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Author Topic: Help - Head butting and concerns for neighbors - what to do?  (Read 1671 times)
tlynn
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« on: April 30, 2009, 08:06:39 PM »

I have been in my hives a lot lately - inspection last Sunday, splitting on Tuesday, queening on Wednesday, and now we can't step out onto the back patio without 2 or 3 bees head butting us, like almost immediately.  From the patio the hives are maybe 30 ft. away.  And coming home early this evening I got out of the car in the driveway to be greeted by another head butter, this on the other side of the house.  Here is bird's eye view of yard location http://technowerkz.com/house.png and setup just after queening http://technowerkz.com/IMG_1137.JPG

I am getting concerned for the neighbors since these bees seem aggressive a ways away now.  Is this normal after so much invasion into the hives?  My hives have grown from 2 to 5 and I wonder if I have just too many bees in my yard now.  I am prepared to sell off a couple hives anyway because when I look out the window now I think, man, if I was a neighbor and saw this I would not be digging it.  The volume of bees is huge right now.  I am just kind of shocked at how much the population has grown in the last month and actually started thinking about how nice a couple of swarms could be!  It doesn't much look like a hobby anymore.

The only hive I didn't queen was the boomer which is a superceded queen, so I have these probably unwarranted concerns of AHB, yet I was digging into them this week as described above and nary a sting.

If this behavior goes on very long I am going to have to find a yard to put them in.  Any suggestions?
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JP
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2009, 08:15:28 PM »

Well, you will have to see if the aggressiveness intensifies but if they're simply headbutting and not stinging that's OK.

What's up with the foilage atop the hives?

Nice diagram BTW.


...JP
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doak
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2009, 08:27:16 PM »

Make a note of the colonies you worked that day, and the next. This way you can monitor how they act. If you have more than one, skip a day between working each if possible.
If you have an aggressive  colony or more. Try to program your visit's. Work only one aggressive colony in one day. Try to get all your work done in an aggressive colony at one time, if possible.
Try to (re queen) this aggressive colony as soon as possible. "IF" you have neighbors.
You should have gentle bees in 6 weeks.
Gladly this is not a concern with me. When I work my aggressive colony I let my Wife know so she can stay away. When she gets stung it is the Emergence Room.
Hope this helps :)doak
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tlynn
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2009, 09:05:48 PM »

Well, you will have to see if the aggressiveness intensifies but if they're simply headbutting and not stinging that's OK.

What's up with the foilage atop the hives?

Nice diagram BTW.


...JP

After splitting I hoped to get everybody reoriented the next morning to lessen drift, so hence the distraction.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2009, 11:44:15 PM »

If you have a suspected testy hive then work it First for the day.  Note its behavior before inspection and for the next several days and compare that against the next visit and other hives as well.   Sometimes the inspections of the other hives will cause enough disruption that a normally placid hive will get proddy by the time its turn comes around.  Especially if bees from other hives have stung gloves or clothing, and maybe the beekeeper, as few times.  The more phenomores from bees stings can upset ajoining hives.  Also don't eat banana's before going into the bees as they smell like the phenomores or bee stings, the riper the banana the worse the response from the bees.

Hives can get proddy for a day or two for now outward reason and then go back to being calm again.  If they get hot and stay hot then it's time to do something.  BTW, hot is when they meet you at the gate and sting you before you get the hive opened.
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tlynn
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2009, 08:09:10 AM »

Hives can get proddy for a day or two for now outward reason and then go back to being calm again.  If they get hot and stay hot then it's time to do something.  BTW, hot is when they meet you at the gate and sting you before you get the hive opened.

I agree, what I am describing is not hot, and having a few acres of land I wouldn't give it a second thought.  But my neighbors are very closeby, and my wife is getting dive bombed walking out to the garden.  I need to check on queens on Sunday so I expect I will get them stirred up again and then pending queens out of cages and eggs seen I am going to throw on another super or 2 on everybody and leave them alone a couple weeks.  If they are still chasing us around the following weekend should I requeen that one feral hive?  Everything else is Purvis queens or from a queen breeder in Ohio.

Also one other thing of note - in the feral hive when I pull out a frame to inspect, the bees seem to run around really fast and start aggregating on the far corner of the frame, piling up onto one another.  I haven't seen this elsewhere.  And now I am noticing a lot more bees circling the hives, not just comings and goings.  I am not talking orientation flights.  Fast wide circles and hoverings in front, mostly in front of the feral hive.
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mountainvalleybee
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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2009, 10:00:52 AM »

what is the general appearance of these bees. coloration patterns sizes other things of note ?
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tlynn
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« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2009, 01:58:04 PM »

what is the general appearance of these bees. coloration patterns sizes other things of note ?

Well, my old queen was very orange and the queen that took over was much darker with tiger stripes on her.  It was an obvious supercedure even though my old queen wasn't marked.  I notice no differences from other hives as far as workers go.  Just the behavioral differences.

