Beginner Beekeeping FAQ 25 How to Keep Bees Robbing Screen BetterComb by BetterBee


okay so hello and happy Friday to
everyone thank you so much for joining me again for another frequently asked
questions about beginning with bees and this is episode 25 today is Friday July
12th I can’t believe we’ve been doing this for 25 Fridays in a row and if
you’ve seen them before I’m glad you’re back and thank you to those of you who
submitted your questions during the week it’s great because we have to have stuff
to talk about and I appreciate the kind of questions that you’re sending in and
we’re going to go over those today if you want to know what questions we’re
going to talk about please look down in the video description as always and
light on them by line item we will show and post what questions are addressed
here and this week I’ll try to put time stamps next to those too so you can go
straight to it and if you have questions yourself if you new please subscribe hit
the little bell so that you can get notifications when we put up new ones
and I do put up other videos during the week dealing with honeybees and other
topics even sometimes product reviews and things like that but the emphasis is
on honeybees this year and what else if you have answers if you see someone else
posting a question and you know that and you’ve you’ve got experience with that
feel free to share your experience and knowledge with those people as well
always the answer one another I don’t stop that from going on if you’ve made a
video yourself that shows how something works please go ahead and post that link
I’ll release that just as soon as I notice it whenever there’s a link it’s
withheld and I will release that if it’s if it’s not some kind of promo but if
it’s a video of you showing how something works or what your bees are
doing maybe you’ve got a question your bees are doing something odd and you can
get a video of it and you won’t be able to look at that and then comment feel
free to post that link – that’s all interesting and we’re all here to learn
and this is for those who are beginning with bees if you don’t know anything
about me I only have 8 to 10 hives maximum I rotate my hives out I rotate
my colonies out my purpose is to study bee behavior and also to test products
relevant to beekeeping and I share that with you I’ve been
doing this for a little over 12 years now
and YouTube is just a great way to share the wealth and if you would like to go
on Facebook and join me on Fred’s fine fowl and honey bees the Facebook page is
Fred’s fine fowl you can join us there and I also post links there to new
information sometimes products and things like that so feel free to join us
on social media let’s jump right into this the first one is from mr. hast it
says have you ever noticed bees having trouble keeping track of sugar syrup
without volatile additives such as essential oils so the question is
relevant to the bees ability to locate resources and some people put out sugar
syrups open feeding and also sometimes they put it inside their hives and on
entry boards if you’re in Australia for example open feedings not even allowed
because the concerns are that bees will congregate at the feeding station
they’ll interact with each other and even varroa destructor can jump ship and
go b2b and come into eyes that don’t previously have varroa Australia doesn’t
deal with berola right now good for them but here in the United States it is not
illegal to open feed in fact a lot of people open feed near their apiaries 50
feet 100 feet away and that’s to take the pressure off of the bees that are in
the apiary if there are times of dearth when there may be robbing for example
and robbing is something we’re going to talk about today also but I have not
noticed that the bees have problems finding the syrup and resources of any
kind without essential oils added essential oils are supposed to stimulate
appetites they’re supposed to easily it’s you know lemon grass and other
things blended together some of the most popular ones are pro health breed
booster honey bee healthy things like that and they mix them in with sugar
syrup this time of year most people are mixing
50:50 one to one by weight sugar to clear water and then if you put that out
so now sugar in water by itself really doesn’t have it
cent but I can share with you that bees find it fast
bees find water anyway if you sat a glass of water out on your patio a honey
bee would happen buy and stop and check it out anyway they taste test it as they
like it they stick around they come back if they don’t like it they get a little
sample and fly off so adding essential oils does not attract the bees more so
than just the honey by itself and you can do tests with sugar syrup I said
honey but you can do tests with sugar syrup and put it out get some bees on it
and see how long it takes them to come back with all their friends they’ll use
up that sugar syrup very fast of course when there’s a nectar flow on
as there is right now where I live some people are reporting 5 or 10 pounds per
day of honey per hive they’re using those brood minder scales and that’s
giving them a readout on their phones that shows what the weight gain is
weight gain comes from two things in a bee hive it’s the nectar coming in which
by the way is going to be reduced so it’s gonna lighten up a little bit
fresh nectar takes up twice the space of finished honey but you also have new
bees being added so the bees themselves add a lot of weight so at any rate the
hives are in a rapid game right now and there is a nectar flow there’s a lot
going on we have white clover the bees are ignoring it so there are a lot of
other things out there that they’re getting it from and things are good
where I live in spite of the weather super hot by the way if you don’t have a
vented bee suit and you go out there it was in high 80s 90s this past week get a
vented bee suit guardian bee apparel is one place that I get my suits from and
it’s fantastic so these will find resources they need to cool off we need
to cool off we need water they need water
so there are watering bees that go out and bring in water by itself they’re
finding the water everywhere Scouts are very thorough they’re gonna investigate
every detail every nook and cranny they’re gonna find the resources and
then they’re gonna return to the hive water bees for example a fly out collect
water they don’t stop off and get nectar to at
the same time they get water only and they get inside the colony and the
