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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I caught a swarm earlier this year and this hive has been doing really well. However they are insanely aggressive. I'm not super experienced as a beekeeper (5 years and roughly 10 hives) but I've never seen bees be so defensive. I feel like I'm trying to take care of yellow jackets. All three of my kids and myself have been stung by these bees, when we were around 50-60 ft away. During inspections a half dozen or so bees will suddenly pour out of the hive and start stinging my suit or cover up my hive tool. Long story short I ordered a new queen which arrived today (7-1-20). I tried going into the hive and dispatching the original queen 24hrs before the new queen showed up but could not find her and ran out of daylight, not to mention these bees were covering my suit and stinging through my leather gloves. The queen arrived and again I tried to find the original without any luck. I'm usually pretty good at finding the queen, but this hive is so intimidating that I'm having a hard time even looking. Today was amazingly frustrating.
So now I have a new queen and I'm worried about how long she can be without a hive. I'm going to keep trying to find the original but what happens if tomorrow i look again and get the same results? Should I put her in the hive anyway and just plug the cage so that when the candy is eaten she can't get out, or should I set up a new box with frames from the same hive, or is there some option I'm not thinking of? Also does anyone know if she'll even be ok by tomorrow? Thanks in advance for any and all help.
 

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Had the same issue several years ago. I added a drop of water to her container and kept her inside the house for a couple days if I remember correctly.

Start looking for the queen around mid day when your forager force is gone. Should be a lot easier. Keep looking, you’ll find her.

I should also ask - you are seeing eggs in the hive, correct?

Ryan
 

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6a 4th yr 7 colonies inc. resource hive
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An idea for working a big hive-
consider using cover cloths (large flour sack cloth dish towels) to drape over boxes. It keeps the bees in the box and calm instead of smoking them non stop. I started using them along with a quiet box in my boomer hives and it changed my relationship with them. I bought a set of 3 at our local Bimart and take them, smoker and quiet box for every inspection. Once a frame is pulled it goes in the quiet box and doesn’t hang on the outside in daylight and wind. I really dislike frame rests.

Good luck on your requeening. You’re on your way to a more peaceful relationship with your hives.
 

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An idea for working a big hive-
consider using cover cloths (large flour sack cloth dish towels) to drape over boxes. It keeps the bees in the box and calm instead of smoking them non stop. I started using them along with a quiet box in my boomer hives and it changed my relationship with them. I bought a set of 3 at our local Bimart and take them, smoker and quiet box for every inspection. Once a frame is pulled it goes in the quiet box and doesn’t hang on the outside in daylight and wind. I really dislike frame rests.

Good luck on your requeening. You’re on your way to a more peaceful relationship with your hives.
Just looked up quiet boxes. I love the idea! Along with the cover cloth idea. How many "oops!" has there been from knocking over a frame leaning against the hive, or bumping the frames on a frame rest. I know I have damaged queen cells hanging off the bottom because I didn't have a safe place to put them. This is brilliant!
 

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Titus,

So do this in stages,
go in and find 2 frames of brood about to hatch, usually the darkest cappings, even 3 frames.
Shake them enough to insure the Queen IS NOT on them, so 1/2 covered is often enough.

Place these 2 or 3 frames of brood, in a new box. Move the original hive to a new stand, minus the 3 frames of brood.
Place the new queen in the original location, in between the 3 frames , screen side down if screened.

basically a fly back split.
the field bees will go back to the old location so be sure to size it to at least 1/2 the original.

Should really go back in in 5 days to check for and remove any Queen cells started on the brood frames, and pull the cadge out.

Now the original hive is minus the field bees, so in a day or 2 go back on the hunt for the old queen.

If you still cannot find it split it in 1/2, go back in in 5 days to look for eggs or Q cells.
the 1/2 with eggs has the queen the half with the Q cells , cut out every one and newspaper combine to the new Queen.

look thru the 1/2 if you cannot find her split again, with 5 days repeat the same protocol.

At some point you will either get down to 2 or 3 frames or find her, once found do the hive tool test and wait 5 days destroy Q cells combine back to another hive.

take care not to put in a Q cell that would supersede the new queen with the mean queens daughter.

good luck

GG
 

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Looking for a queen in a hot and large hive is a bear. Yep.

Basically, break up your defensive hive into small splits ASAP.
Divide and conquer.
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesrequeeninghot.htm

Meanwhile, you can park your queen making a simple 2-frame nuc.
She can be there - caged! - for several days, not a problem.
 

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Brush off all bees in to a box and reassemble the hive. put a queen excluder on top and put the box with the bees on top of the excluder. Most of the bees will move down to the hive but queen doesn't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the replies. I'll try giving the new queen a drop of water, it's good to know that she might be ok for a little bit longer.
The cloth idea sounds like exactly what I need. While inspecting yesterday i would smoke them down into the hive and maybe two minutes later they would be boiling out the top again. Definitely giving that a try.
The fly away split is simply genius. It sounds like a little work, but I don't think me or the hive can deal with another day of going through each and every frame. Tuesday was a little disappointing not finding the queen but yesterday was pretty overwhelming. I feel pretty confident about splitting though. Thank you all so much. I'll post back with an update in a couple of days.
 

