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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a newbie (2nd yr with bees), and have two hives. One is a new swarm I caught a few weeks ago, the other is what I believe to be the hive that the swarm I caught came from. New hive has one deep brood, one medium super, and a top feeder (which I'm about to remove). The old hive has two mediums for brood and one medium super. Both have a queen excluder, everything is 8-frame.

This morning I wanted to check the brood section of the new hive. Took off the feeder, removed one super frame, and found partially drawn comb. Prolly normal, as the super has only been on for about a week. When I removed the super the girls seemed to get louder. Gave the brood top a few puffs of smoke and proceeded to remove a frame. When that frame came out, it was on. They seemed to be emptying out of the brood box and covering me, clearly agitated. I quickly inspected that one frame (saw no brood but a little capped honey), slipped the frame back in, replaced everything as quickly as possible, and got out...chased by bees for 30' or so from the hive.

Last weekend I had a similar experience opening the other (old) hive. But this morning's attack was more severe.

It's frustrating to watch folks on youtube opening hives with shorts and t-shirt, sticking their hands in and having their sweet little girls lovingly crawl around their hands and arms. If I didn't have my full bee suit on this morning I'd be swolled up in a hospital somewhere. :(

I believe a hive under stress will be agitated when the hive is opened. So maybe both of my hives are stressed. But I have never been able to open my hive(s) without some kind of dive-bombing from the girls.

I'm not sure I have a question. Just lettin loose some frustration I suppose... :kn:

That is all.

- djb
 

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.....
It's frustrating to watch folks on youtube opening hives with shorts and t-shirt......
- djb
Ignore those folks (at least ignore the superficial stuff - the t-shirts and shorts part).
In my opinion the ideas they propagate is really a disservice - this gets some wrong ideas into the new beeks and sets wrong expectations.

Think dogs.
Some dogs are just toys and that is all they do - being toys.
But remember of the working/hunting/guard/farm dogs - you do not enter a farm property with good farm dogs - they will attack you at worst OR they will keep you away without physical damage at best. They do what they should.
People forget of the non-toy dogs.
Same with the bees.
 

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Might try smoking them and waiting a minute or 2, give them a heads up that the house is fixing to be ransacked. A few puffs in the entrance should work. Focus on being more slow and gentle, especially when using the hive tool to separate frames, be as smooth and intent as you can. IMO the goal when you start an inspection is to finish, having to go back seems to set them up to be pissy.

From what you describe, i'd have to go in and stay in until I knew I had a queen or eggs that disclose same.

My hives have days too and it would be rare if I could go in like you see many beeks able to do online, I could probably get away with just a veil and bare handed on a couple, but most of mine only give you a short margin of error (look where we live). The ones that arbitrarily light me up just because I'm near or walking by, are the ones I re-queen if it happens several times under various weather days.

Don't let youtube dictate your expectations imo
 

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Make sure your bee suit/veil/gloves whatever are CLEAN. Once you've been stung you are marked with a pheromone that sets the bees on alert.

You can always heavily smoke yourself to try to mask the smell.
 

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>Might try smoking them and waiting a minute or 2

That's what I normally do, but if they are really hot, you might want to wait about 10 minutes and then smoke them again and wait another minute then open them up. Also, if the cover pops, wait until they get quiet again before you remove the cover.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
>Might try smoking them and waiting a minute or 2

That's what I normally do, but if they are really hot, you might want to wait about 10 minutes and then smoke them again and wait another minute then open them up. Also, if the cover pops, wait until they get quiet again before you remove the cover.
I'll try waiting. I must admit, opening these two hives in the last couple weeks is the worse I've experienced (in my brief career lol). Since one of my hives is a new swarm, and the other is probably the hive that swarmed, my suspicion is these hives are both stressed. When y'all open a hive that is stressed (e.g., queenless &c.), are you overwhelmed with bees when you remove frames? I'm thinking that the old hive that I saw a dozen or more queen cells in last weekend either has a queen now or soon will. (In fact, that hive seems to be calmed down now compared to last weekend.) And the swarm hive may be queenless. So I could look for a frame with brood and/or queen cells in the old hive and move it to the new swarm hive. But is it a safe bet I'll be under attack in the new hive again? :eek:

all good advice above, plus the fact you are in the middle of ahb territory.
I don't think the swarm hive are jihadist bees, based on my discussion above, and I've seen these kinds of bees at my friends farm. They chased him quite a ways around his property and would not relent. But there is that possibility I suppose...

- djb
 

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I'd leave the hive you saw queen cells in alone for a week, unless you are sure the other hive is queen-less and you need to steal a queen cell from that hive (if there are any left). I'd look in the hive you're unsure of 1st.

Put on your "big boy" shorts and get'r'done:D Start like Michael said above, then open the hive smooth, methodical and gentle when removing frames and try not to come up for air unless they start to carry you off lol. You should find signs of the queen, or her Majesty herself in short order (eggs/brood).

What do you have for protection? I have a single veil and gloves for lt. work, jacket and hood for most work and a full suit for the nasties and cut outs. 9/10 times the jacket is all I need and I to have had some bees that where total AH's.

I have only dealt with one hive (wild) I feel was strong AHB's, out near Graham Tx, they had killed a calf and just terrorizing everything, they got the soap, but expect the gene almost anywhere here now to some extent on swarms and "unknowns"imo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'd leave the hive you saw queen cells in alone for a week, unless you are sure the other hive is queen-less and you need to steal a queen cell from that hive (if there are any left). I'd look in the hive you're unsure of 1st.

