Just went out to check on the hives. I was standing about 15 feet away, not moving and off to the side, when one of the girls from the west hive decided that she didn't want me there. She flew up and nailed me 1/2 an inch under my right eye. It's the first time I've been stung by a bee in about 35 years. It was much less painful than I remember. That hive always seems busy and always sends bees to circle me whenever I get close, and some of them buzzing loud. The stinger was in my skin for almost 5 minutes, surprisingly, no swelling.
It's been almost a week, so I'm going through it later today to search for the queen. Right now I'm hoping that they don't have one, which would explain why they're being so defensive. It might also explain the roaring sound I think I hear now and then coming from that hive.
If I can't find her, I'll pull a frame of eggs from my other hive, which does have a queen and are far less defensive, and put them in the other hive if there are no queen cells in it. If there is a queen, I'll decide later whether to replace her or not. I really can't see me allowing the hive to build up to 50,000 bees if they're overly defensive.
Any thoughts or ideas on what else I should be looking for, or am I overreacting?