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I hived two packages on 7 April. One migrated to the other, so I have only one hive with two #3 packages and one queen. Yesterday, I went to change the syrup and was met with about twenty bees as I approached from the rear at about 10 feet. It got worse as I got closer and did not improve. Today, I decided to check the syrup level and to see if the queen was out and busy. Yesterday, it was around 1730. Today, it was around 1630. It is 1950 and still daylight. Well, today it was really bad. I am lucky that I have a full suit and gloves. I learned that one does not wear low quarter shoes, however. Got nailed about four times on the right ankle. The girls were so hot that I started getting head butts again about 10 feet from the rear of the hive. When I took the hive top off, all heck broke lose. I tried to lift the top feeder to check the queen and boy, was that ever a big mistake. Now, I did not smoke them and I will never omit that again. Question, is this hive hot or not? If not, then I may rethink my new hobby. I had about twenty bees trying to sting my face as I walked a good 50' away from the hive. I had a few circling for about 30 minutes near the garage, over 100' away. I can put up with the stings as it was not that bad, but I am worried for visitors. Since these are new packages, the queen has not yet made a difference and the new brood may be completely different. Need guidance!

Oh, these are All American Italians from R. Weaver. Should be of good temperment.

Ron S.

[ April 13, 2006, 08:03 PM: Message edited by: RonS ]
 

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They are way too hot!! Your protective clothing should be more of a precaution than a necessity. You may have a point about the queens’ temperament being better than the package bees she came with but I wouldn’t count on it if they all came from the same supplier. I would get a new queen if you can and not mess with them until her progeny have taken over. Better yet if you can get queens fast buy two and split them back into two three pound packages.

[ April 13, 2006, 08:11 PM: Message edited by: chief ]
 

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Uh Ron you may have a 'hot' hive.

I have an All American (Weaver) hive from last year that is gentle...we have taken the hive apart several times last year and twice in the past month with no trouble.

I can walk up and stand right beside the entrance and watch bees go in and out all day long and they ignore me. We had company over a couple weeks ago and I showed them my hives (the other hive is Russian) and we stood there and talked 30 min with a 2 year old running around and the bees ignored us.

My son and I took the hive apart today checking frames etc...the All Americans never even 'buzzed' our heads they just went about their work. It was about 88 and breezy and a little humid.

If I ever have a hive that acts like yours I would be re-queening asap....I want to enjoy my bees, not be afraid of them.

Just my opinion!

LaRae
 

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Are you sure they have a queen. If they do then do they have enough room in the hive for all those bees. If they dont have a queen then its them not getting there QMP fix. But if you can look in hive and find queen and see if she is ok no broke leg or wing. But good rule of thumb is 3 puffs in front entrance 2 or 3 in top then let sit for 2 to 3 minutes then open up. And if they dont have a queen then order 2 and split hive.
 

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I'd be more willing to say that you have a seriously agitated hive. I have a hard time believing that R. Weaver shipped aggressive bees to the degree that you indicate (particularly considering the implications). Sounds to me like these bees have had a tough time over the past week or so. I'd probably just leave them alone for a few days and see if they sort things out. What ever happened to that second queen? Maybe she's added to the problem. Who knows, but I'd just give them some space and check back in 4 - 5 days.
 

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I have found that the weather has more to do with their moods than anything else. If it is hot and dry, cold, wet, or stormy, you will have a hot hive. If the humidity is level, temp. moderate, sky clear, and just an over all nice day, they are normally very docile. Also, around 10 or 11 o'clock A.M. they are at their best for the day. Late evening, which you have mentioned, is not the best time to find friendly bees.
 

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Are they working on anything? Anything blooming? Bees without something productive to do will get testy, especially if the weather is hot and dry. Are they bringing in any pollen? If the queen is there, there should be a steady flow of pollen coming in.
 

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Smoke them good and check for queens. iddee is right about the weather. Pick a nice day.
 

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I think I would contact R Weavers and ask them about the problem and see if they had any other complaints like this.
Clint
 

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Sure sounds hot even for a queenless hive. I had 4-5 queenless hives last summer, most of them were morose and lethargic, one was a bit testy but not really hot.

You're off to a bad start is all, don't let it get you down. I think Clinton's advice is good- contact R Weavers and talk with them, they're reputable. If you have to wait for new workers to replace the old hot ones, you've got a wait on your hands. If those two packages combined themselves, there's a good enough chance you don't have any queen. Maybe queenlessness could explain their behavior but like I said, I've not known queenless hives to be THAT hot.

