Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana USA
    Posts
    25

    Post

    Hi

    I have a hive about 6 weeks old (from package) that has 9 full frames of drawn comb and a fresh medium super (total of two) of foundation for brood. What I am remarking on is the change from when I hived them to now (in terms of temperament). They seem pretty quick to go postal on me now, and I have been noticing that they really seem to react in a hostile way to my breath (and yes! I brushed my teeth). I was doing a whew! and they just went nuts. Up until now I haven't used a smoker b/c I haven't felt it necessary. I have only been stung four times up until now. Any thoughts on why they seem so sensitive and quick-tempered? And what is up with them reacting to my blowing on them that way? I tested and they definitley get pissed and attack when blown on.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Marion, North Carolina
    Posts
    423

    Post

    Any hive will react to human breath. You could have blew on them right after you installed them and they would react the way they are reacting now.

    Thesurveyor

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    parker county, tx
    Posts
    7,923

    Post

    Sorry to be irreverent here, but perhaps someone should come up with a special mouthwash and call it "Bee Breath". Include some secret ingredient that makes human breath smell like the hive, lol.
    On a more serious note, I have formulated my own amature opinion of development of attitude in bees. When you first get a swarm or package, it seems the bees would be, in effect, demoralized since they have been, willingly or not, removed from their turf. Once they establish their new hive and feel "at home" once again, I think they get a little tougher to deal with from a human perspective. It also has a little to do with genetics, of course.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    oneonta al.
    Posts
    848

    Post

    I've talked to a few beekeeper's & reading on this forum, It seem's the bee's is alittle meaner than normal,Is it just my thought or does it seem like that also to any of you?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana USA
    Posts
    25

    Post

    "Any hive will react to human breath. You could have blew on them right after you installed them and they would react the way they are reacting now."

    Not so, I used to move them around on the comb by blowing on them, and they did not react this way.

    I can see the defensiveness of them, and have wondered if it was the genetics of the queen coming through... the hive is predominantly her progeny now...

    ------------------
    Chuck
    Information Systems Consultants
    Lershac@cox.net

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,336

    Post

    The defensiveness from a package to a successful hive always changes some. The swarm is usually docile even if it's africanized bees. After a week or two they start to think of the hive as home and are prepared to defend it. As the hive get's stronger they always get a little more defensive. However, really hot is not a good trait and one I would take steps to correct quickly. If you notices a large change at about 6 weeks that's when the offspring of this queen would have taken over gaurd duty. If that's really when there was a noticable increase, I would replace the queen immediately. Otherwise they will only get worse and harder to handle and harder to requeen as they get bigger.

    Another couple of causes of hot bees are queenlessness, a queen that doesn't make enough pheromones to keep the bees happy, and being pestered by something every day, like a skunk or kids throwing rocks at the hive.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Wyoming MN
    Posts
    406

    Post

    I would really try the smoker too, and see if that makes a difference. What time of day do you go into the hives? Is it after they are all home for the night? I nudge mine with my breath all the time, and it doesn't bother them, they just scoot around a little. How often have you been in the hive, and are you slow and deliberate when you go in? As soon as I try to hurry, mine crank up like crazy. Also, check the front bottom board, and see if something is scratching it at night. Possibly skunks. Otherwise, like Michael said, I would requeen. They do sound exceptionally cranky.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,336

    Post

    >I've talked to a few beekeeper's & reading on this forum, It seem's the bee's is alittle meaner than normal,Is it just my thought or does it seem like that also to any of you?

    Yes! I never had a really mean hive in 30 years until last summer and now I've had four since then. Not to say I didn't hives that were clamer than others, but I never had a vicious one.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,080

    Post

    A mean hive by genetics, pests, and others, always make a difference. I would also comment on the "art of hive inspection" that can be achieved with experience. If you never had the chance to watch an oldtimer/experienced beekeeper inspect a hive, it can be worth the time.
    Manipulating the frames, slow deliberate movements, right amount of smoke, breathing, your stress level, etc, all make a difference. By all means, I hope nobody takes this the wrong way, but if you have not had the pleasure of watching another correctly work a hive, it is an art to see. Good beekeepers go with no gloves, may work in shorts, t-shirts and just a hood.