spread the water all over for example the brood frames and then through
evaporation they keep a cool high temperatures can put your hives in
jeopardy that’s one of the reasons why I have these high visors on to cool the
Front’s of my hives and keep things shaded for them but so that’s it I mean
bees go to puddles there and everything so you don’t need to add essential oils
to get your bees to be attracted to sugar syrup if they’re not taking sugar
syrup they’re finding something better in the environment nectar sources from
flowers already next is from James Knoll I live in the northeastern part of
Michigan is a too late for a split a double brood eight frames hive doing a
walkaway split so he’s got double brood so that I’m guessing that’s a double
brood box eight frame hive by the way the eight frame hives the state
inspector told me that they’re actually doing better than 10 frame hives so
stacking 8 frames on top of each other and expanding that way instead of 10 and
then expanding the 8 frames are booming and I have to say that I had a 8 frame
deep which had nothing else but the single deep on it made it through winter
this year so 8 frames are pretty interesting but is it too late for a
split I don’t think so I live in kind of rough part we’re not
like Vermont but weather-wise were we’re very cold and in the state of Michigan I
mean I don’t know if you’re in the Upper Peninsula area or where you’re located I
don’t think it’s too late you know we’re in mid-july right now and a walk away
split by the way for those of you who don’t know if you have a colony that’s
full of brood and the bee population is big and it’s are they’re storing honey
and they’re filling up they’re maxing out two things are gonna happen one you
either have to expand it or you’re either gonna split it if you don’t split
or expand the colony the likelihood that they’re gonna swarm and they made swarm
anyway could happen at any time so right now this past week I got a huge swarm
and the temperature is high and I just now got all my supers on so I don’t even
know which colony they came from but what’s a walk away split well if you
open up your colony you set another box next to it and you split the brood
you put brood in one and you leave half the brood and open brood by the way so
there’s capped pupae that you want and there’s also open brood which are the
larvae and you want those to exist if there’s some eggs even that’s great too
now do you have to find the Queen and do that split before you walk away no
because if you put her in the new box the the ones that you left from will be
of course making Queen cells if you’re fortunate enough to open up the box and
see that they already have superseded your cells which are in the middle of
the frames of brood little peanut sagging cells that stick out or if you
already have swarm cells along the fringe of your brood frames several of
them then I would leave Queen cells in the hive that you’re taking from and put
some in the hive that you’re putting it in because now we already have if
they’re capped we know that we’re less than 15 days from having a new Queen
come out so that saves some time plus you have brood a walk away split means
you take everything apart you split up the resources you split up the brood and
just what it says you walk away and let the bees take care of that on their own
so if you have multiple Queen cells in both that’s a great situation to be in I
would go ahead and do it keep in mind when I give advice here and it’s based
on my personal experience because I do splits like that all the time I just
pull everything in half leave it alone and I don’t even look for the Queen as
long as it’s open prude and everything that I described and I just let them
filled up and I haven’t had a colony fail that way so when you walk away and
do that you lose honey production obviously I’m not in the honey
production I mean to be behavior so the things that I do don’t always make sense
if you’re a commercial keeper or you’re trying to expand and you’re trying to
generate a pile of honey or you collect you know pollen resources from your
hives or you’re trying to produce a bunch of beeswax so that you can sell
that that is the polar opposite of what I do so what I do is just take care of
the bees and see what they do and keep them healthy and get them preparing for
winter that’s all I’m doing right here preparing for winter now we put on Flo
supers does that mean I won’t taking their honey off yeah why do I put
flow Super’s on I can’t do anymore splits all my boxes are full so and I
can’t collect anymore swarms all my boxes are full unless I start you know
taking boxes that I have around that I use for training so the thing is I put
on flow supers so that I don’t have to expand the colonies in other words when
they fill up the flow hives and they start to cap those I drain those off and
then they’re available again for them to fill again I will get on average 3
cycles of honey from each flow super so and that’s several gallons of honey per
hive so that’s more than enough for me so the advice I’m giving you is relevant
to the bees making it not relevant to you profiting as a beekeeper and
generating maximum money if he doesn’t want to do like James you know is it too
late to do a walk away split well when you divide resources like that you are
going to suffer losses in production you’re going to have a temporary loss in
the number of bees that are in there which relates directly to production
more bees more work force more production more honey more nectar more
everything so the other option is to keep that apron and stack more supers on
to it and create you know what I call super colonies and let them expand the
flipside of that is at the end of the season you’re going to be taking off
those honey supers and condensing the boxes back down in order for them to
survive what sounds like it’s going to be a very rough Michigan winter so they
say our winters are gonna come sooner and last longer meteorologists anyway so
it’s not too late in my opinion for a walk away split you will suffer losses
you will not get the honey that you otherwise would so it really depends on
what you’re trying to achieve if you want to expand your apiary with another
colony I don’t think it’s too late there are things that people say a swarm in
May is worth a load of hay a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon and a swarm
in July let them fly because the chances of a swarm making it past July now where
