The Robber Bee Scout Trap® is a devise 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 Robber Bee Scout Trap® works by allowing the home bees to learn a new non-typical, alternate entrance to come and go. It is important to install the Robber Bee Scout Trap® before robbing season begins, because the bees of the home hive that are being protected need to have time to learn their new entrance and how to avoid being trapped. The familiarization period takes less then a week.
When the robber bee scouts arrive to try to 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. As the robber bee scout enters the dark space in the simple maze they see light issuing from another lower drilled hole that attracts their attention. Once the robber bee ventures down and enters the lower hole they find themselves walking into the bee jail.
Why the extended entry way is important for the bees temperature regulation and defense of the hive.
The Robber Scout Bee Trap® is designed to screen off the hive entrance at the end of the landing board rather then being pressed right against the entrance opening. This space allows for full ventilation and allows the entire landing board to be used by guards to petrol and defend from robber bees or yellow jackets. The roof of the Trap helps to further cool the hive by shading the landing board from the sun.
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.