Nice vs Mean Bees

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by senilking, May 2, 2013.

  1. senilking

    senilking New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    So, what exactly makes a hive nice or mean? Just trying to get an idea about where my hives land.

    I have two 5 frame nucs installed in a single deep each (plan to possibly add another this weekend.) I'm quite inquisitive, so I've done different things to see what would make them react. Knowing me, I'll get stung before I quit pushing boundaries, lol.

    Tossing a sweetgum ball in front of the entrance didn't cause them to do anything. They basically ignored it.
    Tapping the side of the hive basically did nothing. May have heard a little more hum, but not much.
    I removed a slug from directly in front of the entrance, between two guard bees. They ignored my fingers.
    I don't think they even notice when I lift the outer cover. They seem to move a little more when I lift the inner cover.
    I started in full gear, then just gloves and veil, then just khaki pants and white t shirt, and today I removed the outer cover and lifted the inner cover while wearing black pants and black shirt. I don't think they even noticed me. I was actually squatted in front of the hive (I know, behind or beside. I forgot)
    I don't think I'm quite up to removing a frame without any smoke or a veil yet, but I know I'll try it with a veil if they keep ignoring me. I'm beginning to get a good neglected feeling from my bees. Like they know I'm there to bug them, and hopefully if they ignore me, I'll just go away.

    Are my bees unusually calm, or would this mostly be expected from normal new hives? I move slow and I'm pretty calm (I get stung 6 or 8 times by wasps every year, mostly due to bugging them or trying to exterminate them, so getting stung once more isn't much of a big deal). It has been mostly raining, with me getting home about the time it quits and they start taking a few flights to get supplies before dark. I thought bees were supposed to be more ornery on cloudy days?
     
  2. Lburou

    Lburou Member

    Messages:
    553
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Young hives are more docile than when the population gets larger and has hoarded some honey. Its my experience that they can rapidly turn the corner to a protective state, so don't be overconfident. :)
     

  3. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    :lol: Boy, you like playing with fire too, don't ya? :lol: "Only those who go too far, will ever really know how far they can go".
    You may have the sweetest bees out of all of us, but there will come a day when they won't be, and that will be the day you remember most!
    I am enjoying your posts. You remind me of me. :thumbsup:
     
  4. Beeboy

    Beeboy New Member

    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Would you aggressively guard a empty house?

    Would you aggressively guard a house that is full of food that has to last you all winter?

    I think that's the perspective of a bee...at least that's what one told me once.
     
  5. senilking

    senilking New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Lol, I do like playing with fire, my grill always becomes a ball of fire before I cook.

    I'm sure I'll get a good stinging sooner or later, but I doubt there are many beekeepers that don't. I'm just guilty about speeding the process up sometimes. I also used to have fun smacking hornets with a plastic bat, if that says anything.

    Really, I'm just some kind of bad curious. After playing with hornets and wasps all my life (grew up in a log cabin), honeybees are really neat. They don't actually want to sting you; in fact, they'd much rather not. It's like playing with carpenter bees, except there are 20 thousand of them, lol. Curiousity killed the cat, but I'm usually just lucky enough to survive.

    And I don't want anyone to think I'm going to be a bad owner or anything. I plan to take good care of them, and now that I've gotten it out of my system, I won't bug them as much anymore.
     
  6. senilking

    senilking New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Anyways, back to the question. What would you consider an "aggressive" hive? I would assume that if you walked a couple feet in front of them, and got stung, then that hive is a little more aggressive than normal? Would a "passive" hive let you pick something off of their landing board with out bothering you? I've also read that some bees tend to do more headbutting and buzzing than stinging.

    Are you willing to walk near (within a few feet) of your hive without a veil on? At the moment, I more worry about a bee getting stuck in some clothing and stinging me than just divebombing me for the heck of it. Of course, that may change if they get a little more aggressive as they grow and have more to defend. I have had a few bump into me when I squatted down in front of the hive, but I figure it was more that they were on autopilot and I got in the way. They just went around and continued on their way.

    Also, is there a good recommended book or online resource that explains what exactly the different bees are doing? I know the general things, but I'm curious about things like Why is that bee just walking around the outside of the hive? or Why does that one keep buzzing around the hive but never goes in? I've also usually got one or two that have crash landed on the ground out front, and are just walking around. Their wings are torn to shreds, so I assume they are just worn out and about to die, but I can only guess at this point. Lol, like I said, I'm really curious, but I doubt anyone that elects to keep thousands of bees in a box in the back yard doesn't have some curiosity.
     
