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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Columbus, Mississippi
    Posts
    188

    Default What constitutes mean?

    I know its been asked a lot but I have 4 hives and yesterday was my first day in them since last october. I have 1 have that is gentle as can be. Dont need any equipment and they could care less that you are up in there business. I love that hive!!! Found the queen and my 2 year old queen was superceded and all looks great!

    Then the other three are down right ugly compared to the other. Taking the top off is not bad but as soon as you reach in for a frame about 7 or 8 bees come out fighting hitting my veil and attacking my gloves. Then about 10 or more are all around me. It makes me uncomfortable so I back away till they leave me alone. Then I go back in to do the same thing and it repeats itself!

    So I guess is this normal or typical? Am I just being a pansy or does this sound like an issue? I would like to requeen but I cant get in the hive deep enough to even begin to find a queen. These hives are booming by the way. Have tons of brood, honey, and pollen, and drones are out too already! Smoke will drive them down but make no mistake they come right back out. They are stinging my gloves also!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    St. Clair Co. Missouri
    Posts
    225

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    Is the mean hive queenless or low on stores? If not I would requeen in a few more weeks and get a gentler queen
    Charla Hinkle

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Columbus, Mississippi
    Posts
    188

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    Well I know they are not low on stores. They did not have the queenless hum and it was three of my hives that are mean and last year they were a little rough in the fall but I figured spring time would change them. The problem is getting down in there to kill the queen. I can barely get the top hive body off without getting attacked.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Spicewood, TX, USA
    Posts
    375

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    Read Michael Bush's site about re-queening hot hives. He suggests splitting the boxes until you get them to be manageable, and can find the queen. I haven't done this but found it to be an interesting read.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Pigeon Falls, WI
    Posts
    2,527

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    10 bees hitting your veil? NOT MEAN. Did you smoke them before opening them or are they all on the same stand so the other 3 were mad from the vibration yuo made working the first hive?
    Leer Family Honey Farm-Shannon Leer

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Gilmer,TX USA
    Posts
    1,830

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    Are you using smoke?????

    mike
    Please check out the new kingfisherapiaries.com!
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Columbus, Mississippi
    Posts
    188

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    Yes i did use smoke. I thought I said I did....Oh well yes it would drive them down but they would quickly come back. I just say they are mean compared to my one hive that is gentle as can be. Of the three that are mean one of them was a mean one last year and it swarmed twice and I got them both hence the three mean one! haha they make me mad but I laugh too!! Thats why Im wondering if it sounds mean or is the one hive just really gentle? So I guess Im being a pansy? haha Oh the three hives are very close together each on its own set of blocks.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anthony, New Mexico USA
    Posts
    414

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    If you cannot see clearly over the veil, due to the cluster of mean little things trying to get to your face, or if you end up with so many stingers on your protective clothing, that you look like a cactus. Or if you inspect the hive and you think you are stepping into bananas; for sure they are mean.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Columbus, Mississippi
    Posts
    188

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    Micha then I dub myself a Pansy!! hahahahahaha They are no where near like that. I would probablly die if that were to happen!! hahaha

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,894

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    MSbeekeeper - I'm with you. I'd rather all of my hives be as gentle as possible - for my own enjoyment, and because I don't want the children in my family to be stung for no particular reason and become afraid of the bees. The adults can fend for their selves.

    This is one of many good reasons to raise a few of your own queens - have some spares in case you want to requeen a hive for whatever reason.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anthony, New Mexico USA
    Posts
    414

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    If you need windshield wipers on your veil; for sure they are mean!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Townsend, TN
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    I would put on lots of gear and dive in. make as many nucs as you can with the frames from the mean hives, pinch the mean queens and give each nuc a frame of eggs from your nice hive. or you could crowd your nice hive and feed them untill they build a bunch of swarm cells, then make your nucs from the mean hives and give each one a swarm cell.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    St. Clair Co. Missouri
    Posts
    225

