Assassins from the apairy(a sad story)

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by crackerbee, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. crackerbee

    crackerbee Member

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    I know it's been quite some time since I've posted a thread(actually any posting at all for that matter),and the real reason is I've not had much to post about(until now),and my business picked up that ate up a lot of my spare time. Anyway enough of that and on with my sad story.

    Due to the unseasonably warm weather we've had down here in Florida,the grass and everything else has been growing like it does in the Spring.So I knocked the dust off the mower and started mowing.In the past I've learned to just suit up when mowing around the apiary,because I've gotten stung too many times to second guess what mood the bees are in.

    The weather has cooled somewhat in the last few days but was still in the 70's during the day,and the same was for yesterday when I mowed.It was a little breezy and partly cloudy,but I've inspected hives with no or little opposition in the past as well as mowing around them.I always take my first pass around the back of the hives(blowing the grass in the opposite direction of the hives)to see if they're irritable mood,and after passing by and starting down to the other end of the yard,I notice all 4 hives had bees pouring out of them in a cloud in less than 15 seconds.As I was looking back at the bees I hit some tall grass and stalled the mower.The battery was weak when I started the mower and I guess didn't get enough charge,and when I tried to start the mower the battery was flat.A hot second later I was covered with angry bees,and decided it was time to run,because they were coming in hordes.
    Now for the sad part.I have 4 RIR chickens in a coop about 75 feet from the hives and the bees have never bothered the chickens,even when I'd let them out,and they would eat all the dead bees around the hives,never did the bees go after them.The stalled out mower was at the back fence and my route that I ran to the house went close to the chicken coop(10 ft.). After going in the house I looked out and there was a huge cloud of angry bees hovering above and still attacking the mower.So I decided to wait it out for a bit and took off the bee-suit and had my lunch.As soon as I started to eat lunch,I heard a ruckus coming from outside coming from the hen-house,and I looked to my horror I saw my chickens being brutally attacked by the angry bees.I quickly suited up and ran out,grabbed 2 chickens at a time,and rushed therm to the closest safe place the greenhouse and put all 4 in it away from the clouds of assassins.

    I then preceded to pick off all the stinging bees stuck to their heads,and I estimate all had been stung over 100 times.I waited till near dark,then transferred the poor chickens back to the hen-house to recover.One chicken wasn't too bad ,but the other 3 didn't look good at all,with the worst case being pretty much comatose,and 3 of them their combs were turning blue.

    When I went to check on them this morning the one bird that was comatose was dead,and 2 still had their eyes swollen shut and their combs still a little blue,and the third wasn't showing much effects of the attack but was still very weak.
    The only thing I know to do with the grouchy bees is to re-queen,but even with are warm climate and weather we've had lately,my queen supplier won't have any for at least a month,and decided to move the chickens(if the remaining ones live)to the front yard,and to smoke the hives right before I mow around them,until I can hopefully fix the problem.

    Sorry for the sad story,but it helps someone else to not to make the same mistake,then it was worth while to take the time to post it.
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Sorry to hear of this Cracker. I've never heard of bees attacking chickens before, who knew? You did what you could and your story was worth it if it prevents even 1 similar occurrence.
     

  3. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    Thanks for the story. If anything, it reinforces the idea that bees can respond unexpectedly to what they perceive as a threat to the hive. The more I know, as the saying goes, the more I realize I don't know. Foreplay with smoke sounds like a good idea. :)
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    My first question is, was it just one hive or all of them?

    One hive means it's likely bad bees.

    More than one hive, I would look for outside influences.
     
  5. crackerbee

    crackerbee Member

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    All 4 hives from what I could see Iddee,each entrance had a cloud of bees about 3ft diameter.

    And i feel the outside influence was the mower,they were fine before that.
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I would look for other causes. You have mowed before. Sounds more like something was bothering them during the night.

    If you don't think so, I recommend sending samples in to be tested for AHB. You never know.

    I have had a hive or two I sent samples from just to be sure.
     
