Why are my bees starting to chase us?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Algood, TN, USA
    Posts
    108

    Default Why are my bees starting to chase us?

    I am a first year beekeeper and I have one hive. The hive did really well and grew quite large. I was planning on splitting the hive but we had a long drought causing a dearth of food for the bees and just before the queen was supposed to be ready for pickup, we got into the hive to find they were basically out of honey. We started feeding a 2:1 mixture last week, checked on the hive this week and they had started putting some honey back in. When we got done with checking them and they acted quite normal during the inspection, we walked off and a single bee kept after us and kept trying to hit our faces. I didn't really think a lot about that but since then, every time we get within 20 yards of the hive a single bee will come after us and keep buzzing our heads. My husband was working on the tractors and had not gone down to the hive and a bee came up and kept after him until he finally killed it. I went to the garden to get tomatoes the next day, same thing, I had to give up trying to get the tomatoes. Does anyone have any idea why single bees are taking us on? We have not been stung at this point. I am worried that more of them will start this. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,373

    Default Re: Why are my bees starting to chase us?

    Sounds pretty usual. I'm just grateful that it's usually just one or a few, if you ever have a truly overly defensive colony, like some AHB colonies can be, you will quickly recognize the difference.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Litchfield, CT, USA
    Posts
    426

    Default Re: Why are my bees starting to chase us?

    This is pretty normal. Those single bees are guard bees. They tend to be a little aggressive. They are just
    protecting their home. You probably won't have a problem with more. I requeened a hotter hive that I had at my Mom's house. There were guard bees that did this over and over. After I requeened there was no longer a problem.
    Last edited by dnichols; 08-25-2012 at 01:27 PM.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    4,323

    Default Re: Why are my bees starting to chase us?

    The bees are in a dearth, it's hot, they are frustrated, they are behind the eight ball with stores.... wouldn't you be a little testy? lol
    Mine get a little aggressive when it gets hot.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Battle Ground, Wa
    Posts
    198

    Default Re: Why are my bees starting to chase us?

    Around here there isn't much of anything blooming, so the bees are pretty defensive about robbing. They are also ready to pounce on any new food source. After I extracted a couple weeks ago I put out my equipment for them to clean up. The bees went nuts over that, & also were prowling around my house looking for more, & I even got a call from a neighbor 1/8 mile away who thought they might have a swarm. They didn't, it was just my girls checking in case. Never had that happen before.

    I try not to do inspections this time of year either because they're not very happy. Depends on what's blooming where your are.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Algood, TN, USA
    Posts
    108

    Default Re: Why are my bees starting to chase us?

    Thanks for the responses! I just wanted to make sure I wasn't doing something wrong and aggravating them. I have really enjoyed the bees and hope to grow our hives next year.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,692

    Default Re: Why are my bees starting to chase us?

    I have found, that this time of year, given conditions, that guard bees will chase down a riding lawnmower. Well, not the mower, but the driver. I didn't even blow the grass into the entrance this time Go figure. Maybe I should make that the aggressive hive test. Blow grass into entrance, bees chase driver, aggressive hive, re queen. (a popeye laugh is heard)

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaston, SC
    Posts
    356

    Default Re: Why are my bees starting to chase us?

    Sue,, I have a friend with the same issue,,

    lots of things to consider,, many have already been mentioned, such as:
    what are the stores?
    where is the hive located? in sun or shade?
    what about the dearth,,
    why feeding 2:1 rather than 1:1

    My guess it they are desperately guarding their brood and honey,, and the 2:1 is like honey to them not nectar..

    Be careful,, if you get stung in they eye it could be serious

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Killington,VT
    Posts
    143

    Default Re: Why are my bees starting to chase us?

    Hi: I had a similar problem with some weak hives I was feeding last week. I put entrance reducers on the weak hives since I suspected robbing, and now all is calm again. Not certain of the cause and effect, but I no longer need to suit up to just be around the bee yard. I figure that the weak hives were being antagonized and were more defensive than usual. Paul
    Zone 4a-b

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,683

    Default Re: Why are my bees starting to chase us?

    The hornets and wasps here are getting bad and going after the weaker hives. This can make the bees quite testy. So check for robbing issues around your hive and fix accordingly

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Kingsville, OH
    Posts
    955

    Default Re: Why are my bees starting to chase us?

