I don't want to come off as callous but I will be blunt.
If you want to be a beekeeper you need to be prepared for the things that can happen.
Much like being an electrician, it is very likely you will get shocked. You do your utmost to avoid it but sooner or later something will happen.
Beehives can be hot for a number reasons. Understanding and respecting the bees for those reasons makes you a better beekeeper.
Do not live in fear of what might happen. Come at with understanding it will happen. Treat each hive as if though it has the potential to be hot and you will be better off.
You can buy a hive from a reputable dealer. You can buy queens from the finest breeders. You can do all the right things and something will go wrong. Because bees make up their own mind.
Let's look at the some of the reasons a hive can go hot.
1. Loss of queen.
2. Recent robbing attempt.
3. Weather change.
4. Lack of food
5. Hive is ready to swarm.
6. Odors in the area have upset the hive
7. You drop a hive
1. The loss of a queen especially if it is a recent loss will set the bees into a very defensive mode. Old beekeepers will tell you the hive has more of roar sound than a buzz sound.
2. Bees that have had a robbing attempt or recent animal attack. Are already in a defensive mood. You are just another problem to them.
3. On a nice sunny day. A sudden cold front or sun shower will make bees very unhappy.
4. Bees that are starving are not happy bees.
5. When a hive is ready to swarm half the bees, half the honey and the old queen are getting ready to leave. They are not kind to having the process in it's final stage disturbed.
6. Sometimes some odor natural or man made has come across with the wind. This why beekeepers recommend against eating things like banana before going into a hive.
7. Nice bees go ballistic when you get clumsy.
When you look at that it seems awfully scary. Why in the world would anyone keep bees under situations where things like that can happen. Because it is on the same par with cooking on the stove. You can have the pot of water get knocked. You can burn the bread. You can bump into the burner. The pilot light on the gas stove can go out and fill the house with gas.
In the world things can happen. If you live in fear of everything that can go wrong nothing will get done. Bees are stinging insects that defend themselves and their home. We don't blame them for that. We try to work with them. But you have to understand you are the intruder. You can give all the sugar water and pollen patties to your bees and even talk nice to them. None of that provides you with any guarantees.
And out of this experience comes wisdom.
Dealers try to do the right things. They receive inspections. Health certificates are required with postal shipments. So if a dealer is given a notice of concern. That is not a bad thing it means the system is working. In Florida they don't advocate open air breeding because of the AHB issue. However the rates of supercedure on AI queens shows that they aren't doing as well as everyone would like. If there are concerns about a dealer be practical don't purchase queens from that dealer until they have issued a clean bill to them.
There are a lot of things to look into when buying your products. Smart shopping is always a good idea. And opinions will vary.
Rule #1 for beekeeping is have fun.
Rule #2 is remember bees sting and that can be no fun.
Now I have to go and play in traffic.