It is raining again today, yipee! So I've been inside looking through some of my digital photographs. Here's one that reminds me of how it was a few years ago:
Imagine trying to manipulate frames of bees, trying not to pinch or squish any while they are sending sorties across your fingers and up your arms. Of course, once you hurt one, it will likely sting you, then more will join the fracas. This was one common trait of the bees that I was keeping before I began importing Cordovan Italian queens and breeding from them. This photo reminded me of this curious trait, and others, that I associate with possible AHB's.
Though, before I began intensive selection and importing outside stock, there were many curious and sometimes undesirable behaviors, it was not common that these bees would be summarily defensive/offensive. They often were, however, extremely sensitive to minor disturbances to their hives and the immediate vicinity of their hives. If I walked through the apiary at night, and it were cool enough that most of the bees were clustered inside their hives and not bearded all over the outsides (like this -->
), then they might suddenly come boiling out the entrances, like they were going to swarm, but they aren't. It would still be rare that a hive would just start attacking and stinging, though sometimes some would.
One of my least favorite behaviors of these possibly AHB's was how some of them would behave "nervously", constantly running whenever their hive was open, they would run out of the hive and cluster in a collar around the outside rim of the top super. Those same "runny" hives would form clusters on the bottom of frames being manipulated and pieces of these clusters would continuously drop from the combs onto the ground. Finding a queen was often quite the challenge.