Put on your "big boy" shorts and get'r'done:D Start like Michael said above, then open the hive smooth, methodical and gentle when removing frames and try not to come up for air unless they start to carry you off lol. You should find signs of the queen, or her Majesty herself in short order (eggs/brood).
LOL

Tomorrow will have been one week. I don't want to be opening the hives too often, but I'd like to save the swarm hive with some brood if they don't have a queen.

I have this partially vented suit from Dadant. It does the job fer sure, I've had bees plastered all over it and not one sting. I wear boots so the ankle seals off good. And disposable neoprene gloves.

Opening a hive is something I've been leery of, and not very confident about, and the girls can prolly sense it. So it's possible I'm not as smooth and methodical as I should be. Only way to gain confidence is do it...get'r'done :eek:

:D

- djb
 

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I occasionally get a hive that is just down right mean. My advice is to re-queen the hive as soon as possible with a queen from a northern apiary that should not have any possibility of having AHB genetics in it. Mean hive are not fun and take all the pleasure out of beekeeping. It will take a month or so to clear out the mean bees but it will be worth it.
 

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You can do it. Lets put this in perspective....You live in ETX, land of gators, mosckins, poachers and chiggers that number in the millions per sq inch, vs a "box of bugs":lpf: You have to "represent"..:D

I'm also with dudelt once you can narrow down it isn't any undue influence. Right now you need to find out whats going on in that hive for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
New hive = caught swarm (one deep brood, one medium super, 8-frame)
Old hive = probably hive that swarmed (two medium brood, one medium super, 8-frame)


Opened both hives today. The new hive is active, but all I saw was honey stores in both sections. This is the hive that prompted this thread...today was not as bad but I wonder if some of the problem might be my smoker. May have had a weak supply of smoke in the past, today had a heavy fog goin on. The girls were sedated at first, but as the inspection drew on they started coming at me. Still, it was not as bad as before.

The super in the old hive has some drawn comb, some partially filled with honey. The brood frames didn't look healthy to me. A couple pics below. At first I thought some of the girls were dead, moving so slow or not at all, but could see they were alive when I nudged them. Some frames were empty, some had what looked like mud in them, I didn't see any eggs or larvae. I did see a couple [empty] queen cells, not a dozen like before.

oldHive_02.jpg

oldHive_01.jpg

edit to add: pic of queen cells.

oldHive_03.jpg


- djb
 

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Did you see a queen in either hive? The "mud" looks like bee bread from here.

From your description, it sounds like you have little brood space to support a large colony with out a lot of swarm monitoring

How many bees are in each hive?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Did you see a queen in either hive?
No. But I didn't pull every frame, just every other frame.

From your description, it sounds like you have little brood space to support a large colony with out a lot of swarm monitoring
If you mean there needs to be more brood space, how much is enough? I guess I'm not clear about that. Do you keep adding brood space, or let a colony split? Is a larger colony easier to keep strong and healthy? Since hive turnover is apparently unavoidable (everyone loses hives), I'd rather have more smaller colonies than fewer larger ones. The "don''t put all your eggs in one basket" philosophy.

How many bees are in each hive?
Neither hive is packed. I'd guess the old hive is less than 50%, new hive maybe 75%. But I'm not sure my estimate of 50%, 75%, &c. is accurate.

Sorry for the nebulous responses, I'm a nebulous bee keeper at the moment. :/

- djb
 

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A hive without brood is an angry hive, in my experience. Little reason to work, nothing to do but sting the next sucker that pries the lid open. Lol

Didn't see any nectar in your pics, as bees without brood should have little trouble stocking some nectar for future use. The first pic may have nectar, can't quite tell.

The queen cells show one that emerged, and another that the side was chewed out, likely murdered by her sister. 2 weeks or so and I'd bet she'll start laying. My guess if there was 20+ cells in that hive a bit ago, it gave off more than one swarm.
 

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What part of East Texas are you in? Have you ever requeened the original hive or was is a swarm itself? I ask because of AHB. Of my several hives, when I retrieve a swarm and they get into a box, they tend to settle in and be a bit pissy. I do not allow them to keep their queen or make their own for this reason. AHB genetics in Texas for us and many other areas are just a fact. I do however leave a couple of these hives hot and they do out produce most of my calmer bees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
What part of East Texas are you in? Have you ever requeened the original hive or was is a swarm itself? I ask because of AHB. Of my several hives, when I retrieve a swarm and they get into a box, they tend to settle in and be a bit pissy. I do not allow them to keep their queen or make their own for this reason. AHB genetics in Texas for us and many other areas are just a fact. I do however leave a couple of these hives hot and they do out produce most of my calmer bees.
I'm east of you, near Cleveland. The original (old) hive is from a split a friend made and has been quite active. No requeening. My friend is gone now and I haven't made any other contacts for local mentoring. There's a guy associated with a local club I had email conversations with last year but he didn't respond to my email this year. (A little history of my experience, or lack thereof.)

- djb
 

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I'm east of you, near Cleveland. The original (old) hive is from a split a friend made and has been quite active. No requeening. My friend is gone now and I haven't made any other contacts for local mentoring. There's a guy associated with a local club I had email conversations with last year but he didn't respond to my email this year. (A little history of my experience, or lack thereof.)

- djb
If you need some help, send me a PM and I'd be glad to give you a hand. I've been around bees since I was about 12.
 

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I occasionally get a hive that is just down right mean. My advice is to re-queen the hive as soon as possible with a queen from a northern apiary that should not have any possibility of having AHB genetics in it. Mean hive are not fun and take all the pleasure out of beekeeping. It will take a month or so to clear out the mean bees but it will be worth it.
Concur, it may be time to requeen, How ex-actually you do that is a whole nuther discussion, have to find her , then insure they do not make Q cells then get a good release. If they are too mean for you there are "nicer" bees out there.

GG
 
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