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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,805

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    An aggressive hive will meet you at the truck 75 feet away and sting you before you have a chance to don your veil.

    Inspected two of those w/ a guy one time. He didn't want to requeen them or anything. They were the best producers he had.

    We have been spoiled by our docile mild tempered bees. Had we all been beekeepers when the German Black bee was common we wouldn't think that much we encounter now, short of AHB, is aggressive behavior.

    But like what was posted earlier, if you find your hive mean it matters not what someone else thinks. I'm that way about dogs too. Or horses. Mean? Put it down. Don't need the agrivation.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,869

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    My question would be HOW are you using smoke?? One smoking mistake is opening the hive to quickly after smoking them (I still sometime get in a hurry and do this) I try to give the smoke a minimum of 2 full minutes before I crack the top and give another puff. Another thing to look for, after you pop the top look at the bees if they are lining up at the edge of the frames all looking up....then they are getting ready for you!! Every time I see this behavior I get nailed in the hands but I would give them another try after it warms up and they get a good flow going.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,973

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    Mean is what Tomas down in Equador(?) is dealing with working the Africanized hives. He had some pictures on here where he was wearing insulated, leather winter gloves to work them, and there was about a fifty stingers on the back of just one glove.

    ...seemed pretty mean.


    Adam

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,973

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    Ah yes, it was not Equador, but Honduras. It was post number 25 in this thread:

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...=gloves&page=3

    Brutal. You've got to love bees to deal with that. I mean - is that sweat, or venom in that glove? Youch.


    Adam

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Columbus, Mississippi
    Posts
    188

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    Yeah I can see how I guess they are really not too mean. I was just comparing them to my one docile hive. If I re queen I will do it with store bought mated queens that way I don't get the bad drones. I guess ultimately I don't have the confidence yet to work semi aggressive bees. This is my third spring so its all very new still. But I can say like today I went out there just to watch and I can be right at the entrance with no problem. But as soon as I open it its on.

    As far as smoke I usually give a few good puffs at the entrance. I dont wait though I puff then go for the top. Once open I give them 3 or 4 light puffs to drive them down. Then I puff the air kind of heavy, not that it helps and actually makes me hold my breath.

    I can say this, they did give me the most last year and they were more mean than my one nice one. So Ill just give them some more time. But trying to prevent swarms is rather tough when I feel I cant get into them with confidence!

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,946

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    >Last year my hottest hive was my best producer. A function of size or genetics?

    I think aggressive hives tend to be robbers, so they profit at the expense of your other hives...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,869

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    As far as smoke I usually give a few good puffs at the entrance. I dont wait though I puff then go for the top.

    That may be the problem right there.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,946

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    Don't smoke them too much when working them. The three most common smoking mistakes:

    • People have the smoker too hot and burn the bees with the flame thrower they are wielding
    • People use far too much smoke causing a general panic instead of simply interfering with the alarm pheromone. One puff in the door is enough. Another on the top if they look excited is ok and after that having it lit and setting nearby is usually sufficient.
    • People don't light the smoker because they think smoke upsets the bees, probably be-cause of one of the above reasons.

    If I expect problems (dearth, other hives are testy, or this one was testy last time I opened it), I usually put a puff of smoke in the entrance, then pull off the lid and put a puff in the inner cover (unless you don't have an inner cover). Then I put four or five good strong puffs of smoke in the entrance and wait a minute. Then wait about three minutes before opening the hive.

    When I think a hive is hotter than I like I put a red push pin in the front of the box. If they are hot the next time, I put another red push pin in the box. If they are hot again, it's three strikes you're out so I requeen. Since I rear queens, this can be as simple as adding a queen cell and letting things work themselves out.

    I don't consider seven bees trying to sting me hot or gentle. On a day with a dearth, that would just be normal. On a day in a flow that would be a grouchy hive. Now twenty or so pinging off my veil and following me is hot enough to be irritating but not that bad during a dearth or on a rainy day.

    Hot hives pour out of the hive at you and are very difficult to requeen. But that seems to be the only solution to them. Requeen.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,674

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    I agree with Sqkcrk, the owner is the one to dtermine if they are mean, no one else.