do the people live that came up with that line
I’ve collected sperms in August and September and had to make it so now it
just means that they’re not going to produce a lot of resources for you that
year if you collect a swarm late season all you’re trying to do is get that
built up to get themselves through winter next one is from Rick McDaniel
our thermal treatment methods for varroa mites effective ok that’s kind of a
landmine of a question because I think Rick is asking there is a system out
there right now that is designed to heat up a hive get your bee is warmed to the
point that the bees themselves are highly stressed they’re at a point of
being in jeopardy but they raise the temperature high enough to kill varroa
destructor mites but not high enough to kill off the bees and you know methods
are they is that an effective method so I recommend that you go and watch their
videos and see about thermal treatments I know that when you stretch your bee
colony for example when would you even do that you’re gonna want to do it when
you don’t have honey on because honeycomb does not like high
temperatures if you have to heat the entire hive and you bring it up to the
threshold where it’s going to kill varroa mites you risk even sagging
honeycomb and things like that you create a high humidity environment you
create a high stress environment what you’re trying to do is push the bees to
their limit not kill the bees and then kill off 400 mites and then bring those
temperatures back down first of all that process takes a long time it takes like
30 minutes per hive the other thing is the thermal stress is on adult bees
there are some die offs there and I did watch one of the videos of somebody
who’s inventing something like that this is also why I don’t like to talk about
things like that and I’m not about following people around with some new
invention and tearing them apart over it or being critical of the invention I
think that they are in process I think that they are still learning and working
it out your hive to be airtight you are the stress the
bees that died I noticed in one video they showed there were dead bees on the
bottom and they said yeah but when you see a dead bee on the bottom first of
all it’s an older bee it was gonna die anyway already you know near death or
something and they said if you pick that bee up you’re gonna see a varroa
destructor underneath of it that’s dead so that means that when they did the
thermal treatment the varroa died and detached from the be a varroa dying and
detaching itself from a honeybee should not cause the honeybees death there are
other concerns about the thermal method for treating for mites and that is that
the impact on brood it can cause the brood development to be interrupted
it can cause developing proved to be negatively impacted by that high to
normal situation so let’s think about what we’re doing to the bees we’re
closing up the hive they’re putting a heat pad underneath and they have heat
sensors to make sure that it gets to certain temperatures that it will be
damaging to the varroa mite when they increase those temperatures they have to
hold it there has to be a dwell time at that temperature what are the bees doing
during that time frame the bees are going to be fanning as fast as they can
they are going to be trying to cool a hive they can’t be cold because it’s
closed off and how long is this gonna last a long time so we’re stressing the
bees and we’re stress testing the bees to some degree and then we’re also
heating brood so you’re heating brood higher than it
should be and so there’s some discussion going on now I’m not gonna say you know
how effective it is does it kill all the mites I don’t know the final results
from anyone other than those who are selling the product so what we really
need is secondary testing secondary science so we need people to look at the
efficacy of this process how many of those mites are dying out and then if
they do might checks afterwards how many mites remain and here’s the big question
what is the potential negative impact on developing brood which is the larvae
the brood are the most sensitive parts of the hive that’s why the bees
concentrate their thermal control over brood frames they’re trying to keep that
at 94 to 96 degrees they’re also trying to maintain the humidity over the brood
they’re also trying to ventilate the brood because it’s critical there that’s
why you see bees parked on the brood frames venting and keeping that gas
exchange going so you’re going to lock them up heat up the whole colony and the
brood is of interest because that’s where the varroa are and we want to kill
them off so I would say is up in the air you know if that’s if that’s a great
method or not I just want to see more testing from people I’m not people have
asked me if I would get one and test it I don’t want one and the reason I don’t
want one is it’s it’s a very complicated process and also we’re already using
virile resistant survivor bees hygienic bees obviously I don’t breed my bees for
genetics because I don’t have enough hives to make that meaningful what I do
is I buy in bees that are already demonstrating the appropriate traits
that resist varroa resist disease without treatment and I get those from
the Weaver family beat Weaver in Texas and the ones I’m testing this year are
Sask attract bees also but they have you know not such a great success rate with
furrows so they may require treatment and that’s from the people that are that
are breeding them so if I have to treat so that’s the other thing if I wouldn’t
want to use the thermal thing and I don’t I don’t want to you have to run an
you know electricity out there and everything else to do it which isn’t the
end of the world if it works really well I just don’t like the potential impact
on the brood itself and the stress on the bees of course so I’m using oxalic
acid vaporization if I have to if I do varroa counts and Myra raw numbers are
so low that the bees are handling it on their own I’m not treating with anything
I am prepared to treat and if I treat I’m going to use oxalic acid
vaporization the ox of eight one ten that I showed you the last time that I
was had a QA so the thermal treatment
methods were row effective we need to get that information from someone other
than the people marketing the device because what I hear is from people that
buy it from them recycling the exact same information that people have said
