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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    I have some feral stock right now and one hive in particular is quite vicious. I want to requeen it, so I tried to find the queen today and finally gave up because of all the bees trying to sting me. The banana smell was thick and they weren't just buzzing around.

    I let them settle down and I went back and put the twenty frames that were in the hive into four nucs. I intend to go back tommorow and work my way through them looking for the queen. I'm hoping that having only four or five frames of bees to face it will be a little less crazy.

    Divide and conquer.

    I'll let you know how the tactic works. Since I'd like to do some splits, I think I'll just leave them in the nucs and introduce a queen to each.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Auburn, Wa
    Posts
    134

    Post

    Michael what do you mean by "the banana smell". Does it smell like bananas when they are going to attack you?????

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,080

    Post

    I was watching the weather channel, and I think you will be having colder weather the next day or two. I'd go in early morning, with temp perhaps in the 50's. Alot less activity and brood will not get hurt. It was about that here yesterday and out of 8 hives I looked at 7 could of been handled with no equipment. One was still nasty, but I could only imagine what they would of been like if temps were in the 70's.


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

    Post

    I'm also dealing with a mean hive,It's a swarm that I caught about 5-6 wk's ago.up until fri- they have alway's been nice to deal with,I did'nt noticed that they had build up as fast as they have,both brood box's was full of brood & bee's.they was hitting me so hard that it sounded like rain.I put on 2 super's with drawn comb also went into both brood box's & check for swarm cell's(did'nt find any.)this swarm is from one of my last year queen's.which is alway's been real nice & calm.walked by them yesterday & they went to sting me bad(8- 10 times)just walking by,Do you think they will calm down now that I added more space?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
    Posts
    536

    Post

    Banana smell = alarm pheromone.

    You'll know it when you smell it. It can be a very "loud" smell in an upset colony.

    ------------------
    Rob Koss

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    If you pay attention, I've smelled it when only one bee attacked me, but when all of them are it's quite strong. The alarm pheromone does smell like (not exactly like but very much like) bananas.

    I've never had more room calm down a hive, but I have split them into smaller hives and had that calm them. I'm curious if it will work that way again, or how soon. Sometimes they hit a certain stregth and start getting mean. Maybe it's a percentage. If one in a thousand bees get's defensive and you only have three thousand, maybe it's no big deal, but every time one of those gets defensive it gives off some pheromone and one in a thousand of the other bees gets excited and they attack and give off pheromone. My guess is they just reach critical mass.

    Also sometimes they get mean because they are being harassed by something else like a skunk that keeps them stirred up.


  7. #7

    Post

    Back in high school 75-78 my brother and I got some bees because our best friend was in ffa and ag and he used bees for his project eventally haveing 28 hives on 2 city lots. good neighbors on all sides due to the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Harrell also raised a great garden with 100 tomato plants and dewberries and squash and just about everything else, from which they supplied most of their neighbors with a steady stream of honey and produce. This was before mites and african bees. We had 4 hives at our house and they were all mean one meaner than all the rest if you opened them up you were going to have hundreds of stingers in your double layer of shirts and pants. One never thought of going down into the brood box that would have been insane. Even with heavy smoke they would sound like a chainsaw and it felt like small hail was falling hitting you and they had a good memory for weeks after they were opened up. Over the last 2 seasons we have gotten back into bees and are as of yesterday up to 16 hives only 3 bought packages and thank god none are near as mean as our first bees. If i had known bees could be this gentle i would have never gotten out of this hobby in the first place. Well there were other factors hunting fishing women drinking road trips work mudriding college ahh the good old days. back to bees being the novice I am I would try putting a queen excluder between the brood boxes and push the bees out with bee go and find that old queen. I did this by accident with a hive last year when robbing and found a second queen up in a medium supper that had brood above and below the excluder. That hive now has 1 deep and 2 mediums for brood. It swarmed yesterday and while all my hives I thought had enough supper this hive is filled to the top with honey! so while late I have added suppers to it. Maybe 2 mediums and 1 deep and 2 queens is the way to go here! I did catch the big swarm. good luck with the mean ones.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    I've never actually used bee go, but this seems like a reason to use it. That's a good plan to find the queen.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    parker county, tx
    Posts
    7,923

    Post

    I have a hive like that also, and I've been trying in vain to maybe identify their breed or race. They aren't Africanized, but they sure act like. They are extremely healthy and disease resistant, so I just let them be most of the time. If they turn out to be poor producers (which I doubt), I'll requeen, but for now, they are keepers.

    I have noticed the alarm odor also, but to me, it has a lemony smell. What I do notice is that they seem much calmer when there is plenty of nectar available, so I wonder if feeding them intermittently, in times of dearth, would help keep them calmer. Anyone know?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
    Posts
    536

    Post

    I've always associated the lemmony "lemon pledge" smell with the Nasanov (sp?) pheromone (or the "come home" pheromone.) You can get a good whiff of that if you disturb a clustered swarm.

