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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    66

    Default hot bees; this is new to me

    A usually gentle hive had some very aggressive/defensive bees today. Bees flew out to sting me even when 10 feet away. Surprising: the stings hurt way more than usual and actually drew blood! The stingers left distinct red spots surrounded by white welts, which is unusual for me. I've been stung plenty of times but this is the most intense. I was just pulling grass around the entrance , not going into the hive at all.

    Another thing which may lend to their agressiveness: there's a gap between two of the boxes, not large enough for bees to go in, but large enough to cause bees to gather there and try to get in. Maybe some propolis on the edge led to the boxes not fitting closely. The bees may be feeling extra defensive because of this vulnerability. I'm going to try and close up the gap, and if I can get in, look for signs of robbing.

    Still, I wonder about those stings. It's like the stingers were bigger than usual to actually draw blood. (just a pinprick of blood but nonetheless...) Any thoughts??

    I've been lucky so far to have only mild tempered bees.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: hot bees; this is new to me

    Bees trying to get in a crack is itself a sign of robbing. The hive occupants know the crack is too small, know where the real entrance is, and won't try to get in there. Robbing is also a frequent cause of nasty bees. Or the hive could be queenless, which is a predisposition to both robbing and nasty behavior. An inspection (while well-covered!) should let you know what's up.

    Some stings leave red spots with white welts for me; others don't. Stingers are pretty much all the same size, but venom dosage does seem to vary quite a bit.

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,290

    Default Re: hot bees; this is new to me

    Night time visits by predators can make an otherwise gentle colony become pretty nasty. Check around in the grass and see if there are any signs that they are being harassed by skunks.
    To everything there is a season....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: hot bees; this is new to me

    Thanks Mark for the helpful information.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Eugene, Or
    Posts
    97

    Default Re: hot bees; this is new to me

    I have a hive of ladies that were wild last year (caught the swarm when it was the size of a softball and she left me this spring with a basketball - just missed her first 'camp' so she got away!!) and were pretty hot. I took a old sweaty shirt of mine, my wife's, and daughter's and hung them in front of the hive so the bees had to fly around them to get in our out. It worked I think as they have never bumped me since (unless Im doing something stupid like banging a garden trowel on a rock near their entrance - which got me stung this spring). I was nadiring the hive yesterday without smoke, gloves, or mask and my helper got whapped. I think they are a bit testy with their (hopefully) new queen but this was the first sting from them.... Try the clothing trick -I originally read it here and thought it a tal-tale until it worked (I think). GL!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: hot bees; this is new to me

    That's a great idea about the shirt. Will try it!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,447

    Default Re: hot bees; this is new to me

    In my limited experience, every time I have had a formerly mild tempered hive get hot it was because they were stressed about something. Everyone wants to kill the queen right off the bat, but as they say with livestock:

    'Before you call the vet, try feeding"

    The same applies to bees as well. If predators are not the problem, be sure they are fed well and give them time to regroup. Everytime I have done this they became as calm as before.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: hot bees; this is new to me

    I am going to make sure that the gap between the boxes is closed, even if I have to tape it shut. That may be the stressor. Should have paid more attention to this the last time I was working with the hive. THey've been dealing with it for a couple of weeks now.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    santa monica, ca
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: hot bees; this is new to me

    Quote Originally Posted by Luterra View Post
    Bees trying to get in a crack is itself a sign of robbing.
    snip
    I have a hive where I noticed today that there seems to be a lot of interest in a very small crack. My two hives are about a foot apart. There is a top entrance at the same location as the crack on the other hive. Does having a few bee hanging around the crack mean attempting robbing or could they just be confused as to which hive they are at?
    Buzz Abbott
    USDA zone 11a, Western Garden zone 24 (75 ft elev. n34.0w118.47)

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