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Thread: Angry Bees

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Blanco County, Texas
    Posts
    4

    Default Angry Bees

    Hi All,

    I'm really having a tough time deciding whether or not I have AHB bees in my two hives or if I am simply dealing with an aggressive strain, It seems like any inspection causes a complete flare up of the bees, early on in the process, and I usually abandon the attempt. One hive was that way, and I tried to requeen, which seemed to be successful for a while. Then I started a new hive with new bees--quite a distance from the original. They were docile since last April, but now they are angry girls just like the first hive. How can I be sure what I'm dealing with.

    B

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    774

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    Are your queens marked? That is the best way I know to tell for sure if they have been replaced. Requeen with marked queens. Then every time you discover an unmarked queen in your hive, requeen again. Unfortunately I don't know of any other methods. I am lucky enough not to have to deal with AHB, but I am sure some beeks who have some experience with this will be along to offer any suggestions they know. Good luck.

    HTH


    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greene, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    405

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    I know very little, but have heard the requeening idea from several folks. Never had to try yet, but I am sure the time will come since I am in SW Missouri.
    No one famous.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,486

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    It doesn't matter what kind they are. If you feel they are too hot you should try and requeen. Mr. Bush has a post on his website about requeening hot hives.

    If you really want to know you can get about a 1/2 cup of bees in a jar with alcohol and send it to the Beltsville lab for identification.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,260

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    I can only say is to get the less aggressive queen bees to keep.
    Maybe you could find a bee club with some good queen bees to buy too.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Washington, AR, USA
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    B,

    Your location makes it possible to have AHB, but I have noticed that new beeks seem to be surprised by how aggressive a normal hive is when it has built up in the spring. If you keep bees in town, you will want a more docile strain. But you can tolerate a much more aggressive bee in an out yard. My bees are pretty docile compared to almost every other beekeeper around and I will still have 5 to 10 furiously trying to get into my veil when I am really deep into them doing an inspection this time of year. I even have one or two that will follow me away from the hives for about 30 yards or so. The way to know if you have a too hot hive is personal preference but I have seen people work hives that would at times almost black out their veil and they would have to smoke them off just to see what they are doing and as many as 10 to 20 followed him all the way back to the truck 50 yards away. For me, that is off the charts too mean, but there was not a bit of AHB in their genetics. In Texas, unless your are marking and checking your queen repeatedly during the year, you are likely to have some AHB genetics in the mix. Stop worrying about that and instead worry about replacing the queen in hives you judge to be too hot by an objective standard you establish for yourself. For me, it is the number of bees buzzing my veil and how many will follow me for how far.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Blanco County, Texas
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    Thanks to all of you for your input. I did introduce a marked queen to one hive last year. The hive settled down for a while, but strangely the queen I spotted after that was not marked! The "settling down" was also short lived. By the way, the second hive just swarmed (I rehived the swarm). Would they be irritable simply because the old queen left and they had not yet created a new queen?

    Re-queening may be my ultimate option, but I particularly liked ScubaMark's advice. It sounds as if I need to push a little and see what my comfort level is, because in some ways I don't think I've established that yet. Clouds of bees obscuring visibility is beyond the pale, but if they are just being "spring crazy" and I can work them in a manageable way, then that'll be my preference. Anyway, thanks again.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    proctorsville, vermont
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    from what I understand agresive hives produce more. if there not around other people or animals it might be to your advantage to become comfortable with them, if there good producers. just my 2 cents
    thats the way i roll.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,449

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by ScubaMark View Post
    ...In Texas, unless your are marking and checking your queen repeatedly during the year, you are likely to have some AHB genetics in the mix. Stop worrying about that and instead worry about replacing the queen in hives you judge to be too hot by an objective standard you establish for yourself. For me, it is the number of bees buzzing my veil and how many will follow me for how far.
    It is official that all bees in Southern (corrected, RS) CA are africanized (similar to Texas, I guess) - this is what they told me in bee-club. The solution was to re-queen using the queen from reliable source (from president of the club at that time). I was reluctant to do so because my bees are survivors and the whole point of having bees was to keep their genetic. Than I study and study and study... - somebody on the Internet explained to me what africanized bees ARE. He ask me how many bees follow me and for how far? Well, 3-4 bees for approximately 40 feet in my case... he was laughing! I was told that real africanized bees in number of 100 and more will follow you a mile or even further. So, my bees are with me "as was" and sometime they are more moody than another. As a novice, I learned a few trick, which helps to keep them calmer:
    - flimsy inspection made bees angry;
    - if you calm, your bees are calmer;
    - too much or too little smoke;
    - time of day, weather etc.
    - when I do deep inspection, I am using a thick cloth to cover removed boxes - I steal this idea from somewhere on the Internet. Cloth also helps in cold weather;
    - bumping boxes - not good idea; movement must be smooth;
    - each hive behave differently and had its own preferences.
    Last edited by cerezha; 03-31-2013 at 05:44 PM. Reason: So Cal instead Cal
    Серёжа, Sergey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    1,260

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    Would they be irritable simply because the old queen left and they had not yet created a new queen?
    Definitely a YES! They are more irritable when no queen yet. Even when the new queen had hatched but has not lay yet, they are still defensive. Sometimes turn more aggressive toward the beekeeper. Mine buzz me away but only one or 2 at times. That I call them aggressive already. But when I have my veil on I just don't care that they not going to sting me anyways.

    cerezha, the last time I check on the AHB map, only the south are up to some part of
    mid-CA. But not up the northern area yet.
    Don't worry though soon all the way up to Oregon and Washington will be moving up to Canada up north, according to the map 25-50 years from now. This depends on how quickly the bees move up north. Or we helping them move up north. I prefer the
    local non aggressive type if I can get them here.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Deming, NM
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    Use the walk-away test:

    If you open them up, and still have bees aggressively going after you more than 30 yards away from the hive, then they are either AHB or they are just too dang hot.

