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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have two hives, the first is two deeps, always been fairly calm and only gets upset if I'm really pulling out frames. The second is one deep 5-frame nuc with a 5-medium frames on top of that, the nuc is "hot" to me. They sting my gloves when I pull the frames out, they sting my pants, they try to sting through the veil. Infact from opening the hive, they are pretty much on me until I am atleast 15+ feet away. No matter how smoothly I move they are ticked that I'm there.

When I started them I was sure they were a swarm from the other hive, but they sure don't act like the other hive at all. I don't have a smoker (I am monetarily challenged at the moment...), and while I might get one, using it is yet another learning curve I'm sure... I would like opinions as to what each of you considers a "hot hive." Is it always best to requeen?

I understand that more-reactive hives do have their good points, such as less problems with pests. Neither hive has been troubled so far by pests. That may just be luck as both were started this year from swarms (#1 in April and #2 in June).
 

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Well, that depends on the individual beekeeper. I consider it hot when i open the lid(no smoking) and they boil out as you are describing. BUT, you HAVE to take into consideration the time of year(dearth), the weather(cloudy vs sunny) and so on before you can really make a determination. I have an MHI hive that will try and rip off your head if its cloudy. Go out when its sunny and your fine....they ignore you...I would say kee some records for amonth or so and see if its the dearth and heat and humidity. I am going to say that it is....but this is just me!
 

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I do not believe you can label a hive hot without first using smoke. :no: But to answer the question from my POV, a hot hive is a hive that is overly aggressive and/or defensive even while using smoke and being graceful in my movements.
 

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I had what I called a hot hive last year. I couldn't walk anywhere near it without getting tagged. It was like they had drawn a 10 yard line around their box and anything that came inside was the enemy. They came at me stinger first. I seldom saw them coming, just a sting or two. I pinched the queen and put in a nice Italian queen and they settled down in a week or two. My other two hives I can treat like pets, I can work the garden around them and if they get upset, they just bump me a few times to let me know and I move off for a while.
 

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If you are not using smoke, which IME is very effective at calming bees, you might try a sugar water spray 1:1 ratio. Heck, maybe a cheap cigar.

If someone busted the roof off your house without warning, would you be cooperative?
 

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a hot hive is when an 89yr. old beek[mentor]&you go to a yard,park 50' from the hives to get suited up,bees 'greet' you,&the mentor[spry old guy] beats you back in the truck to move back 100yds.
 

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It's sometimes a little difficult to define an "aggressive" hive vs. a "hot" hive. Either way, if the bees quickly rise up to bump me continuously in my veil, they are hot/aggressive. I figure if they are trying to bump my veil, they would sting my face without it. At that point, hot and aggressive become the same thing to me.

Having gotten into a hot hive during a cutout, my definitions have changed somewhat. Those bees stung me numerous times through my suit and they "just needed killin' ".

I like the calm, peaceful ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks! I am thinking a smoker may be possible later this month. So that may settle them down. I haven't tried sugar water, but the one time they have gotten through my clothes a bee crawled up my leg and got the back of my knee :eek: ! So I don't want to just knock them out of the air and have them crawl...
 

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Jam,

I don't want to lead you wrong, but smoke pisses my bees off. I use sugar water when I need to--just spray a bunch over the tops of the frames and let them enjoy for a few minutes. If they start humming at you in a few minutes, spray them again. Its not about knocking them out of the air--bees with full stomaches don't sting nearly as much. Also, mix in some Honey B Healthy or Spearmint Essential Oil--it covers the smell of the alarm pheremone, so if one bee gets pissed (or crushed) the rest of the bees don't know about it.

Also, I've heard that new nucs are pissy until they have gone thru a full 'round' of raising brood. Not sure why, but if you've only had them about a month, that could be the issue. Also, they may just be pissed if they have no stores--give them some syrup to suck down, as much as they'll take for a week, leave them alone so they have time to do something with it, and come back next week to see if its any better. My pissy nuc seemed to respond well to that treatment...

Good luck!
 

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Make a smoker out of an old can if you need to. Get it smoking and let the breeze waft the smoke at the hive. Ot use a piece of paper to fan the smoke at the bees.

I have heard of old timers who just used a lit cigar as their smoker to work the bees.

Bees have been kept for thousands of years. The fancy smokers with bellows are a recent beekeeping tool.

Improvise. Adapt. Necessity is the mother of invention and ingenuity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok, today I went and sat on my chair that is about 5 feet from this hive and had a bee fly straight at my head with clear intent to sting. I got it out of my hair as I walked away, but it came at me several times. That is new, I didn't even touch the hive and it was only the one bee but it didn't want to quit. I'm amazed I didn't get stung.

Maybe I should try the sugar water, how do you mix that?
 

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sugar & water ratio 1:1 (half & half) should be fine w/HBH optional in a spray bottle. Sounds like your having alot of trouble with handling bees, you might want to perhaps get a book and read about bee behavior specially during the dearth season! Just for curiousity, what was you wearing when you was sitting in the chair dark clothing???
 

