Good day, Everyone -
I did a search in the forums for my question, but didn't quite find what I'm really getting at, so I figured I'd ask...
Does anyone else find that getting into lower hive bodies, their bees are way more testy than the bees in upper hive bodies?
My husband and I just started keeping Italian bees (we're in our second whole month now), and they seem to be rather moody. I should mention our setup goes like this:
Top hive feeder, one honey super, two hive bodies (deeps)
We have no problem observing, feeding, or going through our honey super and top hive body. The ladies are very gentile, placid and busy - just doing their thing. But as soon as we open up our bottom hive to inspect, they come boiling out and there's immediately "tension" in the air. Then comes the head-butting, and then a sting or two. We didn't use smoke at first, but now we use a little on our clothes/skin and on the hive, and mostly keep it handy on the side. It helps stop the "boiling out", but some of those ladies really have it out for us! I always wear a bee veil and gloves, and my husband just wears a veil (and that's only after getting stung on the neck and right between the eyes during one inspection).
I realize that some stings are normal (we ARE invading their palace, after all), but does anyone else experience the attitude change when working the bottom hive compared to the top areas? I should also mention that we make sure to work the bees in the afternoon when the weather is sunny (and I just purchased a fun little barometer "weather station") so we know the best time to go poking around... Thanks for reading! :-D