    ------------------
    Rob Koss

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Krum,Texas,USA
    Posts
    14

    Wink

    Hi, just a newbie reading from some books. The Art & Adventure of Beekeeping and Mastering The Art of Beekeeping by Ormond & Harry Aebi. I really like these guys. They say two things to help tame wild bees. Put some poles up near the bee hive with some cloth to wave in the wind. And in the last book, get some old dirty, sweaty clothes from each member of the family, and hang on the poles. They say it should take from one month to three.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Jameson, MO USA
    Posts
    76

    Post

    The first book I ever read on beekeeping was by Ormond Aebi, and I found his love of bees contagious. I truly enjoyed that book, and respect him as a writer.

    I have been enjoying calm and peaceful bees up until this last weekend. The weather was so nasty during April, that I couldn't properly work my hives, and my best one swarmed. I knew that there was danger of that, but a constant blustery, wet, 40's temperature kept me out. When I finally got good weather, I found they had already gone, so I kept two frames with the best queen cells, destroyed the other cells, and split the still numerous colony in two. One is OK, but the other one...WOW! I determined to move it from my back yard to my out yard so the neighbors wouldn't have problems, and came out at 5 AM in the predawn light to screen the opening, thinking I would catch them off gaurd. Guess again. I approached from behind, and as soon as my head appeared in front of the hive, there was an alarm buzz given by a lone guard in the opening, and within 5 seconds there was a cloud of bees looking for me. I got my smoker going and gassed them for about 5 seconds, and that let me get the screen in place.

    Have them moved now, and will give them the benefit of the doubt - maybe they were nasty because of a dearth in our area, or some other reason. If they stay nasty, then out with the old queen and in with the new.

    When I discovered that that hive had swarmed, I looked around and found them about 40 feet up in the Elm tree by their hive. I rigged up a bait hive, and hoisted it as high as I could, and hoped they would come down to it. But the weather turned nasty again, and each cold, windy, rainy day I would go out and see the swarm in the same place, getting smaller and smaller as the outside bees were lost. Finally it just disappeared, and I was deeply saddened. I just had no way to get up to where they were.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Jameson, MO USA
    Posts
    76

    Post

    The first book I ever read on beekeeping was by Ormond Aebi, and I found his love of bees contagious. I truly enjoyed that book, and respect him as a writer.

    I have been enjoying calm and peaceful bees up until this last weekend. The weather was so nasty during April, that I couldn't properly work my hives, and my best one swarmed. I knew that there was danger of that, but a constant blustery, wet, 40's temperature kept me out. When I finally got good weather, I found they had already gone, so I kept two frames with the best queen cells, destroyed the other cells, and split the still numerous colony in two. One is OK, but the other one...WOW! I determined to move it from my back yard to my out yard so the neighbors wouldn't have problems, and came out at 5 AM in the predawn light to screen the opening, thinking I would catch them off gaurd. Guess again. I approached from behind, and as soon as my head appeared in front of the hive, there was an alarm buzz given by a lone guard in the opening, and within 5 seconds there was a cloud of bees looking for me. I got my smoker going and gassed them for about 5 seconds, and that let me get the screen in place.

    Have them moved now, and will give them the benefit of the doubt - maybe they were nasty because of a dearth in our area, or some other reason. If they stay nasty, then out with the old queen and in with the new.

    When I discovered that that hive had swarmed, I looked around and found them about 40 feet up in the Elm tree by their hive. I rigged up a bait hive, and hoisted it as high as I could, and hoped they would come down to it. But the weather turned nasty again, and each cold, windy, rainy day I would go out and see the swarm in the same place, getting smaller and smaller as the outside bees were lost. Finally it just disappeared, and I was deeply saddened. I just had no way to get up to where they were.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Jameson, MO USA
    Posts
    76

    Post

    The first book I ever read on beekeeping was by Ormond Aebi, and I found his love of bees contagious. I truly enjoyed that book, and respect him as a writer.

    I have been enjoying calm and peaceful bees up until this last weekend. The weather was so nasty during April, that I couldn't properly work my hives, and my best one swarmed. I knew that there was danger of that, but a constant blustery, wet, 40's temperature kept me out. When I finally got good weather, I found they had already gone, so I kept two frames with the best queen cells, destroyed the other cells, and split the still numerous colony in two. One is OK, but the other one...WOW! I determined to move it from my back yard to my out yard so the neighbors wouldn't have problems, and came out at 5 AM in the predawn light to screen the opening, thinking I would catch them off gaurd. Guess again. I approached from behind, and as soon as my head appeared in front of the hive, there was an alarm buzz given by a lone guard in the opening, and within 5 seconds there was a cloud of bees looking for me. I got my smoker going and gassed them for about 5 seconds, and that let me get the screen in place.

    Have them moved now, and will give them the benefit of the doubt - maybe they were nasty because of a dearth in our area, or some other reason. If they stay nasty, then out with the old queen and in with the new.

