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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Williston, NC, USA
    Posts
    1,779

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    I ask this question just as a matter of curiousity and observation: Now that a nectar flow has started, all my hives have settled down a bit and are too busy to be "pesky," but I have noticed a distinct difference in temperment between my home hives and those at the strawberry fields. I have to wear at least a veil and gloves when working the s.f. hives--a suit as well if I'm doing any in-depth manipulations, but when it comes to my home hives, I can do anything I like, including manipulations wearing only a veil with my shorts & t-shirt (and I really don't need the veil, but I'm taking no chances). The home hives have optimal conditions: they face southeast and have the sun immediately at sunrise, wax myrtle windbreaks, dappled shade after 1 pm, their own little watering hole and an assortment of nectar/pollen sources. At the s.f. I've put up a fabric windbreak and given them a basin with sticks in it as a watering hole in an attempt to make life more pleasant for them, but they are on an open expanse of land where it is very windy, they are in full sun all day and the nectar/pollen source is not as varied. While my girls at home buzz around like you see in a Walt Disney movie, the girls at the s.f. are totally wired, racing here and there and making alot of noise. They're very healthy, just a totally different temperment. Do you think environment's the reason?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Worthington, Pennsylvania USA
    Posts
    1,848

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    You got the "home" bees spoiled. Maybe at the strawberry fields there is not enough nectar flow for the bees--too many bees for the amount of area--just a guess. Is anything being sprayed in the area? Are there and coons, skunks, possums etc. harrassing your colonies at night?
    It appears you enjoy your bees as much as I do.
    "Younz" have a great day, I will.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,470

    Post

    I start looking for disturbances such as skunks and if I can't find evidence of the bees being harassed I requeen. Nice bees are so much more fun. [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    307

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    Tia didn't mention how many colonies are in each location, but assuming that it's a few, I'd agree that environment is the explanation rather than queens. Unless they've been raising their own queens and the drone population is different in the two loactions, it seems like the things Tia listed are the differences that would account for a difference in behavior.

    I know that if *I* were a bee, I'd be much happier in Tia's home environment.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Williston, NC, USA
    Posts
    1,779

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    <Maybe at the strawberry fields there is not enough nectar flow for the bees> I'm wondering about that. There's 4 hives and I'm still giving them syrup. Each hive is sucking up a gallon a day. I'm going broke.
    <Is anything being sprayed in the area?> George does use something on his crops, but it's not a general spray. He has this gizmo like a funnel on a long stick. He puts the funnel over the plant, sprays whatever that is and then moves on to the next plant. This is always done very early morning (before 7:30).
    <Are there and coons, skunks, possums etc. harrassing your colonies at night?> Not that I can see. The hives are on 21" stands and there's no scratch marks or paw prints in the area.
    <It appears you enjoy your bees as much as I do.> I really, really do. They're like my daily yoga session.
    <if I can't find evidence of the bees being harassed I requeen. Nice bees are so much more fun.> I agree, but these ladies aren't really nasty, just very nosy. They fly around me, land on my veil, my gloves. I've watched them and they don't try to sting me; they're just very hyper, like, "What are ya doin', huh, Huh, HUH?" With all the aggravation I was putting them through the other day, there were only about 5 headbutters. They were requeened last fall by the previous owner (I helped him), so I really don't think the queens are the problem.
    <Tia didn't mention how many colonies are in each location> I have 3 at home--one is a swarm I caught last year, the other two I moved from the strawberry field. There's 4 at the s.f.
    <Unless they've been raising their own queens> only my original hive raised its own queen <and the drone population is different in the two loactions>Don't understand this. How does one know if the drone population is different?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    McMinnville, TN, USA
    Posts
    716

    Post

    Drones in each area will be different because they come from different queens. How different they are depends on what other beekeepers in the area have and what wild population there is. But since 2 of the ones at home are from the same source(only guessing but since he requeened them all last fall I was thinking all queens came from the same breeder) that it has to be inviroment and not genetics.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Alpine, NY (near Cayuga Lake)
    Posts
    107

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    I agree, but these ladies aren't really nasty, just very nosy.
    Well, not to be as nosy as your bees, but... how do you, um, smell? Is there anything that you might smell like because of the drive over there that you don't smell like at home? Sweaty? (You don't sound like the air freshener in the car type...).
    Lesli<br /> <a href=\"http://beeyard.blogspot.com/\" target=\"_blank\">http://beeyard.blogspot.com/</a>

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Williston, NC, USA
    Posts
    1,779

    Post

    &lt;You don't sound like the air freshener in the car type...)&gt;Not quite sure what that's supposed to mean, but I'm very aware of the fact that bees are extremely sensitive to smells--had a pair of gloves once that they absolutely hated and would attack no matter how many times I washed and baby powdered them. I'd like to think I smell just fine. Theory of getting sweaty on the way over doesn't hold. Many times I work the sf bees first and then return to work my home bees. My home bees never buzz me.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Alpine, NY (near Cayuga Lake)
    Posts
    107

    Post

    Well, it was a thought. As for the air freshener in the car, I just meant from your posts, you don't sound like the type of person who would have one of those air freshener thingies on your review mirror (thus making you smell funny to the girls).

    The one time my bees got really mad at me I wasn't checking the hive--I was near it. In a black sweatshirt that smelled pretty "doggy." That's what made me think of smells...
    Lesli<br /> <a href=\"http://beeyard.blogspot.com/\" target=\"_blank\">http://beeyard.blogspot.com/</a>

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Williston, NC, USA
    Posts
    1,779

    Post

    Know what you mean. I refuse to wear black anywhere near my girls. They once attacked the visible 1/4" of a pair of black socks I was wearing--thank goodness they were thick socks. I've also learned to always breathe through my nose when I work them. Even though I'm an Altoids addict, they just don't like that CO2.

    Thanks for the air freshener explanation. Thought you were trying to say that I didn't seem like a person who pays much attention to smells! To the contrary, I'm the one that's always saying, "What's that smell?!?" to which everybody responds, "I don't smell anything."

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