Mean bees
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Thread: Mean bees

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Brownsburg, Indiana, USA
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    Default Mean bees

    Why are my bees so mean?

    I see youTube videos all the time where keeps are handling hives and bees with no protection, well I can't do this, I go the the yard and just look from about 15 yards away, and the guard bees come after me.
    I dare not get any closer without protection.
    So every time I go to the hive they come after me, how many? many 5 to 10, not the whole hive.
    I'm a second year keep, this only happens to 3 of my 4 hives, which are all related to the original queen, the fourth hive is a new queen, I can walk up fairly close to that hive without any interference from the guards.
    So next year, do I need to get new nicer queens for my three existing hives, for my own satisfaction?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Olympia, Washington
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    Default Re: Mean bees

    Depends.
    How important is it ypu not to have 5 or 10 bees come after you?

    You already see what requeening does for the situation.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morris Plains, NJ USA
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    693

    Default Re: Mean bees

    Perhaps it's your after-shave or deodorant soap, cologne, or even fabric softener scent. There's got to be a reason and scent would be most likely.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Rupert, Idaho, USA
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    97

    Default Re: Mean bees

    Scent is probably not the issue if one of his hives does not react to a visit, especially since the other three are all related. Reason is most likely genetics. My advice would be to requeen as soon as is reasonable, considering weather, time of year, and availability of new queens.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Bolton, Ontario, Canada
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    281

    Default Re: Mean bees

    Has this been the case all summer? Or just now. Are you in a dearth? Is there any nectar or pollen coming in?


    Glen
    You Tube bee Channel Zone 5A
    http://www.youtube.com/user/GlenGH

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
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    166

    Default Re: Mean bees

    Same questions as Glen. Also, how do they produce? Are they strong, meaning do they deal with pests aggressively?

    BOttom line is there can be good traits to being "mean". If you can work them and they are strong producers then keep the queens and tolerate the aggressiveness. If not then requeen.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Clarendon County, SC, USA
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    Default Re: Mean bees

    how do they produce? Are they strong, meaning do they deal with pests aggressively?

    BOttom line is there can be good traits to being "mean". If you can work them and they are strong producers then keep the queens and tolerate the aggressiveness. If not then requeen.
    x2. What you are describing isn't "mean" to me. I'd accept it if they were good hardy producers with little beetles and mites. If I kept them close to my back door with kids and pets, I'd requeen.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Evansville, IN
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    3,388

    Default Re: Mean bees

    I wouldn't be too worried about being buzzed by a couple bees. Mine have been more aggressive than usual, if I stand out there for a while watching I get a couple buzzing my face, an indication it's time to move off.

    More aggressive bees seem to keep things like wax moths and SHBs under control better, an easy tradeoff for me since they aren't pets and I'd prefer healthy but cranky hives over ones full of wax moths.

    However, if you have 5 to 10 bees STINGING you when you get 50 ft away, that's a problem. Ditto if you cannot get into the hive with smoke without a dozen or too attempting to get under your veil or crawling up your pant legs and stinging you, or they attack and follow you for a long distance. That's too aggressive for me -- neighbors too close, too many pet dogs around, etc. I like my neighbors, I'd hate to have to explain why I kept bees that stung their dog badly!

    See how they are in the spring -- if they remain to hot for you, requeen as soon as you can safely. I'd not want to attempt a requeen this late myself, last thing you want is a queenless hive over winter.

    And they may calm down quite a bit when they are lower on stores, too.

    Peter

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Greenbrae, CA, USA
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    743

    Default Re: Mean bees

    Since you're asking, your bees have probably already exceeded your limit for aggression. Assuming so, absolutey requeen. You may be able to get ones this late, if not do it as soon as you can next spring. Mean bees suck and make casual beekeeping a lot less fun than it shoould be.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Romney, IN, USA
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    Default Re: Mean bees

    Dave,

    Are they aggressive the day after you've been into the hive? I'm not too far from you. My bees ( all ferals from different locales) are aggressive right now. We are in a dearth and I am feeding them. That seems to inspire them to look everywhere for nectar. I like aggressive bees to a point. They make more honey. A tame hive is a weak hive, to me.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Palmyra, Indiana, USA
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    80