One other thing - this queen began laying with abandon.  That's why I added 2 more boxes which I split earlier in the week.  they are also strongly outperforming as far as honey gathering, buy I imagine this is because of sheer numbers.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2009, 10:54:40 PM »

Hives can get proddy for a day or two for now outward reason and then go back to being calm again.  If they get hot and stay hot then it's time to do something.  BTW, hot is when they meet you at the gate and sting you before you get the hive opened.

I agree, what I am describing is not hot, and having a few acres of land I wouldn't give it a second thought.  But my neighbors are very closeby, and my wife is getting dive bombed walking out to the garden.  I need to check on queens on Sunday so I expect I will get them stirred up again and then pending queens out of cages and eggs seen I am going to throw on another super or 2 on everybody and leave them alone a couple weeks.  If they are still chasing us around the following weekend should I requeen that one feral hive?  Everything else is Purvis queens or from a queen breeder in Ohio.

Also one other thing of note - in the feral hive when I pull out a frame to inspect, the bees seem to run around really fast and start aggregating on the far corner of the frame, piling up onto one another.  I haven't seen this elsewhere.  And now I am noticing a lot more bees circling the hives, not just comings and goings.  I am not talking orientation flights.  Fast wide circles and hoverings in front, mostly in front of the feral hive.

Runny bees on a frame are indicative of 2 things which are really the same thing, AHB and aggression.  Aggressive bees will move around on the frame more than calm bees and often run totally off one side the frame while it is being inspected. 
Always requeen runny bees when found as it only gets worse from their.
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tlynn
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« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2009, 11:11:21 PM »

Hives can get proddy for a day or two for now outward reason and then go back to being calm again.  If they get hot and stay hot then it's time to do something.  BTW, hot is when they meet you at the gate and sting you before you get the hive opened.

I agree, what I am describing is not hot, and having a few acres of land I wouldn't give it a second thought.  But my neighbors are very closeby, and my wife is getting dive bombed walking out to the garden.  I need to check on queens on Sunday so I expect I will get them stirred up again and then pending queens out of cages and eggs seen I am going to throw on another super or 2 on everybody and leave them alone a couple weeks.  If they are still chasing us around the following weekend should I requeen that one feral hive?  Everything else is Purvis queens or from a queen breeder in Ohio.

Also one other thing of note - in the feral hive when I pull out a frame to inspect, the bees seem to run around really fast and start aggregating on the far corner of the frame, piling up onto one another.  I haven't seen this elsewhere.  And now I am noticing a lot more bees circling the hives, not just comings and goings.  I am not talking orientation flights.  Fast wide circles and hoverings in front, mostly in front of the feral hive.

Runny bees on a frame are indicative of 2 things which are really the same thing, AHB and aggression.  Aggressive bees will move around on the frame more than calm bees and often run totally off one side the frame while it is being inspected. 
Always requeen runny bees when found as it only gets worse from their.

Yep, that's exactly the behavior I am seeing.  Also makes for very difficult queen spotting with them all being so jumpy. 

I will get another queen next week.  Now I just have to deal with essentially 3 hives of her progeny for 6 weeks since I just split the one into 3.
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bugleman
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« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2009, 07:35:41 AM »

I know about being headbutted while working in the garden.  And for my hive it did just get worse as they built up in strength.  When they started buzzing my girl sitting on the deck, that was the last straw. 

I am currious if the splits you made were walk away splits or from queen cells or new queens and if they going to maintain the runniness or if thier disposition will be different?

I just looked at the picture you posted and yes I would requeen now b4 the neighbors start getting molested.
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tlynn
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« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2009, 08:16:45 AM »

I know about being headbutted while working in the garden.  And for my hive it did just get worse as they built up in strength.  When they started buzzing my girl sitting on the deck, that was the last straw. 

I am currious if the splits you made were walk away splits or from queen cells or new queens and if they going to maintain the runniness or if thier disposition will be different?

I just looked at the picture you posted and yes I would requeen now b4 the neighbors start getting molested.

Splits were 2 deeps into 3 hives and I kept the queen and queened the 2 others with purchased queens from Purvis Bros in GA.
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2009, 08:52:24 AM »

I have a somewhat small yard for having 6 or 10 hives too.  Mean bees don't stay too long.

Requeening is the first thing to do.  Sometimes too the daughter hives can be better, sometimes worse.

Looks like you have plenty of water sources nearby... rolleyes

-rick
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Rick
tlynn
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« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2009, 03:05:48 PM »

I have a somewhat small yard for having 6 or 10 hives too.  Mean bees don't stay too long.

Requeening is the first thing to do.  Sometimes too the daughter hives can be better, sometimes worse.

Looks like you have plenty of water sources nearby... rolleyes

-rick

Yea no kidding!  Whole darn neighborhood has pools. In mid summer I wish I had one too.  There are also a number of lakes and retention ponds pretty close.  Hopefully those are getting visited more.
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