when they’re marketing it so I’m not saying it works I’m not saying it
doesn’t I’m saying there are concerns about what happens to the developing
larvae and the the capped brood as well what is the impact and I also I don’t
like the the story about varroa falling off to be there for the bee died that’s
in my opinion just not a good explanation for why bees are dying next
we show us how to make high advisors okay
several people asked about this and I showed at the beginning of this I showed
it in my rain thing these are my high advisers and all it does is goes on the
front of your hive like this and it shields it from rain and it shields it
from intense Sun so we’ve had some real heat waves this week and just shielding
things from rain makes this thing worthwhile I don’t really think I need
to make a video on how to make it but I wrote the specs on here for you
these are all the parts that you need to make it so it’s a very simple thing it’s
three pieces of wood so we have the 1 by 8 then we have these side pieces which
I’ve decided to make out of oak we have wing nuts up here that are quarter 20
threaded they’re 2 inches long and then we have little metal threaded receivers
so they go through and the dimensions are on here and these dimensions are for
a 10 frame Langstroth box so if it goes for 10 frame and these screws are 2
inches long then this will also attach to an 8 frame hive so this this is the
final configuration that I’ve arrived at I started with them being really short
and stout I glue them up a tight bond glue and I put two stainless steel
screws on each end the beginning groups I only glued and clamped them that was a
fail they came apart later I also like adding oak strips on the sides here
because that makes these pieces of wood nice and stiff
and it’s working great if you put these on an eighth frame box you can put
little three-quarter inch wooden shims in between here and then they just press
up against the box so you can take up that space and so you end up with a nice
wide rain or Sun Visor I haven’t decided yet if I’m leaving this on through
winter but we’re gonna continue testing with them and that’s pretty much it and
I used the tight bond to wood glue so that’s it they’re easy to make they work
great I shot them with a thermal camera the exposed area of the hive above these
and below is a 20 degree drop when the Sun is hitting the hive so it is a
significant thermal drop on those really hot days for those of you and very hot
climates paint it white maybe I just paint it with whatever paints I have
around so that’s how I end up with those monkey colors and that’s how I paint in
my swarm box here but I don’t think it really your cut at 30 degree angles it’s
so basic I don’t really think that I need a video to show you how to do that
if you really want a video of me showing you step-by-step how to make it I will
do it it just it’s very simple but it would be a five minute video so if you
need it put that in the comments section yes I want to see that video or if
somebody makes a comment yes please show a video step by step making the hi
advisor and everybody clicks like on that and if I get 5 likes on that
comment I will do a video that shows how to make it okay will you show us how to
make em is that’s done there number 4 Carolyn Frank could you please discuss
backfilling versus what a normal frame of brood adjacent to food stores looks
like what are the bee is trying to do and bag filling ok first of all for
those of you don’t know what bag filling is I’m gonna tie this into something
else look what I’m showing you here today
this is a brand new come material this looks like regular become right and it
is soft this looks like drawn wax and it feels like drawn
and it bends and compresses like drawn wax and guess what it’s synthetic this
is synthetic pre-drawn comb and who do you think it comes from better be calm
so now this is not a promotion for them I bought these just like everybody else
they didn’t say I meani I wish I would have sent me something for free I’d like
to do that but so what is this stuff good for I mean we’re already this isn’t
plastic in fact I’m gonna put a link down in the video description so you can
read what this thing is made out of these things are very soft so where
would you use it and this ties in with the breed question here the expanding
question if you catch a swarm of bees and you put them in a box and you don’t
have drawn-out comb for them instead you’ve got regular foundation so what I
do is I put in these are acorn heavy wax frames and my bees build these out
really fast these are my favorite one-piece plastic frames so but the bees
have to draw their comb before they start laying eggs before they start
storing resources whether it’s nectar whether it’s pollen resources and so on
they have to make comb first and that is the most demanding resource that the
bees will ever have to build in the hive is building honeycomb so the people have
better beat this stuff just came out this year I don’t know how many months
it’s been out or whatever but I ordered it right away because I’m gonna evaluate
it the next swarm that I get even though I said earlier I’m through catching
swarms I have this box left this is my last one
so if I get a swarm it’s going to be to test out this new synthetic frame
material so this is synthetic comb it’s held in here just with toothpicks and
I’m running a video up in the corner here showing you coming out of the box
what they look like and you get the frames you get to come you put this
together yourself you hold it and this is only good for the brood frame so when
you put these in the brood frame and the arrangement is
you know I have four acorn frames in the middle and then the these are are
grouped on the outside of the box they go on my coffee anyway and then they’re
grouped on either side so these are together two or three on each side and
in your acorn frames or whatever you have for the bees to work with in the
center and the thinking is that the bees are going to be able to go right into
these and start using these and storing their resources immediately I like the
concept I don’t know if it’s working by the way a bunch of people wrote on my
last youtube when we were talking about this and said yeah I’ve got those yeah I
bought those too if you bought them and you’ve got them and they’re working or
not working please write that in the comment section there called the better
comb so if you write a comment saying hey the better comb is working better
