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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm new to the forum and a hobbyist. It seems the more I learn the more there is to learn.

Two questions,

1. The behavior of the bees in a hive in my backyard have become more aggressive, chasing me across the yard, they didn't act like this a week ago when I did a maintenance check, is it possible i killed the queen by accident and they're now queenless?

2. If I do need to re-queen I've heard hawaiian queens are productive and docile. I live in SW Florida. Are there advantages to buying queens locally or does it matter or should I just let them generate a new queen. Doesn't letting the bees generate a new queen slow down hive development as they'll lose three weeks of egg laying?

Thanks!
 

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Yes, it is possible that your hive is queenless. Queenless hives sometimes behave differently and can be more defensive. Another possibility is that your hive swarmed and the new queen mated with an Africanized drone which would also make them more defensive. Yes, allowing the bees to make their own queen will set back the hive and also risk her mating with an Africanized drone in your area. Opinions differ, but I believe you are better off with a local queen from a reputable seller. Another possibility to consider is pests like skunks could be visiting the hive and making it more defensive. Look for tracks, disturbed area by hive, chewed bees, scat. Finally, sometimes they just have a bad day. J
 

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Welcome,

"It seems the more I learn the more there is to learn. " Well you've learned the first lesson.

Lot's of reasons for the hive to get ugly. In a week, I'd think of nighttime visitors or robbers first. Easy enough to check if the queen is there.

Hearing good things about a line of Queens is a lot like hearing good things about a Chevy, or Ford or ...
You are only going to get one queen of a line, not much of a sample.

Local, at you can see the bees and meet some people, even if only online.
 

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Isn't it required or at least suggested to requeen with a purchased queen from non africanized stock in Florida?
 

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welcome to beesource mj!

we are looking forward to hearing more about your beekeeping experience.

may i suggest that you add your location to your profile so that it shows up on your posts? it helps a lot when others are responding because of the important influence that location has on beekeeping.

to do that you:

select 'settings' at the top of the page
select 'edit profile' at the left of the page
scroll down to 'additional information'
add your location.

sw florida is good enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have no idea but I thought that one of the benefits of hawaiian queens is that the africanized bees
are not in HI so there is no chance it's in there genetic makeup
 

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excellent, many thanks!

i personally have come to the decision that i really like the traits of my local bee population and would be hesitant to bring in queens from outside the local area. in addition to liking the traits, i would also be concerned about bringing in more virulent strains of viruses. luckily for me there isn't a big influx of bees that get brought in here from out of state thanks to our state laws. that makes the bringing in of undesirable genetics and pathogens less of a worry for us.

the strain of bee that works the best is one of those locality considerations mj. i would lean toward taking the advice of those with experience in your general proximity. clyde has a good point with respect to having to be concerned about africanized colonies.

the setting back a few weeks while a hive requeens itself is a factor, but i would think only a small factor for you since you have a really long season there.
 

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Localized stock is a tad overrated. Just like "local honey is better for you." Great queens are great, and pure honey is pure. Living in extreme areas localized stock becomes more important but in Florida you just need queens that will lay good and not turn you into a human pincushion. If your having problems with aggressive behavior raising your own could just give you more of the same. Yes, letting them raise their own would really slow them down. I have 5 hawaiian queens but i just made up the splits so it will be a while to truly determine how they do. So far so good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you so much. Really, my main focus in mangrove honey which is late spring/early summer so I'm trying to ramp up. Am I being shallow minded by only focusing on mangrove honey when I'm sure there other flows other times of the year that I'm not familiar with?
 

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i don't think you are being shallow, but at the end of the day it's pretty hard to make the bees forage on what you want them to. they tend to utilize what ever happens to be available and most attractive to them at the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm a backcountry fishing guide in the 10,000 Islands of SW Florida which is all mangrove country so I'm familiar with the area and take my hives deep into the mangroves so my honey is all or mostly black mangrove honey but yes, I understand what your saying, the rest of the year it's a mix.
 

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very cool mj. sounds like you have a pretty unique opportunity there for monofloral honey. on the requeening set back it would really depend on how strong your colonies are now and how much time before the mangrove bloom. getting them as strong as you can without having them go into swarm mode would be the balancing act.
 

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Localized stock is a tad overrated. Just like "local honey is better for you." Great queens are great, and pure honey is pure. Living in extreme areas localized stock becomes more important but in Florida you just need queens that will lay good and not turn you into a human pincushion. If your having problems with aggressive behavior raising your own could just give you more of the same. Yes, letting them raise their own would really slow them down. I have 5 hawaiian queens but i just made up the splits so it will be a while to truly determine how they do. So far so good.
Reminds me of this, guy asks a cowboy, "What is a good color for a horse?" "A good horse is a good color."
 

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I'm a backcountry fishing guide in the 10,000 Islands of SW Florida which is all mangrove country so I'm familiar with the area and take my hives deep into the mangroves so my honey is all or mostly black mangrove honey but yes, I understand what your saying, the rest of the year it's a mix.
Raising their own may take 3 weeks, introducing a queen is also going to take a week or two. When are you going to take them into the puckerbrush where ugly bees are not a problem? Might be simplest to take them out early and start a nuc.

That is if the problem is genetics, not vermin or a bad day.
 

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A quick change in temperament like that says wildlife to me. I had a whole yard get hot once over the span of two weeks, turns out a momma skunk was teaching her babies how to roll bees. A little lye sprinkled at the base of each hive so it tastes bad when they rub them in the dirt to get the stingers out calmed the place down in about a week.

Those mangrove racoons can be pretty **** clever, I wonder if they are messing with your hives.
 

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Doesn't letting the bees generate a new queen slow down hive development as they'll lose three weeks of egg laying?
Depends how you go about re-queening. If you raise a new queen in a small nucleus colony while the old queen is still in residence, you can then ensure that the future monarch has been mated successfully and is laying ok before introducing her to the parent colony - that way there should be zero interruption in egg laying.
LJ
 

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All this talk about requeening. I would think the first order of business would be to determine if you still have a laying queen. Just saying.

I would suspect preditors or weather issues first. One week is a very short time span for a hive to turn mean without an external influence.
 
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