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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had three hives going into winter. Polar vortex killed two, the nice ones of course. The one that is left I believe had been take over by aggressive bees in the fall. Like they swarmed into my small hive and killed the my original queen, I think. I could be wrong and they could have the same genetics as my original nice swarm, as in her daughter. Anyway, ever since then, if you walk by the hive you will likely get stung. It was the only hive I got stings from last year. It was nice enough today that they were collecting tree pollen. I had a look at a distance and quickly got stung, I could even smell alarm pheromones as I walked away. I don't want to take action yet but I'm worried if they get big they will get meaner. I don't know. Honestly I never had dealt with peaceful bees until last year and it was sooo nice. I am a little upset I lost the tame hives. I could use some input. I'd hate to replace the queen just to find that there isn't any change. All of last years hives had originated from a single swarm fwiw. I have never gotten a hive from someone else that had the nice demeanor that my original swarm hive had. I just don't know how to gauge aggressiveness I guess. I can say that I have never seen nicer bees than last years swarm.

I will be splitting the survivor. Maybe I should get new queens for the splits. Maybe I should requeen now and make queens for the splits. Maybe I should try my luck and hope the the queen still has some genetics from my og swarm queen and just make splits from it. It is obviously a strong survivor hive despite being a bit testy.

Keep in mind that when it was around 45deg I added a box of bee bread(from the deadouts) to the hive quickly and received no stings. I did use smoke and they were flying a bit. So maybe today was a fluke. They were quite mean in the fall too but that is typical.

And yes I need to do a queen check but there numbers are high so I'm sure shes there.

Any seasoned keepers with solid advise?
 

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On survival: What was your varroa treatment regimen? Or did they starve? Honestly I doubt the polar vortex had much to do with it. People overwinter in plain wooden boxes in Alaska.

On gentleness: Skunks or bad weather can make a genetically docile hive seem mean, but if you still don't like their demeanor this spring, I say off with her head. Your new queen may have mated with drones with aggressive genetics. Requeen, wait a month or two, and see what you've got. A queen from a quality commercial breeder will raise a gentle hive ~90% of the time. Smelling alarm pheromone when you didn't even open the hive sounds pretty bad.

On queen checks: Just look for eggs. If there are eggs, there must have been a queen in the last 3 days. Easy peasy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
On survival: What was your varroa treatment regimen? Or did they starve? Honestly I doubt the polar vortex had much to do with it. People overwinter in plain wooden boxes in Alaska.

On gentleness: Skunks or bad weather can make a genetically docile hive seem mean, but if you still don't like their demeanor this spring, I say off with her head. Your new queen may have mated with drones with aggressive genetics. Requeen, wait a month or two, and see what you've got. A queen from a quality commercial breeder will raise a gentle hive ~90% of the time. Smelling alarm pheromone when you didn't even open the hive sounds pretty bad.

On queen checks: Just look for eggs. If there are eggs, there must have been a queen in the last 3 days. Easy peasy.
I used apigaurd in the fall, I missed one of the hives cause it had extra honey and by the time I got it off it was too cold to treat. That one probably died from deformed wing. Many of those bees looked small/malnurished. All had a ton of surplus food, beebread and honey. Just before the chill in feb. I put on mountan camp feeders and vented the top in a Vivaldi board style. I think the venting was a mistake because I did not insulate the hives at all. I thought winter was winding down and then we had a chill. Both the hives that died were brooding up before the chill. I think that spread out the cluster, thus me saying the chill killed em. They were all alive when I put the sugar on. Having temps in the negatives when its supposed to be in the high 30's to 40's definately isn't good when they have brood from a warm winter. I'm sure I'm partially to blame here. 100% on the one I didn't treat.

They were mean when the others were not so I'm thinking it's a genetics thing but I don't know how bad it is yet. I split em off the main in early summer. They got mean in the fall. I'll do a short inspection in a week or so. I am willing to put money on it that they already have capped brood and eggs. They have all the surplus of the other two. I will do a full suit up and hope for the best. Maybe I'll get a better gauge on behavior.
 

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Good luck!

And yeah, cold could've been part of it, I don't know.

Fwiw, I've had good luck requeening mean hives. (By "mean", I don't mean crazy Africanized chase-you-20-yards mean, just normal you-have-to-suit-up mean. I'm kind of picky.)
 
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