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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My year-old hive swarmed at least twice this season already. Today I checked in on them and they were really mad. The bottom deep was full of empty comb. The upper brood box was full of honey and bees. The top super had some comb building going on and a little honey. I didnt see any eggs or larva and I couldnt find a queen. I did see 2 small queen cells. The attitude of the bees was really bad. Never have they behaved this way. Hundreds of bees were pummeling my head gear continuously and I got stung twice through my leather gloves.

So what gives? Is my queen gone? Or does it take awhile for a new queen to emerge and start laying eggs (the last swarm was last week)? Not sure what to do so I took a chunk of comb (with serveral with queen cells) from another hive and put it into the mean hive. I closed everything up and ran back to the house with bees chasing me all the way.
 

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"...does it take awhile for a new queen to emerge and start laying eggs..."
yep thats it. a frame of brood from another hive helps calm them. good luck,mike
 

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You are experiencing just what I have experienced. Your original queen is long gone with the first swarm. The new queen has mated with feral drones and the resulting bees have now emerged and are FIERCE !
It is unclear where you are on your new queen. She probably just hasn't started laying yet. She will mate with those feral drones ( that you have NO control over ) and your bees may become even hotter when her bees hatch.
I would verify that you have a laying queen, then reverse the supers. When things stabalize and you have a normal brood pattern, I would requeen with a bought queen. I wouldn't spend much time on this hive. You will have your hands full just finding the current queen so you can kill her. It is NO FUN wading into a hot hive ! Been there, done that. By October they will be gentle again ( if your bought queen is accepted ).
 

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It's common for a queenless hive to be mean. You couldn't have feral offspring in the time frame you mention, even if that did make them mean. (only with AFB, I'm thinking). It takes 3 weeks from egg to bee and another 20 days until they become foragers. Only the older bees are defensive.

dickm
 

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I disagree with Victory and Beekeeper1756... you clearly stated two swarms, bees have no eggs, no queen, and are NOW mean, where they haven't been before. As suggested, take a frame of EGGS from another hive, install in that one, they'll raise a new queen. Or buy a queen and introduce her. Just because your virgin queen mates with feral bees does not automatically mean you'll have hot bees. Drones will gather at a drone congregation area for mating purposes, and you'll get drones from other managed hives, as well as feral. After varroa devasted both managed and feral colonies, where do you think most feral bees come from? Managed colonies that swarmed. Of course there are exceptions, but feral does not equal hot automatically.
Good luck!
Steven
 

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Just because your virgin queen mates with feral bees does not automatically mean you'll have hot bees, feral does not equal hot automatically.
Good luck!
Steven
Steve G. has a good point. Not all feral bees are mean in fact some I have seen are actually on the nice side. That's weird, you should have seen some brood and a few queen cells well along or even a hatched queen cell. Sounds like your bees are testy because there probably is no queen in the hive? Something must have happened at the last swarm. Without a viable queen cell or eggs/young larva to make a new queen the colony is in a crises. Desperation is setting in, hence the meanness. I see a few commercial queen apiaries still selling spring queens. A mail-order queen can be in your mailbox in a few days. Or you can do what you did and move some queen cells & brood comb in and hope they can get a queen raised ASAP.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well I know I have the original nice queen. She's in the hive that I started with the first swarm that I caught in early May. When I checked the new (swarm) hive last weekend I didnt see any eggs/larva, so my plan yesterday was to take some brood out of the original hive and put it in the new hive. Then the bees pulled a fast one; plenty of eggs/larva in the new hive and nothing in the old hive :doh:.

I few things that I learned:

1- This forum is awesome and you can read alll you want, but it takes actual experience to really learn and apply your bee knowlege. (I have read here many times about queenless hives being mean, but never really thought much about it until yesterday - A lesson that I will never forget!).

2 - I might be a wuss because I ware a full bee suit and gloves, but it would have been a complete and total disaster if I hadnt have been protected. Keep that in mind when when urging newbees to go without gloves or "man up" and take it.

3 - What's the deal with this "feral" mated queens are bad? Isn't that just a sales ploy to get you to buy a new queen over the internet?
 

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"What's the deal with this "feral" mated queens are bad? Isn't that just a sales ploy to get you to buy a new queen over the internet? "

I don't know what people have against feral hives. There are several around here (which probably came from my escaped swarms) and my neighbors love their "bee trees." They are good, docile bees that do a heck of a job pollinating.

In the 8 yrs I've been a beekeeper, I've bought only 2 queens. I much prefer they raise their own because then I know what I'm in for. But sometimes you just have to purchase a queen. . .especially if you have only one or two hives.
 

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(I have read here many times about queenless hives being mean, but never really thought much about it until yesterday -

I might be a wuss because I ware a full bee suit and gloves, but it would have been a complete and total disaster if I hadnt have been protected. Keep that in mind when when urging newbees to go without gloves or "man up" and take it.
The 2nd worst stinging episode was from trying to queen a queenless hive. My uncle Tex sent me out to this hive. I noticed they where a bit grumpy but man when I opened that hive they came after me with a vengeance. They where also getting robbed quite bad because the colony was in such decline by the time we figured it out. The worst was an episode when Uncle and I where moving a 3 super hive by carrying it and I dropped my end and when that hive hit the ground the bees stung the beegeezes out of both of us. Tex had a commercial operation and he was an old school "man up and take it" kind of guy. I was wearing a veil which wasn't tied no gloves and he had no bee protection on at all. 37 stings for me and over 200 for him, only because I cut and run. I always have at least a veil on because I hate getting stung in the face. I always tell people wear as much or little bee protection that you feel comfortable with because you can go out a hundred times with no problems and then that one time something goes wrong, you'll be glad you where wearing some protection then.
 

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It has been my experience in my area that locally mated queens produce bees that are FIERCE ! Obviously, some are fiercer than others.
I don't have any experience in any other areas. I have NO IDEA what they mate with but feral drones seem like a good guess since there are not a lot of beeks around here. The point is that we have NO CONTROL over the drone stock. The queen breeders have "some" control because they are flooding the air with "gentle" drones from known stock ( perhaps hundreds of hives ). Very few of us can afford artificially inseminated ( breeder ) queens @ $145.00.
I don't like mean bees. I wear a vail and gloves with them. There is NO virtue in getting stung, especially when it is forseeable.
 

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I have 21 colonies and all are feral mated, no chemicals, no visible problems with mites. Of those, I have one very, very, HOT hive because it is queenless by me, did a split. Nothing wrong with feral mating in my book :lpf:...........I'll stop now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So when a hive swarms, what is it's normal state of queeness in the hive? Obviously the old queen leaves, but what about the new queen? Is the new queen still unhatched in a queen cell, hatched but virgin, mated but not laying?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Also with all the talk about "survivor stock", isnt a locally mated queen the best way to go?
 

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Nabber, the swarm usually leaves before the new queen hatches. In fact, they will sometimes ball the queen cell to restrain the new queen so the old queen and the swarm can "get out'a Dodge". Usually the remaining hive has a soon-to-hatch, or a newly hatched virgin. She mates soon thereafter with what ever drones are flying around in the sky.
If you are a big beek with lots of hives ( or near such ) you will probably do very well. Obviously, the queen breeders use "open" mating too.
I only know that my locally raised queens tend to be very hot. I have bought some pretty hot ones too, BUT it is very much the exception.
If you want some WORLD CLASS "survivor stock" just send to Brazil for some Africans ! Is that what you REALLY WANT ? Mean bees DO NOT CUT IT in my book ! "Survivor stock" is fine, BUT not at that price !
 
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