Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

Should I re-queen this hive?

1496 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  bison
One of my hives that successfully over-wintered here in NorCal has been absolutely booming but had also turned very aggressive after being quite calm last year. Last week I split it by simply putting half the boxes on a new bottom board 10 feet from the original location, leaving the rest where it was. I didn't bother to check where the queen was. The new location hive has two deeps, the original has one deep and two mediums.

Today I went back and took a look. My first observation was that the original hive had lots of activity and almost none on the new hive - makes sense given that the foragers all would still be going to the original hive. I opened the hive at the new location - a good population of bees who were very calm. Pretty quickly I found the queen as well as saw lots of capped and uncapped brood. OK, so this hive is fine.

I then opened the hive at the original location. Youch! Very quickly I was attacked by hordes of very aggressive bees. Smoke didn't make a difference. I managed a quick look at a few frames before giving up and did see some capped queen cells, so they're well on their way to making a new queen. I ended up with at least 8 stings thru the suit and on my ankles, and was chased by bees back to my car. VERY hot hive.

Obviously the two hives have the same genetics, and the existing queen is the source of the now-aggressive hive. However, the hive she's in now is quite calm (though it has a relatively low population and few foragers). I'm wondering if i should re-queen one or both of these with queens from a breeder. I can get queens easily and now would be the time to re-queen the hot hive at least. Is this a case of genetics or environment?
See less See more
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
It may be just a case of timing. I've noticed that when queen cells are capped and close to emerging, that the hive gets more aggressive. After the queen emerges and mates, they calm back down again. I would say to wait and see what develops. If the hive has no empty cells in the combs, it may also be that they are preparing to swarm, so adding a box of combs for space might be in order. All of those field bees are storing nectar and backfilling the broodnest, so a super on top might be in order.
there is always the chance in your area that your queen mated with Africanized drones and currently she is laying eggs from this portion of her spermatheca. if you want you could off the current queen and let them both raise new queens, and the break in the brood cycle would be good at slowing varroa.
I'm sure there's lots of exceptions, and others will point those out, but in my experience the queen less half of a hive after splitting is sometimes grumpy till they make one and she's laying. I'm dealing with this same exact situation right now, I'd let them go, keep your distance for a few weeks.
yeah....kust wait it out. u can always go for buying a mated queen if they dont cool down after the new queen is laying. if they were calm when you DID the split and then the queenless half got hot AFTER the split....i can almost promise u its a queenless temperment.
queenless hives are almost always more aggresive. A big sucessful hive gone queenless will still be mean but not as much as the weaker one. Then you get to the point where the hive is so small its hopeless, they don't know any better, disorganized, bees just leave.
Thanks for the replies. The one thing that's confusing me is that the hive was aggressive BEFORE the split, with the queen right half now calm and the queenless one aggressive. I can understand how the queenless part of a split hive would be meaner than the queen right part, but in this case I'm wondering why the queen right original hive was hot too and if that will follow the genetics.
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.