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One of my buddies (with a few years under his belt) has three "highly aggressive" and "overly defensive" colonies. He says they "sting the crap out of me." He wants them requeened, and he wants me to help. These hives have strong populations and are loaded with honey. Still, the stings are no fun for this guy.

I'm more than willing to help. The common consensus in the beekeeping community is aggressive hives have to be split down into smaller nucs to be successfully requeened. However, this guy does not have any extra equipment and simply wants me to find the queen and introduce a new queen. He's tried to find the old queens without much luck.

Any advice? Any alternative options?

I have in mind to reduce the size and strength of the colonies by taking some of the brood/bees and making a few nucs into my equipment and giving him new frames in exchange. I have not offered this solution to him so I'm not sure if he likes it. To me, it would increase the chances of a successful introduction. I'd also be open to providing the new queens in trade for bees/brood.

As an alternative, do you believe introducing a queen cell without splitting the colony would work?

I'd like to be able to offer a couple of solutions. And one solution may be he needs to buy some more equipment to break down these colonies.

Grant
Jackson, MO www.maxhoney.homestead.com
 

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Introducing a queen cell might work, we had great luck with this method last year 90-95% success, so far this year 60-70% success. Not sure why the difference. I think if he wont go the route of reduction/splits, and you cant find the queen and squish her this is your best option.
 

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I know a lot of beehavers like this. He is going to have to buy some equipment or find the queens himself. I guess you can help, but how aggressive are these hives? Is he using smoke? Is he going in at dusk to take a peek? If they are really bad you should beg off, maybe. Why should you do his work for him? I get asked all the time to help people, and I try, but most of the time they just want me to take care of their bees for them, which includes me spending money and time because they do not want to. If he is your best friend by all means dig in, otherwise....If he does not have extra bottom boards, etc I guess you could "loan" him some of yours and break it down blind by box and check for eggs later, and/or let them raise some queens. Same with excluders. Michael Bush has a good how-to on his site. Bottom line, if they are REALLY mean you have to weigh in whether or not its worth it. I hate going in there with 3 or 4 boxes high and they roar out like its The Exorcist or something, and the stings start coming in 200, 300+ a minute through the suit and my leather gloves. I would check them out first, as they might not be bad at all. A lot of havers and newbeeks go in there without smoke, mashing them around and then announce to the world how their hives are "Africanized."
 

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I agree with the post above. I have bees that are a bit hot. I wouldn't work them without a suit even though I use smoke and am gentle with them, as I'd probably get hit a dozen times per a hive. However, I haven't medicated these bees in over 7 years and they are productive, so it's any easy trade off for me. I'll just sweat in the suit.

Just bought three new packages for the first time in 10 years (Russians) for our daughter and I'm astonished at how gentle they are compared to my "old" bees. I hope they make it through the winter. Maybe the drones will cool down the other hives a bit when my old bees requeen.

I think I'd check them out myself before I'd go mixing things up.
 

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Another thing I forgot -- One Hot Hive can make the others seem hot as well. A whole yard can get churned up around one mean colony. It is contagious, whether its from pheremones or drifting, etc. If you can isolate the one hive and remove it, it will make your life easier.
 

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I have had mean bees before-not fun to work! I use bee-go,run them
out of the hive,queen and all, place an entrance guard queen excluder
on the front keeping the queen out. She will die-you can then requeen,
queen cell or let them make their own. It's the easiest and cheapest way
that I could come up with. Hope this helps.
 

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I had 2 hives pollinating a zucchini field last year, when I got them home in the fall I would have sworn they were africanized. They just ate me up. I did nothing for them for winter, hoping they would die, planned to requeen them but never got around to it.
I'll be darned if they didn't come through the winter with a handful of bees and now they are as calm as can be, nice hives.
I still don't know why they were so darn mean. Maybe they just don't like zucchini!:lookout:
 

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You originally asked if you could add a queen cell. If you do not find and kill the queen first. The old girl will find your cell fast. You could just put the queen cell in and wait for her to pounce on it. I have found even old queens to be extremely agile at defending their territory. If your friend cannot handle one hive, making several may create a new problem. Even without being there it is pretty clear they created their own queen. I would hate to be that good friend when there are three or four hives to help with. I was a bad dad once and told my daughter "you cannot take care of the two kids you have, why make another" I was right and wrong at the same time.
 

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I had two very hot hives that were given to me by a friend . His dad kept bees and after his death nobody cared for the bees. These hives had not been touched in about 10 to 12 years. They were very strong and mean. I did requeen first without success. Tried queen cells, no go. After being queenless for about 6 weeks I requeened again and they took. It took them roughly 2 months to cool down, but they will. Putting the cart before the horse! I did a walkaway split on both hives, don't know if this will help but good luck.
 

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I live in Mississippi so I can't tell you for sure, but Sept or Nov. Maybe you could get some answers from beeks in your area. Have fun.
 

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I have a aggressive one that I call my yard guards. They are set off alittle ways away from the rest. I always work them last. Earlier this year they must have seemed like the safest target to vandals sitting there all by themselves. They used a 10ft long stick to just barely push the vent cover to one side. I know this colony and without smoke they are brutal. I know they came out in force and they followed. Bet they dont do that again
 
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