This afternoon while checking on my experimental hives I noticed that 1 had almost no bees flying. This hive had my Cordovan bees and was installed on 4.9 mm foundation this spring and reshaken down again about 2 months ago with many bees in it.
My partner and I were fully suited as we had just pulles some honey suppers from annother yard. I lifted the telescoping cover and could not believe all the bees on the inner cover. I was covered immediatly with mad stinging bees and received many stings on my hands as I don't use gloves normally (they were in the truck) and my partner received no stings but he was covered with bees from head to foot. We immediatly left the hive and the bees gave chase for about 50 feet. We tried to go back but the bees started to bump into us so we left the telescoping cover on the ground and will try to go back tommorrow.
I have never seen so many bees in a hive as this. It has 2 hive bodies and 1 large supper in it.
just South of Lansing Michigan
It always seems like a lot more when they are coming at you too! They sound pretty hot to me. If you can't find an external cause I'd requeen even if they are doing well. I would wear gloves next time too.
A quick way to cut the bees defenses is to take extra lids and bottom boards and set each box on it's own bottom board with it's own top and let them calm back down. Then you only have to face one box of them at a time. Smoke them heavy. Try some tobacco in the smoke. Also try some light sugar syrup spray. It seems to help some. I make it about 1:2 (1 part sugar 2 parts water) with some Honey Bee Healthy in it.
I had some I even went a step further and broke those boxes all into four and five frame nucs.
If you figure out a cause, both for the number of bees and the temprament, let us know.
The strongest hives I ever had were Cordovans.They will eat up most of their honey raising brood.I know everyone says cordovan color is not linked to other traits,but I have seen this too many times. Regular Italians in the same yard will have less bees but more honey,quite often.But as a general rule the cordovans are very docile.
Wow. That doesn't sound like any fun. I have several hives that are bit on the agressive side. I usually don't look forward to opening the top lid on them. They will get split up next spring though.
I got a hive that is nice untill you pop the cover. I always were gloves for that hive they are all americans, I might requeen them this fall but they make a lot of honey. I'll decide when the queens come.
Not knowing anyone's actual experience level, please do not take this personal.
My comment, or perhaps question is this. Are you sure that your smoking your hive correctly. There is a proper way. It can be said that two individual beekeepers could go into a hive and recieve two different results. This mainly has to do with very small adjustments or experience in handling the hive.
My other observation is for perhaps new beekeepers that may think their hives suddenly got agressive on them. Its that time of year that this can happen only because there are no flowers producing nectar. They are probably on guard from robbers from other hives as well. They can be nasty but will usually settle down. Most bad hives I had were hitting me well before I had the chance to pop a lid.
Last week I was going to transger a nuc to a full hive body, as soon as i poped the inercover they were all over me so I put the top back on and about 5 days later I made the switch no problems and no smoke, we must rember they are females and moody!!
Yeah, it's been my short experience that if they don't have something to do, like collect food or nectar, they are irritable as can be.
And we've had to feed alot around here lately. There is pollen but no nectar out there.
The populations are building up in my hives.
I opened one hive last night to spray the brood with wintergreen sugar water when one bee gave me a very short warning and then hit me in the lip. We went out to Pizza Hut to eat with my lip hanging out. LOL
Daughters were laughing at me all through dinner.........;0)
Are you getting this stuff out of a book or just as we say "winging it". I would like to know the idea behind spraying the brood with wintergreen sugar water.
I will say that its great to see some try different approaches. Sometimes this just happens to produce the next big breakthrough in some area of research. But it is certainly something I've never heard of and is unorthodox in approach.
Are you spraying with wintergreen SW to control varroa. I've heard of a fellow in Louisiana who does this and swears by it.
I am willing to bet that daisy is looking to natural methods to help the bees out. Sometimes it take a brave soul to try something new (read as old but forgotten).
Daisy, you wouldn't happen to be/have been a hippy or buddhist would you?
Some poeple approach life differently running to a different beat. Maybe you beat is better, maybe hers is. But they are still beats and they both make sound.
I think some of Daisy's stuff is silly, but I also recognize that my beat is what makes it silly, not that its inherently silly.
Silly is good, silly makes you think. Silly must be accompanied by humility or its not silly, its embarrasing.
Ok my Zen for the day.
A little wintergreen oil will keep even thin honey syrup from fermenting.It also seems to help hives with chalkbrood and virus problems.It is an old time cure for tracheal mites.I know from personal experience it isnt enough by itself to keep varroa under control.
I wish people would fill out their profiles.
Scott, what is an ICQ number, yes I was looking at your profile.
Sorry, one T in Scot.
I make my own version of Honey-B-Healthy.
I use wintergreen, spearmint, and lemongrass. I have been having trouble making the lechtin disolve so I sometimes leave it out.
I should qualify the statement about not controlling varroa.Fed in syrup and in crisco patties,it isnt adequate.Spraying each comb may have a totally different result as there would be much more exposure to the wintergreen.I have some hives that have had persistant chalkbrood all season.I have never had any luck clearing up bad cases by requeening,but have had luck with wintergreen syrup.I am getting ready to feed those bad cases some of it.
Just getting ready to start the day in the bee yard and now have some power from the blackout
Yesterday I worked over the hot hive. This hive was started this spring with Cordovans and the hive consists of 3 deep boxes with 10 frames each and a vent box on the top. The last time I was in the hive was 2 weeks ago when I added the 3rd box of foundation. I saw eggs and brood at this time but the bottom box was completly capped brood. The 2 boxes were full and completly drawn so I added the third.