Try to find the queen. Take it one step at a time, stay suited up, smoke but don't over smoke, work them when it's warm, keep folks away from it till it gets sorted, and good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
To all,

Thanks for your advice. I will take it. I will try smoking the hive a little tomorrow. I need to check for that queen. This time, I will wear my boots. It also bothers me that so many fly up that I have a hard time replacing the feeder and top without harming some bees.

Ron S.
 

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This is a package from April 7th of this year?

WAY TOO HOT!!! If you think they are bad now, wait until they build up into a hive.

>Oh, these are All American Italians from R. Weaver. Should be of good temperment.

If you say so.

I would requeen immeadiately. Bees in the air are one thing. Bees trying to sting you are another. Most packages are very docile even if they turn hot later. Yours is hot when it's still small and weak. Now imagine what it will be like when it's five boxes FULL of bees.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Update: Today I used the smoker. A few puffs at the entrance and a few under the feeder. Waited a couple of minutes and opened it up. Queen was released, I had about six frames of comb being made, and considerable pollen. Some cells had syrup in them. I removed the empty queen cage, but did not really do an inspection. I did not want to bother them more than necessary. I refiled the feeder (they finished a full quart in one day). They headbutted me, but nothing like the last two days. I did not feel threatened, but then I was dressed like an astronaut--with boots this time.

I will stick this out. It was fun seeing the new comb and all the work that they had done in just week. Any creature that works that hard deserves to defend itself. So it goes. Thanks for all the advice and immediate responses. I have learned about half of what I know about beekeeping from this site. Very useful.

Ron S.

[ April 14, 2006, 08:00 PM: Message edited by: RonS ]
 

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One thing to mention. If bees are making an orientation flight don't open it. Give them a 10-15 minutes to settle down to normal activity. Things will get ugly real quick if you do.
 

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Only- Can you further explain? I'm not questioning your advice, I'm just curious "why"? While I seem to notice orientation flights occur in bursts usually between 10:00am and 2:00pm, if I have to wait until orientation flights are done, I may never get into the hive.

David
 

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Usually an orientation flight last from 10-20 minutes. I'm not talking the few bees you see during the day here and there flying back and forth. I'm talking lots of bees orienting as in "my gosh are me bees swarming" kind of flight. All the activity at and around the entrance sets most all the hive on edge and they tend to pay a lot more attention to you if you go in during this time. Just work a hive with normal activity and usually by the time your done with that one the other will have quited down.

[ April 15, 2006, 08:41 AM: Message edited by: onlygoodSHBisdeadone ]
 

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Jeez, four years in and I just keep learning on this board. Was unaware that the bees are "testier" during orientation flights! I guess I've never "gone in" during one of these flights because I've never had a problem. I usually tend to my hives around 10:30 am and my bees seen to take their orientation flights around 2:30 (and yes, I always think "my gosh are me bees swarming"). I'll sure keep this in mind for the future. Thanks.
 

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Any hive that gets defensive just because someone
walks up behind it gets requeened with extreme
prejudice around these parts.

Now, opening the hive without smoke was "your
error", moreso given the type of greeting they
gave you when you merely approached the hive.

But still, they were WAAAY too defensive, and
I would call the supplier and demand a gentle
replacement queen free of charge.

Life's too short to tolerate overly defensive bees.
The head-butts were a clear sign that you
should have retreated, put on at least a veil,
and fired up your smoker.

> Was unaware that the bees are "testier" during
> orientation flights!

I was also unaware of this theory, and I've been
keeping bees for a while.

I've worked hundreds of hives when bees were
doing orientation flights, and I've never paid
any attention to those bees, nor they to me.
We've started before dawn, and finished after
sunset more often than I'd care to remember,
so I don't think time of day is all that
important.

I still don't own a bee suit. I likely never
will buy one. I do have a veil, and I never
fail to use a smoker when opening a hive for
any reason, so the veil hood lies open and on
my back most of the time, but the point is that
it is at least "nearby", if not ready to be
employed at a moment's notice. With the
BJ Sheriff design, one can have the hood over
your head and zipped in less than 5 seconds,
and back off and lying across your shoulder
blades just as fast.

But again, Life's too short. Requeen that hive!
Demand queens and packages that you feel
comfortable working, and don't settle for less.
If a supplier sent you substandard woodenware,
you'd be returning it in a heartbeat. Be a
demanding customer about the bees, too.
 

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I've seen EHB that hot before, yes. But it does not sound like typical EHB nor does it sound like acceptable EHB. And THAT would be if it was a strong hive. It's a new package. That's REALLY unacceptable and it will get exponentially worse as the hive builds in strength.
 
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