What is an aggressive hive and what is too aggressive?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by HisPalette, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    I know it sounds like a crazy question, but we have 6 hives. one of the 6 had just gone into swarm mode in the past week or so. We took the queen cell and rack of eggs to add to a weak split two days ago. This is the hive I mentioned gave me fits a couple of days ago. Just in my face, popping the veil, covering my hands, but no stings.

    Today Steve went by with the mower (he mows every week with no problem) They attacked him - 7 stings. He returned to mow a different area, about 50 feet away from the hive and got nailed again. He decided to mow the other side of the house, Then he weed whacked and got nailed again, still quite far from this hive.

    Ten stings... and the first 8 came with no warning.

    Any other time any have ever protested the mowing (different hives) it has only been a warning sting or fly by, not a total attack.

    Advice? Requeen or just call it a bad day for the bees.
     
  2. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    8 (not 7), plus one plus another one.
    And now, I just saw him get stung by a wasp! He is a pin cushion today!
     

  3. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    couple pics, he is being a good sport!
    2 Forehead, 1 brow, 1 shoulder, 2 elbow, 1 neck, 2 back, 1 arm, 1 back of the leg through his jeans. (Candy Land hive)
    and 1 in the hand a wasp nest under a candle in the garden!
     

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  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I would say a bad bee day.

    PS. I can weed whack on half throttle and they pay no attention. I can go full throttle and they attack. It may have been a different noise or vibration today.
     
  5. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Even though it was you who posted the pics, make sure Steve gets an extra slice of pie for letting you post them! :thumbsup: :wink:
    Atta Boy Steve! :mrgreen:
     
  6. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Over the years i have found that when hives have built up strong and have stores during a dearth, they can become more aggressive. Vibrations tend to set them of.With the extreme heat (temp.) we are having, i find it doesn't take much to set me off either. :lol: Jack
     
  7. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    He was also thinking the thunderstorm last night as well.

    And Perry...
    He earned the slice...very jumpy today too! Fly, Beetle - he is flinchy!:rolling:
     
  8. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    Is there still a bit of a nectar flow there, or the dearth, if the dearth, they will be a bit more defensive, as all the older foragers with little to do find other duties like over the horizen house defense, that is to say as soon as you get to the show up on the horizen they are comming to meet you lol. Tell steve could be worse, could have run over a yellow jacket nest, or ran face first nto hornets nest...actually saw that before, rather funny if your not the person kissing the hornets. He escaped with only 7 stings and left the lawn tractor for the hornets to work over...
    Barry
     
  9. jim314

    jim314 New Member

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    Don't be to concerned yet. I'm only in my second year, but really aggressive hives can be gentle the following year.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip...
    one of the 6 had just gone into swarm mode in the past week or so. We took the queen cell and rack of eggs to add to a weak split two days ago. This is the hive I mentioned gave me fits a couple of days ago.

    tecumseh:
    invariable when a hive is for one reason or another queen less you should ALWAYS expect the hive to be a bit nervous and testy.

    for myself and considering the context.... less than 10 sting with a weed whacker in hand I would not even classify as being excessively defensive. actually from what I have noticed (with weed whacker in hand) I would call this fairly mild. which is to suggest that 1) most hives will get quite contrary as soon as you start one of those things up and 2) anytime I pick up a weed whacker first I light the smoker and then I put on my veil and gloves <by and large and far as I can tell those high revolution motors just plainly drives 'the girls' quite nuts.
     
  11. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    hp,
    i am thinking along the lines of a what jack, iddee, and tec already said....and i would wait before requeening. the weather is a considerable factor, the heat has been incredible, mowing and weed whacking will quickly get their attention and yours.....okay STEVE'S! many variables in an aggressive hive, but i don't mow or weed whack in the front of the hives first, i save it for last and put a veil on, then they are not chasing me or zinging me as i travel around trying to finish mowing or whacking weeds. what i mean is they don't nail me working from the outside in, as soon as i get to the in space, beeline, directly in front, they will nail me, if i start near them then they will 'find' me and nail me wherever i go....hope this made sense?
    :grin:
     
  12. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    Everyone has given us great answers to the question. Had concern because of the grandchildren, etc. This colony had been easy to excite, but usually calm quickly. Guess all the variables were in place to get them really wound up, as Tec noted with the queen or lack of situation.

