Is it normal for a hive to become more aggressive the stronger it gets? My strongest hive which has 15-17 deep frames of bees in it, put me out of their hive this afternoon. I do not wear leather gloves when working my bees. I am too fumble fingered with them on. I don't like wearing gloves at all but I generally wear a pair of thin, latex like nitrile gloves which typically last without a hole in them for a good 2-3 minutes.....
I started the inspection of my strongest hive, which was the fourth hive of the afternoon, around 5:30 CDT. I inspected the upper box which contained lots of nectar, pollen and 4-5 frames of capped brood. I then removed the top deep and got one frame about halfway unstuck from the box when the lower deep really got upset. My 11 year old son helps me with the hive inspections and mans the smoker. I got stung on my right palm right where the glove had torn during hive #1 inspection. I guess that bee released an alarm pheremone because the bees were covering my hand. I got my son to smoke me but it did little to help. There were 100's of mad bees bumping my face screen, so I decided to close the box and call off the inspections for the day.
When my smoker lighting set the pasture on fire on Tuesday, one of the fence posts that surround my bee yard burned in two at ground level. I took my son to the house and went to replace the fence post so I could get the electric fence back up around my hives. As soon as I got back to the bee yard, now without my bee jacket on, two or three guard bees met me. I retreated back and decided to try it again. The guard bee met me at the fence post hole, stinger first, right in the forehead. I took off running that time. That was when I decided to go get my bee jacket and that also when I made a bad decision to run to my 4 wheeler and retrieve it to save time from walking 1/2 mile back to my house. I jumped on the 4 wheeler and took two stings to the shoulder as I retreated.
On a positive note, the hive that I reversed brood boxes on 2 weeks ago has now nearly filled the upper deep with nectar and pollen. I'm estimating that there's now 40 lbs of nectar in the deep which had nothing but empty comb 2 weeks ago. I only saw one hive beetle during the inspection of the 3 1/2 hives. The bees have reworked comb in all hives checked and now there is quite a bit of drone brood in each hive. Most of it is capped. They had also made bridge comb between the boxes which was filled with drone brood. I saw no mites on any drone larvae that were exposed when I separated the boxes. No queen cells with eggs were seen in any of the hives. One hive had one queen cup made and the 2nd strongest hives had 3 queen cups made, but like I said, no eggs in any of them. I saw drones walking the frames in each hive but not a significant number. I'm not sure how long it takes drones to hatch after they are capped but our weather for next week looks very cool so I won't be making any splits until that passes. The dogwoods should be in full bloom by the first part of next week, just in time for the cold weather. I guess we will have a dogwood winter this year, just like nearly every other year that I can remember. Next will be blackberry winter then the cold will be over.