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Monthly Archives: July 2017

  • How to Handle Robbing in the Hive

     

    Southern California experienced an epic bloom this Spring while the bees experienced a dramatic surge in Honey Production. Southern California experienced an epic bloom this Spring while the bees experienced a dramatic surge in Honey Production.

    written by Madison Newman

    More Flowers equals more Honey Production

    The unprecedented rainfall we experienced over Winter, and into Spring was extremely nice while it lasted. Not only was it nice, but it brought about a spectacular super bloom for all to enjoy, especially the bees! This super bloom lent us a lush green hand to pull us closer out of the nasty drought we have faced over the last few years. I assume many of you beekeepers were very pleased with the altered landscape that included vibrant splashes of all colors of the rainbow. Furthermore, it seems as if many of your hives were bursting at the seams due to the various nectar sources that sprung to life thanks to the rain. Unfortunately, this abundance is coming to an end, and now we will be entering a nectar dearth. A nectar dearth begins when Summer heat causes the nectar flow to slow dramatically. This leaves the bees extremely strapped for food sources which leads to our topic for this specific post: robbing! Put away your lock picking kit, and let’s get down to “bees-ness.”

    What is Robbing?

    Robbing is when a hive is attacked by invaders from other hives out of desperation for food. A robbing frenzy can induce many problems within a colony such as a large loss of bees, low food reserves in the hive, and ultimately a more aggressive hive. First off you may be wondering how to differentiate robber bees from normal bees within your hive. The robber bees do not don ski masks, so you will have to utilize your watchful eye in order to spot them. It can be easy to mistake a hive plagued by robber bees as an active hive. However, there are notable differences in the behavior of robber bees versus busy foragers. Forager bees dart out of the hive with a purpose, and return heavy with pollen, nectar, or water. These foragers will land smoothly on the porch of your hive when returning with goodies. While robber bees, who are not weighted down with any food, hover from side to side awaiting an opportunity to shoot past a guard bee. Robber bees thoroughly inspect the outside of the hive to locate other ways to enter the hive aside from the main entrance. Another major sign of robbing is an extreme battle royale taking place outside of the hive. Tumbling, and rolling will occur, and it is not a display of bee acrobatics. The guard bees lay down their lives to ferociously defend their hive. You will notice them locked in combat near the entrance of the hive, and even on the ground.  This fighting gives way to another red flag that indicates robbing, dead bees scattered throughout the ground, and the porch of your hive. There may also be shredded pieces of honeycomb located inside, and outside of your hive. This is caused by the robber bees tearing apart the capping of beeswax in order to reach the liquid gold inside. Now that I have made all of you nice, and scared I should probably cover some ways to prevent robbing, and solutions once it has begun.

    Desperate for food, the bees go after this extractor that was drying out in the sun. Although this extractor had been cleaned, desperate bees in need of food come looking for any traces of honey left behind.

    What Can You Do About Robbing?

    If you would like to lessen the likelihood of robbing occurring there are some steps you can take. Do not leave honeycomb, or honey lying near your hive. This will inevitably set off a frenzy. For example, we at the Valley Hive placed our extractor outside the other day to dry. But bees in need of food are incredibly persistent. Despite our thorough cleaning of the extractor, the bees still targeted it in hopes of gaining a little extra food. So try to be as clean as possible when dealing with your hive, place excess honeycomb into a bucket with a lid, and do not leave behind a goopy mess for eager robber bees. This also applies to sugar syrup. Do not be careless with your sugar syrup, conserve every drop less you want robber bees all over your hive, but if you do I am not entirely sure why you would read this article in the first place. Regarding feeding, using an internal  Frame Feeder can help reduce the risk of robbing compared to an external Boardman Feeder that is set near the entrance of a hive.

    Blocking the Hive Entrance

    Although you may follow these prevention tips, sometimes robbing can simply be inevitable. Therefore, when your hive is under attack from robber bees it is time to take action. One solution to stopping an attack is an entrance reducer. As most tools in beekeeping the name is very self-explanatory. An entrance reducer is a block of wood cut in specific spots that limit the size of the entrance into the hive. Restricting the entrance will make it easier for the guard bees to defend their hive against intruders. Be mindful when you restrict the entrance as it will in turn hinder ventilation. Some beekeepers will use grass, which limits the entrance whilst also providing some ventilation. Another method you can consider is a soaked bed sheet draped over the hive. This prevents robber bees from finding the entrance, but the resident bees of the hive can navigate their way around the hive. The bed sheet can be left on the hive for a day or two, and water reapplied as needed.

    In Conclusion

    Now that you understand how to identify robbing, how to prevent it, and how to stop it there is no need for you to invest into a hive security system. Hopefully, your bees will remain happy, healthy, and robber free. If you ever have any questions, or concerns regarding your own hive feel free to call us at (818) 280-6500 or email us at info@thevalleyhive.com. You can also learn more about robbing by attending Beekeeping 101 Classes, offered through the Los Angeles County Beekeeping Association (LACBA) on the 2nd Saturday of the month through October. Classes will begin again in February.

  • Grand Opening & Honey and Recipe Contest

    honey contest collage

    Grand Opening Celebration

    Join us on Sunday, August 27th to celebrate the grand opening of our new location at 10538 Topanga Cyn Blvd in Chatsworth. In honor of National Honeybee Day,  we will also be hosting  our Annual Honey & Recipe Contest.

    ANNUAL HONEY AND RECIPE CONTEST

    Participating in the contest is simple, and anyone can enter. If you would like to enter your backyard honey, bring two 8oz jars -- one labeled, one unlabeled -- to our shop before August 27th. No honey to share, but you'd like to be involved?  Cook or bake a honey dish and bring it to us by 11am on the day of the event. We have invited some special guests to judge the event. After the winners are chosen, the honey and dishes will be available to taste. The extra honey will be raffled off and the proceeds will go to a bee charity chosen by The Valley Hive.

    FUN FUN FUN

    We have a full day of activities planned including food and entertainment, bee friendly crafts for kids and various bee related demonstrations. If you haven't been to the hive yet, mark your calendar. This is a day you will not want to miss.

    WHERE AND WHEN AGAIN?

    So be sure to spread the buzz and we'll see you at The Valley Hive  at 10538 Topanga Cyn Blvd in Chatsworth on Sunday, August 27th between 11 and 4pm.   

    LET US KNOW YOU ARE COMING

    An RSVP from you will help us with planning the event. You can RSVP on our  Facebook page  or send us an email at info@thevalleyhive.com. You can also call us at 818-280-6500. We look forward to hearing from you, but even if we don't you are still invited to come.

    The Valley Hive Staff

     

     

     

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Working Hours
We are open 7 days a week from 8:30am-5:00pm
We have moved! Our new address is 10538 Topanga Cyn Blvd. Chatsworth, CA 91311
(818) 280-6500
 
 
 
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