Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 75 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
374 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a hive that I just removed a super from. It was my first hive, and it has done well, and pretty strong.

It has also apparently superceded. A couple weeks ago, I pulled off the top and put on an empty super. I was stung three times through clothing and chased around the yard.

Yesterday I went to pull off a full super. And despite smoking, the bees were very angry, bouncing off my veil and hat. This time I was smart and wearing a beesuit, but they stung me three times in the only place I wasn't double-suited (the biceps).

I don't know if you guys would consider this mean. But it's too the point that I am considering requeening. The trouble is, I have never done that. And don't have much experience looking for queens. Not to mention I will be dealing with a mean, angry hive (4 supers), where the bottom two chambers are probably so propolized it will be a nightmare. I haven't opened up the bottom brood chamber in probably two years.

I am dreading this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,309 Posts
"I am dreading this." Been there, done that, as most of us have. I suggest that is one of those things that separates the beekeepers from the bee-havers, or in other parlance, the Men from the Boys. Ya do what ya gotta do. Do it when the flow is on, use lots of smoke, duct tape, etc etc... and then realize you'll have some interesting stories to tell about the "hive from hell!" :thumbsup:
Regards,
Steven
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
374 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
One idea I have is to weaken the hive by creating a split with a new queen. Then the remaining mean hive will be smaller and easier to work with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
127 Posts
I got out of my truck around 150 feet from the bees and one got me before I had both feet on the ground. I managed to put my bee suit on and when I approached the hive I was covered with bees trying to sting. We tried to find a new queen but could not find any. The bees were very close to the neighbors and the back deck so we had to dump them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
318 Posts
When all else fails, set up an empty hive body with comb, queen excluder, then empty hive body (no frames). In the evening, go frame by frame and brush the bees off into the empy hive body above the queen excluder. Workers will go down through the queen excluder into the empy frames, most of the time the queen can't. Pinch her.

Remove queen excluder

Then take the hive body and frames with brood and honey you just brushed from and set it on top of the one you brushed into.

requeen.

Probably would want to reverse hive bodies a few days after everyone settles back in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,239 Posts
sifting a hot hive through an excluder might be a bit too much for someone new. easiest would be to split into 3 colonies. this calms all but the hottest. if still hot, keep splitting till you get down to 3 frame nucs. cobble some up outa plywood, or get the cheap cardboard ones from a supplier, or borrow some. get some good queens going and recombine 'em. good luck,mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
501 Posts
Something that makes this task less daunting is to take a box off and move several feet away (preferrably in the shade). There are less mean bees to deal with this way. If you don't find her in that box, take the next one off and move away from the hive again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,532 Posts
I haven't opened up the bottom brood chamber in probably two years.

.
And this is how other beekeepers hives become infected with AFB. Part of being a "Beekeeper or Boxkeeper" is inpecting your brood chambers for disease. If you aren't inspecting and the hive becomes diseased then it becomes weak. Then it gets robbed out by all the neighbors bees. Then they are infected and the beekeeper that does his inspections finds the disease and then he has to deal with it. If you are going to be a beekeeper than inspect your hives!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
374 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I inspect, just not every single box.

I'm a beginning amateur. And when I open the top and see bees spilling out, and comb between the inner cover and top, I basically have one question. Is their honey to harvest?

As far as pests, the only thing I really actively look for is SHB. I take note of how much SHB I see.

I think I am contributing better genetics (except for meanness) than the "active" beekeepers who are using chemicals, pesticides, artificial feed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
388 Posts
Arthur, you arent' the only keeper who does exactly that, and don't let anyone convince you differently.

I assume you know your hive, what is normal, and what isn't. I also expect that if you thought you had a problem you would dig in deeper. Don't let that get to you. Although, if you see to much comb between the inner cover and the top they might be plotting swarming on you.

Mean is whatever you consider it. If three stings is three to many for you, then requeen. I would figure three stings mild on some of my hives. But they don't chase me miles either. I'll deal with a lot of aggression If the hive is building up nicely, Having no near neighbors influences that decision though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
374 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If I had been wearing just a veil (and no suit) I probably would have been stung a hundred times. The bees didn't use to be this aggressive.

Also, there are good reasons not to be inspecting every box, all the time. For example, in my hive, SHB likes to hide out where the frames overlay the super. Bees propolize this, which takes away the SHB hiding spots.

If I am constantly taking the frames out, I am undoing what the bees are doing to protect themselves.