comb as a fail what goes on with that how’s that going
so backfilling when we get to a frame of brood backfilling is just the bees
putting stuff where it shouldn’t be if you had a frame that had brood on it
every time the brood hatches out the next thing that’s gonna happen is the
Queen’s gonna come along and that empty cell is going to be filled with a new
egg and I have a queen right now it’s laying eggs every eight to ten seconds
that is we were timing her my wife and I were watching in the observation hive
and she is dropping eggs like crazy so anyway what happens so if the Queen goes
to lay an egg and in the middle of that broom frame there’s a bunch of nectar
what now well every cell that’s full of nectar is a cell that can’t be filled
with an egg so that goes without saying so why are they doing that
well during the day first of all the forages are out and when there is a
nectar flow on they are getting back and they’re unloading that nectar to
interior working bees what I call store keeper bees and those bees are the touch
tones they’re unloading they pass off from their crop to the next one and the
next one that lives inside the hive that’s never been outside fills those
cells and the reason is production is so high they’re out of places to put the
nectar so they start to fill the brood frame with it and there’s also another
term honey bound and that means that all the
available cells just start getting filled with resources for the bees and
we don’t have a place to put the eggs so that’s counterproductive for the hive
why do they do it they’re out of space so what’s the figs expand the hive so
you need to sow your brood frame let’s say it’s a deep box and your brood is
all in there and they start to fill that with nectar chances are if you look at
your honey super it’s full – and here’s the problem – with a rapid onset of a
nectar flow the beasts go into overdrive and if you’re not paying attention if
you don’t go by and grab the boxes and try to lift him and realize when they’re
really getting heavy and when they are really heavy you need to look at the top
box and see if it’s full of honey if it is it’s time to add another box don’t
even wait I get that question a lot recently
you know when should I put on under the box you know I have a ten frame and they
filled six of them is it too soon to put on another box no it’s not too soon if
there’s a nectar flow get the other box on there now how much space is nectar
take up in the colony twice as much space as honey because nectar when it’s
brought in is is a high water percentage it’s going to be dehydrated down to
about 50 percent of what it is when it’s brought in therefore then they’ll move
it around and they’ll keep condensing it that’s why sometimes you’ll this is
really beneficial with the flow highs because we can pull the panel off and we
can see the end frames and you’ll see them fill those cells with nectar but
then they’re dehydrating it and you’ll actually see the cells recede a little
bit over a period of hours and days so they need twice the storage space to
make half the honey does that make sense so when there’s a nectar flow on there
filling everything there’s a lot of water a lot of moisture in there that’s
why it’s also a high time when the bees will be found outside your hive and not
inside you’ll see thousands of bees clustered bearding off the landing board
clustered on the hive and by the way these high visors the bees cluster up
underneath of them so even that protects those bees from rain and weather so hi
advisor good move anyway I’m off track so you want to expand that hive and give
them the most you know the most space you can provide
for those bees at the time of the nectar flow then of course when nectar flows
are over when periods of dearth and everything that’s when you look at maybe
condensing it a little bit also I’d like to mention for those who feed their bees
don’t use landing board feeders if you’re gonna put for you directly on a
hive put it up inside inside a feeder shim or something like that and have it
enclosed and inaccessible to the outside bees also don’t add pheromones there’s
no reason to add essential oils and things like that
to your honey that’s your honey your sugar water that’s being provided for
bees during periods of dearth to keep them going or when the season is done
and you’ve drawn off all your honey you’re also letting them clean up their
cells and their frames on their own so you know a normal frame should have
nothing but brood on it in the field and then on the on the edges of the frame
you’ll see pollen and you’ll see corners filled with honey resources that are
right there that’s for their immediate use if it starts to fill the field you
have a real problem because the Queen can’t lay and you need to provide space
and frames for her to do that that’s the other thing if you don’t do that soon
enough they have to make comb if you’re new to beekeeping you don’t have become
these frames from better be are not good for honey supers at all they won’t hold
up to spinning and they’re not even recommending that you use it for that
they’re only for brood so you can’t just grab these pre drawn-out frames of stuff
from better be and put them up in honey supers and provide an immediate storage
area I’m not saying they won’t use it I’m saying the better bee says not to so
provide space and enough time for them to build comb so that they’ll have a
place to put the nectar because it doesn’t do any good to add a bunch of
frames that doesn’t have comb on it that doesn’t in place to store it but so if
they’re already backfilling creating a honey bound situation you’re about to
lose a pile of bees through two ways one they might swarm because they’re out of
space number two because there are fewer eggs being laid fewer brood down the
road so for they’re not laying eggs now 21 days away they’re not Achin so you’re
going to be reducing colony strength prop
at a critical time so expand the hives early as soon as you know that something
like that’s going on what else and I have here two pages this time here we go
how do you set up how do you stop robbing on newly-made splits and nucleus
hives and this is Graham from Ireland so that’s cool anyway I like that people
all over the world are seeing this but I have a lot to say about what to do first
of all like this week at house day or hive day swarm of bees so they don’t
have any resources they’re not really prone to for robbing but we do want to
