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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Lake County Ill
    Posts
    426

    Default Handling Hot Hive

    I was going to help a friend with extracting from a hot hive. WOW they came at us and wouldn't stop. We will go back next week and try again. Is there anything else other than smoke that I can use to calm them down?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,895

    Default Re: Handling Hot Hive

    I don't know of anything other than smoke though some people say the a spay of sugar water works in lieu of smoke.

    My strategy would be the same as if I was trying to requeen this colony - divide and conquer.

    If your nights are cool this should work although it will involve an initial bout of dealing with a multitude of bees.

    Set a bottom board with reduced entrance near the hive you want to remove supers from. Place an escape board (triangular). Shift the honey supers from the hive in question to the new bottom board. Get a cover on the parent hive quickly. Get a cover on the stack of supers.

    Come back and retrieve the supers after dark and it has begun to cool down for the night. Presuming there is no brood in the supers, the bees will leave the supers as the air temp begins to cool. Since you have the escape board on, the bees can't get back to the honey to rob it out.

    I'm off now to rob a hive that last year treated me as a marauding bear!
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Middlesex, MA USA
    Posts
    310

    Default Re: Handling Hot Hive

    One of my hives tried to kill me this weekend. I was taking off full supers of my 2 remaining honey-bound hives so I could replace them with empty drawn comb for brood expansion. First hive was fine. The second one, four inches to the left, mobbed me so badly I had to run away with the top box left about an inch askew, abandoning tools, smoker, and open honey box. (Covered that, and all the hives, with sheets after dark, as the sprayers were coming through.) Got about 3 dozen stings. Removed sheets the next morning - all quiet, but ran away again. That evening I tried to fix the open hive and retrieve the honey box and they took out after me instantly - no waiting - and got me really badly. First time I ever had them find a way into the veil, and am now sporting a lovely puffy eye (I tell people at work my husband beats me). So, about 50-60 stings over 2 days, itching like mad, peering at the world through drunkenly-swollen eyes. This hive has always been a bit testy this year, but what got into them this weekend? End-of-summer hoarding? Gossip? Queenless? If it's the latter, they're on their own - I ain't a-goin' back in there with anything but miticide strips, and maybe replacement honey if they need it later.
    Last edited by KelpticFest; 09-13-2012 at 10:24 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,949

    Default Re: Handling Hot Hive

    I don't find this behavior rare at this time of year around here. I have been beekeeping for 20 years and I still don't enjoy opening powerful hives in September/October. We don't have a fall flow and I find my home bee yard to be in a state of nervous tension this time of year. I think that robbers constantly test the other hives. A few years ago I had 8 hives with new queens that I hadn't marked yet around the first of September. You can't really mark queens with gloves. These were docile hives all year so far. I smoked the first hive, waited a minute and cracked the inner cover. I never got the cover completely off by the time I took 5-10 stings to the hands. I decided that she didn't need to be marked. The same thing with the next 3 hives. So I decided to wait until April to mark them.
    Last edited by beedeetee; 09-13-2012 at 10:09 AM. Reason: spelling

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Middlesex, MA USA
    Posts
    310

    Default Re: Handling Hot Hive

    We have a goldenrod flow in late summer, and I still see lots of sunflowers blooming, but I have no idea what mine may actually be finding out there. Might they be calmer if I were feeding them? It will take a while for me to become philosophical about bee stings again.

    I HEAR but can't really confirm, that lemongrass oil or spearmint oil on clothing, gloves, etc. has a calming effect. Wasn't using it this weekend.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: Handling Hot Hive

    My hives are HOT here in Oregon too. One that has always been a bit testy will send at least 50 bees at my face when I open the brood chamber. Smoke has no effect. Even my more mellow hives head-butt when I open them to fill frame feeders. Got a sting right on the throat when a bee squeezed between the veil and suit. Would have had at least 20 without the veil.

