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Thread: Angry Bees

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    San Ramon, CA USA
    Posts
    26

    Default Angry Bees

    When I first started the bees were so docile, but now if anyone approaches within a few feet of the hive bees will fly out to the person. I fed them this morning and they finished the whole jar at seven and my dad went out to replace it, and he was stung. I really hate this boardman thing because I have to fill it twice a day. Is it really crucial for the bees to have syrup constantly?

    We went inside and the bees were still trying to get to us by flying at the windows. Is this normal behavior?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
    Posts
    2,692

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    Boardman feeders are notorious for causing robbing from other bees. If robber bees are constantly visiting, your bees are probably more defensive because they are constantly harassed by the robber bees.

    Does the hive have any capped honey stores in it? If they are to the point of starting to cap honey, I wouldn't bother feeding any more.

    Do you have a nectar flow going in your area? Feeding isn't as crucial if you have a flow going on and the bees can gather enough nectar on their own.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    White County, Arkansas
    Posts
    874

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    I can not tolerate bees that do that on a regular basis. Are they queenless? Is there any kind of a flow going on right now? How large is the colony?

    If they are queenless they get hot, if they have nothing to work they can get testy and if they are a large colony with a lot to protect they can be defensive. If there is constant harassment by robbing, wasps, hornets, or other critters they can be agitated.

    If they are just plain mean I would have to move them or if I have no place to put them, I'm in the middle of town with kids all around, I would have to kill them for neighborhood safety. I would send a sample in to our State Apiary Section to verify if they were africanized or just mean europeans.

    Every small colony I have dealt with is pretty mellow. When they gain strength is when their true colors show.

    There are others here who will have a better insight than me. My learning curve is still pretty high.

    The only thing I use entrance feeders for at the entrance is water. I have used them above the brood nest as an inside feeder if needed. Otherwise I will use a beemax top feeder for a single colony if needed.
    Last edited by notaclue; 06-27-2009 at 10:58 PM. Reason: Feeders

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    San Ramon, CA USA
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    I'm in northern california right now but I have no idea if there's a nectar flow right now. I put on the second hive body a couple weeks ago, and yes there is capped honey. I was told to keep feeding until they fill both boxes, should I stop? They're definitely not queenless.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
    Posts
    2,692

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    If there is capped honey I would stop feeding. They have enough nectar for their daily needs, and are putting some away for long term storage when they are capping it.

    If the Boardman feeder is causing robbing and the bees are defensive because of that, they should begin calming down after a few days or a week. If the bees remain defensive, it may signal a different problem, or maybe that is the level of defensive behavior that is normal for them.

    Is the grass matted down around the hive from a skunk? If skunks are pestering the hives at night to eat bees, that can cause a hive to get overly defensive too.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,772

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    Sounds like you can stop feeding. Consider switching to a different type of feeder when you start up again.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    if the hive has weight (heft) stop feeding. like several others here I suspect a portion of your problem is attributed to the boardman feeder (it is why many of us just loathe boardman feeder and often times wonder why supply house push those nasty things).

    beyond this I would check with some locals to see if you are (I read a number of reports from other california beekeepers which suggest your may be) in a dearth situation. you need to somewhat begin to learn to recognize this yourself by observing the foraging activitiy of the hive.

    I would not be surprised if your situation was not a combination of both boardman feeder plus a dearth (the dearth creating attempts by other bees to rob at or about the boardman feeder which causes your hive to be defensive).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Re: Angry Bees

    I read a number of reports from other California beekeepers which suggest your may be in a dearth situation.
    Ventura county, California is in a pollen and nectar dearth! I We received 65-70 % of our annual rainfall. Our local rainfal is near 14"-17". I filled Mother Lode division board style feeders 3x in 5 days. (!:! syrup.)
    I fed one to two Mann Lake pollen patties and the bees consumed them in 6-8 days. The stronger hives were fed two patties recently.
    I would also suggest that you remove the *&^%$#@ entrance feeder!
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,410

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    Sounds like the hive has built up. Bigger stronger hives have more attitude. Constantly poking a Boardman in the entrance will keep them defensive as will the robbing it promotes. Bees defend the entrance. Try feeding on top.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,960

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    If a single box of bees consumed a quart of feed in less than a day, I would suspect that they may be having help. With a small hive it seems that robber bees don't cause much fighting to get to an entrance feeder. But they might cause your hive to be defensive.

    I have some old boardman feeders. I don't put them in the entrance for that reason. If you use a telescoping cover try this. Put the inner cover on and put set the feeder on top of it. Then put an empty box on top and then the lid.

    If you want them to draw comb, you might still need to feed. You might let us know how many frames have capped honey around the edges and how many are solid honey on at least one side.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    San Ramon, CA USA
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    I have not seen any other bees except my own. The wasps and bumblebees leave my Russian bees alone. So a dearth is a lack of pollen and nectar? I've noticed that the bees bring few pollen, are you saying I should get a pollen patty? The second hive body has very little capped honey but the first one has filled 7/10 frames with honey and brood.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,178

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    Hi Maxine,

    I'm in concord, the privets here are really blooming & the bees are working it like crazy.

    If you havn't heard of it check out mount diablo beekeeping ass, We meet once a month at heather farms Walnut Creek

    www.diablobees.org
    Dan

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,553

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    I'm wondering if they are being robbed and that's why they are angry...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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