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Author Topic: Pinching Queen Only Made Hive Hotter  (Read 2123 times)
newbeekeeper
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« on: June 07, 2011, 08:28:54 PM »

Hi all,

First of all, I just want to say hello, my fiancee and I are chemical-free "newbie" beekeepers here in SoCal with about a year of experience under our belt. I freely admit, we don't know a lot but I would like to ask some questions in hopes that one of the more experienced "keepers" here could give us some advice:

We are (well, about to be "were" after the unfortunate Event that happened today) the proud keepers of 2 strong hives and one nuc which is a caught swarm that one of our 2 hives put out 2 days ago. Over the last few months, one fo the 2 hives had become increasingly "hotter" and we took upon advice of a much more experienced beekeeper friend of ours (fellow Backyard Beekeeper Club Member) that we should "pinch" the Queen, so we did.

We waited the 3 weeks or so to inspect and we found Queen cells and new eggs.

THEN, The Hive threw off a swarm a few days ago, which we luckily caught because it was in a tree in our garden.

Well, my fiancee went to inspect the "pinched" Hive today to add a new Level to it.

A good day, sunny, not too bad, perfect conditions, or so he thought. After he smoked the bees (it wasn't his first time) a mini-swarm of a sorts came out and attacked him in his bee suit. He tried to wait it out for them to calm down, but he tells me they wouldn't stop, so he went to the parking lot and they followed him. I think he got "tagged" so he had the pheromones on him. Well, other people were in the parking lot at the garden and they got stung too.

Now, he's gone back to terminate the "hot" hive, leaving the other 2, and *now* we have to get rid of our remaining 2 hives. (Hence me sadly writing this Question) Sad


My question is this: Why didn't pinching the Queen make the Hive more docile again? Why did the bees attack even though they were smoked? Was the Hive just too hot? What can we learn from this?



I hope and pray we can find some sympathetic friends that will help us, allow us to rent space for our 2 remaining Hives so that we can keep our dreams alive and continue to beekeep.

We're still about a year or so away from being able to afford to buy land for an outyard.

If anyone can help us here in the Los Angeles area, please message me here, my fiancee and I would appreciate the help. We will happily pay rent, give you honey, whatever we need to do just to keep our bees and to help the bee population out there...

Thanks-

:/

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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2011, 09:10:50 PM »

The behavior you describe sounds like an Africanized Honeybee hive.  Since you are in an AHB area, it's possible that your "hot queen" was AHB and so was her replacement.  The solution would be to replace the queen with a queen cell from another hive or with a mated queen from another source.
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fish_stix
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2011, 09:12:21 PM »

They're still nasty because you haven't given them time to cycle through all the nasty bees yet. In addition, it's probably not a smart idea to let a mean, nasty hive raise a queen from eggs that the mean, nasty queen laid. You may have Africanized hybrids, considering your SoCal area. You should have requeened with a European queen, Italian, Carniolan, etc. just in case they are AHB hybrids. If interested, take a look online at Florida's Best Management Practices for Beekeepers, and then you can share the info with your beeclub about how to handle possible AHB hives and the problems they bring on. In SoCal you will get them sooner or later, best to be prepared.
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schawee
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2011, 09:20:07 PM »

this is what i do when i have a hot hive.you did right by pinching the queen ,but you need to go further than that you need to take all frames that has eggs and young larve that they can make queen cells and take them out.go to your gentle hive and get a frame of eggs and very young larve and place it in your hot hive.they will make a queen from that.it takes about 3 months to get the hive back to being gentle.       schawee
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newbeekeeper
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2011, 10:23:03 PM »

Thanks guys.

It's been a hard day having to deal with the repercussions of not having enough experience to really know how to handle the situation.

We had to get rid of the hive due to the "orders" of the President of the Club (6 people got stung today) and we're just sick to our stomachs about all of this, but we'd like to take this as a good learning lesson.

Could anyone recommend any good books to read that will help besides the forums here? We really love beekeeping and want to continue as better-educated citizens of the Community.-

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muradulislam
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2011, 03:26:21 AM »

I am a newbee myself. will get two hives in two three days. i know of a book and i loved it.
its beekeeping for dummies by howland bliackistan. its completely for newbees like me.
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JP
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2011, 08:12:39 AM »

So I'm wondering about your mentor's advice to you. Did he tell you that your hive would instantly change in disposition after you pinched the queen?

As mentioned, requeening is the beginning step in changing the disposition of a hot hive. It seems in your situation/local it would be best to requeen instantly (with a caged queen) from known gentle stock.

The turn around in disposition could take around two months or more. Workers live about six weeks (longer in winter) and take about three weeks to hatch out from inception. The idea is that the new queen's offspring will eventually replace the older wicked workers.

We could offer up other solutions to reducing aggression but its sounds a little late in the game for you with your current hives or perhaps not?

What is being done with them now?


