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Thread: Angry Bees

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  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
    943

    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
    591

    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
    1,719

    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
    1,952

    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
    53

    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
    152

    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
    1,533

    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 06:44 PM. Reason: So Cal instead Cal
    Серёжа, Sergey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,952

    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
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Stilwell, KS
    Posts
    1,892

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    bmoore,

    Maybe I missed it, but are you using smoke?
    Honey Badger Don't Care ಠ_ಠ ~=[,,_,,]:3

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Hastings Nebraska
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    Yes, I use smoke and they were still very agitated. Thanks for the replies. I hope it was just a bad day like Ross said. but I'm not sure. Thanks -Ryan
    beehiveblueprints.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: Angry Bees

    I read here that "he had to smoke them off his face". Well the smoke should be used to settle the hive not to clear his face. Smoke, in my yard takes some time to affect the bees. At first they will buzz loudly and blow the smoke out of the hive. Wait 5, or ten, then move calmly. First, why all this inspecting?
    I have a cutout, well it is a swarm that had a 10 comb nest, and the combs got pretty well beat up with the capture and rubber banding and placing in a hive body. They have a very messy home. Maybe over the next three years I'll replace the crooked comb one at a time. Maybe not, they seem happy with it so I'll let them be bees. I did look up the queen and saw she was laying a good pattern.
    Get screened inner covers, that way you can remove the outer cover and not get hit with hot bees, Same with the entry, keep it small to restrict robbing and mass attack if they are hot. With the outer top off try to smoke them down in the frames, Use a spray bottle with sugar water, Don't lift that screen until you have calmed the hive. Just don't! Slowly slide the screen off. If you cannot calm them this way get a new queen.
    My 2 cents.
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

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