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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    LaGrange; Oldham County; Kentucky
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    158

    Default Need advice on hot hive

    Made splits from a friends hives yesterday. All was fine n dandy until we got in the bottom box of the strongest hive. We had protective gear on, thankfully, because they went from normal to ticked in 5.2. My friend who was on the other end of the barn about 75-100 feet away began to get guarded. Next thing you know she had several head bumping her and getting caught in her hair. Long story short, she took about 30 stings. Likewise, the two of us working the hives were getting headbutted pretty bad, which had no effect due to our Veils. But we began to walk away and kept walking, and walking, and walking, out in the field about half a football field distance away and about 15 bees chased us the whole way. This is only my second spring but my gut tells me these bees are too hot. To be honest I was thinking requeen, they aren't my hives but if asked to help, I would be scared to. Yesterday we didn't visualize either queen, but both hives had tons of eggs. We did smoke liberally. I would imagine they will want to leave them alone for a while, but my questions are:
    1: what would you do next?
    2: will the daughter queens be mean?
    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    LaGrange; Oldham County; Kentucky
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: Need advice on hot hive

    Anyone care to chime in? Would really appreciate some seasoned beek advice!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Greene, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    536

    Default Re: Need advice on hot hive

    I know absolutely, almost, nearly, very little. But, if it were me, I would re-queen at once. Then I would probably do it again in a month or two. Sounds like they have an attitude for sure, but don't let that stop you from being confident. Gear up and talk to them softly. Go slow.

    Some of you with more experience might share a little bit here. . . . ?
    No one famous.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    LaGrange; Oldham County; Kentucky
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: Need advice on hot hive

    My concern is mainly with the daughter queens, as that's what I will be dealing with myself!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,194

    Default Re: Need advice on hot hive

    I had a hive going into winter this past year that was crazy mean they where so bad if ya got into the brood nest ya had to walk away 2 or 3 times they where on ya so bad.Any way they made it through a long hard winter and i was in them today{first time tems . where in the 60} and they where calm and easy to work and i found the queen in the top box. So thats the only time i have dealt with a mean hive. so this year it's normal .
    I'm only a 4th year beekeeper. ..
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 31 hives==== T{OAV}

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Need advice on hot hive

    I suggest holding off on any action. Bees become defensive when stores are short and for us, since the season is just starting I anticipate testy girls.

    I did have a couple hot hives similar to your description that stayed just plain nasty. Genetics I'm thinking. One I gave away. I captured the queen in another leaving them raise a new one. That later became my most gentle colony. The captured queen joined the other in upstate PA surrounded by an electric fence to protect the bears.

    Many find hot hives productive, but for me, too much hassle.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: Need advice on hot hive

    Are or were they Russians?? I had some russians that re queened themselves and they were junk yard dog bees. My bee buddy still talks about them. If so, it is a good possibility that is the case. It was several new self made queens before they calmed down. You could re queen to be sure. You could let them make a new queen but it is possible they could still be ugly probably not as bad. They could be fine. A roll of the dice.
    You mentioned "when you got to the bottom of the strongest hive". It may be what is referred to as " big hive syndrome". Big hives have more guard and older forager bees which tend to be more aggressive/guarding the hive. They are usually in the bottom box, not associated with brood. Depending on the time of day, you could have hit the mother load. After a couple of stings, you are "marked. Did you smell "bananas"? If so, it makes you a target for all the bees as an intruder. Once that happens, it can go bad pretty fast. Gloves/jackets that have been stung before carry that pheromone for longer than you would think. I've had new gloves and washed jacket make a difference.
    I've had hives do what you describe and be o.k. the next time. The bottom line is what is the level you consider acceptable. Hot bees are no fun. JMHO, pick a time in the early afternoon when the foragers are mostly out. Clean gloves etc. Smokem like you normally would, and see if they are still as bad. Then I would look at my options.
    Rick

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Need advice on hot hive

    Good idea with washing the gear.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    LaGrange; Oldham County; Kentucky
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: Need advice on hot hive

    Thank you all. I'm not going to give up on them. They are Italian. I didn't smell the banana smell. But once they started stinging, it was a free for all. I did notice foragers coming in at a ridiculous rate loaded down, they were working their buns off, and they started accumulating in the air in front of the entrance. Hindsight, we were in there too long, and guaranteed next time we split, if there is a next time, it will be that each bottom board gets a deep and put tops on and be done.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    LaGrange; Oldham County; Kentucky
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: Need advice on hot hive

    Also, how do you wash the gloves if the hands part are leather?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,583

    Default Re: Need advice on hot hive

    You are concern if your split will have the same genetics as well. I would say pretty much so now that you got them. When
    this colony grow to full size later on some guard bees will show this behavior as well. Need to requeen later on if they do.
    Hopefully that will work out for you.