    I have had 30+ AHB (confirmed by lab) that followed me 200 yards from the hive. As Sergey said, they can follow you in big groups an insane distance.

    Also, they are much more aggressive when you approach the hive. Like, head-butting you when you get within 10 feet.


    As for "All bees in CA are AHB"- thats nonsense. I live in an area where ferals are so Africanized that we've had farm animals killed by AHB, there is little commercial beekeeping activity, and I just cut out a feral hive that was gentle as could be.
    Zone 8a at 4300ft. Langstroth. 4 Hives. AHB region.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
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    1,449

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by beepro View Post
    ....cerezha, the last time I check on the AHB map, only the south are up to some part of mid-CA. But not up the northern area yet....
    Sorry, should be more accurate, I meant Southern CA. Thanks for correction! As far as I do understand, AHBs do not move north readily - they love our climate!
    Last edited by cerezha; 03-31-2013 at 03:08 AM.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    1,260

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    Yes, I see. But new beekeeper like myself who should have known better will move them here unknown of course.
    That is why I am extra careful now who I get my queen bee from. I am not saying they are all AHB but just
    in case that we are new. I'm new too and still have a lot to learn from. Thanks for the correction though.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Angry Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by beepro View Post
    Yes, I see. But new beekeeper like myself who should have known better will move them here unknown of course.
    That is why I am extra careful now who I get my queen bee from. I am not saying they are all AHB but just
    in case that we are new. I'm new too and still have a lot to learn from. Thanks for the correction though.
    My impression is that in many cases AHBs behaved as EHBs and some nasty EHBs pretended they are AHBs. Bees genetics is so complicated... but it is obvious to me that dominant-recessive gene is not such easy with the bees. Good luck with your bees!
    Серёжа, Sergey

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Blanco County, Texas
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    I am gleaning much from the discussion, and I am beginning to think I may not have AHB bees but just bees with AHB strain, as I certainly don't have clouds follow me. However, the other aspect of this is the difficulty of requeening a hot hive. Finding the queen is a challenge when the bees are so upset, and I think Sergey's tips are useful in approaching potentially fussy hives.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Belpre,Ohio, USA
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    1,083

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    bmoore, this should help you quite a bit. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmmtjFgdqz8&lr=1
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras
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    67

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by WWW View Post
    bmoore, this should help you quite a bit. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmmtjFgdqz8&lr=1
    I have a hive that is worse than the one in the video, the bees get so thick on my veil that I have to smoke my face to see what I'm doing. I'm not able to find the queen because I can't work the hive so I'm considering trapping them out. How long will it take for the hive to die so that I can start over from a NUC I have from a calm hive?
    2nd Year New-Bee - 11 Hives, 3 Nuc's, 9 Swarms, 1 Cut out
    Zone 10 - B - Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,083

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    Captain, I have never tried to kill a hive so I am at a loss as to how to advise, perhaps someone will respond with a good answer for your question.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,038

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    Gasoline?

    Do a search of Cleo Hogan trap out. He has a great system for trap-outs.

    I would say you could just put a few boxed on the bottom of the stack with a bee escape over it. That may work, but you would have to have a queen excluder above that and you would need some eggs in there for them to make a queen. The problem with that is they would probably smell the original queen and not make a new queen, and since it would be on the bottom of the stack it would be difficult to access the bottom.

    Maybe put one box on the bottom that has a queen excluder on the top of the box and cut for the trapout. Then next to the host hive have another box to receive the trap box that would be the new bottom. In a few days spring the traps so the bees could only go out and not back into the parent hive and shortly there after add a frame of eggs. By the time they have made a queen you should have all of the worker brood from the original hive just about hatched out. It isn't a fast process, but it should work.

    You could potentially take the original hive away from the new, hopefully calm hive before all of the bees move in and re-queen it and view it as a split. The majority of the bees would should be young bees.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    shannonswyatt,

    My question wasn't really about how to do the trap out, although I do like your thinking, but how long will it take for the top box with the queen in it to die out enough so that I could go in and find her? I will use a 'Bee Escape Board' on the bottom of the box with the queen in it. Once the worker bees go out they can't get back in. I do like your idea of adding a queen excluder also. I can install a NUC I have from a good queen in the bottom box and leave them both alone for a couple of months, just to be sure. Then I will have a clean and empty upper box to install another NUC and everybody's happy.
    2nd Year New-Bee - 11 Hives, 3 Nuc's, 9 Swarms, 1 Cut out
    Zone 10 - B - Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras

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