5 top bar hives. Mostly new since 2013; all feral, rescued swarms or cut-outs. Oldest hive growing fast and showing frenetic activity coming/going and above hive; checkerboarded some empty bars within brood nest; saw drone cells, two 4" square patches. Bees busy but not aggressive. Enlarged entrance (now a 2" round diameter opening on low side of hive toward front). Ten days after checkerboarding, hive showing even more frenetic activity. Went back in, removed 3 bars of good pattern brood to alleve crowding. Removed one full bar of honey. Re-grouped brood nest - moved drone comb to back of brood nest, Gave a weak/new hive the bars of brood and honey.
Bees from frenetic hive very aggressive - most aggressive ever experienced (although beekeeping only one year). Dive bombed me consistently. I'm always gentle and work to not squish but felt best action was to close hive as quickly as possible. I tried my best, but many bees squished. They kept coming up through the bars and at me - even with smoke.
I live in a suburban area - could not escape from my back yard or worry neighbors. Moved far as possible from hive (30 feet?); bees kept trying to get through suit, divebombing, ankle stings. Finally 30 minutes later, they had dissipated enough so I could get inside. For 2 days now I cannot go in my backyard without being divebombed. They guard my back door - need to wear veil to go outside. However, my gardener was not affected (I warned him and told him not to use motors around hives).
Please help - this once docile hive is now overly aggressive. I think the bees are crowded in hive (all bars are drawn or mostly). Don't know what to do - cannot have more hives. I'm very worried the bees will begin to attack neighbors or pets. Thank you for your insight and help.