Wow- one of my hives has gotten red hot
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Orlando, Florida
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    26

    Default Wow- one of my hives has gotten red hot

    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.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
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    2,709

    Default Re: Wow- one of my hives has gotten red hot

    The queen mates with many drones, the sperm she was using may have changed to that of a new drone. You will have to either requeen the colony, or kill the colony.

    Taking swarms and not requeening them when they are still small can cause problems in areas with Africanized bees. They are not usually a problem when they are small colonies, but as they get stronger they become aggressive.

    Your state Apiary Section will have recommendations as how to deal with this aggressive colony, I would contact them as soon as possible.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Covington County, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,359

    Default Re: Wow- one of my hives has gotten red hot

    Dang Rob. I keep my hives in Alabama about 10 miles north of Escambia County, Florida. So I am technically out of the AHB area. However, I have some very aggressive bees. I can never get back into my truck without bringing a dozen or so with me. I can no longer come within about 20 feet of the hives without a veil.

    But what you are describing sounds far worse than that. And you ARE in an AHB area. I understand you reluctance to yell "AHB" at every aggressive hive, but I think it is time to sound the alarm on that. Call your state apiary inspector and get some screening done. Especially if you are in a neighborhood where they could get aggressive with kids and pets.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Sheboygan County, WI
    Posts
    210

    Default Re: Wow- one of my hives has gotten red hot

    Can you sell them as an established hive ?

  6. #5

    Default Re: Wow- one of my hives has gotten red hot

    I had one do me like that and I was going to pinch her little head but couldn't find brood. I dropped a frame of open brood in and buttoned it up. Next time I was there a week later they had calmed down and the following two weeks I worked them easily. Did you see any brood? If not they could have been really testy. After a few sting then they do get riled up. Just a thought.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Largo,Florida
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    146

    Default Re: Wow- one of my hives has gotten red hot

    I've had the same thing happen to me after capturing a swarm. They were workable as a small and growing colony but when they became a full hive it was game on. They became unworkable and very defensive following me around the yard. With this happening, I have to think of the neighbors that are just over the fence. So this is the part that backyard beekeepers need to consider and that is the safety of your neighbors. I did and that hive got 5 gallons of soap.
    Troy 7/12 -6 langs T

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
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    3,213

    Default Re: Wow- one of my hives has gotten red hot

    I found my hot hive from last season calmed right down after I pulled a few splits from it. My advice would be to purchase a few queens and make small splits. Once you find your original queen, pinch her in a few weeks and give the bees a frame of eggs from one of the splits with the new queens for them to make another queen. Take all the necessary steps to ensure they dont use the hot queen's larva to make a new queen.

    When did Orlando FL become AHB territory?
    Last edited by JWPalmer; 02-22-2018 at 05:30 PM.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Somerset, NJ
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    321

    Default Re: Wow- one of my hives has gotten red hot

    Quote Originally Posted by RedBarn View Post
    Can you sell them as an established hive ?
    Really?!! You would sell someone else your problem?

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN (Rutherford Co)
    Posts
    223

    Default Re: Wow- one of my hives has gotten red hot

    I certainly don't live in AHB land (Nashville,) but I've noticed my hives can get hot if they're low on brood or stores. I just had one popping the crap out of my veil last week. I threw on a quart of syrup. When I came back the next day to refill the syrup, they were calm again.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    Default Re: Wow- one of my hives has gotten red hot

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post

    When did Orlando FL become AHB territory?
    This map says 2005 (if I am looking at the right county, Orange right?):

    New Bee Map09 compressed.jpg

  12. #11
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    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    3,213

    Default Re: Wow- one of my hives has gotten red hot

    Thanks, I honestly didn't realize that AHB had moved into south and central Florida. I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale and still have a house in Ocala.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    Default Re: Wow- one of my hives has gotten red hot

    Like I said, I keep bees just 10 miles from the Florida line. We pay close attention to what is happening in Florida. Our Alabama Beekeeper Association meetings almost always have a break out session about it. We often get a Florida Apiary inspector up here to present for us. I am afraid it is just a matter of time, but they seem to be holding for now. The last FL apiary inspector that came to speak to us said that there is some thought that all of the large commercial beekeepers located between Orlando and the big bend area may be keeping the AHB in check. Not sure how that is working (just drowning the genetics or what?) but they seem to have stalled there for the time being.

    That could make me go look for another hobby.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    3,213

    Default Re: Wow- one of my hives has gotten red hot

    Did some quick searching and found the original of the map you provided. Also found one that shows VA is not believed to be habitable due to winter temps and duration. If I decide to move down to Ocala when I retire, I'm gonna need a better bee suite!