...JP
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zzen01
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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2011, 09:29:17 AM »

You Live in a state where I would NEVER be a beekeeper(too much feral Africanized bee activity), liability would be a killer. The states where I would not keep bees are: CA,NV, AZ, NM, CO, TX.
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2011, 10:22:27 AM »

As to a good book to read, I would suggest "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping"  by Dean Stiglitz.    Good info on foundationless and non-chemical pest control.

You didn't do anything wrong.  It's not your fault that you got an AHB queen and if she had not been AHB, pinching her and allowing the bees to make a new queen might have worked.  Still, it would have been better to requeen with a mated queen from a reliable source, since you live in an AHB area.   I hope you won't give up beekeeping altogether.  In fact, AHB areas need good and thoughtful beekeepers even more than other areas.
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kathyp
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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2011, 10:41:52 AM »

Quote
You didn't do anything wrong

except maybe walk into a populated place with bees chasing you!   grin

zzen, fortunately there are people in those places who will take the chance.  the biggest risk to me would be the liability, but that could be mitigated by best practices....and maybe beekeeping needs an Inherent Risk Law like we have for livestock.....  don't know how that would work.  might just cover your own property....
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newbeekeeper
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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2011, 05:10:05 PM »

So I'm wondering about your mentor's advice to you. Did he tell you that your hive would instantly change in disposition after you pinched the queen?

As mentioned, requeening is the beginning step in changing the disposition of a hot hive. It seems in your situation/local it would be best to requeen instantly (with a caged queen) from known gentle stock.

The turn around in disposition could take around two months or more. Workers live about six weeks (longer in winter) and take about three weeks to hatch out from inception. The idea is that the new queen's offspring will eventually replace the older wicked workers.

We could offer up other solutions to reducing aggression but its sounds a little late in the game for you with your current hives or perhaps not?

What is being done with them now?

...JP



***
Honestly, no, he didn't. We are never going to take his advice again, but the weird thing is, he's had hundreds of hives (or so he attests). I think what he said from what I've read here is horsepucky, and a darned shame we took his Advice.

As for what happened: We had to terminate the Hive.


For our remaining two, (one nuc one  Hive) we've found an outyard to keep the docile hive and we're also keeping our other box that is 3 deep full of frames. We're going to do a walkway split from the docile Hive,  to "refill" the old Hive box (they're 5 deep and strong, very productive) and we have found a Home for the nuc, so all's turning out well.

We had to term the hot Hive: Yep, I'm not happy about it. But in reflection, we didn't have much choice. They attacked/stung anyone coming w/in 50 feet of that Hive, so it was a necessity. Now, for the docile Hive, you can literally stand in front of the Hive with no reaction at all from them, so at least we have that to be thankful for.

I appreciate all of your advice, I see from this we have a long ways to go as far as our learning curve and I think the best Route is to read up all we can, and ask a lot of questions next time we get into a Situation like this.


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caticind
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2011, 05:12:28 PM »

Some states have similar provisions to the Inherent Risk Law for ecotourism operations, which can include apiaries.  If you register as an ecotourism site and post a very large (!) sign, then state law clears you of much liability for people who enter the property to look at your hives.  This doesn't cover every risk, of course, but it would help.

As folks have said below, you didn't do anything wrong, and the other members of the club are seriously in the wrong if they accuse you of poor beekeeping.  Unfortunately the process of replacing an AHB hive with docile stock takes a while.
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newbeekeeper
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« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2011, 05:15:29 PM »

As to a good book to read, I would suggest "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping"  by Dean Stiglitz.    Good info on foundationless and non-chemical pest control.

You didn't do anything wrong.  It's not your fault that you got an AHB queen and if she had not been AHB, pinching her and allowing the bees to make a new queen might have worked.  Still, it would have been better to requeen with a mated queen from a reliable source, since you live in an AHB area.   I hope you won't give up beekeeping altogether.  In fact, AHB areas need good and thoughtful beekeepers even more than other areas.

***

Thanks. It was our lack of experience that made us not know, and we turned to a pal that we thought gave us the best advice, which actually was probably not the best. As I now look back, there were Signs that the Hive was getting hotter, but we didn't "see" them from lack of experience!

Yes, I realise we are in one of the absolute worst Areas to beekeep, but we're prudently working on the problem. We're looking for land up near Bakersfield, Ag-zoned and well away from houses/etc. We are aware it's a huge responsibility but we love the little fuzzy bugger so much...so I guess this won't "bee" the last time we get exposed to the AHB Phenom trending here.

I will definitely get that Book, any other suggestions for small cell chemical-free beekeeping Books would be appreciated. I'm thankful I found this Site and this isn't the "last" you'll hear of my and my fiancee's Newbie Beekeeping Adventures! Smiley
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newbeekeeper
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« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2011, 05:21:24 PM »

Some states have similar provisions to the Inherent Risk Law for ecotourism operations, which can include apiaries.  If you register as an ecotourism site and post a very large (!) sign, then state law clears you of much liability for people who enter the property to look at your hives.  This doesn't cover every risk, of course, but it would help.

