Sticky Acres

How To Stop A (Bee) Robbery In Progress

Some punk-ass bees from somewhere in the neighborhood have decided that it’s easier to steal honey from my bees than it is to go and make their own.

In an effort to help my bees defend their hive, I first reduced the width of the hive entrance with wood down to the width of one bee.

Then I wet down a bed sheet and threw it over the hive. Since my bees already know their way around inside the hive, and the marauders do not, it gives my bees a leg (or legs) up in the fight. My bees can figure out how to get in and out, but those bastard thieving bees are trapped under the sheet and easier to pick off by the home team. I’m hoping the pirate bees haven’t killed my queen, as this is my hive of super friendly bees that I use for educating school groups and filming.

Here’s what the bee action looks like after the application of a wet bed sheet. Much better. For once, being a wet blanket is actually a good thing.


  1. joy2b
    Posted April 18, 2011 at 4:01 am | Permalink

    How is your hive?

  2. Posted April 18, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Holy *&^% I have never seen that level of robbing before, I hope your girls are still alright, you could even screen the entrance for a day or two until the robbers give up if you have to, this is beyond my experience though GL 🙂

  3. Posted April 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Do we get a follow up report?

  4. Posted May 15, 2011 at 2:35 am | Permalink

    Holy Crap! What a melee!

    What are the flying-saucer looking things on the legs of your hive stand? Some kind of ant-stoppers?

  5. Posted May 15, 2011 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    The “flying saucer things” are tuna cans. During ant season, I fill the cans with the cheapest cooking oil I can find.

  6. Ron
    Posted January 18, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    We are visiting Italy. Can you tell me of somewhere I could get some brochures on beekeeping in Rome. Would love to check some places out while we are there.


  7. Sam
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I suggest simpy greasing down the legs with vaseline. Ants will not cross a Vaseline barrier, plus it won’t go bad baking in the sun. If it gets dirty, just wipe it off and put a new coat on.
    (The vaseline trick also works awesome to keep squirrels from dancing up bird feeder poles.

    PS, MyRomanApartment, love your site, like you I’m a small time beekeeper. (I don’t like honey, but I do love bees; go figure)
    Have adored bees since I was a small child, these days my superhive is a spectacle with it’s 1/4″ thick Lexan viewing windows. I love being able to watch what my bees are doing inside the hive.
    The windows also allow me to spot robber bees that manage to get inside. they usually are evicted pretty quickly as my bees don’t like ill mannered foragers looking for an easy meal. (I do keep a feeder outside the hive so robber bees have no need to enter my hive, but once in awhile a few may get in, but even though I have gentle bees, they have no problem removing the wayward intruders)

  8. Posted January 21, 2012 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    Hi there! Alas, I don’t have a hook up for you for Roman Beekeepers specifically. That said, here are some places to check out:

    The unintentionally funnily named CRA-API–
    Istituto Sperimentale per la Zoologia Agraria Sezi (This is based in Florence).
    The bee museums are all outside of Rome

    In Rome Now is a great guide to Rome
    The Florentine is Italy’s biggest english language local newspaper.

    I’d also try That list is huge and there are probably some Italian beekeepers on there who would love to get together with American beeks.

  9. Posted April 5, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Hoping you’ll post more soon on the bees. Are you still keeping bees? Anyway, good tip on the sheet. Thanks.

  10. Posted April 7, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    I’ve just been super busy, so keeping up with the blog has been tough. More bee posts are coming so please keep checking back.

  11. Linda R. Funkhouser
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    One of my two Hives was robbed last week (Dec 15) because I was away a few days. I returned to find it in full BATTLE. Unfortunately, I’ve lost the Bees, they killed the Queen, but I removed the full Honey supers, put them in the house, cleaned up, and left a ‘shell’ of the Hive – but my Bees are all dead. The other Hive is fine, but I think the Sugar Water jar sitting as a top-feeder on the Hive may have attracted them due to 2-3 small drops left on the top surface which I was not aware of. The Sugar Water feeding is important in Winter if they do not have their own Honey in the frames, but I believe this is what brought the Robbers. I’m very sad to lose this Hive, they were very productive and strong. I learned about the wet Sheet too late, my Queen was already gone – you can’t really put a Queen into a Hive in mid-Winter. Linda

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