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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 18th year of beekeeping in April 2023. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Avoiding Robbing Behavior

I've harvested a lot lately - from Colony Square and from Stonehurst. At the end of a crush and strain harvest, the beekeeper is left with dripping frames, honey harvested, but broken wax and drips of honey remaining. Usually it is a good solution to put these frames into a hive box and return them to the hives.

Neither Colony Square nor the Stonehurst hives are at my house. And the hives that are at my house had a robbing incident when I fed Topsy. So I decided not to put the dripping frames back on any hive.

Instead I set boxes of dripping frames and the cardboard which was under my transport nucs in which I brought the honey from Stonehurst out on my driveway in front of my house (the hives are at the far back of the house).

Bees arrived in droves to take away the spoils. However, none of my hives in the back of the house were subjected to robbing. This was set out fair to all comers. And come, they did!

Toward the end of the day, the last piece of cardboard was all that had anything sticky on it and the bees cleaned it up as well.

I have one more set of four nucs full of frames of honey from Stonehurst to harvest. I'll treat the dripping frames in this same way since it seemed to be a fair and peaceful way to share the spoils equally.

One year ago:  Bee Mad, Bee Mean
Two years ago:  Blooming Kudzu
Three years ago: Keith Fielder, Master Beekeeper, Speaks at the Metro Club
Four years ago:  The Small Swarm is No More
Five years ago:  Filtering the Honey
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  1. Anonymous8:08 AM

    Sounds like an excellent solution to me! I've seen this on other blogs and loved the idea.

  2. Penny9:53 AM

    Good solution, Linda.

    Yes, old books and beekeepers would say to put out extracted supers for the bees to rob & clean up. This works well IF the supers and cappings are far enough away from the hives. I've seen it explained that the close-in round dance done by foragers doesn't have the directional component of the figure-8 waggle dance, so recruited foragers search all around the hive within 100 yards or so for the honey source. That's when they discover a weaker neighbor and start robbing.

    Another way to handle the supers and wax is to divide them up and put over the inner cover of each hive so all receive the leftovers at the same time. (A case of feed one, feed all.) The cappings/wax must be shallowly spread in a dish of some kind-- if it's too deep, the bees suffocate while burrowing through. One complication these days is that this type hive clean-up may attract more small hive beetles.

  3. Thanks for sharing this Linda. I just harvested today & put the frames back near the hives & it was a frenzy!!! Bees all over the place & bearding on the hives ~ even in the rain.

    Next time the frames are going in the back yard in the garden area & away from the hives!

    It seems so simple when you wrote this up! :) Hope you're all settled into your new digs. T

  4. Working with a greater number of colonies (up to 100 some years) the only good solution at the end of the summer is to put the dripping supers back on the top separating them from the colony with a layer of covering material (plastic foil most of the time) leaving only a small access in the middle for them to tresspass. If you do all that work late in the enevenig they can finish the cleanig during the night & by mornig their excitement is long gone...

  5. [sorry for spamming :) wrong link ] I used to do that as well but I'm afraid the bees are getting used on making honey the "easy way" and soon or late there will be a robbing behavior against the nearest hives. Probably the conditions are different there but the way the bees act in Greece it's not recomented! Regards Kostas

  6. Hello Linda.

    I've listed you as a 'versatile blogger' so please feel free to accept and copy/paste this logo onto your blog.


    If you accept the idea is (I think) to continue the link...

    All the best


  7. Anonymous1:17 PM

    Hi Linda,
    I am also named Linda and a bee keeper in Texas. I started my hobby in March this year. I only got one honey harvest this season due to extreme heat and drought conditions in Texas. I'm leaving the remainder of the honey for the bees to overwinter. However, when I harvested I tried two methods of allowing the bees to cleanup the leftovers. One - similar to you I left some frames in a different part of the yard for the bees to clean up which they quickly did, therefore sharing amongst any who wanted. The others I put back into the supers and let each colony have at least one or two frames to clean. Both methods kept robbing behavior away and allowed everyone to have their fair share of the goodies. I'll be feeding this fall I'm afraid as there seems to be no break from our awful heat!


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