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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Greenbrae, CA, USA
    Posts
    369

    Default Hot hive - what to do?

    One of my hives is just plain mean and I've lost my patience as I'm tired of getting bombed while in my backyard 75 feet from the hive. My problem is that I'm not sure which one of my 4 hives is the culprit, and their foul mood is intermittent so it's hard to figure out where the angry sentinels are coming from. Sometimes I can walk right up to the hive without any issue, others (like today, granted a cool and windy day) I can't get within 20 feet without 3-6 bees coming after me. How do I figure out which hive is the problem, and then what do I do?

    Details: of the four hives, I know it can only be one of three as the fourth is a newly caught swarm. One of the three is a pretty weak hive that I'm planning to requeen as the current queen just isn't doing her job. One of the final two is a monster of a hive - booming with bees and already has three full honey supers. I suspect it may be this one as the queen is from a split I'd made last year, perhaps the new queen mated with a mean drone.

    I did full inspections of the hives yesterday and none of them were particularly mean - just ordinary buzzing around and irritation about being disturbed. Certainly no bees boiling out to attack me or anything that made me feel uncomfortable.

    So my first question is how to figure out which one is the mean one?

    Second question is what to do then? I know I could get new queens and requeen, but could I just find and kill the existing queens and let them requeen themselves? My worry about this is that if indeed the current queen mated with a mean drone then there's a decent chance that the new queen would have this DNA and I'd have the same problem.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Posts
    677

    Default Re: Hot hive - what to do?

    Had the same problem couple of years ago. When a flow is on, I've tended to be able to open gentle hives with no smoke. The hot suckers will often show themselves when you open up with no smoke. Then I requeen. The Fat Bee Man on YouTube says you can crumble up some dried sumac and it will calm down a hot hive. Never tried it but may down the road. Here's his vid on it....
    http://youtu.be/J3GBpEk16NE

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,782

    Default Re: Hot hive - what to do?

    Finding the hot hive shouldn't be too much of a problem just by inspecting them. You should know pretty quick, especially if you already have it narrowed down a bit. I would requeen with a store bought but if you let them requeen themselves, the odds are with you that the new bees will not be like the old one. While there is always a chance that the genetics will carry forward, virgin queens tend to mate at enough distance from where their colony is that your chances of introducing better genes goes up. Never say never though. Of course, you could buy a store bought and she might give you hot bees. Finally, make sure they're not being bothered by other things like critters. I've had hot hives that just don't like intruders because of experience and not genetics.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,768

    Default Re: Hot hive - what to do?

    I don't know whose queens you were thinking of buying, but I bought six Carniolans from Olivarez at the end of the summer and they all overwintered and are doing really well.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Lexington, S.C.
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Hot hive - what to do?

    I would suggest re queening the hive. This should settle them down.

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