    Still think Rob needs to split and requeen, just to be sure.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Sheboygan County, WI
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    210

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jonsl View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RedBarn View Post
    Can you sell them as an established hive ?
    Really?!! You would sell someone else your problem?

    Sure if I didn't want to re-queen. Tell the buyer why.

    I think I would split the thing into 4 or 5 nucs, watch which one the original queen is in, then look for her and crush her. I'm sure many buyers would do the same knowing it's hot.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Wharton, Texas, USA
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    209

    Default Re: Wow- one of my hives has gotten red hot

    So if you life in one of these areas is it recommended just to requeen and move on if you catch a swarm?

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Yuba County, California, USA
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    Default Re: Wow- one of my hives has gotten red hot

    A mean hive is no fun, and can be a danger to the neighborhood.
    A little dry-ice will calm them right down then you can nuc it.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    Default Re: Wow- one of my hives has gotten red hot

    Like as been said, split the colony four ways and it does wonders. Keep killing emergency cells for ten days and requeen as many as you want. The splitting sure calms them down.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Liberty Hill, Texas
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    696

    Default Re: Wow- one of my hives has gotten red hot

    I am repulsed by the community's response. 1st things first. This was 1 time people. Okay, now that said you can't make a rash choice of a path to follow on that 1 time. Could be many factors, like the hive has been irritated by something around the hive. Example: Animal, (to include a lizard) spider or just plain something that the beekeeper did unknowingly such as banana or shampoo etc. Could be that his clothing has been stung and it's setting the bees off. Could be that he moved a frame too fast or bumped it while pulling it out and the bees reacted. Could be he move the hand over the hive and they reacted to that. You see, many things we don't know or possible it could be.
    I have dealt with Africanized bees 1st hand. I deal with a 40 to 70% AH from open breeding. 1st things first folks, to determine what's going on you should at least be rational. Do we all have a bad day? This hive did and everyone is not being rational about it. As stated it could be a factor of 1 or several things.
    What to do? I have a reasonable suggestion. How about giving the hive the 3 strike count and then make an assessment of a plan? See, this is the problem of a forum in my opinion is that everyone misses the point of rational thinking.
    My experience with dealing with my "HOT HIVES" is I know the temperament and are prepared in multiple ways. So, what do I know? My experience has taught me that from time to time, not every time I go into a particular hive that the response is the same. Sometimes it's full on mean and others they ignore me. What this shows is that conditions will set off a response. It's how you deal with that response is key. I know that I have oak trees and can walk around them for a few minutes most of the time to get them to leave me. I know not to take for granted a calm hive cause the next time they could be the opposite.
    I understand this gentlemen, just wanted to split the hive. I believe that the inexperience was shown. I write this to everyone new and established bee keepers that bees temperment can change. You never know what is going to set bees off and it could infact be the beekeeper did something unknowingly that he isn't telling us and by observation with a 2nd person we will never know.
    Suggestion for this person. Let your hive sit for a few days. In the mean time, wash your clothes, bee suit and if you have it available a scent free detergent. Not tide for example. Don't know what your body cleansing is, but it could be something that your doing. Aftershave, hair product or something your eating prior to going into your hive. Yes, 1 hive was non reactive, but as stated it could be next time. Something to think about anyways.
    Don't know what you were splitting into and your queen options. Keeping the numbers down is always your best choice. I wouldn't look for the queen. Just see if you can split the hive 4 ways. The box with the most bees is going to be the one with the queen. Working that method will be best method for finding the queen VS a 20 frame hive full of bees. If not put a queen excluder on and see in a few weeks what box has her and then you can seperate the boxes and work 10 frames of bees VS 20 frames. Requeen. Anyways I don't have more time on the matter. Much more I have for you.
    Last edited by frustrateddrone; 02-22-2018 at 07:48 PM.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Yuba County, California, USA
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    Default Re: Wow- one of my hives has gotten red hot

    Well Rob Fisher,
    You've been given a lot of options, many or maybe all you have already thought of, even though you never really asked for any! Let us all know what the hive is like the next time you give it a visit, we are all eager to hear!

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Wow- one of my hives has gotten red hot

    Quote Originally Posted by frustrateddrone View Post
    Okay, now that said you can't make a rash choice of a path to follow on that 1 time.
    Well I would. No hive that would behave like that even once, would go un requeened. Not just cos of the one hive, but because of the drones it makes that could contaminate the rest of the bees.
    "Thinking Inside The Box"

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