    You are concern about helping with a hot hive. Just let your friend know that there are hot bees during the inspection.
    Let them aware of this situation now. On you tube there are vids to deal with hot hives. Divide and conquer.
    Tell your friend to come to beesource as well. If not a problem with them then let it bee. 30 stings is too much for me.
    Sometimes people will tolerate these bees thinking this is normal how the bees should behave. And this is how beekeeping
    should be. So they tolerate them. I did my first 2 hives for all summer long thinking I can take them this way.
    Got stung 6 times on my left hand at hive inspection still thinking this is normal. Nope, it is not! Now I know.
    My first 2 hives acting like that chasing me inside my truck. Now I know that this is unusual in beekeeping. Because I keep
    the gentle bees now. That there are gentle hives I can work with. I was lucky enough to bought one gentle
    queen last year after this 2 hives got killed by the ants. So now I have 5 hives from this split that I am happy to work
    with without a veil and gloves on. So far they only buzzed at my face no stinging yet. In comparison, I now know we
    have the gentle type bees. Need to find them if you don't want to tolerate the aggressive type chasing you so far away.
    Like others said it takes the fun out of beekeeping.
    We don't have bears here. Give this hive to the bears is better! Now I am thinking to align the
    outside fence with aggressive colony to protect the gentle ones inside the electric fence. What a great idea. Oh well, learn more as I grow!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: Need advice on hot hive

    Quote Originally Posted by MelanieWoosley View Post
    Also, how do you wash the gloves if the hands part are leather?
    Separately machine wash, but not often. Air dry. The softness will return with work. I mistakenly did all and then needed to bleach my jacket.

    If I'm just cleaning curd, I'll wear them while washing hands with dish detergent. I'm small scale and now after near a decade, need to replace the elastic.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: Need advice on hot hive

    My stongest hive will attack once your in the brood chamber, smoke buys you little time before they resurface and sit there waiting to eat you up. I have thought about requeening but havent, I don't like to smoke alot and I'm covered so I just let them be, it does get aggrivating when they follow me though....

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: Need advice on hot hive

    I started using rubber kitchen gloves. I can wash them like I wash my hands then dry them. Once they wear out, or get too gunked up I toss them. It doesn't break my pocket book. I have used the vinyl and the purple EMS gloves. They usually do not make it through handling a lot of frames. They are not sting proof but a bee has got to REALLY want to sting you,(kitchen ones) even then it is not much. They don't seem to recognize the gloves as "animal" and move on. Most stings are because I pinched them. I also like the feel of things vs leather. Bit on the cumbersome side.
    Rick

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Bon Aqua, Tn USA
    Posts
    330

    Default Re: Need advice on hot hive

    If you were to let them make their own queen seeing as how you are in Ky and the poplar flow will be in a few weeks away, you would miss most of that first flow, you might want to let them go until the first honey flow. My brother had a very hot hive like you describe last year and they made about 60 lbs of honey that first flow here outside Nashville.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    benton ky
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Need advice on hot hive

    I'm dealing with the same issue. The suggestions ive received is something is making them that way. I'm thinking of borrowing a trail cam and watching them overnight. Possum, skunk, raccoon may be eating bees

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bristol,MA,USA
    Posts
    710

    Default Re: Need advice on hot hive

    This is one of the better videos on how to requeen a vicious hive from Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmmtjFgdqz8 The daughters will probably be as mean. I would requeen from a commercial breeder, preferably New World Carniolans. OMTCW

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,014

    Default Re: Need advice on hot hive

    Quote Originally Posted by MelanieWoosley View Post
    My concern is mainly with the daughter queens, as that's what I will be dealing with myself!
    In my view, its worth the investment to buy a gentle, (local if possible), queen (or queen cell) and introduce it a few hours after the split. A mated queen will get your splits online and growing at least three weeks earlier than letting them make a hot queen for you. Life is too short to live with hot bees. HTH
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Long Beach, Ca
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Need advice on hot hive

    Quote Originally Posted by throrope View Post
    Good idea with washing the gear.
    I think this works. I also know there are days I've been in one of my feral hives and they are mean as all get out. I'll go back a couple days later and they are calm and cool.

    Who knows, I'd try one more and then make a decision.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    LaGrange; Oldham County; Kentucky
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: Need advice on hot hive

    Thank you cedar hill, this vid is incredibly helpful. I appreciate it! Hopefully, I don't need to end up doing anything. I have another hive that was split from the same hive, it was testy at first, then once the new queen was laying, they were calm as could be. I have learned that smoke is a must with these bees though. Even after they chill out.
    Last edited by MelanieWoosley; 04-08-2013 at 07:10 AM. Reason: Typo

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