bad day in the bee yard, dad warned me

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by reidi_tim, May 19, 2012.

  1. reidi_tim

    reidi_tim New Member

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    Went out to the farm today for my weekly lunch with the folks and to check on the bees. Dad told me that my two Italian hives have gotten really aggressive the last couple days. Dad rode out the bee yard with me so he could bring the tractor and baler back to put them in the machine shed. While I was suiting up dad was going to the tractor, he walked 20 plus feet in front the hives and they where dive bombing him. It was in the upper 80's today which just made the whole idea that this was going to be a rough inspection a reality. Went to hive 1 had no real problems with the first 10 frames eggs, larvae, pollen and capped and uncapped honey. Put it back together and set it on the cover, no sooner then I did this I was being dive bombed and harassed by the bees, I used so much smoke to try and calm them down I won't be surprised if I don't get a letter from their attorney complaining about work place distress. I had to walk away and I mean like 50 feet away on several occasions to get them to leave me alone. What usually takes me less then 30 minutes took hours because they where so pissy, at one point after checking the other Italian hive I went back to the house to cool off, every part of me was soaking wet from sweating. I did not see the queen but their is evidence she is there egg and larvae. I was hoping to be able to get my 3 unmarked queens marked today but kinda hard to mark what you can't find. The only thing that has changed is we put up 15 acre of hay this week. The cut out bees where their usual annoying self but not attacking. Any thoughts???? I figured out how to do video with my phone this is a quick clip of before I started my inspection.:chased:
    [video=youtube;-nFyc0XRb5k]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nFyc0XRb5k[/video]
     
  2. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    Someone may have some other insight, but for me I think that sometimes the ladies are just in a pissy mood. When they get like that, I just don't go through with an inspection or if they get riled up within just a few frames, I stop and close 'em up. It's tough when an inspection *needs* to be done, though, and you just have to get in there that day. When I've had times like that, I just put on 3 layers of clothes (I don't have a bee suit), some rubber dishwashing gloves under cloth gloves, and work as quickly as I can. I actually don't move away and come back and stretch it out; moving away doesn't ever seem to settle them when they're in a mood to be ornery, so I just stay with it and get it done as quickly as I can.

    Just the other day I went out to move some seedlings outdoors, and it seemed the ladies were riled up. I talk to my ladies, and so I kind of walked on by, about 6 feet away from the hive, watching for a bit and went "well, something's go you all in a tizzy today" and then out of NOWHERE this one lady just dive bombed me and got me right on the ear. I have *never* before been stung in my yard like that. I hadn't opened the hive for a while, the landlord had not come by to mow the lawn, no dogs or skunks or raccoons or anything had been at the hive...I think they were just having a bad day.

    I have heard some keepers in the area say that they think the ladies get more ornery the hotter they are, and those folks say that they'll go out and prop the top lids up for about half an hour before going in, to get the hive temperature cooled off before starting. I've never done that myself, but I can't see that it would hurt to try that, maybe?
     

  3. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    I am not certain about the heat issue, but I do know that certain floral sources shut down at certain times of the day, for example buckwheat produces large quantities of nectar during the early morning time, about 1PM the nectar shuts down. The Girls will get surly when that happens particularly if there no replacement source readily available.
    Barry
     
  4. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    I am probably the only beekeeper that hasn't been stung... yet! My club says I am not a real beekeeper for no stings (they are joking) but for weekly inspections, I use full protective gear, gloves, veil and inspector jacket. All totaled, have taken a total of 7 or so stingers in a year - But daily I do walk out there, in street clothes, shorts, flip flops... Lay all over the ground there even, taking photos...
    The hives are very docile kittens, so far. The only time I had seen any aggression, was when they were queenless and it only amounted to running, fast like, at my hands or covering my gloves and tools, pop my veil in a temperamental manner. So I am lucky or non threatening?!
    Steve on the other hand, has taken like 7, but only two I would say were the surprise renegade shots from our hives and 3 were at a friends hives. Steve physically gets overwhelmed by the popping on a veil, and he has to back away to recompose. I think it is kind of a fight or flight thing, because he somewhat gets a bit disoriented, too. I really think the bees can sense that physical response and mess with him more.
    In his defense, he has been covered by the hive the first week we had them - I haven't experienced that so I can't say for sure til it happens to me... but I am quite sure they smell his response.
    Weather, noise, food, wind all do stir them up, but they do mess/terrorize/play with him more???
     
  5. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

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    Did you smoke the bees before "going" inside the hive? I've noticed when mine are in a po'ed mood if I raise the top cover just enough to give them 3 or 4 puffs through the inner cover, do the same at the entrance and then wait 10 or 15 seconds before going in, they seem to not be so aggressive.

    May not work in every case but while I always have the smoker with me, I rarely have to use it. Probably just jinxed myself for saying that but so far so good.