  7. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    I'm with iddee, it sounds like they may have superseded with AHB? Although when i left my bird dog with dad when i was on the Water Patrol in the summer, dad chained him to the dog house on the other side of the house (inside the city limits and was afraid he would get run over) from 3 hives of midnight bees. For some unknown reason they attacked the dog and even went in the dog house after him. Dad didn't have a bee suite and couldn't do nothing but turn the water hose on them. The best bird dog i ever had died two weeks later from encephlitis.:cry: Jack
     
  8. crackerbee

    crackerbee Member

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    Sounds like good advice Iddee and Jack,I'll call my state bee inspector tomorrow to find out where and how to send samples(unless someone else here knows where and how),because I don't know the procedure for that.This was also my first thought,but being so new to beekeeping I wasn't sure of what to do besides re-queening.

    Thanks for the advice fellas:thumbsup:
     
  9. Lburou

    Lburou Member

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    Before you get too far into the reaction to this surprise, I'd suit up and drive by there again to see what happens. Tonight, I'd be shopping for early queens just in case. If they respond in a similar way, the only cure is to requeen (in that case, the genes of those queens don't matter). :)

    Run away from the chickens if you take evasive action ;)
     
  10. Zookeep

    Zookeep Active Member

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    sorry to hear about it, I smoke the heck out of the hives and use a weed wacker around them and have little problem but if I use a mower I get gang rapped, and for the most part the hives I can even lift the lids and look without smoke with no problem, its something about a mower they just hate.
     
  11. crackerbee

    crackerbee Member

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    Anyone here know where and how to send samples to be tested?
     
  12. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I don't know Florida, but here the inspector will come and take a sample and send it off. ""FREE" That's what the taxpayer pays them for.
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I have found that sometimes it is simply the sound of an engine that can get hives all wound up. High grass here also tend to encourage the ants and these (even a few crawling on the outside of a hive) seems to make even a fairly docile hive more than a bit nervous. If all the hives got agitated (there is also an unanswered question of nectar flow???) then I would look real hard at external factors... any sign of skunks are typically the first thing I look for if I see no ants.

    not so long ago I obtained a fairly old hive of bees from a fellow at the edge of town who experience much the same thing (chicken in a coop being attack and yes some did die). I even had the stock tested and they proved to be very european. when I dismantled and then put the hive back together the bottom board was absolutely ate up with fire ants.
     
  14. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    An entomologist told me that the African bees were accustomed to being attacked by large animals, and that CO2 set them into a frenzy. Large animals and lawn mowers exhaust large amounts of carbon dioxide. Many of the violent attacks by AHB in west and south Texas have come from motors being run close to their hives. That's just food for thought.
     
  15. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    :shock:.........goodness!
     
  16. crackerbee

    crackerbee Member

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    I've not had a problem with ants of any kind for quite some time now since I built my hive stand with water filled buckets surrounding the stand legs.As far as I know I've never seen any critters except for a small possum 15 years ago,my apiary is in the backyard with a 6 ft wood fence around it.
    The only animals besides chickens in the backyard are my cat and my German Shepard,who are both in the backyard everyday,and have to my knowledge never been bothered by the bees.
    [​IMG]

    Thanks for your input Tec:thumbsup:
     
  17. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Looking at your hive stand makes me feel so ashamed Cracker :lol:
    We should start a thread based on who has the nicest stand! :rolling:
    (I wouldn't even get honourable mention)
     
  18. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    From the pic, it looks like Crackerbee has termites rather than ants. They ate hives and all. :rolling:
     
  19. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Sorry to hear your attack.

    My bees never touched my chickens who scratched directly below the hives regularly.

    at the end of last season I had to loan my neighbors mower because mine was bust, and I got tagged by a least 10 before I bailed and ran, another 6 plus got me too. Seems like they knew my mower but his was diff sound / vibration, and they came in a big swarm. When I went back I stayed well away and mowed outside areas before I came anywhere close and they were fine.
     
  20. crackerbee

    crackerbee Member

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    Update

    Just looked in on the chickens,and 2 of them are looking better,they finally have their eyes open and are moving around,the third one is still in bad shape,and clinging to life by a thread,and may not survive.