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Author Topic: What is "normal" defensive behavior?  (Read 1805 times)
DeederMc
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Location: Tujunga, CA


« on: August 02, 2005, 10:55:32 PM »

Hello all,

I am a new beekeeper with just one hive and I'm learning so much reading through your posts. I am wondering what constitutes normal defensive behavior and what would be called real agression - and when does one begin to worry? For example, during my most recent inspection, after about ten minutes there were around 8 bees buzzing near my veil obviously mad, and two in particular kept "thunking" my head. One followed me for about 5 minutes around the yard up to about 200 feet away. I took three stingers out of my clothes.

Does this sound like "gentle", "average", or "agressive" behavior? How does an agressive colony behave?

Thanks for your expertise!

-Deeder
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Finsky
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Location: Finland


« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2005, 12:02:58 AM »

Normal for bees is that bees succeed you run away from hive. That is their natural aim.

After "taming" or breeding work bees have not sence to attack. At evening when sun is going down they are usually evil.

But limit for me is that hive give me 5 or more sting per opening. In normal weather hive do not give string at all. All kinds of bees I have but I change evil queen. So, 1 sting from hive is on the limit of normal.

I have had hives which give 20 sting per opening. That is too much really.

My 20 hives give me under 20 sting per day in bad time.

Most of stings come when bees are pressed between my skin and hive wall. I work with  bare hands.
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Miss Chick-a-BEE
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« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2005, 08:11:12 AM »

The hive you mention doesn't sound all that bad. You probably just got them at a bad time (before dusk is bad), or squashed a bee and set off the alarm. Most inspections my bees will generally ignore me, but I believe I've gotten better about not harming them. My worse experience was while inspecting the hive at dusk, had to hurry because I was loosing light, and the bees started really pounding me. I got 3 stings that evening, and accidentally took 2 bees inside the house. Thankfully those ones hadn't stung me. They were up my pants leg. Smiley But I had maybe a hundred or so bombarding my head, and the noise level was very high from the hive. Plus, many were in flight because they were all so angry.

If I do anger them just a bit, they will follow me about 200 feet from the hive as I'm trying to get away.

Beth
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2005, 09:39:24 AM »

>after about ten minutes there were around 8 bees buzzing near my veil obviously mad, and two in particular kept "thunking" my head. One followed me for about 5 minutes around the yard up to about 200 feet away. I took three stingers out of my clothes.

Sound fairly normal to me.  Sometimes they are in a better mood.  Sometimes they are in a worse mood.  Here's my scale: (in all cases I put a puff of smoke in the entrance and wait at least two minutes)

Very Gentle.  You open up and none of the bees pay any attention.  After you've been working them for 20 minutes a few start buzzing around your head.  As you walk off one follows you for 100 yards or so buzzing you.  None try to sting you.

Gentle.  You open up and a couple of bees come out instantly and check you out.  They soon get bored and go back to the hive.  After five or ten minutes several are buzzing around your head.  A couple try to sting your glove. One is head butting you.  Two of them follow you for a ways.  One follows you all the way to the house 200 yards away but you lose it going in the back door.

Normal.  You open up and five or six get into the air.  After a few minutes a couple are head butting.  After a few more several are head butting.  As you leave five or six follow for 100 yards.

Hot.  You open up and ten of them instantly fly in your face.  They continue to buzz around you and in about two minutes there are twice as many.  In ten minutes the hive is getting pretty excited and the bees are starting to spill over the sides.  When you leave quite a few continue to buzz and head but you for 100 yards or more.

Mean.  You open up and hundreds of bees come out after you.  Everything you do stirs them up more and things are rapidly escalating.  The bees are trying to sting you by the dozens all the time and some (but not most) follow for quite some time for quite some distance.  Pretty much you have to run through some brush to lose them.

Viscious.  The bees are pouring out of the hive at you before you even get to the hive.  When you open it up they are boiling out of the hive at you.  It seems like pretty much every bee in the hive has only one intention, to sting you.  You close up instantly and walk away, but no matter how far you walk or how long you wait there are still a lot of bees buzzing around you.  Two days later 200 yards from the hive they hunt you down and sting you.  One bee about every five minutes.  If you get within 20 yards of the hive some bee is after you and if you get withing 10 they are pouring out of the hive at you again.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Jerrymac
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« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2005, 10:56:25 AM »

What is it when you see wanted posters of yourself all over the bee yard?
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rainbow sunflower  Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.   rainbow sunflower

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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2005, 11:12:37 AM »

The twilight zone!
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manowar422
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« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2005, 07:12:13 PM »

Your bees would then be considered serial killer bees!
Bahahahaha
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stilllearning
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« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2005, 07:59:03 PM »

Quote from: Jerrymac
What is it when you see wanted posters of yourself all over the bee yard?


TIME TO REQUEEN IS WAY PAST DUE
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Wayne Cole
DeederMc
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Location: Tujunga, CA


« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2005, 01:04:12 AM »

Wow - thank you! This info is really helpful - especially Michael's list of categories, which I will save and refer to. It's good to know about the wanted posters too...  Smiley
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