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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Austin TX USA
    Posts
    300

    Default Help with Crazy, Hot Hive!!!

    I need some help. I went into a hot hive today to requeen it...unsuccessfully. The 5 boxes of bees were so aggressive even with lots of smoke, they stung me all over my suit and gloves. I gave up. It's from a cut out and I bet they are hybridized Euro-African. If all these bees died, I would be okay with it, but I am trying to figure out to salvage what I have.

    I didn't find the queen. What I was able to do is split it up:

    I separated the boxes into two new hives with the entrances screened shut. These new hives have two boxes of bees each. Screened in. The bees can't get out right now! And that's a good thing.

    They all have some honey and brood. Plus there is the original hive with one original brood box and one new box of empty drawn comb. It is open for returning foragers. So I split the bees into three hives. 2 are closed in right now.

    My question is what to do next: Assuming I find the queen tomorrow and kill her...

    1. Should I combine these boxes with newspaper to my gentle hives?
    2. Should I let them create their own queen and hope she mates with my Italians (or requeen later)? How long screened in until they think they are their own hive and not return to the original hive? Note: I cannot move them very far away, only a few feet...
    3. Should I keep them screened in for a day or two and then install a new queen? I have one.
    4. Or should I kill them? Is there a way to preserve the brood but kill the adult bees organically?

    I am open to anything, but I am not working a huge, aggressive hive like that again! At least now they are smaller.

    Thanks!
    ~May your hive thrive
    Aisha

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,770

    Default

    Hi Aisha...good to hear from you.

    Let's just assume that Option 4 isn't necessary....at least not now.

    Option 2, creating their own queen isn't the most desirable since you're unsure of the genetics and you can only hope for a nice mating outcome.

    Option 1 could work as could Option 3. I would try Option 3 first since you have a queen. A new queen could change things dramatically. If that doesn't work, you still have the option to do a newspaper combine or to knock them all off!
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,313

    Default

    Read about Michael Bush's "Divide and Conquer" method.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesrequeeninghot.htm

    It requires extra equipment, but it works.
    Troy

  4. #4

    Default

    One recommended way of killing honey bee colonies is to spray them down with soapy water. The soap interferes with their exoskeleton and the bees drown. You need to really douse the hive quickly so I would use a garden type sprayer that holds several gallons of water and use dish soap.
    You should be able to rinse the soap off of your combs in the end without leaving much residue.
    Erin Forbes, EAS Master Beekeeper
    overlandhoney.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    I would vote for #3. The larger unit is already split up... so why recombine? In a day or so the unit with and without queens will be quite obvious. you might even find that the unit with the queen has suddenly become manageable once again. Once split and with entrances plugged up you also might wish to move the various parts.

    I have had a number of reports in texas this year about defensive bees... I suspect (don't absolutely know) that the flow/no flow season had compounded this problem considerable. as a proactive measure anyone that maintains bees in a residential setting might be well advised to 1) install robber screens/guards and 2) minimize the duration and frequency of your inspections. #1 above will not only reduced the frequency of robbing but will also tend to make the bees less defensive since the threat of robbing is reduced.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Austin TX USA
    Posts
    300

    Default

    Thanks everyone!

    I am going in this morning to find the queen. I have a good attitude, a bottle of sugar water with a drop of vanilla, and latex gloves over my normal gloves. My ankles, wrists, and waist are taped shut with painters tape! I have already taken a Benadryl.

    I am confident that I will figure it out.

    Interestingly, it looks like some foragers yesterday from that mean hive got accepted into one of my other hives (there was a crowd on the landing board at night). I guess if they arrive bringing nectar they aren't kicked out.
    ~May your hive thrive
    Aisha

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,770

    Default

    I think that more strangers are accepted by other hives than we think. Let us know how you make out with that hive. I'd be interested in how things go.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Austin TX USA
    Posts
    300

    Default The Queen is Dead, Long Live the Queen!

    Thanks again to this awesome forum.

    The split hives were less aggressive today. I found the queen, killed her and dropped her in the bottom of the box. I'll install the new queen later today, after they know the old one is dead. I combined a box of brood with my slowest hive. Things are looking good.