    I figure that the folks who don't wear veils either don't have hives like mine or don't have a late-summer dearth.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Middlesex, MA USA
    Posts
    310

    Default Re: Handling Hot Hive

    If it's the dearth that has them wound up, why aren't they sweeter when you've been feeding them? They miss their exercise or what?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Lake County Ill
    Posts
    426

    Default Re: Handling Hot Hive

    If smoke doesn't do much is there perhaps a better time to extract? I really don't want to go back anytime soon as they were not very happy and even with my suit and gloves I had about 5 stings. Does anyone have experience with waiting until cooler weather about October or so?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Natick, MA
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Handling Hot Hive

    I would guess they might be even hotter, since it's too late in the season for them to gather food and brew up babies. They might be desperate to hang onto what they have. But I don't know - only a relatively new beek here.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,866

    Default Re: Handling Hot Hive

    I agree with Andrew Dewey as a way to get the honey from them. Hot hives can be a real challenge to get things done with sometimes. Practically all my hives are hard to deal with right now, normally they are easy, they are having to defend against robbers from other hives and yellow jackets from sunup to sundown. When you open up their hive they get pissy real quick, doesn't matter if it is a beautiful day, doesn't matter if you use lots of smoke, actually smoke has the reverse effect lately and irritates them even more. I wouldn't even think of going into my hives with less than a full bee suit and gloves just for a quick inspection, let alone stealing their honey. John

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Lake County Ill
    Posts
    426

    Default Re: Handling Hot Hive

    So back to my first question. Is there a way to go into the hives or is there a time frame perhaps the first frost or later so I can extract my supers? I hate to give up without a plan or in this case a fight. Come to think of it I don't want another fight, they outnumber me.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaston, SC
    Posts
    266

    Default Re: Handling Hot Hive

    use a fume board, with bee go or I prefer Fishers bee quick

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: Handling Hot Hive

    Divide and conquer might help. I would go for the space suit approach. Pick a day in the low 60s (warm enough to open the hive but cool enough to wear extra clothes). Put on a long sleeve shirt, sweater, and heavy jeans under your suit. Wear liners inside your gloves or use tough leather gloves. Duct tape all potential openings, especially around your veil. Then let the bees get mad. Use plenty of smoke if only to minimize the number that commit suicide by sting.

    Unless they are Africanized they shouldn't follow you more than 200 feet or so from the hive, so brush off the bees, put the supers in a sealed box, close up the hive and get the *&$% out of there...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Handling Hot Hive

    I gave up on my smoker for a few years due to dealing with scorned women with every visit. I found long sleeve cotton knit shirts and jeans under the bee suit worked best. The extra layer is hot, but makes it near impossible for the girls to reach you.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,778

    Default Re: Handling Hot Hive

    I concur. Extra layers under the suit (and my suit is a size too big on purpose), I wear boots, my jeans are inside the high boots, suit down over and zipped tight at ankle. I wear heavy chemical handling gloves from home depot, hot and sweaty but sting proof as long as I duct tape glove to suit (and I have glove OUTSIDE suit - or the heavy gloves create a bee visiting channel.)

    Mine have been pissy since the fall dearth started, been about a month since rain, shb came up but flow didn't. Only non-ornery bees are the nuc with the new swarm, I think I got them defended when I took them comb yesterday. They are alive..
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Harvard, MA, USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Handling Hot Hive

    Hi Woodedareas,

    I have a hot hive as well and do the double layer thing. Still a bit scary as they whack the veil. They have calmed down from this year, so just stick with it.

    KelpticFest:

    I am in Harvard Ma and would be glad to help you deal with your hot hive. I only have three years of experience, but I might be useful. mmintz at gmail

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Middlesex, MA USA
    Posts
    310

    Default Re: Handling Hot Hive

    [QUOTE=

    KelpticFest:

    I am in Harvard Ma and would be glad to help you deal with your hot hive. I only have three years of experience, but I might be useful. mmintz at gmail[/QUOTE]

    They seem to have self-soothed. I put in some mite strips this weekend and they tolerated it well - NO stings. I think the long-term solution is that that is the hive I will give away. LOL if they make it thru the winter.

    Thank you for the offer. It still might come to that.

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