I have another hive which I inherited from my father. 3 supers. The deep and shallow (the bottom 2) both have top bars (no frames). And they are stuck together. Lifting off the shallow pulls all the top bars and comb from the bottom deep along with it, leaving an empty deep. It's hard to inspect a hive that way!!!! I would love to have better info on what is going on in that hive, but I'm afraid getting everything apart would be more destructive than it is worth.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
318 Posts
sifting a hot hive through an excluder might be a bit too much for someone new. easiest would be to split into 3 colonies. this calms all but the hottest. if still hot, keep splitting till you get down to 3 frame nucs. cobble some up outa plywood, or get the cheap cardboard ones from a supplier, or borrow some. get some good queens going and recombine 'em. good luck,mike
You're right. Go with what Mike says....a dark cloud of angry bees can be a bit much for anyone, plus Mike's way is much easier ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
318 Posts
I would recommend next spring cleaning all of these hives out while they are light on stores. That way its not a big mess of honey and brood. Even better, move them all to clean equipment with three to five frames of old comb that has the brood and honey. Make the rest of the frames on new foundation.

That way, you've rotated the majority of your foundation, have clean equipment, bees easy to inspect and time to really go through and clean up the old equipment to keep on hand for swams or splits.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,112 Posts
And this is how other beekeepers hives become infected with AFB. Part of being a "Beekeeper or Boxkeeper" is inpecting your brood chambers for disease. If you aren't inspecting and the hive becomes diseased then it becomes weak. Then it gets robbed out by all the neighbors bees. Then they are infected and the beekeeper that does his inspections finds the disease and then he has to deal with it. If you are going to be a beekeeper than inspect your hives!!!
If Arthur has a hot hive with bees boiling out all over so that he cant even get near it, why would you assume that his hive is infected with AFB?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
Arthur, your "inherited" hive is probably ILLEGAL as it is not inspectable. My experience is that home-grown queens produce MEAN bees ! I urge you to get into "movable frame" equipment and inspect EVERY FRAME at least twice a year. Mean bees take ALL THE FUN out of beekeeping !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,532 Posts
I never said he had AFB. I was pointing out that if you keep bees you need to inspect them. That includes looking at the brood not just lifting the cover and looking at the top bars. With brood boxes in the condition he says they are it is almost impossible for him to inspect them. They need to be managed so they can be inspected. To many beekeepers don't inspect and if they did they wouldn't know what to look for and once they have a problem so do their neighbors. It's like going into an area that a previous beek had AFB and didn't control it. Now when his hives were robbed out by the feral bees they got AFB. Now that your hives are in that area your bees get infected from the feral colonies they rob out.

As for his super hot hive-Put a plastic bag over it so the bees suffocate and start over. Trying to save it is just allowing his hot drones to mate with the virgins in the area.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
374 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
As for his super hot hive-Put a plastic bag over it so the bees suffocate and start over. Trying to save it is just allowing his hot drones to mate with the virgins in the area.
that would be great, except I have invested three years of work in that hive. This is their 4th season.

If you don't mess with the hive, you can approach it no problem. Once you start taking off boxes and taking out frames, different story.

How common is AFB? It doesn't seem very common in these parts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,112 Posts
I never said he had AFB. I was pointing out that if you keep bees you need to inspect them. That includes looking at the brood not just lifting the cover and looking at the top bars. With brood boxes in the condition he says they are it is almost impossible for him to inspect them. They need to be managed so they can be inspected. To many beekeepers don't inspect and if they did they wouldn't know what to look for and once they have a problem so do their neighbors. It's like going into an area that a previous beek had AFB and didn't control it. Now when his hives were robbed out by the feral bees they got AFB. Now that your hives are in that area your bees get infected from the feral colonies they rob out.

As for his super hot hive-Put a plastic bag over it so the bees suffocate and start over. Trying to save it is just allowing his hot drones to mate with the virgins in the area.
You said, and I qoute "And this is how other beekeepers hives become infected with AFB........"

While not exactly saying it, your implication is clear as a bell. A healthy hive is a haelthy hive. I find it appaling that you are suggesting suffocating the bees in question when from all apparent observations, there aint a **** thing wrong with them other than a little aggresiveness.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
374 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
It's too bad my drones can't fly to Wisconsin. :)

It's a lot of work and time to go through every box and multiple frames. My bees make a lot of propolis, and I end up having to separate frames.

I know I should check my hives more, but I am balancing a lot of other things as well--work and family.

But I know one thing is for sure--if I ever get AFH, I will be cussing under my breath at some unknown beek in my area who screwed me over because he didn't know how to maintain his hives!!!!!!!
 
1 - 20 of 75 Posts
Top