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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Bunkerville, Nevada, USA
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    24

    Default Aggressive Bees in an Old Hive

    I have inherited a hive that is three boxes high. The previous keeper hasn't work them in at least 18 months. I tried to check them, but when I pulled the top box to take some of the honey, the bees became very aggressive. I was handling it, but because the boxes hadn't worked in some time, the frames were stuck in the boxes. The longer I poked and pulled, the madder the bees got. The frames actually started to come apart I was putting so much pressure on them. I finally gave up and put everything back together before running out of there with thousands of bees in hot pursuit. So, I can't get the honey out, and I get to the queen. Please help with any ideas. Thanks.
    Last edited by Bunkerville Bee Keeper; 11-30-2012 at 11:22 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    2,921

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees in an Old Hive

    Don't work hives in Winter?? Of course they're gonna be nasty now.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Platteville, WI
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    134

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees in an Old Hive

    Also, if it is warmer... or downright hot, things should come apart a little bit easier. I'm not sure what the temps are in NV right now, but I'm sure it'll get warmer in the Spring. Try again then.
    "Life will find a way - it always finds a way." -Jurassic Park (MOVIE/BOOK)
    USDA Zone 5a

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Bunkerville, Nevada, USA
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    24

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees in an Old Hive

    Thx.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Bunkerville, Nevada, USA
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    24

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees in an Old Hive

    That does make sense. It does get very hot here. I'll wait. Thanks.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Bunkerville, Nevada, USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees in an Old Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    Don't work hives in Winter?? Of course they're gonna be nasty now.
    Of course? I'm still very new at this. I'm still in 101. Thanks for the advice.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    2,921

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees in an Old Hive

    did u smoke them at all? Another thing, is you don't really want to break all the seals on the hive now either, keep em closed up.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Bunkerville, Nevada, USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees in an Old Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    did u smoke them at all? Another thing, is you don't really want to break all the seals on the hive now either, keep em closed up.
    I did use smoke. Further, it is still so warm here that I didn't think that opening the box would be an issue. I really don't want to lose this hive, so I will wait until next late spring when we are back to our hot temps before I try to look at it again. Otherwise, I'm going to start a new hive. Do you buy bees, and if so, where?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,317

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees in an Old Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Bunkerville Bee Keeper View Post
    Do you buy bees, and if so, where?
    Unless you are withing driving distance of someone selling bees, most people buying bees will have them shipped (USPS or UPS). If they are getting shipped, then you have a lot of potential vendors. Many will start taking reservations/orders sometime in December.

    One place to look for bees is on Beesource, either the display ads on the right side of the page, or in the For Sale forum.

    If you are not a member of a local bee club, see if you can find one. Many clubs will place a group order for bees, usually at a good price, and this may also assist in the transportation issue.
    Graham
    -- The real problem is not precise language, it's clear language. - Richard Feynman

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Bunkerville, Nevada, USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees in an Old Hive

    \I am so glad that you wrote. I am not within driving distance yet because I haven't found any local keepers yet (I've been looking for 3 months). I am going to IFA St. George today, which is 45 miles from our house, and ask around there. Northern Nevada does have a club, but Southern Nevada does not, at least one that I can find. I can't find one in Southern Utah either.
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 12-10-2012 at 04:59 AM. Reason: UNQ

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Pickaway/Fairfield Cty, OH
    Posts
    108

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees in an Old Hive

    Is springtime when you have lots of wildflowers blooming out there in Nevada? You'll find the bees are generally a lot nicer when there's a flow on. And, since the bees will be out working, there will be less of them at home to give you a hard time.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,317

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees in an Old Hive

    Bunkervile BK - This earlier thread may be of interest to you:
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ekeeping-Class

    Obviously the event is past history, but there is contact info for the instructor, and his website link. He's not "local", but within driving distance. He may be able to help with bees.
    Graham
    -- The real problem is not precise language, it's clear language. - Richard Feynman