  7. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

    Messages:
    3,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    senilking, I'm thinking your not married.:lol: Jack
     
  8. CarrollwoodBees

    CarrollwoodBees New Member

    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm with you. But I'd think I'd still like a queen from this guy's hive. They sound awefully nice. ;>
     
  9. senilking

    senilking New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    What kind of accent did the bee that told you this have? Lol, sorry, joke across threads.

    Do bees tend to get more aggressive as the year goes on? I can see several reason why they would, like a larger population and more supplies to defend and the necessity for winter.
    I was also curious about opening the hive at night. Has anyone done it? I know hornet and yellow jacket nests are a lot easier to kill when they are "asleep", do honey bees calm down for the night? I could see it going either way, I get pretty mean when you wake me up.

    Wife's just really understanding. Basically ignores me when I start something and says if I ask nicely she might sew me up when I hurt myself (she's in the med field). I think she's realized I've got enough redneck to try stuff, and I'm enough of an engineer to find a safe and/or stupid way of doing it. If there weren't any people like me, there probably wouldn't have been any crazy people to try to box a hive to start with and survive to tell. :grin:

    "Only those who go too far, will ever really know how far they can go" - Thanks Perry, I like that one.
     
  10. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

    Messages:
    3,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    senilking, probably one reason they ignore you, you have a honey flow going on in your area. In a strong honey flow you can work bees in a bathing suite like iddee does, but in late summer when they have stores and a dearth is on they will sometimes meet you in a bad way before you get to the bee yard. Jack
     
  11. bamabww

    bamabww New Member

    Messages:
    1,016
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I think so far you've been lucky. I visit my 5 hives often but never without a veil. I've seen too many of my bee club who have done so and the resulting facial swelling a sting causes in that area is not something I want to experience.

    There's a cold front moving through our area of the country now and mine were abnormally aggressive yesterday. I blame it on the weather. I hope you have continued good luck with your bees.
     
  12. Yankee11

    Yankee11 New Member

    Messages:
    625
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I would not recommend you messing with them at night. I've done it. It is no fun.
    They land all over you and stay. They don't seem to fly well at night.

    Also all the foraging bees are inside the hive. During the day and a flow is on, you mostly have nurse bees inside the hive. Nurse bees the nicer ones.
     
  13. senilking

    senilking New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm kind of convinced they will get more aggressive, but until then, I'm going to enjoy them, lol.

    So, what's the deal with bananas? I see a lot of recommendations about bees, but they all absolutely forbid eating bananas. If I put a slice out front, will they momentarily turn into AHB's?

    This rain and cold weather is killing me. I want to go see how they are doing, but all I've really done is pull the inner cover off to peek in and see if they had pulled any of the plastic frames. They haven't.
     
  14. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

    Messages:
    469
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    new hives tend to be pretty docile. They've just been re-housed, re-queened, and re-located. That, and there are not a lot of them in there.

    I'd say that the line between nice bees and mean bees is drawn at unprovoked stings. With some hives if you stand within say 3 or 4 feet, some bees will start bouncing off you, leaving chemical tracers on you, then eventually one will take it to the next level and sting. If you keep hanging out there, the stinging will escalate into a full out attack. that's what you call a hot hive. With the bees I have, I can sit a foot from the front of the hive with my kids and be completely ignored. I can also open them up and pull a frame with no smoke and no protective gear (on a warm sunny day). Even with a nice calm hive there seems to be the occasional delinquent that will go into attack mode even when all her sisters are perfectly calm.

    I was much like you last year when I started. I must have popped the cover open every day, just to see what was going on in there. Also I'd pull two to three frames for inspection once a week. It's not the best thing for the bees, but you also have to learn what's going on in there somehow.

    That bee that flies around and never goes in is quite likely a robber, looking for a way in that does not involve going past the guard bees. Another thing that's interesting to look for is bees of different ages. Young bees tend to be lighter in color, with more body hair. They will sometimes leave the hive en masse for a brief orientation flight and then come right back. This often happens when the weather briefly clears up in the afternoon of a cloudy day. The old forager bees tend to be darker and glossier and tend to do a lot less milling around on the landing board. .
     
  15. senilking

    senilking New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Yeah, there's always got to be one hothead in the bunch, and I'm sure once you get popped by her, the rest smell it and wonder what's going on. And I figure, while it's not best for them for me to keep bothering them, it'll be better in the long run. And more fun.