    I am a little sad though. That mean hive was super productive and great survivors. They had already capped an 8 frame super of honey.

    I really had to sit with myself ask if I was into beekeeping for the honey or for the fun. And it's the fun. An angry hive is just no fun.
    ~May your hive thrive
    Aisha

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ennis, TX USA
    Posts
    5,125

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Aisha View Post
    I'll install the new queen later today, after they know the old one is dead.
    I have never had to requeen, but have always read to wait a day or two before you introduce a new queen. I just don't want them to kill that new queen after you have done this much effort.

    I am sure a more experianced beek will chime in.
    Chuck Norris has a grizzly bear carpet in his room. The bear isn't dead it is just afraid to move.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,313

    Default

    The rule of thumb that I try to follow is to 1) remove the old queen.

    2) Leave them queenless for at least a few hours. Overnight is fine.

    3) Then go back and install the new queen.

    I would not leave the dead one there - it might take them longer to figure it out as her pheromones will fade slowly. If she is just suddenly GONE, then within minutes they usually know they are queenless. Certainly within hours they are all aware of the lack of a queen.
    Troy

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,770

    Default

    Yup, pull the old one out if you can.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,379

    Default

    You did great. I hope they take the new queens. You did remove all the queen cells they started didn't you? You'll need to do that after 4 days to keep them from raising their own queen. AHB are pretty bad about not taking a gift queen and raising one from their own eggs.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Austin TX USA
    Posts
    300

    Default

    I dropped the old queen on the screened bottom board so I assumed they would drag her out like they do bad drone larvae.. I can look with an upturned mirror later and see if she's still there.

    Thanks for the tip!

    I didn't see any queen cells so I don't think they had gotten to that point in their development cycle.

    I am glad I did this because my neighbor was chased by bees yesterday!
    ~May your hive thrive
    Aisha

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    84

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenseye View Post
    I think that more strangers are accepted by other hives than we think. Let us know how you make out with that hive. I'd be interested in how things go.
    No guard bee will turn down a stranger trying to give her hive pollen and/or nectar.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Central Point, Oregon
    Posts
    75

    Default

    Hi Aisha!

    It has been mentioned in other threads by people much more experienced than I that a small proportion of hives have not one, but two queens. When people remove/kill one queen the other is left and when they try to introduce a new queen she is killed and they do not understand why. If your hive is queenless for a couple days and if they have eggs and young larva and you still do not see queen cells, I would look for a second queen!

    Wish you the best.

    Larry

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    central mn
    Posts
    264

    Default

    Haven't had to , but if I had to kill off a hive ,,I think I would close all holes and drop some
    dry ice in .. this way you don't mess up the comb and it will kill the brood .. and in a few hours you can use the frames ..
    just my thinking ..

    but I hope you find no need for this to be tried

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Arlington, TX, USA
    Posts
    453

    Default

    Last time I had to kill off two hives I got a bucket of water mixed with dish washer soap and simply brushed the bees into it. Had to skim off dead bees as I went, but it saved all the equipment and didn't take too long. Simply removve each frame, brush of the bees and move to the next one.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Bradenton, FL
    Posts
    135

    Default Can you test for africanization

    Hi there,

    I'm still a very new beekeeper, but here in Florida the AHB is a big problem. I know when we registered with the state we had the option of participating in their "best practices" program which included our bee inspector sending off a sample of our bees to determine the percentage of africanization. If they come back with anything greater than 10% AHB then they recommend that we requeen with a marked queen from a registered breeder. I also know that if the hive was mostly AHB then we would be instructed to kill the hive.

    I suggest that if your bees don't settle down that you call your local bee inspector since I know you folks in Texas have problems with AHB like we do here. Actually, one of the members in my beekeepers assoc had the same problem...he called the bee inspector and he said that a new queen prob took over and mated with AHB drone....just suggested requeening with marked one from breeder...and his hive has been just fine since. Good luck!

    DebCP
    Last edited by DebCP; 05-05-2009 at 05:40 AM. Reason: No coffee=poor spelling
    "Life is like riding a bike. It is impossible to maintain your balance while standing still."...Linda Brakeall

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