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I don't have a smoker (I am monetarily challenged at the moment...), and while I might get one, using it is yet another learning curve I'm sure... I would like opinions as to what each of you considers a "hot hive." Is it always best to requeen?
You bought bees, but not the equipment to work them properly and now you think the bees are to blame for the way you are treated by them?

If I sent you the money, would you buy a smoker? Or should I send you a smoker instead?
 

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Jam,
Also, I've heard that new nucs are pissy until they have gone thru a full 'round' of raising brood. Not sure why, but if you've only had them about a month, that could be the issue. Good luck!
Tara, I don't know where you got that idea, because, unless it is built differently than I was taught, a nuc doesn't have a break in brood presence or production. So why would it need a "round" of raising brood? I have never had a pissy nuc and I have never had anyone who bought one from me say that they got one from me. Interesting theory though.
 

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Ok, today I went and sat on my chair that is about 5 feet from this hive and had a bee fly straight at my head with clear intent to sting. I got it out of my hair as I walked away, but it came at me several times. That is new, I didn't even touch the hive and it was only the one bee but it didn't want to quit. I'm amazed I didn't get stung.

Maybe I should try the sugar water, how do you mix that?
Jam, these are wild animal ya know. There are things you can do w/ them and things that you can get away w/ sometimes and things that you just can't do around them and expect to not get stung. Stinging is how they defend their colony. So, you need to learn how to be around bees.

Did you hear about the woman who got killed by the misnamed Killer Whale? It is no more a Killer Whale than AHBs are Killer Bees. It's an Orca and the folks who own it should know better than to let people into the aquarium w/ it. It has killed before. One needs to know ones limitations.

Enjoy your bees, but don't expect them to act like a friendly dog or cat. Even they will turn on you if provoked or cornered.
 

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Mark--It was just something I'd heard. Maybe it applied better to packages... But I can tell you my first nuc didn't come with any capped brood! They were all open when I first got it... the beek said the queen was less than a month old. My second nuc was pretty hot when I got it, and seems to have calmed down a bit a month later.

Jam--not that it makes a ton of difference, but just because a bee is flying at you dosn't mean it intends to sting...yet. Some bees have different 'levels' of aggression--they start by flying at your face aggressively (sometimes known as pop-corning), and depending on your hive they may progress up to biting or hair-pulling before actually stinging you. I had a bee fly up and hit me in the forehead hard enough to smart and leave a red mark, but it didn't actually sting me. Not saying you should lower your level of caution, just saying just because its coming for you dosn't mean its gonna sting you immediately!
 

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Never heard the term "popcorning" but have gotten and still do get some headbutting. .Just a warning, and not necessarily an agressive hive, but the bee, very possibly. Understand that 2 or 3 bees do NOT make up the attitude of the entire hive.
Also never heard of Nuc being mean......unless they were mean b4 they were put in there...and a Nuc has sealed capped brood. If i bought one and it didnt, he could have it back...but thats just me!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I am not blaming the bees, nor am I unaware of "wild behavior" almost every animal on my farm could be considered dangerous to some extent, and I understand that the bees are pissy because of the hot, dry weather (though they are bringing in stores still, until it gets so hot they go to just tranporting water during the afternoon). And yes I got into bees with out buying alot of equipment. I am not building up quickly, and I will get a smoker, but the electric bill comes first (AC is important down here when it hits 105).

I bought a hive that a swarm moved themselves into in April (nope, no help from me, they showed up on their own... I was still looking for a place to buy bees from) then another swarm came in June (that is the pissy group). The personality of the hives is very different, and I don't want to label them unfairly. If their behavior is within "normal" for most beekeepers, I can probably find ways to live with them, basically I am looking for a definition of what is "normal" behavior during a hot summer.

I have generally enjoyed the education thus far, a few moments with grouch bees are not going to scare me off. And as far as the "read something" suggestion... well what do you think I'm doing on here? I have several books and go to several universities' sites to read articles on a daily basis... I'm not expecting it to jump into my head.
 

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I determine that I have a hot hive when I have to wear gloves to work them, smoke doesn't calm them down, they nail me more than twice, and they do this no matter what the weather or season. Every hive gets hot at some point or other. In over 25 years of beekeeping, I've only had two hives that were truly hot. Was going to requeen, but man, they sure did pack in the honey!

Now, a couple of things to consider. When you were out just sitting there trying to watch the bees (or when working them, for that matter), did you use scented deodorant? Were you wearing cologne? Dark colored clothing or leather? How recently did you shampoo your hair, and was it heavily scented? All of these things would have a bearing on how the bees receive you.
Regards,
Steven
 

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I have a hive that as soon as I approach it they come out to greet me. If I was new at this I seriously think about getting my head examined and wonder what the hell I got myself into but as intimidating as they are they are good producers, no pests, no disease and winter over every year-I respect them and work gently & quickly. Never been stung by them. On the other hand the hive to the left of them is very gentle and pay you no mind-until 3 weeks when I was making a quick check and threw a bee jacket on over my black pants-this normally gentle hive where on my legs like flies on poop-got stung 5 times with several more attempts-got out of there real quick-on the good side my knees didn't ache for 2 wks:) Note to self don't wear black pants in the bee yard!
----Deb
 
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