    I figure the random one is smelling the sugar water and trying to find a way in. She hangs around the feeder a lot. And yeah, I've noticed really light colored ones hanging around the entrance but not flying. Then there are light ones that are making their orientation flight. Darker one's are the ones usually coming back with pollen, and almost black when I find one that is just sitting on the ground with her wings beat off. Kind of sad, makes me almost want to pick her up and put her at the entrance, but I figure it's best to let nature takes it's course.

    Lol, I get a kick out of the young ones trying to carry off a dead one to dispose of. They sit there and try and try and try to get off the ground with it, and they either finally succeed, or just give up. I've also noticed that when it's raining, they just throw them out on the front ramp, and it'll be gone once the rain stops.

    Why are there so many in between the top cover and inner cover when it's 40 degrees and raining outside? I figured they would be in the hive covering brood or something. Maybe trying to keep humidity down?
     
  16. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    2,747
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    38
    If a hive gets angry with you, they smell like bananas. Alarm pheromone smells like bananas, and if you eat a banana just before going out to work the bees, and breathe the smell at them, it will get you stung quickly.

    If you have a hive open and smell bananas (and the hum gets louder), smoke a little to mute the smell and/or spray a little sugar water on them.
     
  17. senilking

    senilking New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    So, got to open the hives around 3. Lots of activity coming and going. Almost too much for the small entrance, but my reducer only has one size. Should I just remove it? I know I'd be getting pretty upset in that traffic jam. Some are having to wait to get in. Funny how one is bringing all light yellow to white pollen, while the other is bringing all bright yellow pollen. I guess they don't like to share. Also neat how now that things have settled down, I can tell that most of the bees in the second hive are darker, and most in the first are lighter. They apparently took after their queen.

    Anyways, both had about 5 frames covered in bees, and no telling how many flying around. Both have also gotten halfway through pulling one of the non-nuc frames also. Question about that. My nuc frames are really messed up. Bumps and bows everywhere, and lots of excess comb around the area. The bees were pretty crowded when I got them. What's the best way to go about eventually switching them out with my frames I bought? I feel like I'm squishing bees when I push them together because of the irregularities. Plus, I'd like to get to all plastic frames instead of a mix in the 1st hive.

    They both have about two frames of capped brood, and two mixed frames of eggs and capped. Both have started on a honey frame, which was the new frame they have pulled. Should I have moved that to the outside, or wait until they finish pulling and filling?

    From what I've read, I should wait until they get another frame or two pulled before adding another brood box. I figure now that both have gotten up to strength, it should start moving along and be sometime next week when I add.

    I did find my dark queen in the second hive, and found eggs both laying down and standing up in both hives. Saw the light queen in the first hive a couple days ago.

    Do you shake the bees off of the inner cover when you remove it, or just set it down and hope they find their way back? There was a lot on top and bottom of the second hive, and it makes me worry about the bees that haven't been outside of the hive for their orientation flight yet.
     
  18. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I hate it that the smell of bananas makes the girls mad. I love bananas. I wish they hated the smell of chicken and dumplings.
     
  19. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

    Messages:
    469
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    when your bees are occupying all 10 frames in the first box and have at least started drawing all the frames, then you should add a second box. The bees have a lot of work to do. It takes something like 10 pounds of honey to make 1 pound of wax. You can help them out in the building process by feeding sugar syrup for another couple of weeks.

    I'd say don't move anything anywhere. The bees know what to do. the only time I re arrange anything is if they have plugged up the brood nest with honey and the queen has no room to lay. That won't happen until both brood boxes are full.

    The 4 wonky frames you have I'd just leave where they are and stop pulling them for inspection. build everything around them with the plastic frames. Then early next spring whey your bottom brood box is pretty much empty, replace the wonky frames.


    Your hives are not "up to strength" you probably have about 15 000 bees/hive right now. In a couple of moths you will have 50 000.

    the bees on the inner cover tend to stay put on the inner cover until you put it back. I lean the inner cover against the hive and then lean the first frame I pull against that. Seems to work fine.
     
  20. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    "the bees on the inner cover tend to stay put on the inner cover until you put it back. I lean the inner cover against the hive and then lean the first frame I pull against that. Seems to work fine."

    I agree with the above from Pistolpete. I once read that about one third of the bees are usually at rest on the inner cover. I don't bother them, and they just continue to walk about on the inner cover.