    When I discovered that that hive had swarmed, I looked around and found them about 40 feet up in the Elm tree by their hive. I rigged up a bait hive, and hoisted it as high as I could, and hoped they would come down to it. But the weather turned nasty again, and each cold, windy, rainy day I would go out and see the swarm in the same place, getting smaller and smaller as the outside bees were lost. Finally it just disappeared, and I was deeply saddened. I just had no way to get up to where they were.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    I went through the four nucs yesterday and could not find a queen anywhere. I searched pretty well and was convinced she was gone. Since there were eggs and open brood I thought it odd that she wouldn't be there. I had put the top feeder, which was empty, aside and at the time there were some bees on it, but I didn't think much of it and figured they'd go into one of the nucs eventually. It rained all night and most of today. I went out this afternoon when the sun came out to find a cluster bigger than a grapefruit and smaller than a soccer ball on the bottom of the feeder, which was propped up on one end. I was very surprised that there were a lot more bees than when I left the feeder there. I think the queen was on the bottom of the feeder when I took it off and split up the hive. I dumped this cluster in another nuc box and it quickly formed another cluster. I added some frames and left them for now. I will try to find the queen later.


  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    32

    Post

    Hi Michael,Last year I was aked to requeen 7 hives that were 3 boxes high,full of bees and known maneaters.If I got within 30 yrds of them they would be after me. Going into the BC was rather.... exciting!These hives were in real need of a new queen.

    Anyway, I made up a split by shaking off 4 frames of brood,4 of stores and 2
    of comb and placed them into an empty super. I then put it on top of the original 3 boxes.This new box was seperated from the lower 3 by an excluder.I replaced the combs I took out with foundation.

    The next day I replaced the excluder with a division board with an entrance to the rear.

    Five days latter I checked this split for queen cells and introduced a quite Italian queen.The queenless nurse bees in the split readily accept the new quiet queen.

    When the each split had built up numbers (in about 6 or 7 weeks) I removed the division boards and united with newspaper.
    The "new" queen and her bees from above and her field bees now entering from below bring about the demise of the "old" agro queen 98% of the time.It's not long before the new queen is in charge and you have a very quiet hive.
    In fact this method works so well you can use it for normal requeening as well.
    If the hive is REALLY mean you can place the split on a new site until you're ready to unite.

    Oh yea....make sure your bee suit is up to scratch,mine had a small hole in the knee and as I was making the first manipulation I suddenly found one VERY pi**ed off bee in my veal..
    The little bugger stung me on the eye lid.With both hands full and a gazzillion agro bees bashing into my veil there was little I could do.
    Both eyes swelled shut for 3 days.

    good luck!


  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    That's part of what is scary is that you know sooner or later a bee will find it's way in somewhere. I've always been afraid if I did the unite that the gentle queen would get killed, but you may be right, the younger one may be the automatic best choice.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Danbury,Ct. USA
    Posts
    1,966

    Post

    I thought you guys were big sissys when the talk got around to being UNABLE to open a brood chamber. I thought , hell, just wear more clothes. What's the problem? I just bought 10 nucs on May 1 and went to check them the other day. On the hot one I got one frame out and put it back and was reaching for the second frame when the air was FULL of bees. I hadn't bumped them and I had used smoke but some wiser part of my brain said. Move it, move it, move it! I closed them up and left them for another day. The reason for the check was that I thought they weren't doing too well. Could they be queenless? I'm not looking forward to the next trip. Thanks for the suggestions on how to dequeen!
    I was messing with another hive without being dressed for it because I just wanted to poke the loose entrance reducer out of the way. Of course it got stubborn and by the time I was finished, the guard bees were somewhat alert and grouchy. One of them got me on the lip. After dinging out the stinger I made the mistake of licking the spot. What a horrible taste the sting had. Acid, bitter sour.... and it made my tongue go numb on the tip. Live & learn.

    Dickm

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    oneonta al.
    Posts
    848

    Cool

    Be good for a tooth ache.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Post

    Sounds like it would be good for a toothache.

    Before this last summer I thought when someone said they had a hot hive it meant there were quite a few bees in the air and maybe couple trying to sting them. At least that's as angry as I'd seen them unless I was taking them out of a house or a tree.

    After the bees I've seen in the last year, I actually have the idea of Raid running through my head some days. I have been attacked 100's of yards from the hives. I don't mean buzzed, I mean attacked and stung, and not by one bee, but several. These are Mafia bees. They put out a contract on you and hunt you to the ends of the earth. You walk up to the hive and they are already pouring out. You smoke it and wait a little and then you OPEN the hive and they all come at you. It does kind of sound like hail. pop pop pop as they hit you. You look at your glove and there are several with their stingers buried in the leather and you haven't even pulled out a frame yet.

    Partly I suppose I've programmed myself that if I upset them alot it's time to take a break and let them calm down. But these never calm down. I think sometimes with them it's best to just do whatever you have to as quickly as you can. Forget grace, forget about squishing some bees. How can you make it worse? They all already want to kill you.

    Now I understand why some people are afraid of bees.

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