    By the way, I'm bundled up with a full suit, and wear two pairs socks for the ankles. No bragger here. Hate stings.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Belmont, NC, USA
    Posts
    38

    Post

    Yeah, the more 'stock' they have in the hive, the more willing they are to protect that investment and yes, a sudden/drastic change in behavior could indicate a semi-serious problem which you might want to deal with immediatly (replacing queen). Also, if replacing, i recommend going with a reputable dealer and that the queen be fertilized!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
    Posts
    751

    Post

    You can't get packages in the UK, but I would have thought they'd be like a swarm, which doesn't normally sting. I emphasise 'normally', it does happen. You may have the real temper of the bees emerging, or you may be making mistakes handling them, have sonething upsetting them, etc. My first hive was seriously nasty, but since I had nothing to compare it with, I just lived with it. OK, it was good experience in the long run, but it wasn't very nice at the time. You may need to requeen if it goes on.

    ------------------
    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Birmingham UK

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana USA
    Posts
    25

    Post

    Well I am just a bit more careful and slower now. I just inspected after a two week wait while they (hopefully) started drawing out that comb in the top super. They have and are putting up honey there to beat the band. I got to break off some burr comb that they were storing honey in and it was wonderful. Will they move the honey around when the queen wants to lay in that top super or what? I notice that they are doing the "chimney" thing with drawing out the comb, but they are storing honey there for now and not starting brood.

    As for their temperament, they are very sensitive to my exhaling on them still, but a little smoke allows me to work them in my shirtsleeves and sandals. We will see how things go in the future.

    ------------------
    Chuck
    Information Systems Consultants
    Lershac@cox.net

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,336

    Post

    If you can work them in your shirtsleeves with a little smoke, these are nice quiet bees.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,304

    Post

    Any hive will go postal on you if you try to work them without smoke!There are times when the bees are happy making honey and very little or none is required ,but it is a really bad idea to not light a smoker just in case.The worst uproar I have ever seen in a beeyard was because the beekeeper(?)didnt believe in using smoke.Anyone within 300 yards would have received multipe stings(think lawsuit).
    --Mike

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    medesto,indiana,usa
    Posts
    257

    Post

    Bees can sense the CO2& temp. in your breath when you exhale on them.Some hives are more sensitive to it then others.The smoke tends to mask the CO2.Try using a dust mask to block your breath as a experiment.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
    Posts
    751

    Post

    One good way of testing bees for temper is to open them without smoke on a nice sunny day. I wouldn't do it in any other weather! The reason I say this is that smoke can mask differences. A couple of weeks ago I got two nucs, apparently identical as far as temper went, until I tried them with no smoke. One could be handled easily; I went right through it without the slightest bother. The second was a differnt story; the bees came straight off the frames at me, and I had to go straight for the smoker. Once they had a good smoking, they calmed right down and were as docile as the first hive. So keep the smoker handy, but when it comes to selecting a breeder, its worth trying without to se what happens.

    ------------------
    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Birmingham UK

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,304

    Post

    Thats right ,and also if most of the hives are easily worked with smoke but you come to one that stings a lot even with smoke,that hive gets a big HOT written on the lid and if they are that way the next time around queen murder may come to mind.(assuming they have one)
    --Mike (who absolutely despises HOT bees)

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,336

    Post

    I agree with Loggermike. I didn't really consider them hot if you could smoke them and they'd stay calm. Hot is when they pour out of the hive at you and pelt you. I don't count that they buzz around my head. When they are all trying to sting me, they are HOT and I try to requeen as soon as I can.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Mineral, Virginia
    Posts
    188

    Post

    I must be blessed with my two packages then, or they are naturally calm until they get fully adjusted to their new surroundings.

    When I did my first inspections, I did so without smoke and was able to pull frames etc with very little incident; mostly a few popping out to see what was up. Yesterday I replaced their feedbags without a hood, smoker, suit or gloves. Now the weather was nice and I was moving very deliberately, but it was exciting none-the-less considering my limited experience.

    Probably the most rewarding aspect of getting into this has been my family's interest. My wife and children comment on them buzzing around and the antics they pull trying to get into things; my in-laws have dropped a lot of their prejudice built up by wasp type varieties and seem captivated as well. One thing we have noticed by having honeybees is how we missed their presence in years gone by.


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads