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Thread: Scared

  1. #1
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Scared

    I've had this hive two months now and it's grown to 14 combs.
    On occasion, the hive is more active than at other times.
    I went out today and they were flying all over, making more noise than normal. I shuffled several bars around, trying to get slack to be able to move/examine bars closer to the entrance, but there was so much activity, I closed it up.
    Is this something I need to get used to or are there periods when even on a beautiful day I should stay away? - Mike

  2. #2
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    Jun 2011
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    Denison, Texas
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    Default Re: Scared

    Hey Mike.
    Did you smoke them before you opened them up?
    If you did, it's probably just something you're gonna have to deal with.
    The bees aren't gonna stop what they're doing just cause you come
    by for a visit. If they weren't being mean, I wouldn't be to concerned
    about it. You might have to remind yourself that highly populus hives
    can be a good thing.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2012
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    Weweantic, Massachusetts, USA
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    Default Re: Scared

    Sounds to me like orientation flight activity, completely normal.

    Cheers

  4. #4
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    Mar 2005
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    Stillwater, Oklahoma
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    Default Re: Scared

    Were that actively coming at you or just going about their business?

  5. #5
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    Sep 2011
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    Falls Church, VA
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    Default Re: Scared

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Ogborn View Post
    Hey Mike.
    Did you smoke them before you opened them up?
    If you did, it's probably just something you're gonna have to deal with.
    The bees aren't gonna stop what they're doing just cause you come
    by for a visit. If they weren't being mean, I wouldn't be to concerned
    about it. You might have to remind yourself that highly populus hives
    can be a good thing.
    I thought I was smoking them gently, but there was no dramatic calming -mike

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Scared

    Quote Originally Posted by Dana View Post
    Were that actively coming at you or just going about their business?
    I didn't feel like I was being attacked-mike

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Scared

    Quote Originally Posted by 6470zzy View Post
    Sounds to me like orientation flight activity, completely normal.

    Cheers
    I think I have seen orientation, but then, they were hovering around the entrance. In this case they were all over-mike

  8. #8
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    Mar 2005
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    Stillwater, Oklahoma
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    Default Re: Scared

    If they are not coming at your hands and hive tool, then they're okay. It took a bit of getting used to for me when I first started. That being said, even if it's a beautiful day, if there's no nectar flow and your hive is really strong and they have stores to protect then they may be more defensive. If you bang things around, they may get agitated. But, most of the time, if they are just flying, it's okay. If mine are agitated, and I can wait, I just close them up and come back another day. You will get used to all the buzzing after a while.

  9. #9
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    Jun 2011
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    Denison, Texas
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    Default Re: Scared

    If they weren't being mean towards you, I wouldn't worry about it. Think of it as good practice
    for when you start brushing bees off honeycombs when you start harvesting.

  10. #10
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    Jul 2011
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    Evansville, IN
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    Default Re: Scared

    You will soon learn to tell when you should use more smoke, just go and work, or leave and come back. Perfect example today, looking in my brother's hive (very busy, drawing comb at last in the third honey super, very calm), looking in my new swarm without smoke to see if they needed another box (next week, I think) and to trim back some burr comb and an overly fat comb, and then opened up my old swarm. When I cracked the inner cover loose, they set up a roar, and bees started flying out from underneath. Cover went back down and I left. I'll look again tomorrow, with smoke this time.

    I got stung pretty good last year when the hive roared when I cracked the cover loose, so I no longer bother to look inside when that happens. For whatever reason, they are riled up and I'd just as soon wait a bit as get stung.

    Bees flying around isn't a problem, other than getting used to it. If they fly into your veil or try to sting you through it, it's time to think about getting out of there unless you must finish something (like pinching a mean hive's queen to replace her). you will get used to them flying, it's not a bit deal. They will even crash into you if you get too close to the flight path while watching the hive, and they just recover and head on in or out.

    Peter

  11. #11
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    Mar 2012
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    Buford, GA, USA
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    Default Re: Scared

    I have a new hive about the same number of days as yours and last week when I went to check them they were everywhere. I had never seen that before. When I pulled up an empty bar to make room to work they started pouring out of that gap. They were not coming after me, but just flying around the hive. I packed everything back up and just watched. It seems as if the ones that came out of that gap were trying to get back in by that gap that was now closed off. After about 5 minutes they calmed down and went back to normal with only a dozen or so bees at any time coming or going.

    I was wondering if that was an orientation flight for a new batch of bees.

    IMAG0748.jpg

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Scared

    Quote Originally Posted by b haley View Post
    I have a new hive about the same number of days as yours and last week when I went to check them they were everywhere. I had never seen that before. When I pulled up an empty bar to make room to work they started pouring out of that gap. They were not coming after me, but just flying around the hive. I packed everything back up and just watched. It seems as if the ones that came out of that gap were trying to get back in by that gap that was now closed off. After about 5 minutes they calmed down and went back to normal with only a dozen or so bees at any time coming or going.

    I was wondering if that was an orientation flight for a new batch of bees.

