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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Santa Fe, NM
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    Default Bad Temperment Colony

    I have two hives in the same yard (4 hives total) that are getting difficult to work and produce in my opinion above average defensivness. I have ordered a few queens to make up some 5 frame nuc splits from these two colonies. I plan on going through the two hives and after finding the queens eliiminate them. After making up (4) new nucs I will move them to another yard 10 miles away and introduce the new queens the following day in cages allowing the bees to release them. Here is my main question. I do not wish this hostile temperment to be bred back into these now queenless colonies if they are allowed to raise their own queen. If I let them to raise their own new queens by themselves and the virgin queens mate freely at this yard what are the chances that the new offspring of these mated queens will also be ill-tmepered. I am assuming that these virgins would fly freely into drone mating areras (at quite a distance) where many other drones, feral and otherwise would polulate, and not just drones that might pass along their ill tempered traits from the parent hives. As these colonies are large and heavy, I really don't want to move them to another yard to mate out the new virgin queens. I know that I can introduce mated queens to these colonies but what if I allow them to raise their own. Kindly advise.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
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    19

    Default Re: Bad Temperment Colony

    I had same issue with one of my hives, the hive replaced the queen once and it got no better. I killed her off and let them raise another but just seemed if it got worse. I finally killed that one and added a queen cell from another hive and much better

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,261

    Default Re: Bad Temperment Colony

    >what if I allow them to raise their own.

    Most of the time their daughters offspring will be much nicer.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: Bad Temperment Colony

    I had a couple of hives like that, and the queen's offspring were worse. Seems to me that the genetics were continued both thru the daughter, and the queen mother's drones that the daughter mated with. I've had much better success introducing a mated queen without those genetics.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Santa Fe, NM
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    618

    Default Re: Bad Temperment Colony

    Michael and Steven thanx for the reply. I can hardly wait to break them down to the bottom brood box looking for the queen. It will all work out i'm sure.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Munfordville, Ky. U.S.A.
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    1,246

    Default Re: Bad Temperment Colony

    These folks that have replied have forgot more about beekeeping than I will ever know, but I think they are missing some points in your post. I agree with the advice and answers they gave you. However, when you install new queens why are you worring about them raising a queen. I'm assuming you intend to let the bees left after your splits raise their own queen. the simple answer is to requeen the hives/bees that are left. I've never had a problem getting acceptance of a new queen after pinching the old queen. No doubt this should cure your problem unless you get some aggressive genetics in your new queen. Also you don't have to move the splits to another yard if you are going to put brood in your nucs. The nurse bees will stay with thye brood and populate the nuc. This is my limited experience, and advice I've gotten from others. Good luck.
    So much to learn, so little time!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    3,883

    Default Re: Bad Temperment Colony

    I have the same issue - a few ill tempered hives. I think I have done it to myself though, because almost all of my dozen or so queens (and drones) are descended from one original queen that came with my first package. I'm replacing the mean queens and bringing in new blood. Getting stung is one thing, but getting stung for no particular reason is another.

    I'm trying to get permission to take mating nucs to a local university that has very well behaved mutts.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: Bad Temperment Colony

    Valleyman, the impression I had was that Riskybizz was introducing virgin queens to his splits, to mate with his existing drones. Perhaps I missed something there though. The other part of his question was letting his hives/splits raise their own queens.

    Any virgin queen, introduced or self-raised, that mates with his existing drones are going to pick up those aggressive traits. To "gentle" his colonies will take this season and into the next. He has to bring in outside queens that are more gentle, and his this year's drones have to die off. The drones coming out of his new queens will have the traits he desires (generally) and next year he can do some walk-away splits, or grafting, or bring in virgin queens, and they can mate with his drones without retaining those aggressive traits he wants to get rid of. But he has to "quarantine" this year's new queens from this year's drones. You do that by bringing in already mated queens. And not raising any of your own.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
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    2,887

    Default Re: Bad Temperment Colony

    Given the risk of the virgin queens mating with AHB in your area I would just re-queen with commercial stock and be done with it if a calmer colony is what you want. Personally I like my bees to be marginally on the aggressive side.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    618

    Default Re: Bad Temperment Colony

    I am making up 4 (5) frame nucs from various yards and introducing some virgin queens to those nucs. I would surely introduce some mated queens now, but they are unavailable The virgin queens I can have tomorrow. There is a chance that they will still be cells and not yet hatched, and if so I will introduce the cells into my splits. Now back to the parent colonies (ill mannered bees). As I do not have any mated queens at this time to re-queen them I am left with no other options other than to let them raise their own queens. These hives are at a point that they will swarm if I don't knock them down a little right away and open up the brood nests. I will remove the nucs I make up from this yard to another yard to be open mated as I don't wish to have the ill tempered drones mate with these virgin queens. The parent hives are large and I don't really want to move them to another yard to have their emerging queens mated so they will remain. In reading about "drone populated mating areas" in general, some believe that this area can encompass 5-6 miles from any given yard. If this is the case I would assume that my ill-tempered drones in the area would have to compete will all other available drones within the mating area surrounding this yard. If that is the case I would hope that the offspring of those mated queens would not be as mean spirited as their mothers. In any case I agree with the other posts on here and that is to just replace the bad queens (with other mated queens) when they are available next month. Thank you all for your replies.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Munfordville, Ky. U.S.A.
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    1,246

