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I'm a first-time beekeeper who introduced two new 3# Italian packages on April 12th. Hives are doing well, queen is laying and workers are brining in stores. One of the hives seems aggressive to me, but I don't know if this is aggressive or normal, as I've never kept bees before. This particular hive got really upset compared to the other hive when I put the packages in. Tonnes of bees in the air. I got stung as did my wife and daughter who were standing 30 feet away. I've been stung a couple more times since then by this hive, just by standing still 10 feet away and watching the hive. Sometimes they will follow me 40 feet away. Is this an unusually aggressive hive, or is this normal behavior. Comparatively, my other hive seems very tame.

I recognize that these bees don't belong to my queen, and in a few weeks the temperment will likely change, but I'm just curious if this is normal and I should plan on having to stay 20 feet away from my hives in the future. Thanks for your input.
 

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When you manipulate your hives, are you a banger"" or do you handle the boxes and frames gently with a minimum of knocking things about?

How often are you getting into the hive?

Were there eggs/larvae in the hive, or did you accidentally injure the queen while manipulating the hive?
If the hive settles down quickly (w/in a week) after requeening, they were likely queenless due to the original queen being injured

I often sit right next to a hive, and am not attacked.

There are times, though, like when a small animal like a raccoon or skunk has been bothering a hive, that they come after me when i am still some distance away.
Are there scratches or muddy smears on/near the hive entrance?

I cull and replace queens in hives that "come after" people 20 feet away if i can't find a correct a reason for the behavior.
 

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I've only been in the hive twice... once to simply refill the frame feeder and once to do a light inspection. I'm pretty careful (i.e. not a banger), and they chase me/sting me on days I'm not in the hive... just looking at them from about 10 feet away. It's not that huge of a deal, but I'm wondering if it's normal behaviour for bees to attack from that distance on days when the hive has not been opened.

In answer to your question, no evidence of small animals. I live in a setting where these would be ulikely. Thanks for your input.
 

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Lucky for you, those bees are not the offspring of the queen (if there is one). In 6 weeks they will be dead and replaced by the queen progeny, which may be calmer and less aggressive. I would wait it out.
 

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Yes, I would say they are aggressive. The only question is why.
 

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I am a complete new beekeeper, just installed mine on the 16th. But I can walk up to mine and stand 3 feet away and watch and haven't been bothered or stung yet.

Hopefully when your queen's offspring start showing up they will be easier to get along with. Good luck/
 

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Last year a friend of mine had a package like that. Once the queens eggs became the bees in the hive the hive was no longer aggressive. Give it time and hopefully the bees will mellow out. It's not fun when you can't go into your yard without getting stung in the neck or face. It's tough to get away from a defensive bee. BZZ BZZ...Bzz Bzz I hope that it works out favorably.
 

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I'd make sure your queen is laying and feed them and leave them alone for a little while .
You will see the longer your a beekeeper the nicer your bees get;)
Good luck.
 

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It's a relief to read this post - i could have written every word myself! Prior to installing Italian honeybees into two top bar hives yesterday, i was absolutely fearless around bees. I so adored them, i was often tempted to caress their fuzziness with my fingertips.

Now, it seems with one of the two hives, my love is unrequited. I'll admit it. I made a beginners mistake during the installation process and took off my jacket and veil while there were still bees in the air. The first install went so smoothly, i wanted to get a better look at it all without the veil obstructing my view. What a fascination! But when i put the jacket back on, i must have locked a few bees inside of it with me. They might have been there for quite some time, happy to be protected from a light rain. But upon installation of the second hive, the agitation needle started to quiver madly and before i knew exactly what was happening, i could hear the high pitched vibration of panicked bees at the base of my neck. I'm stung! I'm stung! And although this occurred only last night, even today, i can't really linger at that hive for very long before a bee quite literally chases me away from it. I wasn't stung today, but i admit it - i'm feeling quite rejected by this hive. :)

I hope both of our seemingly aggressive hives calm down soon, mmaylett. Please keep us posted ...
 

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Same situation with a newly installed package myself…very aggressive at install and received 2 stings on the wrist…4 days later to ensure queen was released they were still very agitated…received another sting 45 feet away from the hive after 2 or 3 followed me as I walked away…feeding and staying away for a while…! I hope they calm down once the queens bees emerge…!
 

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I have a couple of aggressive hives and they are a pain (literally) when I go into them. I have come to find out however that my aggressive hives are usually stronger and store more honey than my others. Every hive will have its own temperament even when there is nothing wrong inside.
 

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Yes, for being Italian bees, they are aggressive. I have 4 Italian hives and they are as docile as it gets. Two from last year and 2 new packages from this year (were shipped out on April 12). I can even stand in front of the hive and they would not sting.
 
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