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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just received a brood of bees with four frames ten days ago, May 21. Within the first few days I lifted the lid twice to see the bees and add some frames. No problem. But the third time, after I had the bees a week, didn't go well. I had wanted to slide the original frames to the middle and move the new frames to either side, but the bees were very active and at times hostile despite my moving slowly and carefully. My safety equipment and smoker hadn't arrived yet so I was vulnerable. I quickly abandoned my plan, but when I put the top back on, several--maybe ten--attached me, one stinging me on the neck (I later removed the stinger) and the other through my pants in the knee. Now, four days later, with a smoker and equipment, I returned fully clothed but whenever I move the main frame--and it's tough to move--several bees seem to get agitated. I managed to move a couple of the old frames toward the middle but didn't feel comfortable enough to continue. A couple of times a few bees came at me, I believe angrily. But I was protected and not stung. I can't imagine taking an old frame out and inspecting it because, it seems to me, many bees would get very angry. So a few questions.

Is it normal for at least a few bees to get bothered, and perhaps attack, when their frame is moved?
If I move a crowded frame, is it possible, or very likely, to be attacked by a large number of bees?

The first two times I looked into the brood I was calm and it seemed fascinating. But now, after the stinging incident, and with a greater number of bees apparently, I have lost my nerve. Does anyone have any advice? Of course, I will always use a smoker and wear safety equipment from now!
 

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If they are super aggressive they may well be queenless. Not sure where in the country you are so not sure if AHB are anywhere near you . Is there a local bee club you can contact and have an experienced beekeeper come take a look?
You may have rolled and killed the queen with the first inspection.
Move slowly and methodically. Use your smoker. Make sure they have a queen. If they do and they are that aggressive i would requeen them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Many thanks for your response. While I am originally from Herkimer NY (not so far from you perhaps) I now live in Shiga, Japan. I have a couple of friends who do beekeeping but they are more or less beginners. I will try to find a club or expert to look in the brood together.

I have nothing to compare my experience to--these are my first bees--but yes, I feel they are very aggressive. When I took the top off today I saw two dead bees along the edge which I assumed I killed putting the top down. Seems it would be very bad luck to have one of them be the queen. I suppose it's not too late to check.

If I have to go it alone again perhaps if I smoke heavier than usual I can move the frames. But I'm afraid it's going to be very hard for me to locate a queen without help.
 

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"I had wanted to slide the original frames to the middle and move the new frames to either side." It is not clear exactly what you are proposing here. Do not separate the brood combs from each other at this early stage.

I suggest you update your profile to give location since most advice is affected by local conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Frank. I guess my previous reply was not visible when you wrote. I just updated my profile. Thanks for the suggestion. I'm in Shiga, Japan.

I did not try to separate the four brood combs from each other. I tried to the slide all four towards the middle then put new frames on either side.
 
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