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Author Topic: Colony More Agressive  (Read 746 times)
MagicValley
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« on: September 08, 2010, 08:05:41 PM »

This year was my 1st try with beekeeping.  I bought 3 pounds of bees and a queen.  At first they were easy to be around, they just went around their business and ignored me.  I could sit in front of the hive and watch them come and go for as long as I wanted.

I'm pretty sure the queen has been replaced 3 or 4 times over the course of this season.  There are at least 3 types of bees now, some are a little larger, some are nearly all black, and some are just striped.

Now they notice me right away and come after me.  Within a minute or two of sitting in front of the entrance, a few of them are aggressively investigating me, getting in my hair and pretty much chasing me off.

I've started feeding them again, they are going through a quart of 1:1 sugar syrup every 4 days now. The temp dropped into the mid 30's a couple nights ago so I put the slide back in under the screen bottom.

I put a super on top of the 2 bodies 3 or 4 weeks ago and had a look the other day.  No comb, no honey, nothing in there.  So no harvest this year.

I'm wondering if I should plan on re-queening in the spring, or doing it sooner, to get some less aggressive bees.
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AllenF
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2010, 09:10:45 PM »

Are they queenright?   Do you smoke them?   

If they have 2 boxes of brood, how much honey is in there?   At this time of the year, you need to make sure they can make it through your winters.   If you are feeding them, why do you want to pull honey?
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Hethen57
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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2010, 09:53:59 PM »

If you can find a queen, many people re-queen in Fall.  If you can't, you will need to wait.  In my experience, a full working hive is way more agressive than a new package hive during the first few months.  However, I have some that are more aggressive than others as well.  I have 2 agressive hives (out of Cool and they produce well and are able to defend themselves, so you need to decide what level of aggressiveness you can live with.  I sometimes use mine for splits and different experiments because I really don't care if I lose them, and it is nice to knock them back a little by splitting or taking frames.
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AliciaH
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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2010, 10:36:44 PM »

As AllenF asked, how much honey do your brood boxes have?  As for the honey super, I would pull it if you haven't already.  The temps are dropping in your area and it's just more room for them to heat. 

One quart of syrup every four days isn't a lot for a hungry hive.  I'm tempted to say they've been living off something in your area.  If the stores in your boxes are light, then maybe there has only been enough coming in to feed everyone, but not enough to store.  If that's the case, then maybe that source is starting to dry up, hence being a bit more defensive of what they do have.  If so, they should start taking more syrup soon.  If I have a hive that needs some prompting, I sometimes add peppermint tea to the water before adding the sugar to make it more appealing.

Having had queen issues this year, I also agree with Hethen - if your queen is a good layer, I would try to eliminate all other reasons for the hives' attitude before requeening, i.e., dearth, robbing, skunks, raccoons, hornets, are they queenless again (if so, is there a supersedure?), are you in the hive too much, and I'm sure many other reasons.....
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MagicValley
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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2010, 07:03:04 AM »

Thanks for the info and suggestions.  I was going to open it up today, but it looks like we're socked in with rain all day.  In the next couple days I'll have a good look at the two hive bodies to check their stores and look for the queen and supercedure cells.

Except for cracking the lid for a quick peek a couple times, I've left the hive alone for a couple months.  I did add the super and queen-screen 3-4 weeks ago in hopes of getting some honey.  Since there is nothing in the super, I'll remove it.

I have smoked them when inspecting the 2 deeps, but I haven't smoked since adding the super.  I just started feeding them the 1st of this month, September.

The returning foragers have full pollen baskets, so they are finding some food out there.

This colony has never really thrived.  It has not multiplied in numbers up to 50,000 and has seemed to change queens a few times.
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tecumseh
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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2010, 07:15:23 AM »

you might wish to first consider a robbing screen (sometimes called a Florida moving screen).  This will not make the bees less nervous if the hive is queenless... it will make a hive less nervous about things that move at or about the front entrance.
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I am 'the panther that passes in the night'... tecumseh.
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