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Bunkerville, Nevada, USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees in an Old Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by DBeeCooper View Post
    Is springtime when you have lots of wildflowers blooming out there in Nevada? You'll find the bees are generally a lot nicer when there's a flow on. And, since the bees will be out working, there will be less of them at home to give you a hard time.
    That makes complete sense and should be obvious to me...argh, so much to learn. Thank you, and love the user name.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Bunkerville, Nevada, USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees in an Old Hive

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    Bunkervile BK - This earlier thread may be of interest to you:
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...ekeeping-Class

    Obviously the event is past history, but there is contact info for the instructor, and his website link. He's not "local", but within driving distance. He may be able to help with bees.
    This farm is not that far from where I live, probably less than two hours. I looked at the website, and it doesn't appear that there has been much activity on it since last March. Regardless, I will look more on line and in the phone books. I can't imagine a farm that big isn't around anymore. Thank you Graham. This type of information is why I joined "the source".

    *Update*: Great call Graham. This farm is on Facebook and still very active. Although they have colder winters, their summers can be hot. This will be a great start for me in gathering local contacts. Thanks again.
    Last edited by Bunkerville Bee Keeper; 12-01-2012 at 09:07 AM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    2,921

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees in an Old Hive

    You can try craigslist for people selling hives Bunk. In the spring, if you split the hive down and requeen, they should mellow out. Bigger hives are generally more defensive as well. If the hive is heavy weight wise, don't worry about it now til spring, they should be fine unless you're noticing something you don't like, for example a lot of DWV (Deformed Wing Virus) or see a lot of mites on visible bees. I buy established hives locally, typically a few guys selling them on Craigslist for decent prices with decent equipment etc..

    When I say requeen, I mean, you make a split and bring in 2 new queens if you break the hive down into 3 separate units, keeping the original queen in one. Just track her and if that hive is still hard to work with, you will have to pinch her and replace her.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Bunkerville, Nevada, USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees in an Old Hive

    Thanks for the advice Jrg. I will wait until spring and then split them. I have a lot of work to do to to get them apart and get them cleaned up a little. Plus, I have found a bee keeper on a farm about 100 miles north of Bunkerville who is very willing to work with me. Thanks for all your help, everyone. I'll be in touch I'm sure.
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 12-10-2012 at 04:58 AM. Reason: UNQ

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,505

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees in an Old Hive

    A piece of piano wire (otherwise known as music wire) attached to a pair of hefty sticks can be used to saw between boxes to get the frames apart more easily -- the bees like to put comb in between when left undisturbed, so that you cannot lift the top box without pulling frames from the next box down up with it.

    Beyond that, you can only wait for warmer weather. When it heats up, the propolis will be softer and it will be easier to get the frames out. Once you get one loose, pry the rest apart, hopefully the wood won't be softer than the bee glue!

    As previously stated, you may have to pinch the queen and replace her if the bees stay aggressive in the spring, you are likely in africanized honey bee territory and you do NOT want an africanized hive.

    Peter

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Bunkerville, Nevada, USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees in an Old Hive

    Great idea Peter. Between waiting until spring, using the wire, splitting the boxes and re-queening each, I have a very good plan for the spring for this hive. Thanks again everyone!
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 12-10-2012 at 05:01 AM. Reason: UNQ

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Landing, NJ, USA
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees in an Old Hive

    Somewhere I've read that a good place to begin, when everything has been attached together, is to take a whole box, turn it upside down on a piece of plywood or something similar, then cut between the frames and the box with a long knife, then lift the box off the frames. Then you can easily separate the frames and do what you have to do.
    Bill

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,063

    Default Re: Aggressive Bees in an Old Hive

    I expect that warmth is not the issue. I am sure you will have 80 degree days yet and that is more than warm enough. But until you get something blooming flowers, the bees will tend to be defensive. I wonder if the guy who had the bee quit working them because they were too hot tempered for him to enjoy? I know all the feral bees in Las Vegas are africanized but it sounds like you are quite a way north of there. Just pay attention suiting up until you know what you are dealing with and be careful. Lift one side and see how heavy they are too! If they are short of stores, that makes bees grumpy and you may need to feed them.

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