Aggressive bees
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Thread: Aggressive bees

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Birmingham, Al
    Posts
    4

    Default Aggressive bees

    Iím a newbie beekeeper. Iím having a serious problem with aggressive bees. I have onetop bar hive that I started in April of this year. The first few weeks were fine and the bees were very relaxed. Two weeks ago, I went out to feed them as usual and check to see if there was any new wax on some bars. I was dressed as usual with my veil, long gloves, jeans and denim shirt and my jeans were tucked into my socks. When I removed a bar to check, I was immediately swarmed and they they stung me multiple times through my socks (below my jeans line and above my shoes.....a lot of swelling, haha) as well as my sleeves. They swarmed me and followed me back to the house. 5 days later it appeared they had settled down and I went back to feed them...this time with boots and a thick jacket. The swarmed me again, this time finding their way under my veil where I received over a dozen stings to my face and head. I waited a few more days and went back to feed them, this time with my veil duct taped down so no stings, but they literally covered my arms and legs as I changed out their food and I had to spray myself with a water hose to get them off.

    The weather is humid here in north-central Alabama and it has rained off and on the past three weeks. I honestly cannot think of any change I have made that would make them suddenly so hostil. Im open to any ideas/suggestion. Thanks in advance.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Dickson TN
    Posts
    1,943

    Default Re: Aggressive bees

    Bees can get more defensive during a dearth, if queen cells are present, or if a varmint is harassing them. If you're opening the hive without smoking them can cause them to get defensive also.

  4. #3

    Default Re: Aggressive bees

    I would feed those suckers out of a five gallon bucket with grass stuffed in it so they dont drown. But all of our colonies get a little mean this time of year. The flow is over or almost over and they are a little testy. Not quite like you are describing but just more defensive no matter how gentle you are being. We are not that gentle and we are moving pretty fast so we just put up with it and go on. They almost act like they are queenless but they are fine. Always hate this time of year. They usually settle back down. We start pulling honey around the 4th of July and they are not as bad as they are right now. It happens every year.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lamar Co. Alabama, USA
    Posts
    4,135

    Default Re: Aggressive bees

    Welcome to Bee Source.

    Like mentioned above, use your smoker to cover their alarm pheromones. That should help some on reducing the aggression. What time of the day are you opening the hive? When I inspect my hives from about 9 AM till around 4 PM, most of the foragers are out of the hives so there's less bees to deal with and they are usually calm. If it's cloudy or rainy, real early or late (foragers are in the hive), I sometimes get angry bees. Sometimes they'll still be angry a couple of days later too.

    They may be queen less. That will cause them to be more aggressive, at least that's one reason I've seen them be more aggressive.
    "Sometimes the best action, with bees, is no action at all."

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Birmingham, Al
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Aggressive bees

    I smoke them, but will smoke heavier maybe. Thanks for your reply!

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Birmingham, Al
    Posts
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    Default Re: Aggressive bees

    Thank you!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Birmingham, Al
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Aggressive bees

    Great info. Thank you

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,267

    Default Re: Aggressive bees

    I am usually smoke free but yesterday I broke out the smoker for the first time this year. Bees getting pissy about now is an annual thing. Get a proper bee suit with a veil that zippers on, you'll be fine and so will the bees.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    10,025

    Default Re: Aggressive bees

    Welcome Tony! Everyone is assuming you smoked them and have a way of getting the smoke to the bees on the comb.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    [email protected]

  11. #10

    Default Re: Aggressive bees

    Tony too much smoke pisses them off even more. Light smoke but maybe give it time to work would be better.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
    Posts
    1,532

    Default Re: Aggressive bees

    Try lightly smoking the bees, step back and heavily smoke your clothing. If you get a stinger in you or your clothing smoke that area to over the smell.

    In your area it is not too far out of the realm of possibility that your Queen could have cross bred with a mean Drone. If you started with a package they may have superceded the Queen making this scenario possible. If you caught a swarm, anything is possible.

    Like Hillbillybees says, feed heavily and see if they calm down. If they don't it may be time to re-queen.

    Good luck,
    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

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