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    A pretty handy rule of thumb is if you think they are to mean then it doesn't matter what I think they are to mean for you.
    Charla Hinkle

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    Excellent point.
    I checked 21 of my 26 hives Tuesday. Clear, sunny day, very light breeze, temp 51 degrees when I got to the last set of 5. First hive was hot...when they started hitting my veil after using smoke, I decided to put on the gloves. 2 of the 5 were as gentle as could be, no boiling over, hitting veil, stinging gloves. The other three were basically all over me as long as I had the hive open. So I only examined the top box on each hive, tipped it to see if I could ascertain brood in top box. All hives full of bees, honey, pollen, etc. etc.

    However, I can work those hives in the summertime without gloves. But last spring they behaved the same way. From those three hives, looks like I got over 25 stings in my gloves. Nothing penetrated... rest of the hives gave me only 5 stings total on my bare hands. Were those three mean? You betcha! Will I requeen? We'll see how they behave when the weather warms up later this spring.

    Oh, and as I walked away, the bees hitting my veil started returning the hives. By the time I was 20' away, no bees around me. One hive was a Purvis queen, one a B. Weaver queen, the other a B. Weaver mutt (a walk-away split last year). The other two gentle hives - 1 a B. Weaver mutt, the other a B. Weaver queen. I don't mind putting up with hives like those 3, as long as they produce bumper honey crops.
    Regards,
    Steven
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 03-03-2011 at 01:30 PM. Reason: UNQ
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Oakland, CA, USA
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    How much of it may have been the aggregation of scent markers from your working the previous hives?

    Just curious if you worked them in the opposite order if the 5 at the end which were hotter, would be more calm

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Stilwell, KS
    Posts
    1,716

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    Geez, give the bees a break. The OP said, "about 7 or 8 bees come out fighting hitting my veil and attacking my gloves. Then about 10 or more are all around me".

    That doesnt sound that hot. I have only been doing this for 3 seasons now but depending on the weather, nectar flow, time of year, etc., etc., the demeanor of any particular hive can change.

    That said, if it continues to get much worse, then think about requeening.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shazam View Post
    How much of it may have been the aggregation of scent markers from your working the previous hives?

    Just curious if you worked them in the opposite order if the 5 at the end which were hotter, would be more calm
    These last 5 were in a separate apiary, 5 miles from the other 16. I opened the first one - hot, donned the gloves, finished working it. This one was the hottest of the lot. Closed it up. skipped the next two, went to the end, worked those two. Those last two were maybe 10-15 feet from the first one. They historically are a bit more gentle. Then back to do 2 and 3. 2 more gentle (lolol not much) than 3. 3 as bad as 1. Each hive is on it's own stand of a section of railroad tie, or concrete blocks.

    Your point is well taken, there are a lot of variables we need to consider when judging the meanness of a colony.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Loganville/Greensboro, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    Last year my hottest hive was my best producer. A function of size or genetics? Idk either way they weren't so hot that I feel the need to requeen. But always got stung working that one. Seem calmer this year....so far
    Buffalo Lick Farm & Nursery
    http://www.buffalolick.com

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devils Lake, North Dakota
    Posts
    9,123

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    I agree with BeeSlave and others. What you are
    describing isn't mean in my book. For me a mean
    hive will start hitting your forhead when you're 5
    feet away. And when you lift the cover....... watch
    out. And a mean hive will follow you for quite some
    distance when you leave.

    I'd give them a bit of time....... there are many things
    that can temporarily tee off a colony.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Andover, MA, USA
    Posts
    88

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    If you have a single hive that you like out of many others in your apiary and you want to propagate its line, by destroying queens and raising new ones from your best hive, then you must first deal with the bad drones. Otherwise the new bees will be as much offspring of your bad hives as your good one because the new queens will mostly mate with the more numerous bad drones. When your new queens have emerged and are coming of age for their mating flights then put queen excluders on the bottoms of all your bad hives to keep the drones in.

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