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62 degrees here today, went out to the hive for an inspection, opened the lid removed the screen, and it seemed like have the hive came after me, really, aggressive, so I left, I'll go back later and put the lid back on, but there were hundreds on my gloves, many more all over me, what gives? it's still early, I'm going to put a deer cam out there next week, it's suppose to get cold again Wednesday, through next week!
 

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Did you smoke them first? You had gloves on, what about a suit and veil? Did you take any stings? It sure would have been nice to get that lid back on...

Not sure what the deal is, but mine have seemed more aggressive also, I did inspections Sunday and they were all more aggressive than normal. Not to mention, both Saturday and today, I got nailed just standing off to the side of my hives doing nothing but watching...which I don't think has ever really happened to me before. Not sure what's up, but I hope they chill out.
 

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Do you have a feeder on them?

If there's no feeder and they aren't getting nectar from a flow, they are going to (rightly) think they are in a dearth and will fight extra hard to protect their stores.

Put a feeder on them a day or two before you do your inspection, that should calm them down quite a bit.
 

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Not a good thing. IF it is not a starving hive or one with a muddy entrance landing from a skunk working them over, they need requeened when You can get one. I have two that are not as brutal as you report but are going away genetically first opportunity. About two months when I have queens coming, those colonies will become as many nucs as I can split them into.
 

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Mine are always more agressive in March. I can just watch just a couple of minutes and then start getting some head-butts. Once there's a heavy honey flow they seem to ignore my observation. I can crack the hive w/o protection and they ignore me.
 

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Man, what gives? Someone says mean bees, half the forum says re-queen. There are times when they are aggressive. Mine were fed and they were aggressive the first time I opened this year, but the next time they were fine. Trend the aggressiveness. That Practical Beekeeper M. Bush had some good advice on another forum with marking the hive when they were aggressive. He called it 3 strikes and she was out or something like that: http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,43922.0.html

Just take a breath and take note of the situation, i.e., weather, flow, feed, etc. and see what might have provoked them. If it continues with regularity, then consider pinching the queen. And take note also if you are getting bumped hard or if they are trying to put a stinger in you. With your gloves getting covered, most likely they were really ticked, but I think if you have a good strong hive, I would trend their behavior. I agree with most everyone that it is not a fun hobby if you have to always deal with aggression, but regardless, you are going to have to deal with at times. So just trend it. Oh yea, I like how AHB is thrown around so much too once bees have a bad day. But of course you are in the midwest, so probably why that wasn't mentioned yet.
 

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AHB does not have to be involved to have a hive that is aggressive enough to warrant replacing the genetics. As has been mentioned, it is all relative. I like to compare my own hives. Is the aggressive hive the only aggressive one you have? Are the stores conditions similar to the others? If the answer is yes to both these questions, you probably have a hive that needs a new queen. If the hives are all acting similar but have not been aggressive in the past or the hive in question is much shorter on stores, it is probably circumstance and should be treated that way.
 

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all my hives are pissy this time of year even with stores and pollen. Once the flow hits in late april and may they'll chill out.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I had a hive that died earlier this winter, I took one of the frames full of honey and placed it near the entrance, after an hour there were over a thousand beez on that frame.
This evening took the frame back to the old hive, so animals can't get to it.
I think there isn't much for them to eat, and it will be at least 2 weeks before the pollen from the Maples is ready, due to cold weather.
 

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Try to talk to them sweetly, move slowly and calmly at all times,
and do not show any fear at all, even when they sting you.
At least this sometimes (but not often) works with my wife who's nickname
is Bee but your results may be different but not likely as women will be women.
 

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Man, what gives? Someone says mean bees, half the forum says re-queen.
Lot of people on the forums are in areas where AHB (Africanized Honey Bees) are an issue. When a hive starts unexpectedly turning hot, its usually the law that the hive must be requeened or outright destroyed to try and stop the spread of AHBs.

Can't blame them for being overly cautious.
 

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Anytime there is no nectar available the bees will be in a bad mood. Anytime it's below 50 F outside, the bees will be in a bad mood. Anytime the sun isn't shining the bees will be in a bad mood. These are the times you leave them alone. If you don't leave them alone, you should not be surprised if they are not happy. If I open a hive on a sunny calm day when there is nectar available, and they are grouchy when I think they have no cause, I give them a red pin. If they are nice the next time, I pull the pin. If they are grouchy the second time, I give them another pin. If I get to three pins, I requeen. If they are grouchy on a day I would expect them to be, I don't give them any pins... every hive can have a bad day. I just don't let them have three in a row when they should not be having a bad day.
 

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Lot of people on the forums are in areas where AHB (Africanized Honey Bees) are an issue. When a hive starts unexpectedly turning hot, its usually the law that the hive must be requeened or outright destroyed to try and stop the spread of AHBs.