reduce the entrance so that a lot of things that you can do and this is
timely because guess what just came this came to me this week and these are from
be smart design robbing screens just want to talk about that too but I want
to talk about what everybody already has so if you’ve got he says new splits
nucleus hive so what’s the problem there well the workforce is small the number
of defending bees the guard bees are reduced and they might have a lot of
resources especially because when we do splits or when we set up a swarm or
something like that chances are hopefully you put sugar
syrup in there so they can get a good start and so we have a reduced number of
bees they’re kind of in jeopardy and we need to protect them so the most obvious
thing that you’re gonna do is to put on this is an eight frame interest reducer
we want to reduce that too that one looks like it’s right about an inch and
you’re gonna see if there’s no traffic jam here they can defend this I don’t
know if you’ve ever seen the movie called the 300 but 300 men stood off
thousands in what they called the hot gates and that’s because the enemy had
to pass through a narrow passage and so even a few guard bees can fend off a
whole horde of yellowjacket wasps that might come and try to steal their stuff
or worse yet robbing bees robbing bees can hit a hive Rob it out completely in
just a matter of men it’s once the scouts get through and
they get to the honey resources if there’s any in there and they find out
that they can defend that they’re gonna sweep in there by the hundreds if not
thousands and cleaning it out so you can defend that by putting this in and do
that early so if this is a you know he has a nuke box some of those have the
wheels on them that let things in so you want to reduce the entrance there are
two entrance reducer and then as their numbers get bigger of course you just
swap out your entrance reducers make them a little bigger and then that’s as
big as you need it to be a huge hive can come and go through that and also make
sure they don’t have an upper entrance when it’s a new colony you can do an
upper entrance later when the numbers are big and then you know they can
defend their resources but here’s what came out from be smart design this is
actually a robbing screen and it is made it’s fully vented on the front it has
tabs on the sides that you can break off if you need it for 1/8 frames this is
setup for a 10 frame so it’s fully vented now here’s the thing when bees
are robbing Isle colony when they’re robbing hive they like to fly straight
in get what they need and fly straight out so if you’ve got a colony that’s
being overwhelmed that can’t hold its own then as soon as nightfall comes
first of all you want to put an entrance reducer on it right away but an interest
reducer if they’re already under attack isn’t even going to do the trick so now
we have to go to some kind of robbing screen and a lot of people make that so
what we want to do is block the bees for me being able to the robbing bees from
being able to fly directly in and fly directly out with whatever they’ve
stolen so the robbing screen redirects the activity and the reason you do it at
night is so that the bees that have gone out foraging that day know where to get
back in because if you do this while you’re foragers are out and you put this
thing on and the push pins come with it you can push this right on I just barely
pushed them in because this is for demonstration purposes you probably want
to take a tack hammer or something and tack them in and make sure this is nice
and firm but there are these openings on the top so what happens is overnight you put
this on and then you’ll open one or two of these depending on the population of
the colony you’re defending and once these are open the bees inside will come
to this outside the front they’ll go up and they’ll leave through the top
robbers don’t want to come in and go down and then come through so this stops
robbing or greatly reduces it and gives them an entrance and exit route through
the top of the screen which helps them forage come back without being attacked
and without being overwhelmed at the entrance which is where it all happens
now there’s a couple of modes for this – so this is double DD one is it’s a
robbing screen so it’s vented has these exit points
open it closed and as you like if you just want to open one side or whatever
but again the foragers before they go out you need this installed so they know
how to get back in otherwise they’ll just hang here because they can smell
through here and they’ll just be here trying to get in and not figuring it out
the pace back and forth so do it at night the other thing is this doubles as
a mouse guard so there’s little squares here on the corner right there and you
take one of the pushpins and it’s pre-creased in here so the pushpin can
go through the center and what that does is creates a standoff that’s big enough
for the piece to come and go through the bottom but it is too small for a mouse
to get through now it could a mouse stand there and chew that plastic apart
probably if it was a really tenacious Mouse but if they’re just opportunistic
and they’re cruising by and they jump up on this landing board and they want to
see if they can get in and they realize I can’t get through that
that Mouse is gonna move on for an easier access to something else so
double duty it’s a screen for robbing bees and it is a mouse guard so those
are my recommendations if you’ve got nucleus or you’ve just made a split
anytime you’ve reduced the numbers in your bees and they’re having problems
defending themselves while you build them back up some kind of robbing screen
is the most extreme entry reducer keep that entrance and only have one entrance
don’t have an upper entrance for the bees until the number
or up until they can defend themselves and that is everything for today so
thank you for watching I hope you’re gonna have a great weekend please let me
know if you have questions write them in the comment section below and we’ll talk
about those next week if you have further questions about anything I
talked about today please feel free to ask more about that and again don’t
forget you want to see how to build a high visor go ahead first person make
that comment find that comment give it a thumbs up if you want to see it I’ll
make them I don’t care I’m not trying to market those I’m just putting the
information out thanks for watching as always have a good day

