Starting to be aggressive

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by jodamiller, Jun 22, 2012.

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  1. jodamiller

    jodamiller New Member

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    I'm in my fourth summer of beekeeping. The previous years there's been no problem with keeping bees not too far from the house. However, this year the bees have become aggressive. They're more aggresstive during inspections though I'm not doing anything differently. For the first time my wife has has bees getting into her hair; she now wears a hat when going to go gardening. Moreso, after an inspection, a few would roam the back yard for the rest of the day ruining the outdoors for my wife and daughter. I got a call today that for the first time even the second day after an inspection there's a roamer or two near the back door.


    At the start of last year I had to get a new package. I'm pretty sure they swarmed once last year. They seem otherwise healthy. Lots of honey being produced. They did swarm three weeks ago, but I saw new tightly packed larvae on a few frames yesterday, so the new queen is active. My thoughts are that the new queen last year mated with a more aggressive drone and now those offspring are what I'm dealing with now. Will getting a queen from a breeder help if that's the case? Other suggestions?
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    A queen mates with 15 to 25 drones, so you will have bees with many daddies in a hive. It sounds more to me like there is something bothering the hive. Maybe a skunk. If the hive is low to the ground, try raising it up to a minimum 16 inches off the ground. Also, get a strip of carpet tack and attach it to the porch of the hive. That may help settle them down.
     

  3. jodamiller

    jodamiller New Member

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    We're in a town and the yard is fenced, so I highly doubt that skunks or any other animal is getting to them. I'm wondering, what would carpet tack do in this case to help?
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Any animal scratching at the entrance would get tacks in their feet.

    There are many other reasons why a hive can go sour. That was just one. I'm sure others will be along with other ideas.

    Welcome to the forum.
     
  5. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    How's the nectar flow, are they still bringing in the groceries. How is the weather, and for that matter what time a day are you inspecting the hives. If more towards the evening, more of the more aggressive foragers will be home, with nothing to do before the next morning--so why not guard duty. If the nectar flow stopped, or the flowers producing the flow is a day light oriented flow, like buckwheat yields in the morning but stops in the afternoon, This will tork off the ladies, which in turn could cause you grief. As for your lady, getting a bee or two in her hair, suggest you erect a 6.5 -7 ft fence infront of the bees, something that they can't go through, this will divert thier flight up and over the yard area. They will still go to the garden, but thier flight path will change. Just a thought.
    Barry
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a couple of topics need to be considered here...

    what is the kind of bee you originally had in the hive (what kind of queen stock)?

    what is the season like at your location? is there feed resources in the hive or coming into the hive?

    what kind of manipulations have you done in the recent past?

    you might wish to consider robber guards most especially if you have recently knocked down the vegetation around the hive < these can lessen any threat at the front door and thereby result in less guard bees patrolling the area and the guard bees at the front door don't feel compelled to lurch at every shadow that passes by.
     
  7. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Horse and deer flies buzzing you when you are around bees can be very unnerving! I near wrecked a still serviceable straw hat on one in a running battle about 150 feet from the hives before I twigged to it. I think sometimes the bees get a bum rap. The bees doing orienting do blunder into you though and I watch them hitting the electric fence lines quite often.
     
  8. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    welcome to the forum jodamiller!

    i would refer to tec's post and ask the questions he did, might help us out with some other answers for your question:

    "a couple of topics need to be considered here...
    what is the kind of bee you originally had in the hive (what kind of queen stock)?
    what is the season like at your location? is there feed resources in the hive or coming into the hive?
    what kind of manipulations have you done in the recent past?
    "

    and i would also ask you if just have one hive and what part of wisconsin are you in?
     
  9. Beeboy

    Beeboy New Member

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    I have found that my bees become more aggressive when they have something to defend. If there's not honey in the box, they don't stand to lose as much, but later on in the summer when honey stores are built up, the defend it more aggressively. I pretty sure I still qualify as a newbee, but that has been my experience.
     
  10. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Jodamiller, you got us so quickly wrapped up in your question that we forgot about YOU.
    :hi:Welcome to the forum. As you see, ask one question and you'll get plenty of different answers. It'll be your job to decide which one (if any, or perhaps all) is/are the best.
    Here's my stab: Stronger hives tend to be more aggressive (more girls can be assigned to guard duty). Could it be that this year your hive is stronger than it has been in past years? That, coupled with the end of a honey flow, is enough to set off even a mild mannered family. With nothing "constructive" to do, they can turn "destructive".
     
  11. jodamiller

    jodamiller New Member

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    Sorry to bug out on the thread. I got busy and kind of forgot about my posting.

    I ended up moving my hive from my residential backyard to a farm just 15 minutes away. That'll be better for me and the bees. The bee guru that helped me, a former state bee inspector, said these are the most aggressive bees he'd worked with since being around Africanized bees in Arizona in the late 90s. He sent a sample off to be tested to see what the situation is. In the meantime we took out the old queen and put a new queen in. But when inspecting them they were as aggressive as ever. A few dozen followed me from one corner to the other of a five acre field and still wouldn't leave me alone, bouncing off my hood like kernels of corn.
     
  12. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    What's the time frame between replacing the queen and your latest post? Remember, it takes 21 days before the first eggs the new queen laid to hatch out into workers, and several weeks more before most of the owrkers are her daughter. Just my 2 cents worth.

    Oh, by the way-welcome to the forum.
     
  13. jodamiller

    jodamiller New Member

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    Right, we excluded the queen into a deep and puller her a week before introducing the new queen. Will monitor the hive to watch for eggs and larvae. We figure the aggressive ones will take about six weeks to die off and the new population come up.
     
  14. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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  15. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Sounds like a good plan
     
  16. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    for future reference almost any kind of bee when reduced into a small enough population tend to become much less defensive and much more docile.

    and good luck.....
     
  17. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    I started my hive from a 5 frame nuc back in May. I have, until recently been able to open the hive and even do full inspections with no gear. the last two inspections I am not even able to remove the inner cover without taking some chance.
    SO far I attribute this change in attitude to.
    1. they have much more hive to protect and a much larger population to do so.
    2. The weather has turned hot in the last three weeks.
    3. the hot weather may have reduced the nectar flow in my area leaving more bes home, bored and frustrated.
    4. It is harder to inspect a hive packed with bees without harming at least some. clearly many of the attacks on me have been due to a bee getting smashed.

    I was stung once this entire year and then have had 3 stings in the last 10 days even though I was wearing my jacket and gloves.

    The girls are just not being nice right now.
     
  18. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    I am glad to hear you settled the hive issue. It is a bummer when what we take care of these lovely critters and all of a sudden, they don't seem to appreciate it!
    WELCOME!!! to a wonderful forum!

    These honey bees, gotta love 'em!
    We had one hive of the six that was crazy train for a month, and now, it seems to have mellowed some. I think she was kicking out some ornery babes for a bit.

    But it seems our area has entered a dearth overnight, literally. Happy bees, ignoring the supplement feeder...The very next day they were robbing from the big hive. Little balls of bees all over rolling on the ground! They were very aggressive to each other, but gentle to us. One hive was packed full of honey, and the other, with no honey, wanted them to share. I did take a couple frames from the hoarders and gave it to the robbers. Then I smoked the air around both hives to cover the aggressive signals. It helped.
    And many followed us to the house. When they follow us to the house, we know they are trying to tell us something. We got them some honey and set up their feeder in the garden! It was pandemonium! Honey bees everywhere! Now they are very determined about policing the feeders, feeding well into the dark, and still this morning. I saw two honey bees literally pick up a white tailed wasp and carry it out of the feeder and drop it! Cool stuff!

    Since they were already fighting, we opened to check what was going on. Both hives laying queens. One with food, One with none. We made Old Faithful share with Magic Bus! Set up feeder stations in the garden and on our front porch. Goal was to move the robbing action away from the beeyard. Throughout , though, they were very calm with us. Almost grateful, it seemed.
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