    Good luck.
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I would suggest it might be a good idea to list (either in ink or just in your mind) the reasons why bees become defensive (aggressive in this context is not the right choice of words). then on any inspection look for signs to either reinforce or eliminate those causes one at a time. if none of these causes exist and if the hive remains defensive for extended periods of time then typically what I do is replace the queen.
     
  7. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    Besides, overcast weather, rain, darkness( fading sunlight at evening), something like a skunk or possum,bothering them at night, nectar flow stops, are the most normal causes of excessive defensiveness. lose those as options, leaves for the most part a need to re-queen.
    Barry
     
  8. CeeGee

    CeeGee New Member

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    Completely agree with tecumseh -- one cause may be your flow. If your flow there is diminishing, and with the outside feeders, there may be a robbing component. If the hives are being robbed, they (and in my personal experience, Italians more than others) will be much more defensive. They're 'jumpy' at that point and see threats everywhere.
     
  9. reidi_tim

    reidi_tim New Member

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    I went thru the mental checklist, are they queen right, appears so, do they still have ample space to grow yes 4-5 frames to draw out, is there robbing going on I'm not sure but from the video clip does it look they are robbing. I had thought about a critter bothering them, but one would think if that was the case the cut out hive 8 feet away would be the same way:confused:. I got these bees from Walter Kelley 28 ish days ago as nucs so in theory the bees where daughters of the queen, so if not is it possible that the daughters that have been emerging now and being defensive are actually her true daughters? Not being sure how they put the nucs togher I don't know. It doesn't make sense to me if it was an environmental issue that all four hives would be reacting the same. Wayne yes I did use smoke a lot of it they had almost my entire veil covered at one point so I just kept smoking them as I was walking away grrrrrrrr..:chased:
     
  10. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    [/QUOTE]... but I am quite sure they smell his response.
    Weather, noise, food, wind all do stir them up, but they do mess/terrorize/play with him more???[/QUOTE]

    Inspected all three hives - calm as kittens... AGAIN!... a renegade flew out and nailed Steve!

    But what you are saying is probably true about her offspring. I think I would agree with the checklist..and if nothing else, I would have to requeen. This is supposed to be fun! After all...
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  11. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Sounds like Steve is the guy to have around when working a hive, only I would call him...............................Decoy! :lol: :rolling: :rotfl:
     
  12. reidi_tim

    reidi_tim New Member

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    Now that is just to freaking hilarious :rolling::rolling::dance::thumbsup::yahoo:Can we rent decoy, ummm I mean Steve for hive inspections??
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  13. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    The middle guy above..that was me when I heard him yell the "bee" word!!
     
  14. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    He loves working them...Says it is good for his arthritis!
    :lol:
     
  15. reidi_tim

    reidi_tim New Member

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    So after talking with dad tonight 1st Italian hive is calm 2nd Italian is defensive and cut out hive has got defensive. Cut out hive has not really been taking much 1:1 but he told me it has increased. I asked him to watch for robbing behavior. Are the girls just having PMS and tormenting me?:frustrated:
     
  16. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Just as a preventative measure, I would put carpet tack strips on the front porch, in case it is critters getting bees at night.
     
  17. reidi_tim

    reidi_tim New Member

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    Put the strips that you use to hold carpet down along the walls? In front of the hives or just on the landing boards?
     
  18. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Tack it to the landing board so when they scratch, they scratch the tacks.
     
  19. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    hispalette said:
    "Steve physically gets overwhelmed by the popping on a veil, and he has to back away to recompose. I think it is kind of a fight or flight thing, because he somewhat gets a bit disoriented, too. I really think the bees can sense that physical response and mess with him more.....and, "In his defense, he has been covered by the hive the first week we had them".

    hp i think you answered your own question on the subject of stings in this description of your post, even with all of the possibilities that do create stinging situations. there is something to be said about our demeanors and attitudes when working our bees, and if we are fearful, or careless will lead to or contribute to stinging. and also 'smells', for example colognes, perfumes, etc, dark colored clothing, my bees don't like straw cowboy hats, go figure?!

    last weekend, i was tired and ornery, i shouldn't work bees when i am ornery, because i just agitate the bees, and myself more cuz i realize i am ornery :grin:
    (the bees 'tell' me so).

    my curmudgeon mentor sometimes agitated the bees and we were always stung, him more so then i, they would just rocket my veil. when i was confident enough in my abilities and to 'challenge' him, one time when he was crabby, i stood back, when he opened a hive. this annoyed him, he mumbled some non disney language at me, said i wasn't paying attention, etc, and 'ordered' me to smoke the bees. so i handed him the smoker and said "you smoke them, you made them crabby." he stepped back, looked at me and laughed. from that point forward, he let me open the hives and he stood back and watched. :grin:
     
  20. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    defintely - if we are rushed or such they know it. He is a fast worker in the hives. He says I am too slow...so this may be a lot of it. He is a high metabolism guy..He will scrape wax sometimes like he is working in his wood shop, I am like Dude slow down! (But I am still glad he wants to work them too!)