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I was not expecting this. We have only had a handful of days above freezing, today was the nicest day this spring so far at 8C. Second time into one of hives this spring, I gently opened the top cover to slip in some fondant. I was only wearing gloves, no veil. Immediately on opening the hive, I had a dozen bees or more swarm around my head, stung a couple times. Caught me by surprise. Is this typical this early in the year?
 

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Yes it is. There are very few foragers out, and all those guard bees are just waiting for some beast to take the roof off their house. :D Attack is what they are paid to do. If they are low on stores that makes them even more cranky.

Once the early flow starts up they will become preoccupied and settle down.
 

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My hives are about 30 feet from our garden and I am having similar issues with the bees. The garden is located behind the entrances and off to one side. I had this same configuration last year and didn't have any problems but this year, the bees are coming after me. I am having to wear my veil to prep the garden for spring. They are not occasional bumps but intense "I want to sting you" bumps.
With my veil on, a single bee will intently try to get in. After about 30 seconds the bee will leave and then come back with a buddy to help.
I hope they calm down soon. Wearing the veil to work the garden the whole year would be a drag.
 

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My hives are about 30 feet from our garden and I am having similar issues with the bees. The garden is located behind the entrances and off to one side. I had this same configuration last year and didn't have any problems but this year, the bees are coming after me. I am having to wear my veil to prep the garden for spring. They are not occasional bumps but intense "I want to sting you" bumps.
With my veil on, a single bee will intently try to get in. After about 30 seconds the bee will leave and then come back with a buddy to help.
I hope they calm down soon. Wearing the veil to work the garden the whole year would be a drag.
Eric,
I feel your pain. I just started last January and built up to about 10 hives...I would routinely walk right up to my hives and stand and watch them for extended periods of time, never with any issues. This year, it's totally different, they never let me get away with it...I have to put on my veil to go and look at my hives, or chance a sting to the face.
It's not like a ton of bees come at me, but within seconds of approaching the hives, even standing behind them, one or two bees will lock on and make it known that I'm not wanted.

This is completely different from what I had grown accustom to, so much so that I thougth maybe something was bothering them at night so I set up a game camera....but NOTHING!

Hoping this mood passes in the near future. :)
 

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I am having a completely different experience: my bees seem much gentler and more tolerant of me than last summer. I spent about two hours today goofing off by sitting on the ground directly in front of one of my hives while they flew down (they are using a top entrance) right past me to the water trough I put out for them. Many landed on me and wandered around or just rested and warmed themselves in the sun on my dark jeans. I did have a hat on (not a bee hat, just a regular winter fleece hat) to make sure none got caught in my hair, which is not pleasant for either of us.

I had my magnifying glass in my coat pocket so I got to look closely at dozens of them.

Of course, it's too cold here (STILL!) to open the hives more than enough to just quickly slide a patty in, so perhaps they've temporarily "forgotten" my bad manners on that score. Hopefully one day this week, or next, will be warm enough to tip up some boxes and see what's what. I'll be wearing my veil and jacket, just in case.

Enj
 

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Yup, its still cold enough up there in Canada for the bees to (rightfully) think its still winter, they know they're light on stores, and suddenly some big monster comes and rips the top of their house off? What are they supposed to think is about to happen? They're just extra defensive because right now they know they've got the most to lose.

If you have to open them up to feed them, use lots of smoke and make the job as quick and precise as you possibly can. Get in, get out.

They should calm down in a week or two after the flow starts (or after you start giving them some syrup if its warm enough for that). Until then, they're going to be very grumpy.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, another lesson learned. And no one at work today noticed my one ear lobe was about 3x the size of the other :)
 

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I was popped yesterday just to the outside of my right eye. Never had a sting hurt and swell like this one. I was about fifty yards from my hives (minding my business), also prepping my garden. One lone bee kept buzzing me. I walked away and it left. When I came back to finish my work, it, or another one came back and started head butting me. It frustrated me enough that I swatted at it as I was working. It obviously didnt like that and caught me.

I worked the hives the previous date and found really strong hives that were storing lots of nectar. My only answer to the attention I was getting this date was that I put on the same old blue jeans that I had worn checking hives the previous day (possibly the defensive smell attached to my jeans from guard bees the previous date???). One hive was more aggressive than the others and if it continues I will be on a seek and destroy queen mission.
 

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I posted a while back about aggressive hives and very similiar experiences .... The main response was that I was either crushing bees when I worked or they were cranky pre honey flow. I slowed down and the bees have been foraging like mad the last month and I have had no issues... I have been visiting my 3 hives about once a week and no issues and very pleasurable...

So yesterday I was working my strongest hive and the one that tends to get moody. It was early morning around 9 but it was in the 50's... I wanted to pull a couple of frames from the deep to start another nuc. Everything was going fine until I went into the deeps. I pulled 1 frame and I could tell they weren't happy I pulled another and then came the sweet banana smell and the who hive erupted. Bees poured out of the hive and I was covered it was shocking but I never got stung through suit. I rushed to put the hive back together and they kept coming I am not talking 100's but 1000's and it was going to rain later song had to finish up.... I got the hive back together mostly and got the heck out.... I cam back 4 hours later in the pouring rain to try and straighten the hive so no water could get in and they still attacked.... It's crazy they don't mind if I work the shallows but every time I go into deeps it gets crazy....
 
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