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Author Topic: How mean is too mean?  (Read 4343 times)
DLMKA
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« on: May 30, 2012, 01:45:57 PM »

I've got a hive that I bought 2 weeks ago that is pretty aggressive.  Since I'm new at this I don't really know where the line is for acceptable behavior.  The hives are sitting over an open field that will be soon planted with pumpkins so there will be some traffic soon with the farmer planting and occasional tractor and foot traffic for cultivation.  The nearest house is 100-150 yards away.  I haven't had a problem with them in the past two weeks when I've been there but I haven't been in the hive either.  Last night I went in looking to see if the queen had moved up into the other brood box and to take the hive feeders off.  I opened this hive right after I bought it and removed the queen excluder (which had trapped the queen in the super leaving the two deeps below it void of brood) and they weren't very nice then and had to break down and use gloves after getting stung twice. Last night they were pretty nasty.  The wife went to watch and learn and got stung on the back of the head right where the brim of the hat meets the head.  She said they followed her 50 yards or more before losing interest.  My daughter got stung playing by the car 100' away.  I had gloves on and probably scraped 20-30 stingers off the gloves, smoke had little to no effect on them.  I could puff a little smoke over the top bars and push them down but within seconds bees were boiling out of the top bars and going airborne coming at my veil and hands.  At what point do you squish the queen and replace her?  This hive is still building back up after the previous owner managed to get her stuck above the excluder leaving only a medium for brood.  I don't know if I want to wait 30 days to have a laying queen again so I'll probably buy one.


On another note, if I squish the existing queen and let them raise a new one what are the chances the new queen will be like her mom?  I have 4 other hives in the area, one is a split off this hive and the other 3 are captured swarms that are a pleasure to work with.  I'm sure there are quite a few feral colonies in the area too for breeding stock.
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AllenF
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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2012, 02:05:48 PM »

You checked them last night?   How late into the night?  I would never judge a hive on one visit.  How was the weather also?   
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DLMKA
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« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2012, 02:08:52 PM »

It was around 5:30 maybe a little closer to 6.  The hives were in the shadows cast by a row of trees to the west at that point.  When the hive is closed up they've been fine.  I haven't had a problem working in the area with just a t-shirt on.
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AllenF
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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2012, 02:10:52 PM »

Do you think you smashed a few bees working the hive?
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DLMKA
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2012, 02:22:17 PM »

likely but they were coming out at me as soon as I removed the top feeder.
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Bee-Bop
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« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2012, 04:15:51 PM »

Did you have last night's rain storm approaching you.
In parts of Missouri Monday night we had more than 3 inches, and last night about 1 1/4 .
Bees can get testy during weather changes, also when there is a lack of pollen/nector like in a dry spell.

Bee-Bop
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Finski
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« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2012, 05:05:35 PM »

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 She said they followed her 50 yards or more before losing interest.
  My daughter got stung playing by the car 100' away.
  I had gloves on and probably scraped 20-30 stingers off the gloves,
 smoke had little to no effect on them. 


On another note, if I squish the existing queen and let them raise a new one what are the chances the new queen will be like her mom? 

That hive is even dangerous. Lets imagine that you have inspected the hive. It is irridated. Then some one goes by. Bees attack, and he/she fall down covered by bees.  Life is in danger then.

I had a furious hive some years ago. I tried to take honey away and it gove to about 70 sting in first handshaking. So I simulated what could happen in the worst case (above)

By a new laying queen.


Move the hive and make a false swarm into original site. So you get old bees away from the hive and you find the queen. Kill it.

That Devil makes drones too and your yard is not good place to mate queens.



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Joe D
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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2012, 06:02:24 PM »


Depending on what the weather was etc. I would go with Finski, I had a hive that on a given day they would get you 30 yards from hive.  Bought a mated queen, and replaced old one.  In this area it is not hard to find a gentle queen for $20.   Got one a week ago, checked yesterday, have new brood.  Good luck with your bees.

