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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My hive of Russians seems much more aggressive than a hive of Italians i was inspecting the other day... is this normal? This is my first hive and i couldn't believe how gentle the Italian hive seemed compared to my own. It could be the weather (hot,humid), but they are very defensive as of late when i get close to the hive. Any thoughts... thanks..
 

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Could be any number of reasons for a hive to be hot. Hot, humid weather will make them more aggressive than normal, but not super hot. How high off the ground do you have them? Skunks can make a hive really aggressive, so you should get them at least 12" off the ground if you have skunks around. Other things include robbing by bumblebees, white faced hornets, and a host of others. Lack of a honey flow will also cause them to be hostile. I find any strain of honeybee can be aggressive any time, anywhere, for any reason. If it continues requeen them.

peggjam
 

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I have a hive of Russians and four Italians. I haven't noticed any significant difference between the races behaviorally. They are all normally quite gentle except when some factor like heat/humidity makes them all a little cranky. My hives are on stands about 15" off the ground with screened bottom boards which helps eliminate some of the factors that might make bees more defensive.
 

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I have 5 russian hives that are just fine.Tho on very hot days now that have are built up there are a few agressive guard bees but that is there job.But all and all just a few cranky guards the rest a gental as can bee
 

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Is your hive queenright? If the hive should lose their queen for any reason they will sometimes become very aggressive.
 

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My observations on the Russians I had is they were more defensive, but still didn't seem to sting. They did like to head butt and they liked to follow a lot further when you're done. But others have said they had Russians that were pretty hot.
 

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I started with all russians hives .so idid not have a way to compare them till this year. i caught 9 swarms around the county i live in .these bees seem more gentle then my russians.my russians love to head butt me when i get too close to the hive.i have only been stung twice. and it was my fault. my girls hate the weed eater and the lawn mower.I learned it rrrreal good!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
They are queen right and well off the ground... I was very surprised at how far they have followed me, and I have been stung more frequently when inspecting the hive. I am allergic to many things and I want to keep my stings to a minimum. The last thing i want is to become allergic to my bees which has fast become a great hobby for myself. Since i am a newbie, i appreciate the help in this forum.
 

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>I have read that aggressive bees tend to do better by themselves against varroa...

I have not noticed that. Perhaps the ones that are doing well might be agressive since agressivness and hygenics are two unrelated traits. I AM afraid the ones that do well against the SHB might be the agressive ones... I hope not.
 

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>ones that do well against the SHB might be the agressive ones... I hope not.

That has not been my observation. My NWC, which are very gentle, seem to do much better against the SHB than straight Italians. In fact, my rambo Starlines had the largest population of SHB of all my hives. Currently I keep NWC and Italians and I almost never see SHB in the NWC hives, where I will occasionally see them in the Italians. Of course any weak hive will have problems.
 

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Propaniac, you've checked for queenrightness and have them elevated the only check left is are they making honey better than a lazy non-aggressive hive might. When you have your facts, you can decide whether or not to re-queen.

For some of us gentleness is the prime trait we breed for. For others it could be honey. the dicision is yours that's what it means to be a bk.

Good Luck,

Hawk
 

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Propianic, it is likely related to the dearth if the bees were gentle before(a genetic trait) it didn't change unless the queen was killed and a new one bred. See how they act once the Golden Rod is in full swing with some cool nights and warm days. Of course once October comes they'll return to the defensive behavior you see now.
 
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