Becky, you need your own account! Come on and up the woman-beek numbers here! ;)
Our bees up in Maine are extremely mild. They were slightly perturbed when Greg pulled the supers last weekend. Seriously, these girls are so calm it's scary, but last weekend he was glad he had on his full suit, he did get stung, once, through the suit and the t-shirt, but even still, they were pretty calm for being robbed. Down here was a different story, although not near as bad as your hives. They were angry, but didn't follow him around much, and I was out there messing around with the chickens, right next to the hives, they didn't bother me at all. He was fully suited.
It does sound as though your girls are a bit too hot. Hopefully you don't have africanized hives going on there.