I started my first hive last spring and had a successful first year: lots of honey, lots of bees and they over-winterted well. But they are definitely more aggressive this spring. It's not possible to stand quietly at the side of the hive to observe them without being dive-bombed and chased away.Is it normal for them to be somewhat more aggressive after the first year?
I'd say they are calmest when the queen is the youngest. As she ages they get grumpier. You could set up a nuc (to keep the queen in case) and remove her and a frame of brood and let the hive raise a new queen and see if that calms them down. Your other choice is to buy a new queen.
Are you sure your old queen is in there and working?
Sometimes queenless hives get cranky. Were I you I would like to know if there are fresh eggs and young brood in that hive.
If there are, and the brood pattern looks well filled out and symetrical then your bees may just be showing the effects of bad weather, nightly visits from predators such as skunks, or your perfume.
In any event, if you can acquire a good young queen and introduce her to that hive, putting the old oone and some brood in a nuc as suggested you will have made increase. That is a good thing in itself for most of us.
Also check around hive for stuff that look like dried up clumps of black peatmoss.They are poop of a raccoon or possom, full of bee parts. my bees were getting mean,and I couldnt figure out why? there were no visible scratches on the hive anywhere.I read on another post to look for the poop, and sure enough it was there.If your bees are harassed at night they will be very aggressive. Since I stopped the hive harasser, my girls are back to their mild-mannered selves....