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Strength of alarm pheromone

1104 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  Iddee
As a backyarder, with just a few colonies, I had something happen last evening that was a 'first' for me, and made me wonder how ya'll with lots of hives handle this.

I was doing a split of a hive that was bursting at the seams. The girls had completely connected every frame from the top box to the bottom box, so each time I pulled a frame, I was ripping open lots of drone brood. By the time I had all 10 frames out of the top box, they were getting a bit testy. When I began scraping all the open brood off the tops of the frames in the bottom box, I started taking a lot of stings on my hands, so I put on gloves and finished the split. They were quite agitated by the time I finished.

I wanted do a quick check my other hives while I was out there. I smoked myself and my (still gloved) hands and opened the next hive. They were cranky from the start. Pulled just a couple frames to make sure the queen was laying a good pattern and closed it up. Opened another hive and before I pulled the first frame my hands - gloves still on - were literally covered with bees. I've never seen them do this before. I shook them off, closed the hive and quit for the night.

Now I've had cranky colonies, and have seen colonies get mean during a dearth, but haven't had the experience of what seems to be the alarm pheromone carrying over so strongly from one hive to the next. If it makes any difference, the hive I split were Carni's, the others were Italians. It got me thinking that if I was in a beeyard with lots of colonies I needed to work, what should I have done?
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If you don't wash the gloves, they will attack them again next week. That is how strong the pheromone is.
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