Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 40 Posts

·
Registered
4 hives
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My father bought a nuc last year. It swarmed and requested itself. As the year progressed it became hotter. By the end of the year it was really bad. Going into spring how should I treat this colony and what's the best plan to requeen. I can get N Georgia queens in March. Should I try one of those or wait and try to requeen myself from my known gentle stock. Double deep and very strong
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
559 Posts
Couple options:
Order a a queen from a trusted source and kill the old queen.

Raise a queen from your gentle stock or put a frame of eggs in from your gentle stock, kill the queen, and knock down any queen cells that aren't from that frame - forcing them to raise an unrelated queen.

Or go through the hive and just kill the queen. Gentleness seems to be from the father side so simply having them raise a new queen, and hope she breeds with gentle drones, could be enough.

With that said, I have ZERO tolerance for hot hives because I don't want them raising drones.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,505 Posts
Should I try one of those or wait and try to requeen myself from my known gentle stock. Double deep and very strong
First it has a little Winter left to survive, but usually the meanest/hottest in my apiary always survive. If it were me, I would re-queen from my own gentle stock. You probably want to do that ASAP (weather & drones permitting), because going through mean hives as their population builds looking for a queen can be a death wish :eek:. I would also make sure their temperament hasn't changed from where they left off in the Fall. Perhaps, you just kept catching them on a bad day😁, or they re-queened themselves since.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
396 Posts
Going through a hot hive is not too bad, so don't worry if you catch it late. Just separate the boxes onto separate bottom boards and spread the entrances away from the original entrance so the grumpy foragers are split. (If you are using 10frame deeps you may want to split them more, such as into Nucs.) then 9 days later go through and cull queen cells. The one with the queen will be obvious. If you still can't find her divide it again and repeat. You can requeen the new Nucs or combine them or.... So many possibilities!
When I get hot colonies I keep them small in the spring, pull brood as often as needed to keep them from raising drones, until I can requeen with better stock. This way I don't spend money on a queen early, I get extra brood where I want it, the hot colony draws me some more comb, and i dont get mean drones in my dca's. The only thing I don't get out of them is honey and genetics. The one is not a loss and the other I make up for elsewhere in the apiary....
So in your situation, since they are strong, I would suggest splitting it up. If they are gentle enough you could shake all the bees into the bottom (so the queen is there and put the half the brood above a queen excluder. Then the next day you can pull splits off the top (to add brood to other colonies if you don't have a queen or cells available). Then split the remaining frames until you find the queen as above.
If they are very hot I find it can sometimes be difficult to requeen as they are picky. If they are not so hot you can just requeen and get a honey crop off them. But I would try to keep them small so they don't raise drones, until you get a nicer queen in there.
Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,293 Posts
Strong hives, and hives undergoing a swarm sequence, are manifestly "mean".

Most of the hobbyist claims about mean bees I have investigated is simply a function of hives building up from a weak nuc to a full-tilt production hive on the verge of swarming.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,505 Posts
Going through a hot hive is not too bad, so don't worry if you catch it late. Just separate the boxes onto separate..
Guess we are on a different level of "hot" & "mean", but as JWChesnut points out its about prospective. In my experience, it has always been very, very bad😁Interesting enough, my hottest hives are usually the longest survivors & most productive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
559 Posts
Interesting enough, my hottest hives are usually the longest survivors & most productive.
It's often said hot hives do the best, but there is no science or fact behind it.

I think it's because those are the hives that are left alone and that we're not peeking in on constantly - interrupting their progress.

I've had hot bees in the past who killed every queen I gave them. And by hot, I mean wearing 3 pairs of jeans and duct taping my ear vents on my hood, ankles, sleeves, etc. I ended up combining them to my furthest hive and left a nuc in the original spot with one frame of brood. I knocked down the mature queen cells, gave them a few days to think about their life choices, and gave them a new queen they happily accepted.