    Default Re: Mean bees

    I'm surprised all the splits are aggressive.
    I had one that would hunt me down 100 feet or more away, as soon as I walked out of the house. they would bump me, walk by the hive 5 foot or so at least one would come out stinger first.
    I took her and 3 frames to another farm made the original hive produce there own queen.(walkaway)
    now with half of her genetics left in the box, I can stand within 3 ft. or so no problem.
    (Yes the nuc. is still mean as hell) there not at my home and will be the first one that is for sale.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Bolton, Ontario, Canada
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    281

    Default Re: Mean bees

    Quote Originally Posted by flhultra View Post
    (Yes the nuc. is still mean as hell) there not at my home and will be the first one that is for sale.
    So you are planning on selling a nuc with a known mean bee producing queen in it to someone else???


    Glen
    You Tube bee Channel Zone 5A
    http://www.youtube.com/user/GlenGH

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Viola, OR, USA
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    68

    Default Re: Mean bees

    Have you tried approaching the hive from the rear or side?

  15. #14
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    Aug 2012
    Location
    Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
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    Default Re: Mean bees

    If they are in your yard and they bug you then requeen as soon as practical. "Mean" hives have a place in the more remote locations but not around your house.
    Cheers
    Rob

  16. #15
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    Jun 2013
    Location
    Cumberland Va.
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    Default Re: Mean bees

    I guess Im just lucky, dont have but 2 hives but sit a couple feet from them and watch them work a couple hours a night. I have heard of the dreaded dearth when they will becomes super aggressive, hasnt happend here though. Im sure it someday will. Watched the hive fending off feral robbers today but not a bit of aggression towards me. reduced the entrance by the way.

  17. #16
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    Feb 2012
    Location
    Hartford, CT
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    639

    Default Re: Mean bees

    Because food is in limited supply now. They think you're trying to rob too.

  18. #17
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    May 2012
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    Brownsburg, Indiana, USA
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    Default Re: Mean bees

    Well lots of answers here, I'll start with the first.
    When I did the split I used bees from the first hive, genetics here are my issue.
    Production, well their doing very well.
    Being aggressive, well, their not pets!
    I do approach from the sides.
    Judy I'm feeding do the the dearth, wow talk about being aggressive! but that's normal.
    My kids worry because of the foragers coming around the house, which is about 300ft. from the hive yard, but their just looking for something to eat. NOT aggressive at all when their around the house.
    Thanks for all the answers, looks like next year I need to re-queen anyway.
    I have a little experience of re-queening this should be fun!

  19. #18
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    May 2012
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    Brownsburg, Indiana, USA
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    Default Re: Mean bees

    Well, I think I have an answer to some of my mean bees, I'm experiencing robbing with one of my hives, watch for about an hour, lots of activity in one of the hives, fighting going on outside, many other bees were trying to get in the hive through cracks, so I smoked them up did an inspection, found many of the honey stores were gone, so wow, put things back together, closed up the cracks with vapor-rub, made the entrance smaller, placed a top feeder on to get things going again, going to check today to see where I am, I hope they can make a recovery before the flow stops, I have faith in them to get the work done, I have about 3 more weeks so we will see!

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Mean bees

    Any hive requires graceful, calm, slow movement and avoiding banging things around. Any hive can have a bad day that requires some protection. If you are getting attacked before you open up, I think they are too hot... I don't mean one bee, but if a lot of them are, then they are too hot. If you are getting attacked when at a distance (again I don't mean just one bee, but several of them) then they are probably too hot. If they follow a long ways, I don't care for that either...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  21. #20
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    Brownsburg, Indiana, USA
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    Default Re: Mean bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Any hive requires graceful, calm, slow movement and avoiding banging things around. Any hive can have a bad day that requires some protection. If you are getting attacked before you open up, I think they are too hot... I don't mean one bee, but if a lot of them are, then they are too hot. If you are getting attacked when at a distance (again I don't mean just one bee, but several of them) then they are probably too hot. If they follow a long ways, I don't care for that either...

    Thanks Michael, U DA MAN,
    I want to thank you for commenting on my Thread, you a busy and knowledgeable guy, again, thanks!

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