    M.Bush - we have the "3 strikes and you are out" rule also. Big M's for mean, little m's if a little testy. If the next time they are gentle, you cross one out. But when they get to 3 big M's(2 m's = 1 M) , off with her head. If she is not spotted in the normal inspection, the brood chamber is taken a short way from the yard and the bees blown out. The brood chamber is returned to it's previous spot, and a frame of eggs from a good hive is placed in a deep, with an excluder below it, on the top of the hive. Both will eventually have queens, and if the lower queen(daughter of mean Q) is mean, she gets blown out again, and the top queen(and box) is put on the bottom. The 2 queens for a short time will help them recover from the time they had none.

    Roland

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,946

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    I suppose I didn't mention, that if the next time I open them, they are nice, I remove the red tack and write it off to a bad day.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Gilmer,TX USA
    Posts
    1,830

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    OK, mean in my eyes? When I start crying I am getting so many stings. A few months ago I had a guy come and get all my mean queens (he likes them for some weird twisted reason). I had him come later in the evening to pull the bad queens and then help me load the dequeened hives onto a trailer. They stung me so much I just started crying. I can take a lot but those hives was mean!!!!
    I like the 3 strikes and your out rule.

    Mike
    Please check out the new kingfisherapiaries.com!
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  12. #32
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Grafton, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    185

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    I wear a jacket, veil, and gloves....stings are for people trying to prove their manly ...to whoever? But...haveing said that, once my bees start hurling harsh language, we have a problem!

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Snodgrass View Post
    ....stings are for people trying to prove their manly ...to whoever?
    Well Mike, using that type of generality, one could say "Beeks who wear gloves are cowards." Or perhaps "Beeks who wear gloves don't care to learn about and be careful with their bees - they're like bulls in a china closet." Or perhaps "Beeks who wear gloves haven't matured as beeks yet." Personally I don't believe either generality (gloved or glove-less) is true. As has been demonstrated time and time again, going without gloves makes one more sensitive and careful while working the bees. But hotter hives require the use of gloves.

    And then, when you get my age, with arthritis, one discovers the joys of venom therapy. The first few times the treatment I swear was worse than the ailment. But my physician was surprised when I reported to him that I no longer had any arthritis pain in my left hand. I had heard about that, but I was very pleasantly surprised too. Works for me, YMMV.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,869

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    SteveG

    I guess the next time I work my bees without gloves or a veil I need to get some folks to come over and watch so I can show off my "manliness" because it isn't getting me anywhere doing it alone.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Saluda, SC
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    MSbeekeeper, I think you already know the answer. If you feel uncomfortable while working them then they are too mean for you. What is too mean for me may be nothing to someone else. I have three hives and one is as gentle as they come, the second is pretty calm, and the third is usually very nervous, but not aggressive. At least not to me. I have worked these hives with only a veil and usually with a short sleeve shirt, shorts, and crocs. That is until I accidentally dropped a frame on that third hive and seven stings later I will, for the most time, wear a long sleeve shirt. I guess what I'm saying is it should be enjoyable for you and not a chore and you shouldn’t be afraid to go into a hive.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Grafton, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    185

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    All right, all right...IM A COWARD!!! Can we leave it at that?

    I was trying to be humourus!

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    aww Mike, you made my day! I love starting off with a good laugh! Thanks!
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Stilwell, KS
    Posts
    1,799

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    As has been demonstrated time and time again, going without gloves makes one more sensitive and careful while working the bees.
    If you want to ware gloves or not. Wearing gloves does not make one insensitive or careless.
    Last edited by Barry; 03-09-2011 at 07:25 AM. Reason: uncivil

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    Well, shucks... I just discovered what I've been doing wrong all along... been wearing a shirt and jeans. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_BzPcrCt7E
    I dirty-double-dog dare this guy to do this first inspection in the spring, or go down into the brood nest like this. But ya gotta admire him! (Wish I had a physique like that! )
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,869

    Default Re: What constitutes mean?

    I have always marveled at how subjectivity which in most cases is combined with ego can warp a persons ability to comprehend what another is actually saying... and since I have this very propensity I have learned to step back and read a post objectively as opposed to subjectively.....makes life more enjoyable and peaceful and I tend to actually get something from the writer or take the correction instead of being offended.

    Now as far as naked beeking....well even I have to draw the line somewhere
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

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