Can't blame them for being overly cautious.
Negative. I don't buy that. Sure be cautious, but part of being cautious is watching what is going on and knowing what is happening in your environment. What I am saying is; on this forum everyone immediately gives the advice to re-queen or shouts to AHB. And most of us are new at this and trying to learn. So let's first teach the person to check conditions and trends prior to killing a queen and breaking the cycle. Trust me, I'm way down south where AHB is a concern and my friend who I confer with is at the heart of the region in Florida (where I have only heard on this forum, but have not confirmed, that they require re-queening) and I still need to look at all conditions first. I do not think that if my hive is extremely testy on a given day or two that the state inspector is going to figure that out and come knocking to see if I killed my queen yet. And I would bet, knowing the how the inspector in that region of Florida is, that he would definitely want to know what is going on before deeming a colony a danger to AHB. And I suspect the same here from our inspector. No, we need to take a step back and then do what is necessary given the conditions.

Dave, you know your bees. Let them go until you get good weather and something trying to bloom and check back on them. Give them some time and then proceed from there.
 

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So we had a similar problem a few days ago.

I was out working in the backyard (Santa Monica, CA) trying to round up some of our chickens that had escaped into the garden from their fenced off area in the back. For whatever reason they were being particularly stubborn, refusing to be chased towards the back of the yard (where I keep my hive) All of a sudden my dogs went ballistic, tearing past me and running into the house. A few seconds later, the bees descended. I was probably stung 100 times, and when I finally got my suit on and went back to check on the chickens they had killed three of my hens.


Any idea what happened? I hadn't checked the hive in a few weeks but until this point they had been docile. We put in a starter hive last march, which kind of fizzled out in November. A local apiarist came by and supplemented our hive with some bees she had rescued, after pooh-poohing our "designer bees". I've noticed in the past these bees have been more aggressive, but nothing like this! they didn't settle down for hours. My wife checked the hive a few weeks ago and said everything looked fine, maybe they were a bit overcrowded? Still, nothing disturbed them or bothered the hive. Does this type of stuff happen often? I can't keep them if I can't figure out how to keep my hens safe.

Beginning beekeeper here. be easy on me
 

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All animals should always be able to run away from a hive. Most occurances of lost livestock or pets are due to them being confined either by fence or by being tied up.

I think I would requeen them.

>Does this type of stuff happen often?

I have had some hot bees rarely in the past. I've never lost animals to them. I would plan to move the hive somewhere else, requeen, see if they are calmed down and then maybe move them back. If you have a limited yard or are in town, you should always have an "escape" plan for if they get mean. You never know when and if that will happen, but it's nice to have a plan in place so you can do it quickly. Mean bees can make your yard unihabitable and unsafe and if you are in town, and neighbors are close, it can do the same for their yard.

Think of it like a dog. If a dog turns mean, you have to do something. They usually don't (and bees usually don't) but sometimes they do.
 

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Knowing now that there are calm bees out there I will not tolerate any mean bee in my yard.
If the hive show any sign of aggression I will find another calm queen for them. Of all the good
genetics out there I am sure we can find some good ones to keep. If everybody's goal is the same then we
will have calm bees to raise. There are some beekeepers that we bought the queens from thinking they
have the good one but after the hive grew it turned out differently from what we have expected. Of course
everybody has a different goal in beekeeping. Some will tolerate a hot hive because they make good honey
and are away from the people. One of my goals is to raise some gentle queens that I can wear my shorts and
no gloves to work them in the summer time. That may be a long shot but a good goal to have. Don't you think so?
 

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One of my goals is to raise some gentle queens that I can wear my shorts and
no gloves to work them in the summer time. That may be a long shot but a good goal to have. Don't you think so?
I did all summer long. Didn't recieve one sting, except for a bee that crawled up my leg and became trapped between my pants. If I went by how they acted in spring (bees chasing 100 yards, constant bumping), should I have requeened them?
 

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Whether or not to requeen is at the beekeeper's option. After I had experienced with the aggressive bees flying all
over my veil, gloves and suit on a hive inspection (thought that was beekeeping supposed to be) and later on found out that they are not supposed to act like this all season long. Then I figured out that is not how beekeeping should be. Why would one want to get sting or chased away on a hive check by 100 of worker bees on every hive check? Then my search is on for the gentle type honey bees to keep. My search lead me to 2 local small queen suppliers that have the gentle bees then it further confirmed my expectation. There are the
gentle bees and the aggressive bees.
After the 2 aggressive colonies died I was always lucky enough to bought the gentle bees, locally. Every year I called early to reserved 1 or 2 queens for my early Spring splits. Whatever queens he produced early in the season are always sold out locally. I paid more than the usual but I think it is worth it since she already evaluated in laying ability and temperament by the beekeeper before I bought her. I always asked him to save me the gentle bees. So I am happy and he is happy too. :) Because it is local he really took the time to raise the gentle good queens. And did not wear gloves either on the day I pick up the queen. But I wore it to pick out the queen just in case. If he raised the aggressive bees then I am not going back there every year to buy them since they are both expensive and hot.
 

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Some things you just hvave to live with, I only have experience with wild African bees, and it's very much luck of the draw stuff, some days all goes well and others you end up covered in bees and nursing a few stings, I tend to have to smoke rather heavily to keep them subdued. Definitely stay away if it's overcast or very windy
 
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