    I suspected we may be entering a dearth and set out a feeder in the Zen Garden on the other side of the property this week. They haven't touched it. Sourwoods may still be giving off enough. The five other hives are doing what they should do.... pulling comb. gathering honey and pollen, raising babies...and are calm.

    First time we had witnessed the seek and destroy mission with the honeys. Trying to be proactive.
    And what you said makes perfect sense riverbee. and tec we will get the smoker going for the next time.

    He has been taking Benedryl and took a nap today. His stiff neck he had all week is gone though!
     
  13. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    I have used heavy mil black plastic under and around the hives to avoid having to get too close to the front of the hives and minimize the flight line disruption, as I am certian you know bees will fly as straight a line as possible, and take exception to you being where you weren't when they took their orientation flights. My bees are located in the open facing to the east facing the road and about 50 ft away from the road so they get full sun all day, have yet to see hive beetles inside the hive, around the hive like under the screened bottom board but only the hive I recently moved and was at the old location where they were partially shaded. I mention the black plastic as a method of avoiding the need to weedeater and mowing immediately in front.
    Barry
     
  14. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Barry says: " I mention the black plastic as a method of avoiding the need to weedeater and mowing immediately in front."
    Efmesch asks: Do you find the black plastic to cause additional heating of the hive on sunny days?
     
  15. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    actually no, the hives are all on cinder blocks ( cement ) and raised 6 inches above the plastic, plenty of ventilation with screened bottom boards, and no issues in the very mild winters here in Florida, The bees can fly almost year around with very few days they can't get out due to cold temps---seldom below 30 degrees. On the other hand, the plastic does absorb heat to the ground below and will bake ants as they try to colonize under the plastic--remember full sunshine all day long.
    Barry
     
  16. CarrollwoodBees

    CarrollwoodBees New Member

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    Stung on roof

    I also use heavy black plastic under a hive that sits on cinderblocks. No weeds and harder for the predators to lay eggs.

    I got hit one day when I was carrying a branch 25' away from the side of the hive. Unless I whacked somebody with the stick, I had no idea why I was stung.

    I can report that you do not want to be painting elastomeric coating on your roof without a veil and gloves. I asked AmericasBeekeeper (my local bee hero) what what what?! He said they didn't like the smell. I paid for doubting his wisdom and went back up to finish the job the next week--bam! ouch! They got me again and were ganging up til I had to run off the roof. Good thing my roof is almost flat.

    To finish the job, I had to use the veil. Still they were bouncing off it.
     
  17. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    I do have a concrete pad under the hives now. Have the same location as Barry describes...east southeast in direct sun until 5 or 6. I still see like 2 shb every inspection and squish them.
    It is now a couple weeks later. As soon as the incredibly hot weather cooled, the angry girls were much better. Had a great inspection yesterday, and all 6 hives are laying - no more queen or swarm issues. She still is a bit testy, but we saved her for last and smoked her quite a bit as we worked. Steve assisted, but let me handle the frames, since I had gloves. The gloves were stung 3 times, and one of the 3 got me through the gloves. She is just a feisty hive. I spent time socializing with them after I closed her up...I talk to the honey bees...It works for 5 or the 6! IMG-20120713-03252.jpg
    The culprit!

    Steve did mow and weed whack again this week, and they paid him no mind... but it is cooler and he did as riverbee said, starting elsewhere and ending there by the hives.
     
  18. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    Oh, and we had our club meeting Monday, and many members have been experiencing the same, with hot and fussy honey bees, in the heat.
     
  19. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Heat on its own doesn't put the girls in a bad mood. But if there's not enough nectar coming in--then you can find trouble....unless your hive is genetically short tempered. Drones with genes for short-temperdness could be affecting other members of your area by fertilizing locally raised virgin queens.
     
  20. HisPalette

    HisPalette New Member

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    The sourwoods are in full bloom and they have plenty of honey. It could be genetics somewhat too, but I have had them several months and raised 3 more queens in the other hives in the beeyard since. Closest beekeepers around here are at least a mile or 2 away (one actually has had some feisty ones long before we became beeks)
    I think that since they are fertilized by many drones, the temperament may change out in a cycle or two? And our other 5 hives are pussycats.