Watch Your Weight!
If your hive suddenly loses a dramatic amount of weight – there could be a number of reasons, but the most common reason for this, at this time of year is robbing.
Robbing is a where a honey bee hive is invaded by bees from other hives. The invasion can be serious for a bee colony for a number of reasons:
- A hive defending itself against robbing will fight to the death. This can result in the loss of many bees and even destroy an entire colony.
- If the hive is unable to defend itself in a robbing situation, the invading bees can completely wipe out all of the hives stores.
- Being robbed changes the temperament of a hive. The bees can become aggressive, and difficult to deal with.
How To Detect Robbing using your Arnia scale...
Weaker colonies are the ones most likely to be robbed. A weak colony will generally have lower flight noise and hive activity levels than a strong colony. A sudden increase in daytime flight activity in a weak could be an indicator that it is being robbed of its honey.
An example of this can be seen in the graph below. This colony lost over 10kg in less than 2 days. When you examine the flight noise, you can see a huge spike in flight noise compared to previous days, showing that a lot of bees must have entered the hive….
How to prevent robbing...
Reduce the size of the entrance. Minimising the entrance will make it far easier for your bees to defend the colony.
Never leave supers, honey, feed or used feeders out in the open where the bees can find it, particularly near the hive as this can trigger robbing.