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Author Topic: Second question - a bit rambly - alarm pheromones between hives  (Read 568 times)
ziffabeek
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« on: March 14, 2013, 10:08:19 AM »

Ok, second question Cheesy, this one is just musings and curiosity.  Will alarm pheromones from one hive stir up a second hive?

I have 3 hives lined up.  Two are about 3 feet apart and the third is about 15 feet away from them.  Normally I start with the furthest apart hive and work down the line.  The furthest is the Mississippi Queens, who were quite pissy their first year. They have turned into quiet docile and sweet young things this year.  Hive Number One is in the middle and Hive Number Two on the end and they are closer together.  Normally they have been pretty docile, though last fall they were giving me a bit of trouble during the dearth.

This weekend, MQ was again their pleasant selves and gave me no problem.  They are full and bringing in some nectar and lots of pollen.  HNO is also full and capping honey in the top box.  They also were quite nice.  Then I popped HNT's lid.  They rumbled a little bit.  Then when I started pulling out frames, they definitely weren't happy.  Got one sting on the hand and several pings in the veil.  I almost thought they were queenless by their response.  I did see SOME capped brood, and their numbers have definitely increased since my last inspection (this hive is a good bit smaller than the others). There was also some drone brood.  I didn't really dig too deep, because they were quite upset and my smoker was on it's last legs. I didn't see eggs this inspection, but had the last time and I did see some capped brood at least.  I considered adding a frame of brood (which I will probably do this weekend) just to be safe, but the other hives were all closed up, and frankly I was tired by that time and it was late in the afternoon.

I am curious as to whether they may be responding to the fact that the other hives had put out pheromones when they were opened or whether I should be concerned about these bees.    I'm going to start with HNT this weekend to see if their response is different, but was curious about what ya'll thought.  Do Hives care about other hives warnings? Or are the pheromones for that specific to each hive?

love,
ziffa

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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2013, 10:53:45 AM »

i think they do.  another good reason for using smoke. 

i have one hive that i know is going to be kind of cranky so i save them for last.  seems that once they are stirred up, it goes down the line.

that's not a scientific answer...just my observation.
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dfizer
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2013, 10:56:26 AM »

Good question - my situation is this - I have three hives all less than 4 feet from one another, in kind of a triangle.  What I have noticed is that they are all VERY independent of each other.  One can be sweet and nice when the other is mad as hell.  What I have noticed is that the characteristics of each hive are usually relatively consistent.  By this I mean - my one hive (most numbers and strongest) is usually the most irritable and I can usually count on it being the most easily riled up.  This is true from visit to visit.  I attribute this to genetics and nothing more.  I have never seen one hive get on edge from what I thought was from an alert from the other hive.  I have noticed that the all of the hives seem not care at all if I'm there milling about, until I open the hive up.  Once the smoke starts - it seems to effect all three hives simultaneously.  

I have had a hive get down right nasty upon being opened then when I moved to the next hive (down wind now that I think about it) and they were as gentle as little kittens.  

Therefore, I don't think that the alert/alarm pheromones are picked up from one hive to the next... but I guess it's possible.

David

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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2013, 12:07:33 PM »

It depends on the bees. People that raise African bees cannot use pallets for that exact reason. One gets a little excited and all 4 are on you. If the pallet are too close, your whole yard can explode on you. The hives need a certain spacing, think it was 4' from any other hive. This was taught at the Bee College in St Augustine last week. I normally start with the weakest and work to the strongest or nastiest.
Stop and think when you were working on the hives. was it after work. Bees do not like you to bee in the hive when it is starting to get dark. Also what was the weather doing. Did a cloud blow in and cover your area.
I was in my strongest hive a couple of weeks ago trying to find the Queen to put in a Nicot system. 3 medium supers and a deep brood box. I was all the way through the brood box, no smoke and no protection, looking for eggs in the Nicot and looking for the queen with no problem. I was in it for 40 minutes and by this time it is 30 minutes to sunset and a heavy cloud comes overhead. 5 bees came out and stung me in the lip, above the left eye, my right cheek and my left ear. I didn't get the stingers right away and the one on the lip gave me a full dose. I looked like a freak. Smiley I put a veal on kept the Nicot device out of the hive and put it all back together.
Timing and weather is critical.
Jim

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ziffabeek
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2013, 04:40:52 PM »

Interesting!

Jim, it was later in the day, but I don't recall any drastic change in conditions and still plenty of sun left.  I learned never to pop the top without veil and smoke!  I don't use gloves and I don't get stung often, but since I'm a city beek I live in fear of having to go to a business meeting with a puffed up face! lol.  So i never risk it. Smiley

I'm going to start with the HNT hive this weekend and see if I notice any difference.  It will also give me a chance to know if I need to pull a frame of eggs from the second hive. 

I'll keep you posted to my 'scientific' experiement! Wink

Thanks for musing with me!

love,
ziffa
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hardwood
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2013, 06:03:10 PM »

Look for  other possible reasons as well Ziffa. The weaker hive might always be on the defensive against robbers at this time of year or other aggravations. Did you have a chance to check their stores? A frustrated hive is a pissy one.

Scott
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2013, 09:50:46 AM »

>Will alarm pheromones from one hive stir up a second hive?

Yes.  How much depends on how easily they get upset (mostly genetics sometimes circumstances such as drought)
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Joe D
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2013, 01:39:04 PM »

Last spring my hives were all angry, then they swarmed, after that they are all gentle.  I had six hives in an area of maybe 18 ft from first to last hive.  Three hives were close enough that I can stack supers off one on the cover of another while inspecting.  I usually do start with the hive down wind, not that may matter.  I try to go into hive an pretty days some where around midday, before or after lunch.  More are out forgering then.  Good luck



Joe
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Finski
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2013, 06:47:42 PM »

.
One explanation is that when you get the first sting, you are  moving yourself alarm odor and enemy odor.
You will have poison odor in your hands and clothes.

It depends too, from where winter comes and to where it moves the odor.

If you start from up wind, and you move to nex hive, odor will not go to the irritated hive.

It is better to nurse  last the docile colony .

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