I think I need help...

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by babnik, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. babnik

    babnik New Member

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    ...before my family insist I get rid of my bees! I've posted before that my bees are a little aggressive. I have three hives which I've had for about 2 months now. Problem is they seem to attack if you get anywhere near the hive. And by near I mean even 15ft (one time I was a good 50ft away, and yes it was a bee and not a wasp) away. I have been stung 4 times in the last month or so, always when I'm in the garden minding my own business, not when I'm opening up the hives (obviously I wear protective clothing then). Luckily it has been only me so far, but my family are getting edgy!

    I believe that at least one of the hives are queenless, and suspect this could be the problem, but I really don't have the experience to say one way or the other. I haven't see a queen in any of the hives, although I have seen brood in two of them. I'm trying to find an experienced beek to help me out, but no luck so far. I have a large garden, but because of a lot of trees, the only place I found suitable for them is facing into the garden. This has made a large part of the garden a no-go zone (it does depend, some-days they are more excited than others.) Other places would seem to be better (i.e. more out of the way), but most have full shade almost all day. The ideal place for them (behind a load of bushes, facing away from the garden) is 27 feet away from a vineyard. I know for a fact that they use pesticides, so am sure that's a no go. I know the farmers, so can get a heads up the day before they treat. Can I put them there, and then just close up shop on the day the farmers treat their vines? That would solve the problem in one fell swoop. I'd also like it if they didn't attack anything that moves (or specifically me!) I have a hand the size of a football and another sting (two different incidents) on my arm. Even if I am queenless, I just can't find anybody to buy a queen from. The nearest is almost a 1000 miles away and they don't ship, I got to go! (I'm in Rural France) I'm sure there must be closer, but they're not on the internet if there are!

    I need advice. All books and articles say bees are gentle unless under threat. My experience so far has been they are not that gentle even when there's no one near.
     
  2. charmd2

    charmd2 New Member

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    I agree with the assessment the queens need to go. I unfortunately know no suppliers in france.

    Assuming the grapes have flowered for the year move the hives. Although unless you have a lot of property the bees are in the grapes anyway. They will fly a 5km radius. So even if the hives do not face that direction they will be there.

    Keep the family happy. Aim the entrences away from any pedestrian walkways. That includes the garden. Keep searching for a local. They are bound to be there
     

  3. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Another thought:
    If you suspect one of the hives is queenless ("I have seen brood in two of them") and this is causing the nasty behaviour, shift a frame with open brood (the younger the better, with eggs would be perfect) from one of your other hives to the queenless one. Make sure you shake all the bees off the frame before transferring it.
    Perhaps if they at least have the ability to raise a queen their demeaner may change.
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Put the bees where you want them. 27 or 270 feet will not make any difference concerning the pesticide. Yes, try to contain them when they spray, but hive location has no affect, unless it's many kilometers.

    Find a frame in one of the two queenrite hives which has freshly layed eggs. Remove the bees from it and place it in the queenless hive. Check the frame 5 to 8 days later and there should be queen cells, if it is indeed queenless. A few days after that and it will be queenrite again.

    EDIT...Perry posted while I was typing, but saying it twice just reinforces the idea. :D
     
  5. babnik

    babnik New Member

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    Ok, the next question is how do I move 3 hives 20 metres without the bees going back to their original location?
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Move the two largest hives at dusk. Almost stop up the entrances with grass. That will cause most of them to come back to that location. The ones that go back will take up with the weaker hive and strengthen it's numbers. Wait 3 days and move the last one at dusk and fill the entrance the same way. The few stragglers that return will find the hives within 2 to 3 days.
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    have you considered robber screens as a solution to your problem?

    if one hive is queenless that might explain the defensive nature of one, but not all three?

    any other things that could be making them defensive like skunks or such?
     
  8. babnik

    babnik New Member

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    Robber screens on order. That's a possibility I guess. As for skunks. Not round here. Well not that I know of.
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    there are any number of things that might in the right circumstance get a hive agitated. since I am so unfamilar with Europe what that might be at your location would be a very large stretch. skunks and ants would be the prime suspects here.

    when moving some intermediate distance (not so far, but not so close either) how a hive is moved for me is largely a matter of the size of the hive itself. being a fairly small person hefting huge hives is not possible. if the hive is small I move it away some distance in my truck and bring it back a few days later. for larger hives I place these on a two wheel dolly and move 3 feet per day until I get the hive to it's new location.
     
  10. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    I know two Beekeepers in S Germany , I will ask how they get new queens.

    Also it doesnt matter about how they face even if it is towards trees, Iddee idea of moving them makes the most sense, but just turning them around might also help immediately.
    In nature they will fly between bushes to get into and out of a hive.
     
  11. babnik

    babnik New Member

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    There must be some suppliers of queens near me. Yesterday I counted 100 hives within 3km of myself. They look like commercial outfits though as they were on three sites, each site with about 30-40 hives. I need to find a hobbyist close by, willing to come have a look and share some knowledge.
     
  12. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    My friend in Bavaria says plenty queen suppliers who will ship. He will look up some addresses for us.
     
  13. babnik

    babnik New Member

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    thanks Zulu. In the meantime, I have taken a frame of brood and put it in the (what I think is the offending) hive. It was a perfect (in my eyes) frame. Honey at the top, pollen at the sides, capped brood at the center of one side and some open brood, with a load of eggs on the other side (one per cell, so no laying workers I presume). Capped drone brood at the top of one side and a few open queen cells. Is it usual to have a frame with basically everything on it? If I was teaching someone, this would have been a great teaching aid!
     
  14. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Here is a french site that my Bavarian friend says he has heard was good

    http://www.altigoo.com/

    Best of luck and let us know how it turns out, hopefully your hive does its own work.
     
  15. babnik

    babnik New Member

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    Seen that site before. Unfortunately they have minimum orders. For example minimum 10 queens. I only need 1!
     
  16. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Contact them anyway, see if they have any orders coming out your way to a local beekeeper, then you can contact the local beekeeper and may be able to get a queen sent to them on a larger order and then go pick it up.