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Thread: Aggressive Bees

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    36

    Default Aggressive Bees

    Hello! I have been having a recent problem with my bees. About three and a half weeks ago, I had moved them from Birmingham, AL to Richmond, VA (2 hives Russian/Italian hybrids) About one month prior to the move, both hives seemed to be queenless. I had posted on here about that issue and was told that they may have swarmed (which was possible, but I was out of town preparing for the move so did not see this occur) and that they will make their own queen. Sure enough, they did. Moving day came and we moved them. Of course they were a little angry when they finally got to their new location which was understandable.

    I then came back a week later to do an inspection. I figured this was enough time for them to calm down. They seemed fine when I was doing the inspection. It usually takes me about 45 minutes per hive to do an inspection as I go through each frame. When it came to the second hive, they had made a mess. Building comb in between each brood box. Obviously I had to break the comb and clean it up to move the box. This was when the hive became extremely aggressive. My gloves were full of stingers. I chalked it up to me messing with their stuff, put the hive back together and then left.

    The following week (last week) I came back because one of the hives needed another honey super. I smoked them as I normally would have, took off the outer and inner cover to put on the honey super (didn't truly open up the hive) and they became extremely aggressive. Stinging me constantly (although I only felt two stings) because of these two stings, I had an extreme reaction. Needless to say I had to be rushed to the ER. This was very unusual for me as I have never had an issue before.

    My question is this, what is making them so aggressive? Could the new queens they raised be responsible? I understand that over time I can become sensitized, however, is there a reason other than that why I had such an extreme reaction? What can I do to keep this aggressive behavior down? To be honest, I am a little nervous now and never have been before.

    Thank you for reading and for the responses in advance. It is much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,073

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees

    1. Get and carry and epi pen.

    2. Get a fellow beekeeper to requeen for you.

    If you have another reaction, consider selling your bees. Not worth dying over.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,481

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees

    I could not agree more with the Old Guy in Alabama. Of course, give your colony some time after you re-queen but I would not go back into any hive without a partner with you at all times and an epi pen.

    Rehearse with your partner a mock emergency situation to better prepare for one. Having a trained partner with you will help you relax after your emergency experience which I'm sure has freaked you out somewhat. (I think even the most experienced beek would be nervous after going through that).

    I wish you the best!
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Stilwell, KS
    Posts
    1,918

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees

    When you say "extreme reaction" was it hard to breath, racing pulse, drop in blood pressure? Or was it more of an extreme swelling, itching and burning?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Posts
    709

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees

    I have had some experience with Russian/Italian hybrids. They seem to get more agressive with the 2nd or 3rd generation, but the F1s can make some monster hives. If your hives just swarmed; I'm guessing you are there. I suggest you requeen. Keep in mind the timeline for the hybrid queens eggs to mature, hatch and die. Sometimes a new queen can bring down the temperment a bit on her own, but don't expect it. As we enter the dearth in our area, I expect that they will be rather nasty. Wear a full suit and sweat it out.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees

    Thank you so much for the responses. When I went to the ER, I received a script for an Epi Pen and have since filled it. Usually when I got stung in the past, it was obviously itchy and would swell just a bit. However, with this one, I had hives over my entire body, my pulse started to race, face and body began to swell. No tightening in my throat, although my chest was a bit tight and blood pressure was a little low when I reached the ER. However, to be honest it didn't hurt as crazy as that sounds lol

    Anyhow, I am happy to hear about other generations becoming more aggressive. This does make sense. When I first received the bees last season, I received them from Nuc's and one of them had queen issues so it was re-queened. So, this would be the 3rd generation and at least the second with the other hive.

    Because we will be heading into the dearth, and they will get more nasty, I will re-queen and contact our local bee association to find someone to help since I just moved here. Thank you again for all the comments! Much appreciated!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Barry, TX USA
    Posts
    861

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees

    Do you use any anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen?
    When you stop learning you're dead.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees

    Not on a regular basis. I haven't taken any in a while. At the time of this incident, I can't think of anything different.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Findlay, Ohio
    Posts
    323

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees

    IslandGirl: Sounds a lot like what happened to me! I was not bothered much by stings untill last year and whow the swelling. No ER trip, but got tested and found that I was allergic to bee and wasp so I am doing the shots, after several months of therapy (shots once a week) the stings this year have been no more than a little iching and very minor swelling. I do have an epi! Someone said get rid of the bees, well OK, but what if you get stung anyway?
    The allergist told me that one day you are fine and the next your allergic. Not just bees, but anything.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    burbank,oklahoma,usa
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees

    allergy goes away also i used to be very bad with bee stings always growing up and now nothing i got stung 21 times two weeks ago because of a wardrobe malfunctio and all i got was some minor swelling and crazy itching but heres the ironic part of it all im now allergic to honey.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Amelia, VA
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees

    I'm having a similar situation, without the er visit. Is it dificult to get an epi-pen without medical insurance?

    IslandGirl06: Join the RBA. I am about to join and have heard good things. Probably a good source for a fellow beekeeper for requeening or otherwise.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Sale Creek, Tn. USA
    Posts
    173

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees

    This is a very common situation with "home raised" queens. The problem is with the drones she mated with. THEY WERE ROGUES ! You have NO CONTROL of the drones. The solution is to requeen with commercial stock.

    I have two hives that I inspect completely with no veil or gloves. I have been stung only twice in the last year when I pinched a bee leg.

    Your allergy could be life-threatening ! NEVER go into your bees without a partner. I would have MAJOR misgivings even then.
    Raymond

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by victory1504 View Post
    This is a very common situation with "home raised" queens. The problem is with the drones she mated with. THEY WERE ROGUES ! You have NO CONTROL of the drones. The solution is to requeen with commercial stock.

    I have two hives that I inspect completely with no veil or gloves. I have been stung only twice in the last year when I pinched a bee leg.

    Your allergy could be life-threatening ! NEVER go into your bees without a partner. I would have MAJOR misgivings even then.



    Agreed. Having a partner or someone ready to get help quickly is something I always do, and I'm not allergic. If I had a reaction to a sting that sent me to the ER, I'd be selling my hive.

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