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The honey flow is over or will shortly be ending (depending upon where you live in Southeast PA), initiating the start of robbing season. During robbing, bees from one hive try to steal honey from another hive. It is important to prevent the start of robbing, as it’s easier to prevent robbing from starting than it is to stop robbing once it has started. Robbing can destroy a colony, and the colony may become very aggressive. It is your job as a beekeeper to prevent robbing.

The weakest colonies are most likely to be robbed. Be sure that the size of the hive entrance is proportional to the strength of the colony. However, since this is the season of high temperatures, ventilation is important. To improve ventilation with a small entrance, I cover the hole in the inner cover with window screening and then put a stick under the outer cover to increase air flow.   (anti)Robbing screens for use at the front entrance may be purchased or easily made (search the web for design ideas). These generally incorporate hardware cloth in a simple wooden frame with a design that requires bees to traverse a less-than-direct path to gain entrance to the hive. Robbers don’t know the path, whereas hive residents have learned it to exit and enter the hive.

Also be careful when opening the hive. Boxes that are stacked to the side must be covered with a cloth (old pillow cases work well!). Do not leave honey-containing frames exposed to bees. Keep hives open for the least amount of time needed to accomplish your task. And if you think some robbing has begun, close up the hive and check it or its neighbor another day.

Check the web for additional suggestions for preventing robbing. There are lots of good ideas out there!


Assembled medium frames for sale                                                                                Case of 20 assembled medium frames. Mann Lake #WW927                                     Assembled wooden frames with waxed Rite-Cell® foundation.                                          Unopened case; brand new! Buy now for next Spring’s need!                                      $50/case. Available in Blue Bell or at MCBA meeting in Creamery, PA                              Contact Vince Aloyo



Observation Hive for Sale

Looking for an observation hive to take with you when speaking to school groups or at environmental events? Want to attract attention to your booth at a farmer’s market? Bring an observation hive! I have a previously used observation hive for sale. It holds three, medium depth frames, giving space for brood and honey stores. A port that accommodates a mason jar for feeding sugar syrup is at one end of the hive, whereas the other end has a metal plate that can be raised to provide a bee exit directly or connection of a tube for exit via a building window. Frames are placed in the hive by opening the Plexiglas-containing side door with wooden knob. The hive also has a metal handle at the top for carrying to an event and screened ventilation holes on the sides and top. I’ve successfully used an identical observation hive for long-term placement in a school-even over winter-making the daily activities of the bees accessible to children.                                                                       Contact Vincent Aloyo: 610-278-1621. $125.

observation hive