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Author Topic: Are bees runny on the comb indicative of a hot hive?  (Read 1140 times)
House Bee
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« on: March 20, 2009, 04:12:34 PM »

Last season whenever I found bees to be runny on the comb, that hive turned out to be hot as it grew in strength.  So, have others of you found this to be an indicator of future temperament?

Are there any spring signs that a hive will become testy as the season progresses?

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Michael Bush
Universal Bee
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2009, 05:39:38 PM »

"Runny" is one genetic characteristic.  It is not necessarily related to "hot" or "defensive".  It tends to be an undesirable characteristic as it makes it difficult to ever find an queen and bees are often "dripping" on your feet...

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Brian D. Bray
Galactic Bee
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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2009, 09:44:11 PM »

"Runny" is one genetic characteristic.  It is not necessarily related to "hot" or "defensive".  It tends to be an undesirable characteristic as it makes it difficult to ever find an queen and bees are often "dripping" on your feet...

On the other hand AHB are runny on the frames.  There is a tendency for runny bees to be hotter and more airborne defensive than bees that stay grouped on the frames.  But "hot" is a subjective state, what I might consider hot others might consider volcanic or visa versa.  To me a "hot" hive is one that comes at you stinger first at 20 feet, anything else is proddyto some degree.  Really Calm bees can be inspected while wearing a bathing suit and grip the frames with super glue.

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The Swarm King
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2009, 10:50:56 PM »

Two weeks ago I caught a swarm that had been sprayed with a fire extinguisher which did nothing but p.. off the bees beyond belief. The guy said they were unbelievably mean before he sprayed them.

Anyway, meanest bees I've ever run across, runny is how I would describe them. They were stinging people as far as I could see down the city block in both directions.

I set up a catch box with an extracted frame with fresh honey and sat it atop some cinder blocks right beneath the swarm, which was located on a military trailer.

I returned at dark and could see as I approached, runny bees. They never stopped moving, ever.

I was stung in the morning and that night by these same bees approximately 25 times.

I sent them off to be analyzed for AHB traits.


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Galactic Bee
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« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2009, 11:35:26 PM »

I had a "runny" hive that wasn't particularly mean.  Very irritating to me, though, so I requeened.

Galactic Bee
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« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2009, 06:34:15 AM »

Runny bees is a genetic trait that is highly expressed in AHBs. Not to say that all runny bees are AHB, just that there is a gene that controls that behavior. So genetically speaking, all bees have that gene, and it is to what extent it is expressed, equated into the behavior being seen or not.

It is not a behavior you want in bees. Not just from a beekeepers desire to not deal with it, which I agree can be irritating and not fun. I know finding queens from such hives is sometimes nearly impossible as the queen flees with the bees bubbling up and over the sides of the boxes.

Here is a practical example....Bees in the fall or winter are bothered by a pest such as a skunk. Instead of the normal few guard bees sent to check the entrances, all the bees decide to "run" off the brood as seen when you open the hive. The chances of brood damage in colder areas increases dramatically from such bees. And hive survivability can be impacted. Bees so willing to leave the brood is not good.

The trait causing runny bees, which is highly expressed in AHB, may closely impact absconding traits on an increased level, as well as swarming or supersedure. These traits in purely warm areas would naturally have no or low impact on such things as brood, and survival chances for the colony. But bees that "run", abscond at the drop of a pin, or supercede in attempts to "correct" perceived problems, are something not good for most areas that experience cold weather, and for beekeepers in general.

Runny bees, is one of the items on my queen evaluation form.
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Field Bee
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« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2009, 10:36:29 AM »

meanest hive i ever worked was my father in laws.
they were 5 boxes deep with the lowest box being starter strips.
i knew the hive was mean before i went after the queen to replace her.
the eggs were in the top box when i went after her, i found her in the bottom box.

i believe she ran down as i went through each box frame by frame looking for her. i didnt move boxes off the hive before looking.
only way i found her was shaking out the lowest deep that was only starter strips.

found her on the ground the next morning.

this mean hive had a very runny queen.

most often i find my greatest source of stress to be OPS  ( other peoples stupidity )

It is better to keep ones mouth shut and be thought of as a fool than to open ones mouth and in so doing remove all doubt.
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