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53 thoughts on “Beginner Beekeeping FAQ 25 How to Keep Bees Robbing Screen BetterComb by BetterBee

  1. Fred – i LOVE your videos. Can you do a video on your solar powered system do's/don's and lessons learned.

  2. Thanks again for another wonderful video! My BetterComb is arriving on Monday. One of the users on beesource.com said he had them for a few weeks and his bees were just using them great, like they had drawn all that comb on their own. The only negative thing other people had to say about it was the cost, but they didn't try it themselves so I took the plunge. I will be using 5 frames to move one of my nucs to a deep 10 frame, and then I'm going to experiment with cutting it down to fit into medium frames for adding my first honey super to my Caucasian hive!

  3. Going to check out a couple of points you raised about the thermal parasite control. I hadn’t even heard about it until you mentioned it.

  4. Beautiful place you have Fred. Too bad all that corn is not something more pollen friendly to the bees.

  5. YES PLEASE SHOW US HOW TO MAKE THE HIVE VISOR! Beautiful place! I dont agree with thermal mite control. I would not do it. Too many unknown variables. Thanks for covering it.

  6. Fred thanks for such thorough response to each question! l can't keep bees, but am fascinated by them – so experience – nil, interest – high. QUESTION: When you described what takes place when lack of space forces the empty brood cells to be filled with nectar …. does one put an entrance in upper boxes to make it easier for workers to deposit nectar ?
    BTW the Luna moth video was great…ditto for bees drinking rain water… and think your product reviews are very useful…. will be interesting to see how the bees like that new comb product. Regards, from Ark – Ozarks.

  7. I love the common sense information you share with your audience. It’s great to find someone who will put in the research to answer a question instead of making one up. Well done. Thank you.

    I was just given a two frame observation hive from a long-time beekeeper near me. Can you discuss the process of setting it up with bees and dos and don’ts to maintain it successfully?

  8. Enjoyable video! Build videos are popular you might want to show you visor build. It will be a adventure for you.

  9. I was set up to build my own thermal treatment system for varroa by using 200 wats light bulbs with thermostat,fans and a stirofoam box that covers the hive.It works and its a treatment you have to do at the begining of winter when there is no brood.
    Ive quit experimenting because its possible you can kill the queen from the heat( when the bees decide to kill a queen they kill it with heat by ,,cooking,, her).
    Oxalic acid its better for a bio treatment,milder on the bees and effective.

  10. Thanks again Fred!  Question for another episode; What is the average length of time for bees to fully draw out comb on a deep frame?  Trying to gauge expansion rate (slow/fast) within a brand new super drawing from Mann Lake wax frames.

  11. Really appreciate the topics you cover. This video in particular was so timely as I just got back from my hives and now I know why I have an over abundance of honey and next to no brood in the top brood box. At 32:33 you talk about a dearth and maybe that’s when we should consider “condensing it a little”. How do I go about doing that?

  12. My mentor just mentioned on the phone about robbing screens. He is 30 miles south and his flow is over. He just said my flow should be slowing so its inspection and strength checking time. Your timing is on time, thanks.

  13. Question: first year hive with no drawn comb. Can you overfeed the bees? I feel like I overfed them earlier in the year and they started to backfill the broodnest. Really trying to get the comb drawn. Any tips? And love the weekly FAQs, great job and keep it up!

  14. Fred, what if you had a hive entrance that consisted of a PVC pipe with an elbow, and eliminated the landing board altogether? Robber bees couldn't fly straight in, they'd have to come up through and crawl through the elbow. Sort of like the entrance for your observation hive.

  15. Thank you Fred for answering my question. Very informative. I have reduced the entrance holes ,so the robbing guard sounds a good idea. Thanks again. Ps the observation hive is flying away. Queen very busy laying and still soo fascinating watching them with all the activities going on. Now thinking of an aquarium hive 😆. Thanks again 😀👍🍀🇮🇪

  16. I'm curious to see peoples response's to using the Bettercomb. I ordered some and plan to use it next week on the last splits I'll do this year.

  17. Will bees use dry salt? That is, will they lick from course salt like a large Himalayan salt crystal? Would there be anything wrong with putting one in the brood box? Thank you from Southern Missouri!

  18. Great video Fred! I liked the drone view, you have a beautiful piece of property, I know it's taken a lot of work. I have 4 Beesmart robbing screens, I leave them on all of the time, they work great, I just use the thumb tacks that came with them, no problems. I also have the Mann Lake robbing screens, I really like them too, but I think the bees may have a harder time finding their way out initially, I'm still experimenting. Thanks again Fred!