Joe
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AllenF
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« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2012, 07:23:55 PM »

I always have said there is no reason to keep mean queens, but just one bad day does not mean she has turned mean.   You need to check them a few more times to see why they were angry that day.   
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scdw43
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« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2012, 08:30:20 PM »

I agree with Allenf but about one more time say in the middle of the day with the sun shinning would do it for me. You know if you requeen it you will still have her bees in that hive for as long as 60 days, but it should get easier as  time goes by after requeening..
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oregonbeeman
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« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2012, 12:13:26 AM »

I agree with the other. Give them some time to calm down. On the other hand mean bees aren't all bad some times. They sure know how to defend their hive when they need to.
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Finski
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« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2012, 12:41:25 AM »

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A hive is easy to test. When you open the cover in the evening, calm bees do not jump against face net.
Evil workers lift their abdomen up when you lift the cover. It is the first warning.
When I have new queens in the nuc and their new emerged workers do that, I kill the queen.

I work with bare hands. I accept 10 stings to hands but 20 stings per day it too much from one hive. The queen will go.

In gloves poison stings alarm more attacking. It is soon bad.


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indypartridge
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« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2012, 06:26:50 AM »

In gloves poison stings alarm more attacking. It is soon bad.
\
Interesting. I stopped wearing gloves years ago, but I've experienced that as well. However, I never made the connection that perhaps the alarm pheromone is somehow stronger when you have gloves full of stingers.
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2012, 08:44:48 AM »

My bees were more aggressive when I first started.  The hives that were too mean would usually attack when I walked by.

So much of it can be situational too.  Skunks stirring them up.  A tractor rumbling by.  Weather.  Queenlessness. 

Are you smoking the entrance before you open the hive up? Also, I find that when I do inspections that if I work my way down the hive stack that as I get near the bottom they're pretty riled up, whereas if I start at the bottom and work my way up they don't get near so riled up.

How mean is too mean is really up to you.  Sounds like they are too mean for you: they would be for me, I hate mean bees!!.  Open them up on a nice balmy sunny afternoon, and if you still get flak, then I'd go for requeening as detailed above.

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Rick
DLMKA
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« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2012, 09:37:01 AM »

Saturday is supposed to be sunny with with a high in the mid-70's.  I'll check after lunch and see how it goes.

I do smoke the entrance several minutes before opening the hive and since I've got a screened inner cover I lift the telescoping cover and smoke the top.  With the top feeder I'd get a hundred or so (yes, I counted them all Smiley that came up into the feeder when I removed the top cover. 

I'm pretty sure I'm squishing her this weekend, I'll order some mated queens Friday morning.
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Finski
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« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2012, 10:14:31 AM »

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Agressive hives are allways agressive. They just defend their hive. Non agressive is results of selection.


I cannot se any reason to keep agressive hives. The cost of pleasant queen is 3 kg honey.

Donate 3 kg honey to professional beekeeper and you will be saved from hundreds of stings.
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Danpunch
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« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2012, 12:56:00 PM »

I wouldn't want to work this hive. Time to squish.
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jaseemtp
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« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2012, 05:23:49 PM »

I agree with Finski
My bees are on my property and I have 3 children under the age of 10.  Keeping mean bees is not worth the possibilty of injury or death of my kids.  As others have stated though you could have caught them at a bad time, but that still is not acceptable to me.  Take care and let us know how the inspection goes on saturday.
Ohh when you checked this one and they jumped you, did you happen to check any other hives?  If so how did they behave?
Jason
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Finski
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« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2012, 05:38:17 PM »

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I tell what happened 32 years ago. Our second son was 3 month old and we were om summer cottage.
A bee went into my wife's hair. She shrieked, dropped the baby down and run inside the door.

Then door open and she shouted: TAKE  BABY!
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yockey5
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« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2012, 05:44:00 PM »

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I tell what happened 32 years ago. Our second son was 3 month old and we were om summer cottage.
A bee went into my wife's hair. She shrieked, dropped the baby down and run inside the door.

Then door open and she shouted: TAKE  BABY!



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