\When going through the hive I found that the third box was completly drawn and 1/2 full of brood while the other 1/2 was full of pollon and honey. There was much wild comb in the #3 box so I added a honey supper this time. The new bees look the color of Itallian not the original golden color that they were. When going thru the hive we saw a queen and she was not marked but was laying like gangbusters so I figured the original queen was replaced by the bees. We found no queen cups or cells in this hive but there must be at least 100,000 bees in this hive now and they are tempermental. Last night after 10 Pm we went bu the hive and there must have been at least 1000 bees on the front landing board out side.
just South of Lansing Michigan
>I use wintergreen, spearmint, and lemongrass. I have been having trouble making the lechtin disolve so I sometimes leave it out.
You have to add boiling water to the lecithin, disolve it, and then wait for it to cool. I just mix the oils with honey first and then when they have had some time to permeate the honey, I mix it with syrup. Honey is a natural emolient (as is lecithin and glycerin). You need something to get the oils to dissolve in the syrup or they will just set on top.
Just a thought about the mean bees poping the cover might be part of the problem.A pop is a bad thing.I started the year just in to big of hurry.i slowed down and didnt pop the inner covers if could help it and things got much better.
I think I am smoking them right because all my other hive are nice eept that one.
To address the posts to the best of my memory...
Yes, I'm a hippy at heart. I truly love nature and keeping bees helps me to connect with nature. I talk to my bees. I want them to know my voice and feel my vibrations. Know my scent. Does this sound crazy? LOL I don't use a beesuit, I don't use gloves. I don't use smoke. I get stung when I'm careless or don't heed their warnings. Not to say that I don't have a suit and gloves because I do, and I'll wear them if I think I need to.
I don't Pop the lids, I carefully take up everything smoothly. (you know what I mean).
Yes, I use lecithin to emulsify the wintergreen in the sugar water. (I don't have enough honey to use in it because I don't use anyone else's honey to feed my bees and my beeyard is very young.)
Here is a recipe I copped from the internet......
Let me preface by saying that "It's not my first choice to use these products in my hives but I don't have a choice at this time because of the plight of the honeybees. I want to take them back to small cell but in the interim, I am compelled to use the wintergreen spray until they are more established and I can afford to buy what I need to regress them." What else can I do?
So I spray the brood with the finest spray that can be applied to drop any mites, (there are very fine sprayer tops, perferably one like comes with the body mist-ers that ladies use after the shower/bath...... I don't knowingly spray the queen, but I have and she is ok)
Here's the information.......
<<< Honey is, of course, the best possible food for your bees. Along with success in keeping your own bees, the availability of honey increases. As this availability is awaited, the options for syrup/oil emulsions may include natural enzyme-produced grain syrups such as barley malt syrup, rice syrups or corn syrups; sugar syrups which may include unrefined sugars or white sugar. These are then combined with essential oils and if emulsion is not natural to the syrup the essential oil should be emulsified with lecithin into a small amount of water and then added to the mixture. (See Below)
Whether or not the choice is Organic will be determined by the origin of the foods used. At the same time, if a Keeper wishes to be free of chemicals and pesticides and cannot afford any form other than white sugar, we do not frown on this. The transition is viewed as a process and we encourage the change by whatever ability you possess.
Syrup/Oil Emulsion example:
* 5 quarts water
* 10 lbs sugar of your choice
* 1 teaspoon- Wintergreen essential oil
* 1/2 teaspoon lecithin (we use granules)
Makes approximately 2 gallons
1. Heat water to near boil and add lecithin
2. Stir in lecithin until dissolved
3. Take water off burner and add sugar. Stir well until dissolved.
4. Add the Wintergreen oil and stir until well mixed.
Note: Make certain the heat is not on the pan before the sugar is added.
A pinch of salt should be added to unrefined (or brown) sugars
5-10% apple cider vinegar to syrups is healthful to the bees
When Honey or natural syrups are used, 5-10% water (or vinegar or a mixture of the two) should be added before feeding.
Improved Wintergreen syrup (as 1:1 Water:Sugar ratio) proportions for Spring Feeding
Syrup ratio is a 1:1 sugar/water mixture.
Syrup ratio is 1:1 as above and the Wintergreen essential oil may be doubled. Discover for yourself, the benefits of spraying the bees in the brood chambers during the swarm season. When drones are being reared, the mite population will suddenly increase. Delivering the essential oil/syrup directly to the brood area offers significant inhibition of mite propagation.
Syrup ratio is a 2:1 sugar/water mixture. (i.e. 2 parts sugar to 1 part water)
Essential oils need not be limited to wintergreen, but may include many mints and other aromatics.>>>
Me again< I do put a pinch of sea salt in the brood spray preparation. And I want to stress that I feel the spray should be a very very fine mist. You want No globs or drops! If anyone does this, please don't use those big sprayer tips that are used for gardens or cleaning solutions. Use the fingertip sprayers, Not the hand pump types. Use it when there is no wind or the fine spray won't get onto the bees. And of course it's not used in a way that could chill the brood. It must be very warm outside. Go quickly as possible. I will have the sugar water going on the porch to keep the foragers busy and diverted.
After my hives are established, I'm hoping I won't have to be as involved in their care. It's my thought that they should be on their older combs built from the year (s) before. If I can at the very least, keep the combs from pesticides and antibiotics, maybe just maybe they will regress in size as the newly built combs become thicker inside from use and reuse.