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In the future, if you have queen excluders you can place them between the brood boxes. Open them up in three days or so and the box with eggs will have the queen.
 

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Just looked up quiet boxes. I love the idea! Along with the cover cloth idea. How many "oops!" has there been from knocking over a frame leaning against the hive, or bumping the frames on a frame rest. I know I have damaged queen cells hanging off the bottom because I didn't have a safe place to put them. This is brilliant!
Scott Hendricks on YouTube gets full credit for the idea. He has a video on how to build a quiet box. I have very rudimentary carpentry skills and managed to build one out of a nuc box. It's also painted black on the inside. I also have a magnet attachment drilled into it for my hive tool. It's especially handy when you pull a frame with the queen on it. I set her aside in the quiet box where she's safe.
 

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The cloth idea sounds like exactly what I need. While inspecting yesterday i would smoke them down into the hive and maybe two minutes later they would be boiling out the top again. Definitely giving that a try.
Boomers are like that. The cover cloth is exactly what you need. After you drape the cloth over your box you won't have to smoke them again if it's a super. You just set it aside with the cloth on top and remove the stress of daylight and worry over their stores being robbed out. When I'm working a brood box I use two cloths just like I'm doing surgery. Just be sure to get the flour sack cloth. The cloth has a very tight weave so bees don't get hung up in it.
 

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Scott Hendricks on YouTube gets full credit for the idea. .........
I don't know how original that idea is.
:)

I simply carry around an empty multi-purpose nuc box for anything.
Here is your "black box" - put a frame in, cover it with a rag or a towel - done.
Really a no-brainer.

In my operation nothing is ever open - you cover things up and keep them covered.
 

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The cover cloth is exactly what you need. ...
As well, we've been discussing soft covers in the "horizontal hives" forever.
This is one way the long hives rule - we simply open the hive gradually and keep the opening small and the bees NOT riled up.
But practicing the soft covers is really a long known general management technique.
Helps with defensive bees.
 

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Dont bother looking for the queen, take one of your other hives with a quiet queen, put a queen excluder on top of the vicious hive, a sheet of newspaper, then a spacer with entrance, next the quiet hive.

Close the entrance to the bottom hive, the bees from the bottom hive eat through the newspaper and exit the top entrance, when they return they join the top hive, there is no nectar going into the bottom hive so the queen stops laying, eventually the top hive takes over and one of the advantages of this system is that the drones are confined.
I have used this way about six or seven times in the last twenty years it always has worked, that is what I do with an extremely aggressive hive if it is too bad to look for the queen.
It is usually the queens fault, recently I had a hive that was bad and I had thought of using this way, then I had one more try to find the queen which I did, and from then on those bees were calm
 

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How many brood boxes do you have? All of the suggestions will work, but before I mess around too much trying to find an elusive queen, I remove the top brood box and move it 10-15 feet away and listen to which box starts roaring. This may take as long as 10 min, but usually quicker. Cover both boxes with anything. Then remove 5 frames to a quiet box and move it to the other box that was not roaring which is,of course, 10-15 feet away. I use Jester nuc boxes for a quiet box. Wait and listen again. If you can't find the queen on the five frames, I would shake them out in the box,wait for foragers to fly off and look again. Worst case scenario, dump the box away from the hive. The roar test doesn't always work, but so simple and fast, it's worth a try.
I have no experience with a hot hives, but understand they often reject queens. I would consider using a push in cage or nuc method, not just a cage with candy. Good luck. J
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Radar

Thanks for the advice. I like your idea prob best of all but unfortunately this is my only hive this year. I lost two this winter and with all of the crazy quarantine mess I thought I'd take a break for the year, but this swarm decided to move into one of my swarm catchers, and I was like "well, I guess I won't take the year off after all :) ". If I ever have this prob again though, I'll definitely give it a try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
DIVIDE AND CONQUER! So I just finished splitting this hive into three hives. I used towels as manipulation cloths and these girls were still mean, but omg what a huge difference it made! I had heard of them when I first started beekeeping but after taking care of several calm hives my first couple of years I thought they were prob just a gimmick. I will forever consider it essential for aggressive hives from now on and probably a good practice for calm ones. My biggest worry was that the replacement queen wouldn't make it till today but she was alive and well when I put here in the box today. I still never saw the original queen but I feel pretty confident that she is not in the box that the new queen is in, and I feel so much more confident about finding her on next inspection. Thanks everyone for all of the advice. I'll post another update after my next inspection in a couple of days
 
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