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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Buffalo, Missouri
    Posts
    4

    Default Beekeeping in the USA

    I did beekeeping in Eastern Europe for about a decade, and moved back to America last spring. I bought two nucs that I think originated from Texas, and started beekeeping in the USA. In Europe I think I had Italian or German bees or perhaps a cross of these, and I had no idea just how docile these hives were until yesterday. Yesterday I found out how incredibly aggressive my new hives were. I was shocked by how bad they attacked me, got stung probably 40 times through my glove sleeves and suit, arm swollen and sore. Once stirred up they take hours to stop their attack mode, and they followed me hundreds of yards in a cloud, I was stuck in my suit and was still getting stung a lot. I had never felt hatred for bees until yesterday. These bees seemed like killer bees or something, nothing like what I experienced all those years in Europe. I liked beekeeping until yesterday, and I always felt love and kindness toward my hives, but I hate these new bees, they are meaner than hell (why on earth would you American bee breeders sell nucs with insane bees?), I will definitely need to requeen, though I have no idea where I can find some gentler queens here in the U.S., and even if I found a gentler breed of queen, I don't see how I can requeen such a nasty breed of bee, whatever breed they are, I don't see how I can find and kill the the queen if I have a thousand bees attacking me while I am trying to do that. I would hate to destroy the entire hives, that seems wrong to do according to my beekeeper ethic, but I don't want to work with what seem like killer bees. Can anyone give me some suggestions on how to get these two hives regeneticized such that they are docile and kind like the bees I kept in Europe? And again, WHY would American bee breeders ever want to breed and sell such an aggressive strain of bee? Any idea what breed I might have purchased? I assumed they'd be like my friendly European bees, but my God yesterday was like a horror movie...

    Thanks
    BK

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,700

    Default Re: Beekeeping in the USA

    There are africanized bees in Texas, sounds like you have some of that genetics in that hive.

    Split the boxes in each hive to new stands. In three days, the one with eggs has the queen and will probably be the most populated. Destroy cells in the others and give a queen.

    Destroy the queens in their boxes and give a new queen.

    Try getting some queens from the north where africanized bees are not found.

    Good Luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,206

    Default Re: Beekeeping in the USA

    BK, your experience is not acceptable. Can you get a refund?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Lutz, FL, USA
    Posts
    77

    Default Re: Beekeeping in the USA

    They can smell commie on you. It is probably All-American bees. Try reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in front of the hives.

    I actually had an opposite experience. I grew up in Eastern Europe. I used to help my dad with his bees. I think he had some russian breed. Those were the meanest bees I ever had to work with. I have a couple of hives that are pretty hot but even they are not anywhere near the ones I had to work with as a kid. There are other variables also besides the breed which can affect how aggressive your bees are. If there is no nectar they would be pretty agitated. If your style of checking bees resembles a bull in a china shop - they would not be very pleased with you either. There can be others. You can always re-queen. There are plenty of gentle breeds around.
    Last edited by ArtSmart; 07-28-2013 at 07:22 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Beekeeping in the USA

    BK,

    I live in Saint Louis and am supposed to be getting some queens from Ontario this week. If/when I do get them I had planned to kill the "old" queens but would be happy to give them to you instead. They are new this year, mother was Minnesota Hygienic so they are now that X Missouri Mutt. I have two that are laying and possibly two newly mated (hatched out a week ago but I haven't seen them or evidence that they are there and laying yet). They are gentle enough but I do need to suit up to do anything in the hive. PM me if you are interested in them and I will let you know when I get shipping confirmation on my new queens. (I've learned the 'queen in hand' lesson.)

    If you aren't interested in those, you might try Strachan Apiaries. I had a NWC from them last year that was really great and that had very gentle progeny. They may be more what you are used to.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Buffalo, Missouri
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Beekeeping in the USA

    Yes I was being a bit bull-like because I was taking a brood frame from them to put into my weaker hive, but they started their attack before I even got to the brood chamber. They started attacking about the time I got the crown board off. With my European hives I could have done what I did and I would have had a few angry guards buzzing me, but that's about it; this attack was something I had never experienced before; the attack was sustained and vicious, and regardless of the circumstances, my European bees never acted anything close to what the way these bees did. This strain of bee simply makes for a very aggressive colony-- even on a good day.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Lutz, FL, USA
    Posts
    77

    Default Re: Beekeeping in the USA

    I have to really take my time when I work with the hot hive. I know some people work bees without smoker - that's just crazy talk in this case. Have to use smoker and go slow. I was thinking about re-queening the hot hive in the beginning but now it is the strongest hive out of all I have so I think I'm gonna stick with it. I guess it is a choice everybody have to make - what they are willing to put up with.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
    Posts
    532

    Default Re: Beekeeping in the USA

    Thats a very scary experience you have had and I'm surprised that a beekeeper would sell a nuc thats hot without asking if it was accptable.

    I would be wanting my money back but if you decide to keep and requeen I would suggest you follow Rays advice because in my opinion he has it spot on .

    Good luck and keep going with your bees don't be put off by this bad experience

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Palmer, Kansas, USA
    Posts
    98

    Default Re: Beekeeping in the USA

    Smell the commie on you. Classic.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,874

    Default Re: Beekeeping in the USA

    Did you smoke them?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Buffalo, Missouri
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Beekeeping in the USA

    I met with Colleen and she gave me new queens, which I have introduced into the two hives. They have marshmellow because neither of us had any of the candy stuff they usually put in there. I am mainly writing this to thank Colleen and tell you all how important this beekeeping forum was for me. I thank you all for the advice (and the material support, Colleen). I'm now interested to see if the colonies take to their new queens, and then I am also a little concerned about splitting a hive so late into the summer; hopefully they'll have time to develop and acclimatize for the approaching winter.

    Thanks much to everybody who wrote here, may your bees all buzz this spring...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Palmdale, CA
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Beekeeping in the USA

    I had almost this exact same experience. My bees would attack with fury and chase me for a long time. They would find a way into my veil and I had one go all the way into my ear. When working the hot hive I was advised to use HEAVY smoke, and that worked wonders. I tried to re-queen but it took a couple tries. These hot bees are intent on raising their own queens and killing the new queens that I put in.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Buffalo, Missouri
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Beekeeping in the USA

    Quote Originally Posted by Hilltop View Post
    I had almost this exact same experience. My bees would attack with fury and chase me for a long time. They would find a way into my veil and I had one go all the way into my ear. When working the hot hive I was advised to use HEAVY smoke, and that worked wonders. I tried to re-queen but it took a couple tries. These hot bees are intent on raising their own queens and killing the new queens that I put in.
    I got a couple of Minnesota Hybrid queens from another beekeeper, and the colonies have accepted both of the new queens, so hopefully I'll have less aggressive hives in a few months. I used a lot more smoke last time I opened the hive, and that did seem to help, so I think you are right about using HEAVY smoke. I am hopeful that I'll have two good hives for next season. I hope it did not sting you in your ear canal, that sounds very painful...

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