As folks have said below, you didn't do anything wrong, and the other members of the club are seriously in the wrong if they accuse you of poor beekeeping.  Unfortunately the process of replacing an AHB hive with docile stock takes a while.

Thanks. I think there needs to be more education by our Club, though. I mean, it's like nobody knew what to do; not us, not them. I'm not pointing fingers; this is just an opportunity for me and my fiancee to learn from this, educate ourselves better, and then spread the Knowledge to make everyone in our little Club that much more successful Smiley
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2011, 01:31:15 AM »

>My question is this: Why didn't pinching the Queen make the Hive more docile again?

I'm not sure why you would expect it to.  The only instant change is that in two hours they know they are queenless.  How a particular colony responds to this as far as temperatment is hard to say, but I've never seen one get more docile, although I have seen them get more angry.

> Why did the bees attack even though they were smoked?

I've had some extreme bees before that if you smoked them got angrier and the more you smoked them the angrier they got.

> Was the Hive just too hot?

It does sound like AHB.  One way or the other I would requeen.

>What can we learn from this?

Requeen.

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Michael Bush
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newbeekeeper
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« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2011, 05:33:30 PM »

>My question is this: Why didn't pinching the Queen make the Hive more docile again?

I'm not sure why you would expect it to.  The only instant change is that in two hours they know they are queenless.  How a particular colony responds to this as far as temperatment is hard to say, but I've never seen one get more docile, although I have seen them get more angry.

> Why did the bees attack even though they were smoked?

I've had some extreme bees before that if you smoked them got angrier and the more you smoked them the angrier they got.

> Was the Hive just too hot?

It does sound like AHB.  One way or the other I would requeen.

>What can we learn from this?

Requeen.



***
You are aware that we've been beekeeping for barely a year now and we took the advice of a seasoned beek that's been doing it for over 10 years so we put our Trust in him incorrectly, yes? I know now what we did wrong but it was from lack of experience, and a very sh***y Mentor which we will not be "consulting" with again on these issues, we'll ask the Pros from now on..

Hindsight 50-50 is never an easy pill to swallow that's for darned sure, but we still have one great docile hive that we'll "bee" splitting soon so our stock will grow, and we have an outyard to place it in for safekeeping until we can get land next year. It is what it is.

You'll probably like to know, that a postmorten inspection revealed an almost honeyless hive (we expect 50+ pounds from our docile bees, they're 5 deep and very active, we're about to harvest soon) and we are moving forward by putting our remaining docile bees someplace else and splitting that docile stock, and multiplying.

Obvi, we live in an AHB area which means this will more than likely happen sooner again, than later.

But with what I've learned from this, me and my fiancee will be able to reach out to those more experienced, to correctly handle this next time it happens.

I thank you all for your help and advice, it's been greatly appreciated.
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schawee
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« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2011, 05:53:52 PM »

 newbeekeeper,thanks for sharing your problem with this fourm.this is one of the best bee fourm they have on the internet.they have alot of knowledgeable beekeepers here.hope to here updates on your hives in the future.        ...schawee
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newbeekeeper
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« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2011, 09:12:45 PM »

newbeekeeper,thanks for sharing your problem with this fourm.this is one of the best bee fourm they have on the internet.they have alot of knowledgeable beekeepers here.hope to here updates on your hives in the future.        ...schawee


Thank you all for your help, advice, and support. We're moving our docile Hive tomorrow to an outyard in Malibu. I'll take pics and try to post them here over the next few days. Might as well keep this little story going eh? Smiley
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2011, 12:15:18 AM »

>You are aware that we've been beekeeping for barely a year now and we took the advice of a seasoned beek that's been doing it for over 10 years so we put our Trust in him incorrectly, yes?

I don't keep track.  I just try to offer what advice I can.  Please don't take it as criticism.  I'm just trying to help.

>I know now what we did wrong but it was from lack of experience, and a very sh***y Mentor which we will not be "consulting" with again on these issues, we'll ask the Pros from now on..

To give your mentor some credit, most experiments in beekeeping take a year to see the results.  So it takes a lot of years to have actual experience to fall back on.  So instead you take other peoples word for things, at least at first, until you find out different as he probably did and then you did from him.
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Michael Bush
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Tommyt
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« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2011, 07:14:38 AM »

I see in one of your posts you say split and in another you say walk away split
I would think that with all that has happened and given the area you are in
I would vote against walk away split
I feel you should buy queens for your hives and be sure you buy from
a good well known supplier,doing this, you not only keep your hive from getting
AHB genes during mating your good Hives will throw Drones of good genes to
help calm other hives
Too me its a win win

I too am new and very to too most who reply here,with that said maybe someone
will agree/disagree with me,or explain another way

Good luck

Tommyt
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