This hive was a swarm I caught last spring and they filled their nuc and then their ten frame deep quickly. They put out quite a bit of honey by fall and as the temperatures have started rising Iíve noticed them bearding in the early morning. I attempted to split them today and found it odd when a couple of bees began checking me out when I was around the corner from the hive and suiting up. I smoked the hive and removed the top. I had about ten bees checking me out fairly seriously, but that is normal for this hive. I smoked the super I let them work on since fall, and put the super one top of the cover. As I began removing the first frame the bees started getting mean. I should point out it was a warm day around 83 degrees, full sun, and no threat of rain. By the time I slid out the first frame, I had an angry ball of about 600 bees flying over the top of the hive and bouncing into my veil. Bees continued to come out and they were definitely hostile, so I slid the frame back in and closed up the hive. At least fifty bees were on the front of my veil and they were hitting on my hands. I had a full suit on and two pairs of latex gloves, and I am not easily spooked, but these bees were out of control. About fifty bees followed me all over the yard and I went in the house for about ten minutes before exited on the other side of the yard and checking another, calmer hive. As I was getting ready to smoke the calm hive, angry bees from the other hive found me and began swarming my veil again. I split the calm hive and those bees were so incredibly docile the entire time even though I had the other bees trying to maul me. I closed up my calm hive and itís split and eventually got into the house without bees. Dozens of angry bees are still patrolling my backyard and a neighbor from three houses down came to ask what was up with my bees because they were ďattackingĒ him in his yard.
Iím not one to yell Africanized bees, but I have never seen anything like this before, even when stupid things happen like a deep slipping out of your hand. I have done about twelve cutouts and have been in the middle of thousands of bees with just a veil during some of these, so Iím not easily spooked, but this hive today was coming at me 100%. With the suit and the gloves I am ďpracticallyĒ sting proof, but I was definitely unsettled by this hives behavior. The sheer numbers coming at me, the thick cloud of bees circling the top and front of the hive, and the number of bees on the veil while dozens kept trying sting my gloves hands- it was unreal.
I know folks advise requeening, but I honestly donít see myself getting into that hive to find the queen and replace her. Is this behavior a function of a crowded hive, because I have worked those before and have not been attacked like this.