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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockton, CA
    Posts
    65

    Default Ornery Hive question

    Hi everyone,
    I had a hive from a swarm we captured last spring. However it was a particularly cantankerous and aggressive hive. In September I replaced the queen, hoping to get them to be a tad gentler. A few days ago, I went into the hive to inspect and found they were rocking and rolling. The hive still seemed rather mean though. My question is, is it possible that the meaner bees are some that wintered over and are still alive, or did I buy an ornery bee-making queen?
    Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Pinellass County, Florida
    Posts
    1,104

    Default Re: Ornery Hive question

    Is there something bothering them? ?
    You can get mean queens but I don't think
    the breeders are in business to do that
    That's why I ask if something or somebody could
    Be harassing them (skunk,coon,mouse)
    Also just could have been one of those days
    The next time they may be sweet

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    874

    Default Re: Ornery Hive question

    Where did the queen come from?
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockton, CA
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Ornery Hive question

    The Queen is from R Weaver Apiaries

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: Ornery Hive question

    Can you move them to another apiary? -js

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,322

    Default Re: Ornery Hive question

    Mean compared to what?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockton, CA
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Ornery Hive question

    Mean compared to my other two hives. They buzz my face, and generally I get at least one sting on my glove, even with very careful handling. The other two are not that way at all.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: Ornery Hive question

    Yes, the "mean" bees could be left over from last fall. If neighbors aren't too close, my rule of thumb is: See what the honey harvest is from the hot hive. Sometimes some heat is worth it, for a gang-busters harvest.

    Colonies are usually a little hot early in the season, until the flows start.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Mesa County Colorado USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Ornery Hive question

    R Weaver has good queens. That is where I get mine. My bees were a little mean last fall, and are a little mean coming out of winter. But they are like that every spring and fall. It isn' bad compared to what they're like if I drop a frame.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,577

    Default Re: Ornery Hive question

    Yep, if you do a hive check and the bees coming at you either chasing or stinging you that is consider mean bee.
    Some beekeepers claim that they have very gentle bees that you can work with wearing only a t-shirt and shorts on. This reminds me of when I went to an auto parts store to buy replacement parts. A new part will failed after installation if it has not been tested on to see if working or not. Sometimes a second part will fail too. Then you have to guess what else is wrong here.
    Guess social animals are just like that some are meaner while others are more gentle in nature. So it came down to a little bit more honey versus your ability to withstand their mean temperament. I am scare of mean bees also just because they chased me all summer long last year. And got stung so many times that my minds all desensitized already. Could this be a mind over matters thing? Would it be fine just by ignoring them even when they sting you by concentrating on what needed to be done on a hive check? I tolerated them before. Thank goodness I have gentle bees now. Will be grafting from this one for sure if I cannot find better gentler queen bees for expansion later on. You always have the option to replace if not like them.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,372

    Default Re: Ornery Hive question

    One's interpretation of a hot hive can be different from an actual "Hot Hive". If a few bees bump off your vail and maybe a couple sting your gloves, that to me is normal. If they follow you back to the house and persist on sticking around, or frames of bees swarm your veil, or they sting you when you are a good distance from the hive when you havnt even begun inspections yet, that is in my opinion a hot hive!

    I have one hive that can be calm as a lamb one day, then send about 6 bees out to sting my jacket the next!! All my other hives are calm as lambs though.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockton, CA
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Ornery Hive question

    Well, Beeghost, by your definition I guess they are not a hot hive. I don't have a lot to compare them to (limited experience). There is just quite a difference in their attitude compared to my other two.
    Last edited by tristan36; 02-20-2013 at 02:36 PM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,372

    Default Re: Ornery Hive question

    In my limited experience no two hives are a like! Trust me, I like calm bees as well as the next hobbiest! I've only seen one example of a hot hive, and I won't have it! Where my yard is currently I park within 10 yards of my hives. I can get out, stretch, get gear together and not worry about getting sucker punched! I also don't have to worry about "followers" more than a few steps from the hives after working them which is nice when I put everything back in the truck and sit on the tailgate to watch before I leave!

    In the fall and early spring I have found the bees to be crankier than other times if the year for sure!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    havana fl
    Posts
    1,349

    Default Re: Ornery Hive question

    Quote Originally Posted by tristan36 View Post
    They buzz my face, and generally I get at least one sting on my glove, even with very careful handling.
    1 sting ????? You don't know mean.
    Im really not that serious

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockton, CA
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Ornery Hive question

    You are probably right. I was basing my judgement on the ability to go into the other hives and be pretty much ignored by the bees.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,577

    Default Re: Ornery Hive question

    If the bees ignore you while going in for a hive check then you have the most gentle type bees.
    Probably can go in with shorts and t-shirt for that in the summer time. Though there are always
    a few that are new and curious to check you out and then took off again. This is the type of gentle
    hive that I like to raise more from.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: Ornery Hive question

    A "normal" bee will chase and sting if you open the hive. We can't determine if they're "mean" or "hot" until we know several things:
    1. What was the weather like when you inspected.
    2. Did you smoke, and how?
    3. What cologne were you wearing?
    4. Did you move slowly and deliberately, or nervously and quickly?
    5. Did you squish one, releasing pheromones?
    6. Are they being aggravated by something else when you're not around, causing them to be more defensive?

    the list goes on, but you get my point. 1 or 2 stings from a hive doesn't make it mean or hot. I'll take a couple of stings from a hive before I think about putting my gloves on. Then again, one person's mean is another person's thrilling day!
    In a normal year, from 2 -3 colonies, you should expect at least a dozen stings. If you start getting that on a normal basis from one hive several times a season, then they might be hot bees. Now, if they chase you back to the house (or truck) and try to break the door down to get to you, yep, they're mean. fwiw by the way, that hive I did requeen.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,577

    Default Re: Ornery Hive question

    So did you notice a difference like everything is much more calmer after putting the new queen inside?
    I have notice a big difference to 95% that they are not chasing me anymore on a hive check. Still, I
    try to leave them alone and not go inside the hive as much as possible. Now I just pop open the top to
    take a sneak at them. As long as I see active bees in there then I am

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