To me, if I can't work the hive without a veil, they get replaced and I have a 95% survival rate and more honey then you could imagine...3-5 supers per hive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
The hive could be better now. Last year I had a very mean aggressive hive but it was later in the summer and I didn't have an extra queen and hardly any drones so I didn't want to kill her. I left the hive alone for 4 or 5 weeks then went back in it on a calm sunny day around noon. The bees were as calm as any hive in the yard and have been ever since. I'll never know whether it was the same queen or they superseded her but since I seldom saw a drone in any of the hives I feel like it was the same one. I marked her and when I put them to bed for winter they were as easygoing as any I've had. Might want to give them another chance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
610 Posts
Strong hives, and hives undergoing a swarm sequence, are manifestly "mean".

Most of the hobbyist claims about mean bees I have investigated is simply a function of hives building up from a weak nuc to a full-tilt production hive on the verge of swarming.
I've had weak nucs that were meaner than fire
 

·
Registered
4 hives
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
The hive could be better now. Last year I had a very mean aggressive hive but it was later in the summer and I didn't have an extra queen and hardly any drones so I didn't want to kill her. I left the hive alone for 4 or 5 weeks then went back in it on a calm sunny day around noon. The bees were as calm as any hive in the yard and have been ever since. I'll never know whether it was the same queen or they superseded her but since I seldom saw a drone in any of the hives I feel like it was the same one. I marked her and when I put them to bed for winter they were as easygoing as any I've had. Might want to give them another chance.
I will be. checking their temp in a few days. I havent been un them since November. At that point Nasty to say the least. Like mentioned above still have a lil cold weather to go. Thanks for the options/opinions. Will be trying to split either way but dont want 2 hot hives lol. That being said I will have to wait until the drone populations appear in the other hives to requeen successfully. So if I split them down and keep them small that will slow their drone production? Learning here beeks Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,505 Posts
It's often said hot hives do the best, but there is no science or fact behind it. I think it's because those are the hives that are left alone and that we're not peeking in on constantly - interrupting their progress... And by hot, I mean wearing 3 pairs of jeans and duct taping my ear vents on my hood, ankles, sleeves, etc...To me, if I can't work the hive without a veil, they get replaced and I have a 95% survival rate and more honey then you could imagine...3-5 supers per hive.
I said it based upon my apiaries (my fact), don't need scientific evidence to agree or disagree to it. Trust me, I am in them that's how I know :eek:. Sounds like you know "hot" bees. I would never try to work any hive without a veil. Actually, I am a full gear type of guy.
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
6,531 Posts
I have 1 hive that gets "hot" as the season progresses. It is, and has been, my strongest hive and best producer for 4 years running. It is also the parent hive for almost all of my other hives which are not even warm by comparison. See how they are during the flow and use that as a basis for deciding what to do. Also keep in mind that different people define "hot" differently. For me, hot means they chase me when I run the lawn mower next to them in the summertime, head bump me whenever I crack open the top, and I always need to use smoke with them. Typically, I do not use smoke on the other hives and they remain relatively chill during an inspection.
 

·
Registered
4 hives
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Yes these will follow 80 yds to the porch and follow you in the house. Ask me how I know lol. All my others are gentle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
298 Posts
I had a resource hive with what I referred to as "pissy girls" in it. Eight frames of anger. They would pour out the front and fill the air. They got my assistant last year. He wore a tight white button down shirt (his mistake). They stitched him right across the belt line. This past fall I had a production hive that had a hive top feeder on it that would let bees leak past the retaining plate. I would occasionally get stung when feeding them. No big deal. I decided that before it got too cool I would swap the feeder out. I put on a toule veil and got a feeder. No smoke (my mistake) and popped the feeder off. Bees poured out like I have rarely seen. They were popping me good. I got the new feeder on and put the top back on and started to leave. On the way back to the house through the pasture they were staying with me as I walked. Thats when I realized. They were in the veil with me. I got nailed good about nine times on the neck ear, cheek. I did not have to go back in them this winter. A check about two weeks ago when it got to 55 demonstrated that they were still pretty fierce. They will get a new queen this spring. I will likely split them down early to avoid the drone contribution. Girls up and down the line are nice and calm no issue. Bees are fascinating.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
559 Posts
Yes these will follow 80 yds to the porch and follow you in the house. Ask me how I know lol. All my others are gentle.
That should give you the answer right there. Get a new queen in there! Although we all have verying definitions we could all agree than being chased around the yard for 80 yards would be considered "hot".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
396 Posts
Myke, I think it still depends on beekeeper (and neighborhood) tolerance. I don't like to wear a veil and do use smoke. Some colonies you have to be quick with before they get real mad. And I keep a veil handy for when it becomes too much. And 30 stings in a day's work is fine.
If you are selling bees you should be more careful with your stock. Mean ones seem to produce more honey, anecdotally. We have a local commercial who brought in 300 packages of africanized hb to upstate NY (we both thought that was not possible/allowed and did not have them tested...). They were a royal pain to work. During the year he swore he would have to do something about it but never did. Then he pulled the harvest and swore if he could find africanized hb he would do it again. He made a lot more money that year.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
366 Posts
Where did that queen come from? If she is a good producer, pull her into a nuc with a frame of brood and honey and see if the nuc gets mean. The donor hive will dwindle slightly, make you a new queen themselves, she will mate with drones from your gentle hives and you will still make a honey crop.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
559 Posts
We certainly disagree and that's fine. If you don't mind your defensive bees and feel okay sending those drones out into your area - that's your right. But, how defensive traits relate to forage behavior just doesn't make sense. I also doubt these 300 packages of "Africanized" bees. Unless this was well documented with a published paper, and wasn't just a good nectar year with repeatable results year over year, I call BS.