  19. Very interested in your trials with the synthetic wax pre drawn combs. Not sure if we have a manufacturer for these in the uk but am scanning the internet. Thanks for sharing your knowledge i look forward to friday nights and your tutorials. 🐝💕

  20. Here in North Africa, I do feed 1:2 sugar/water, they drink like crazy. I'm not sure, but I think that is beneficial because evaporating water helps them reduce the heat plus nutrition. your thoughts!?

  21. Fred, you started off by saying you rotate your hives in and out. what did you mean by rotate them ? I am not understanding that. aside from that, great videos. I have watched since the 1st one.

  22. I've been binge watching your videos since discovering your Channel a week ago. I'm definitely fascinated with the subject, and am still deciding whether I should get some hives of my own, so am absorbing as much info as I can find. Your channel is definitely the most "info laden" bee channel.

    I've heard you use the phrase "Unless the Queen's wings are clipped" on a couple of occasions. Can you discuss wing clipping in an upcoming video? Why, Pro's, Con's etc.

  23. For 7 to 10 colonies or hives how many lbs of sugar would a keeper who feeds sugar go through on avg? Instead of sugar and water can bees be fed honey and water or would they just be fed straight honey if the keeper wanted just to feed them honey?

  24. I have fogged my bees with mineral oil and wintergreen once a week when I have honey supers on (16 oz 25 drop) and it seems to keep the mite load way down, have you ever tried that? beginning of the year I Oxalic Acid them and in the fall, I don't try when honey supers are on.

  25. Loved the drone footage. What do you have? Thinking of getting one for our “Let’s Find Out” OC Chapter of CRFG.

  26. Wow! Beautiful where you are! Love the drone intro! 8 frame hives.. That's all I have here.. so far I like them… though I have no "comparative experience" with 10's. I don't like the meteorological forecast of winters coming sooner and lasting longer! lol To the thermal management veroa concept.. I don't like that idea at all.. It's like growing medicinal herbs and trying to use stress to bring more essential oil production.. it works.. but good foliar feeds and better plant health is FAR more effective. Never stress an organism if there is another way would be my rule. Your point about the brood is excellent.. all organisms (plants animals and humans) have critical points of influence.. with the GREATEST effect (whether positive or negative) the EARLIEST in the life cycle. Regardless, I am interested in hearing the results.. I always enjoy seeing an experiment's results. I am curious now that you mention the drawn out brood comb.. Do they make drawn out bees wax foundations? I never even considered but I figure you would know. Thanks for another excellent video on bees Fred!

  27. thanks for the info,. going to do it this next week. getting help with the split, cant see eggs or my queen!

  28. I have a question about brood pattern: What are the determining factors to differentiate a 'Spotty Brood Pattern' from normal, Hygienic behavior? I don't seem to ever have a solid frame of capped brood in any of my 4 colonies when I inspect; there's always open cells among the capped brood. I have seen photos of other hives' brood frames and they're a much more solid sheet of cappings than my bees have…At what point do I determine if I should I be concerned?

  29. My word look at all the Solar. Somehow Fred I am not surprised. You ARE the dude! Can you make a video of the system and how you store the power?

  30. Fred, This is my first year bee keeping. I've been watching my bees, and have noticed that, in the evening, they congregate on the landing board. This is full dark 21:00 in the evening. I live in Northern Virginia. It has been 80 degrees, and humid in the evenings. They aren't fanning, just clustered on the landing board. Is this common?

  31. Thanks. Informative as always. It's been really hot and dry here in Wisconsin. Does nectar become more concentrated and easier for the bees to reduce to honey during heat and drought? Also, during an inspection the other day I saw some cells that looked empty except for royal jelly. Do workers ever put jelly into empty cells, or was the larva removed? Leftover from an emerged bee? I thought it might be heat related. At what temp do eggs and pupae start dying? Maybe ant related? I have seen ants running off with what appear to be eggs during inspections.

  32. In previous videos you've talked about replacing your equipment every one to two years I would like to replace a couple of brood frames but there is always eggs larvae or capped brood how would you go about this

  33. Can you discuss/talk about refractometers and how to use one (calibrations?). Recommendations on which one is a good one? Lots of confusing info out there.

  34. Hi Fred – thanks again for another excellent FAQ. I had a couple of questions about the robbing screens you showed. In your experience, have you had a need for something like this due to your entrance reducers not being effective enough? Do you think the robbing screens would impede with the effectiveness of bees venting the hive on the landing board?

    Keep cool!

    With all my best,
    MK

  35. Are you Freddy The Frog? https://smile.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RH0UK0BI9C9OQ/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B07FNW2VDB

  36. Beautiful opening tracking shot with the drone… I particularly like the way you added the audio track in place of the drone’s own noise… nice 😉

  37. Using a robbing screen like the one you showed (39:20) will this stop the worker bees from being able to clean the hive? Also are mice actually a problem, I would think they would quickly get stung and give the attempt over real quick?

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