    IMAG0748.jpg
    That's a good description.
    I like what was said about them attacking the hive tool or my hands. I don't think they were attacking hands, but I kept moving them out of their way (behind my back).
    I don't think these were orientation flights, those seem to be around the entrance - MIke

  13. #13
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    May 2011
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    Blackstone, Virginia, USA
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    Default Re: Scared

    Mike,
    Like everyone else said, nothing in your post hints at problems, more like normal behavior. The hive, being 2 months now, is really starting to take off as I'm sure you've noticed. Just a few things.... You will learn to listen to the bees and the pitch of their 'hum' or buzzing. When they start really singing, and the buz gets to be higher pitch (both in the box and the bees flying around), you should start paying attention...at that point they aren't liking something and they're letting you know it. Could be something you did, like pop the lid harshly, jostle a frame, squish a bee or 2...or could be weather related ie storm brewing around. The more you work the bees, especially when they're really active, the more comfortable (hopefully) you will be....and just wait till you have 3-4 or more boxes on the hive and they're at their peak numbers...it can be a pretty aw-inspiring experience to be working with that many bees around. Good luck with your hive and enjoy working with it!!

  14. #14
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    Jan 2012
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    Chickamauga, Walker County, Georgia
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    Default Re: Scared

    The population of a new hive really takes off from the total number of bees that were in that package, as the brood starts coming in and it becomes a hive. One reason why you're seeing more activity is that there are more of them!

    As you work, keep the number of open spaces small, i.e. "one." Make an empty slot, pick up a bar from one end of the slot, and, whether or not it is empty, put it back against the other end of the slot and cajole it into place before proceeding. Carefully brush and move the bees out of the space. "Brush, brush, touch." I think it's important to minimize the number of openings.

    If bees begin to "boil out" of slots, or if they line up in large numbers to look at you, they are becoming defensive. The mere fact that there are hundreds or thousands of insects in the air all around you ... is not necessarily defense. There are thousands of insects in that box, and they've all got wings, and the box is suddenly open at the top. They land on things ... they land on you. They fly away again. Patience, patience.

  15. #15
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    May 2011
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    Richmond, VA UNITED STATES
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    Default Re: Scared

    Quote Originally Posted by mrobinson View Post
    The population of a new hive really takes off from the total number of bees that were in that package, as the brood starts coming in and it becomes a hive. One reason why you're seeing more activity is that there are more of them!

    As you work, keep the number of open spaces small, i.e. "one." Make an empty slot, pick up a bar from one end of the slot, and, whether or not it is empty, put it back against the other end of the slot and cajole it into place before proceeding. Carefully brush and move the bees out of the space. "Brush, brush, touch." I think it's important to minimize the number of openings.

    If bees begin to "boil out" of slots, or if they line up in large numbers to look at you, they are becoming defensive. The mere fact that there are hundreds or thousands of insects in the air all around you ... is not necessarily defense. There are thousands of insects in that box, and they've all got wings, and the box is suddenly open at the top. They land on things ... they land on you. They fly away again. Patience, patience.

    I have found that sometimes if a swarm or package loses their queen, they will be both defensive and disoriented. The smoke only works if they have honey stores to gobble up. just my 2 cents.

    Rob.

  16. #16
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    Jan 2011
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    Brainerd, MN
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    533

    Default Re: Scared

    Check this out.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RW16J...eature=related

    The first thing I thought when I saw this topic was orientation flights. I have seen some rather impressive orientation flights, but nothing like the one above. When my hive first started I saw a couple of orientation flights and got paranoid as well.

  17. #17
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    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,212

    Default Re: Scared

    Bees pinging off your veil are angry. Bees trying to sting you (or leaving stingers in your gloves or on your suit) are angry. Bees that smell of artificial banana are angry. Bees in the air are just bees in the air. They may be confused by the tall white thing next to the hive or the lid being off etc. and they are just circling trying to figure out which is the right hive. Bees are active. It's why we have sayings like "busy as a bee"...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
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    Sep 2011
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    Falls Church, VA
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    Default Re: Scared

    I did it. took most of my courage and a lot of smoke, but i made it from bar 15 down to 6.
    Notice capped brood, I believe uncapped brood, honey.
    about four of the combs had grown together; I ran the bread knife between the combs and shifted the bars down, and continued.
    that "L" shaped tool is a keeper .Oh, and I noticed dirty (pre-used) cells!

    Need a drink and a shower. - Mike

  19. #19
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    Oct 2011
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    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
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    Default Re: Scared

    Bush_84, my four colonies in all Langs were doing the same thing as in that video this afternoon except it looked worse.
    While wearing a full suit I opened all the hives for a peek and they didn't show any aggressive behaviour towards me.
    We have had a lot of rain lately so maybe there was a combination of things causing it.
    The heat and high humidity, going stir crazy due to all the rain and lots of new bees getting their sea legs.

    Once I was done, they quieted down significantly. Almost like flipping a light switch.

  20. #20
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    Jan 2012
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    Chickamauga, Walker County, Georgia
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    Default Re: Scared

    Quote Originally Posted by RobWok View Post
    I have found that sometimes if a swarm or package loses their queen, they will be both defensive and disoriented. The smoke only works if they have honey stores to gobble up. just my 2 cents.
    Definitely so. The posting that you originally replied-to refers to an apparent reaction of the hive to what we were doing at the time, and that appeared to resolve itself as we subsequently changed our behavior. (Leading to an "a ha!" moment.)

    Certainly, as you say, a hive that is stressed by an abnormal situation (hunger, queenless) will certainly act the part, and this no matter how you behave towards them. It's definitely a warning-bell that you must listen for and listen to.

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