*The Robber Bee Scout Trap® is a device that is installed onto the landing board in front of the hive entrance.
*The Trap consists of a “false or fake” landing board entrance, a simple confusion maze and a screened robber bee jail.
*The trap works by allowing the home bees to learn a "secret", new non-typical, alternate entrance to come and go.
*The Trap is installed before robbing season begins, allowing your bees time to learn their new entrance and how to avoid being trapped. The familiarization period takes less then a week.
"I finally feel relief this fall knowing the Robber Trap is keeping the robber bees from destroying my hives. I have always dreaded this time of year, feeling I couldn't leave my hives, knowing they were going to get robbed"
"This is amazing example of advanced problem solving and overcoming something that otherwise was out of reach of stopping."
When the robber bee scouts arrive to try and gain access to the hive, they land on what looks like a typical bee hive entrance. The robber bees are confused because they can smell and see the actual hive landing board, but they cannot advance forward because they are separated by a screen. The robber bees frantically pace back and forth along the fake entrance looking for a way in. On either side of the fake entrance is the “simple maze” consisting of enticing drilled holes, which the robber scouts must investigate. The robber bee scout enters the dark space in the simple maze, they see light issuing from another upper hole that attracts their attention. Once the robber bee ventures up through the maze vertically and enters the upper maze hole, they enter a cone that reduces down to a single small opening When the robber bee scout crawls out of the cone they find themselves trapped in the robber bee jail.
To keep robber bee scouts alive and well make sure to leave a wet sponge or water source inside the jail, and release them at sundown.
What are other strategies to try to stop robbing?
An “entrance reducer” or a screen taped right to the entrance is the most common practice to close down the hive entrance during robbing season. An entrance reducer is a permanent wood or plastic insert that has a small hole only for just a few bees to pass. Closing down most of the entrance with an entrance reducer can be very risky. If the temperatures rises, often the bees do not have enough ventilation or air exchange to keep the colony cool and it will overheat. If the hive does not collapse from overheating there still exists a hidden danger of mold in the hive caused from the bees desperately bringing in copious amounts of water to cool the hive. If the temperatures drops there will be excess moisture in the hive which will cause mold to develop.
How the Robber Bee Scout Trap® ensures temperature regulation and defense of the hive.
The Robber Bee Scout Trap® is designed to screen off the hive entrance at the front of the landing board. This space allows the hive to be fully ventilated because the fanning bees have full access to the landing board. Allowing the bees to have full access to the landing board also allows guards to patrol and defend in the case that a robber bee or yellow jacket slips through. The roof of the Trap helps to further cool the hive by shading the landing board from the sun.
A full Robbing scenario will be a fight a minute. The robber bees will be getting past the guards and scurrying along the observation in the window. You will also see fighting or tussling inside the hive. In the case of a full robbing scenario, completely close both secret hinged doors. Be sure you mist the real entrance through the trap screen several times during the day. At sun down, release the bees from the jail. The next morning before any of your bees depart the hive, put the jail door back on and keep the ports of entry totally closed off, so that none of your bees can get out. Now you will be able to completely assess the extent of the robbing and will be able to trap as many robbers as possible. Be sure to keep your bees hydrated. Usually after a couple days of this shut down, the robbers' numbers will taper off and you can start opening the secret hinged door to one or two bee spaces. The shut down method is going to be more risky if the temperature is hot and may not be the best choice.