    Default Re: Bad Temperment Colony

    Wow, I can get all the mated queens I want here in Ky and you are farther South than I am. Who have you checked with? Walter T. Kelley Co. is shipping queens, Russell Apiaries also, just for a couple.
    So much to learn, so little time!!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    dadeville, alabama, USA
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    1,163

    Default Re: Bad Temperment Colony

    Steven, it is not that simple as you have posted. One-Queens fly to DCA's-Drone congregation areas. They may be a mile or more away from the queens colony. Nature does this to prevent inbreeding. Also Drones from as far away as five miles or more might frequent a DCA to mate with virgin queens. Once again Nature does this to prevent inbreeding. Thus the bees in question are most likely breeding with other hot hives in the area. Call it a genetic pocket. We have a pocket of Spanish Blacks-A.M.Iberica, that we can not get rid of. Why, because the bees in the area are of that foul temper bloodline. TED

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
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    618

    Default Re: Bad Temperment Colony

    This Saturday I made up (4) 5 frame splits into nuc boxes; (2) from my bad tempered colonies, and two from (2) docile colonies 11 miles away. I had (4) locally raised Northern N.M. queen cells bred by Zia Queens, that were due to emerge Easter Sunday. The (2) docile colonies were a piece of cake, but the other two are quite problematic. A few questions and thoughts:

    As mentioned, the two aggressive colonies were from two packages of BeeWeaver last year. Those colonies built up well, exhibited no real offensive behaviors other than an occasional sting or 3. They have always been "runny on the comb", and I could always tell which hives they were just through observation. The queens were green dot marked and were not superseded, overwintering as large, healthy, honey laden colonies, one deep and two med. shallows. This March I was able to reverse the boxes, and do a complete brood inspection frame by frame without incident. I have always worked my bees with veil, and rolled up shirt sleeves, never acquiring a taste for gloves. The first week of April I inspected their brood for queen cells and finally had to close them up before finishing what I wanted to do. They were quite aggressive, much more than I had seen previously. Big, healthy, brood laden colonies, with an unmistaken attitude problem. As stated, I decided to deal with them. Killing off the queens in these hives and introducing mated queens would have been my preferred method, but I was not able to place a fast ship order for mated queens (with the exception of BeeWeavers). So Saturday, I suited up, gloves, suit etc. and dove into the brood, removed 3 frames of solid brood, a frame of pollen and a frame of honey, and shook some extra nurse bees off a couple of frames. As luck would have it, I found the queen quite by accident and killed her. It was extremely difficult completing the intended task of making up a simple nuc, as the bees were more aggressive than I have ever seen. I have worked plenty of cross hives over the years but these bees were far more than cross. If my other colonies were a 1 on the aggressive meter these two hives were now a 7, on a scale to 10, (10 being reserved for 100% AHB). The next hive produced the same results, but I also found that queen (by pure luck) and eliminated her. Even the bees in the splits were hard to deal with and they basically drove me from the yard, fully suited and veiled, inside the cab of my truck. Certainly not my kind of relaxing day in the bee yard.

    As these two colonies were not superseded, and not previously terribly bad to work, why all of a sudden are they now almost impossible to work? Could this be a direct result of colony strength? Last summer they were very strong hives and made a super of honey for extraction the first year. Why all of a sudden are they this bad? I sincerely hope that Michael Bush's comment is correct in that the daughter queens "usually aren't as bad". One last question, I am assuming that once all the current brood hatches from these colonies (21 days) and they rear a new queen from larvae (14 days) it will then be 40-50 days before all of the bad genetics have died off and the new daughter's offspring genetics start to appear? Generally if in fact the new daughter queen does not possess aggressive genetics how long should it take before I see a difference in temperment in these colonies? I did consider introducing the queen cells to these BeeWeaver colonies but thought it would have been too early and they would have destroyed them immediately so I left them queen less, not having mated queens to introduce the next day.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Manitowoc WI USA
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    353

    Default Re: Bad Temperment Colony

    Just an observation; before humans domesticated and protected the honey bee for another season, one could be convinced the most aggressive bees had a higher probability of saving the hive from intruders bent on eating them. Those that were ate, of course, didn't pass on their genetics.

    So I would tend to think all strains of human bred bees would go back to aggressive behavior without intervention as described by risky. IMNSHO.

  15. #15
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    Mar 2009
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    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: Bad Temperment Colony

    Ted, of course you're correct. (late in reply, been out of pocket). Seems like one has a better chance of mitigating the viciousness by getting proven queens and adding her drones to the local mix. But then again, doesn't it only take one or two foul-spirited drones to mate with a queen to make a hive hot?

    Just think - exactly what percent of the hive population has to be foul tempered, to make a hive hot? Would one "hot" drone mated to your virgin queen be enough? Two?
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Lucas, Collin Co., Texas, USA
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Bad Temperment Colony

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    Personally I like my bees to be marginally on the aggressive side.
    As a 5-day old beekeeper, I'm curious as to why a bit of aggressiveness is desirable. Will you explain it to me, please?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Lucas, Collin Co., Texas, USA
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    41

    Default Re: Bad Temperment Colony

    Oh, never mind. I saw someone else above with an explanation that makes sense to me.

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