Making Robber Screens

Sunday, October 24, 2014

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We’ve had some warm days here in Maryland, and since there’s not nectar to be had, the girls are continuing to rob, rob, rob.  So all entrances remain closed except for the main front entrance, which has been reduced to its smallest size.   Yes it seems like a small space, but it’s really all they need.  So I reduced the size of the robber screens to conforms with the smaller entrance size.

These robber screens are super simple and cheap to make.

Supplies per screen

  • ~ 8 inch x 6 inch piece of window screen (cut to size w/ scissors)
  • Two 1/2 inch square pieces of wood cut to 6 inch lengths
  • Hardware stapler and staples

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I’m not methodical with my measurements.  Eyeballing works fine for this project.

Position the two pieces of wood in the center of your window screen, leaving more than enough space between the two pieces so the bees have plenty of area to enter and exit the hive.  Measure the space against an actual entrance reducer, as shown below.

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Position these pieces of wood on your screen, make sure there’s about 2-3 inches of screen extending beyond the outside edges of each piece of wood.  These pieces will be stapled to the hive to keep it the screen in place.  The screen should extend the length of the wood fully so that it is flush with then surface of the hive at the bottom.  This is to ensure that bees do not enter from beneath the screen.

Using a heavy duty hardware stapler, staple the screen to the wood.  I staple three times on both sides.

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Below are the finished screens ready for installation.


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The installed screens are shown below.  It’s not perfectly flush against the hive because the entrance reducers aren’t flush, but it works because it forces bees to enter from the top rather than giving them direct access from the front.  Bees from that hive will figure out the detour.  Robber bees will continue to enter from the front and will give up because of the barrier.

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In the meantime, all other entrances are covered with pieces of window screen that have been stapled to the hives.  This allows for continued ventilation, but blocks robber bees from entering.

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This robbing stuff has to be one of the most disturbing and frustrating issues I’ve experienced yet as a beekeeper.  The screens have helped tremendously, and they’re simple, cheap and easy enough that I can add them to all of my hives.

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