross-combing work that they have done. Well, it took me much longer till the evening so, I've decided to do my other hive next day (today). When I started working the other hive (which seamed to me as much weaker colony), I've noticed more and more bees flying around. I've fixed three frames and tore up few honey combs. More and more bees started flying around until I realized that the robbing is going around. This was strange since I spilled only a little honey and only fixed few bars, while yesterday (keep in mind that this is my first honey harvest ever), the honey was all over the place (like 10-20 times more than today), had about 6 or 7 collapsed honey combs, and several more bars filled with honey... and they were not nearly as much nervous and only few dozens were flying around.
I've decided to close the hive and ask you guy/girls about what I should do now? I guess that the robbers are the yesterday's hive's bees which are less than a meter away.
Are they going to calm down in a few days and make it more possible for me to harvest it? Should I close hive entrance of the stronger hive while doing the weaker hive?
At the moment it seams that there is less bees in the air. I have reduced entrances to about 2-3 cm and put a large wet towel over the hive that was being robed.
What is your advice (beside the "prevent it in the first place)? What should I do now? When/how to harvest the rest of the honey and more importantly when/how to fix the remainder of the crooked combs in the weaker hive?
Thank you in advance.
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Work at night with a red light torch. In late summer like now it is difficult to harvest honey without triggering robbing. You work at night or in early early morning, when it is still cool.
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agapetos
Guard Bee


Joined: 26 Jun 2012
Posts: 71
Location: 40km NE of Belgrade, Serbia

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the idea of night with red light torch Smile
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1582
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have never worked after dark with a red torch but I have found that once the light fades, bees become very sticky, in the sense that they cling to you and are very difficult to dislodge. I don't know if this would still be the case in total darkness.

Personally I would not attempt to correct cross comb at this time of year, because it is so heavy with honey and nectar and brood, it becomes a really messy job and often results in robbing and collapsed comb and bees drowning in honey and generally getting cross.
My experience is that it's much easier to do it in early spring when there is less honey and brood and bees in general and the comb is more robust to handle and reattach. Of course, in your climate it may be that those advantages are less pronounced, but still worth consideration.

Good luck whatever you decide.

Regards

Barbara
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agapetos
Guard Bee


Joined: 26 Jun 2012
Posts: 71
Location: 40km NE of Belgrade, Serbia

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I've also been thinking about waiting for the spring, but... precisely that (together with lack of decisiveness) lead me to allowing enough time for cross-combing to make almost impossible to check on entire hive.
I've also did something in the stronger hive that I am planing to do in the weaker hive, which I don't know if it is ok or too radical: Since top-most 5-8 cm are filled with honey (which are the heavies), and bellow that is the brood, I cut away the topmost part and attach the brood directly to the bar. It is lighter, so it does not fall down, and I guess it will get connected in about two weeks.
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kathyd
House Bee


Joined: 29 Jun 2015
Posts: 13
Location: France, Brittany,Rostrenen

PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2015 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I might be wrong about this (only had bees since end of April this year), but I'm sure I've read that bees usually place honey in an arc around the top part of a brood frame so they've got stores nearby to feed the brood with? I don't know whether removing this honey will cause the nurse bees problems trying to feed the larvae or not? Can anyone advise?
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agapetos
Guard Bee


Joined: 26 Jun 2012
Posts: 71
Location: 40km NE of Belgrade, Serbia

PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2015 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just an update:
I've finushed harvesting the secund hive. I did it in the early morning, covered the first hive'entrance wih mash, so some bees and yellow jackets again came to rob the secund hive, but not nearly as much as when they did when first hive was open. I've finished it in 1h 15mins, covered the hive with wet sheet (to put away the robbers and released bees from the first hive.
Thanks everyone for great advices.
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