    I think it is just PMS. Sorry ladies I just had to say that since everyone has said what I would have.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Ash Grove MO. USA.
    Posts
    535

    Default Re: Why are my bees starting to chase us?

    A couple years back I had a hive with no stores. I started feeding with an entrance feeder with a quart jar. They took a jar a day.
    The hive sits about 200 yds from the house and when they ran out there would be a bee at the house in my face, never aggressive but no matter which way I turned she would stay with me.
    One day the little woman asked me what was up with that bee and I replied ( she's telling me their out of feed ) she said baloney and maybe I agree but nevertheless I had it happen many times.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Oswego, NY
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Why are my bees starting to chase us?

    You know Wolfer I have to agree with you post. I have 3 hives... 2 very strong and 1 weak. I have been giving the weak hive 1:1 every other day and when they are out of syrup and I walk up with a pitcher of new syrup for them they can't wait for me to pour it. Well... I have noticed bees hanging out by my garage door puttering about, and I started checking on the feeder. Well, every time it's empty. I always though it's bees from that weak hive asking for more syrup....or some very clever robbers! Nonetheless... I still feed this weaker hive beecause they will need it for this upcoming winter.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Carthage, NC, USA
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Why are my bees starting to chase us?

    They could be out searching for food and you and your husband smell good --it's a drought. Every time my youngest daughter comes to visit, the bees come to smell her.. She uses herbal scented soaps, shampoo, lotions... My other children and grands are rarely bothered by them..

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,794

    Default Re: Why are my bees starting to chase us?

    I have had the occasional bee get like this lately. First I figure it is a guard bee that was overly sensitive do to lack of nectar and heat right now. Plus looking around in their hive may have just set them off to my scent. From other information bees seem to have a memory to some degree that lasts a couple of days. For the most part I try to skip being to close to the hive for a day and let them forget me. otherwise I suspect that they pick up my scent any time I am near and from memory go on alert. That seems to work pretty well.
    Everything gets darker, as it goes to where there is less light. Darrel Tank (5PM drawing instructor)

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bristol,MA,USA
    Posts
    853

    Default Re: Why are my bees starting to chase us?

    This behavior seems to happen whenever some bees have been crushed inadvertently during an inspection. They seem to associate the several deaths with the beekeeper's presence for about two weeks, sort of like the damage done by a skunk's predations. It also could be that they are being bothered by a skunk. Also the queen's semen supply may have reached a layer from a drone from a hot hive. If so, this will pass eventually. Could be one of many other reasons. OMTCW

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    13,203

    Default Re: Why are my bees starting to chase us?

    Seasonal bee behavior probably from seasonal beekeeper behavior.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,640

    Default Re: Why are my bees starting to chase us?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    .. From other information bees seem to have a memory to some degree that lasts a couple of days...
    I agree. In my situation, after inspection, there are 1-3 bees, who patrols my backdoor and dedicated to this job. They do recognize me and patrols from 2-3 to 7-10 days. It seems to me that the number of patrol-bees and their memory depends from how invasive inspection was. Since my bees are survivors, they probably have some "african" genes - these few dedicated bees are "kamikaze" - they are on "war path" and have intention to sting (at least it looks this way). Once "blockade" is over - it is nice bees - they let me to sit next to the hive to observe them. I also have my morning tea in the garden, 10' from the beehive. Once they are on the "war-path", garden is no more available for us... Sergey

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    2,080

    Default Re: Why are my bees starting to chase us?

    Early spring before the flow gets going is another time of year when you may notice them being a little more defensive than normal.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Algood, TN, USA
    Posts
    108

    Default Re: Why are my bees starting to chase us?

    Thanks again for all the help!! I have been leaving them alone since writing this so I will check this evening to see if maybe a skunk has been bothering them. I did see a European hornet trying to get in, which the girls ran off, so maybe the reducer will help. I am feeding 2:1 because two people in our club suggested I do this after we found that they were so low on their honey stores. Oddly after I started doing this, the bees covered up my hummingbird feeder which they have never touched before. Maybe coincidence, maybe not. Thanks again!

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