As far a being "more careful with my stock" I find a little offensive as I've spent 18 years working on my stock. In the next month I'll get 3-5 supers full of honey from 90% of my hives which I can open up without smoke or a veil. I also have a 95% survival rate year over year. For my area, my stock is considered the best in the area and I have a waiting list for people wanting it - as those who have it have better success than anything else they've tried.

I also have a responsibility to those I'm selling bees to as well as the drones I'm putting into the area. Selling defensive bees that attack neighbors or "chase you for 80 yards" is not being a good steward for beekeeping. Focusing on the best bee traits, with gentleness being at the top, has worked very well for me.

Again, we can agree to disagree as you certainly don't have drones flying in range of my queens ;)

If we let science speak you can easily find plenty of published papers that find no relation between defensiveness and honey production.
For example:

"No relation was observed between production and the other variables studied, thus allowing the selection of less defensive colonies and greater cell diameters, without affecting honey production."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
396 Posts
Sorry Myke, I did not mean that personally to you. I meant that if someone makes a choice to keep hotter bees because they don't mind (and don't have neighbors near) it's probably best they don't try to sell (ie are more careful about their genetics).
"If you are selling bees you should be more careful with your stock." I should have written "If one is selling bees one should be...." My bad!
And yes the 300 packages is just an anecdote. (I also realize my description is not clear as I never asked him how many of the packages were "unmanageable" but produced a lot.... I found his thoughts on the subject interesting but don't manage my bees like he does and do sell bees, so I am more careful about my drone pool: I have frequently had queens that I find too hot to sell and so get culled. Though they are not too hot to manage I would not want to discourage a newb with a feisty bee experience.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
473 Posts
First, my definition of "Hot" hive is one that follows me beyond 10 yards. The way I deal with hot hive:
1. I move it or turn it 180 degrees.
2. The original "location" gets a new bottom board and a box with empty frames. They also get an egg frame and couple of brood frames from a gentle colony. The foragers have now something to do: draw frames and raise a queen. This queen may not be well fed but they will supersede if they decide later.
2a. I have also re-queened such "foragers-only" hive after 2-3 days with a mated queen but you HAVE to do " New queen acceptance top-bar test" before you setup the cage. I have lost a mated queen to a particularly hot forager-only hive. Make sure that they have absolutely no brood or eggs if you plan to give them a mated queen. They will ALWAYS raise their own and kill the mated queen.
3. Find and kill the queen in the original "colony" the next day (so you don't have to deal with ANY hot foragers). Wait 4-5 days for them to raise queen cells. Go back in there and destroy EVERY ONE of queen cells. Give them a "marked" egg frame from a gentle colony. Come back in couple of days and check for queen cells one more time. You want the queen cells on your marked frame. Destroy any other second round of cells started. You can also give them a mated queen at this point if you like.
 
1 - 20 of 40 Posts
Top