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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went out this morning to place another honey super on one of my hives.
Everything was normal looking with the hive untill I took the inner cover off.
Used lots of smoke. Normal amount as I always do.
They were insane. Dive bombing my veil in a cloud of bees. And stinging my hands like crazy. It was a shock to me as they have been very calm up to now. Sometimes I do inspections in my shorts. Not anymore. I pulled the honey supers off to look in the brood box to see what was going on. I gave them some more smoke and had to put my gloves on after getting stung numerous times on my hands.
It was even worse in the brood nest. Just an absolute cloud of bees going crazy on me.
I was able to pull 4 frames out before I pretty much got over run and had to give up. Bees were moving faster then normal on the frames. Kinda frantic all over the place moving.
I noticed on the frames I did pull out that no eggs were present but I did see larva and capped brood. Last inspection on this hive was last Sunday. And eggs and larva were present but I did not locate the queen.
I was thinking with this behaviour that maybe they are queenless or are in swarm mode. But I couldn’t get a good enough look at the brood box to determine. I saw the odd queen cup built but no eggs in it. I left them on frames just in case.
I was planning on going into the hive again tomorrow morning and try to look deeper to see what’s going on.
Any thoughts. ?
I can re-queen no problem. But obviously I want to figure out what is causing this
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Lots of things can cause a hive to get super defensive. If they have been relatively docile until now, chances are it is not genetics. Maybe your flow is winding down? My bees tend to be testy when nothing more is coming in and your description of the brood nest matches that. Could also be robbing pressure, mites, nocturnal visitors, weather, etc. Or they could be queenless as you mentioned. Hard to say.
 

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I went out this morning to place another honey super on one of my hives.
Everything was normal looking with the hive untill I took the inner cover off.
Used lots of smoke. Normal amount as I always do.
They were insane. Dive bombing my veil in a cloud of bees. And stinging my hands like crazy. ............
And this is where a reasonable beek should stop and say - not meant to be today.
Anything you did afterwards did NOT help anything, achieved exactly nothing, but only made things worse (could be much worse).

Close them up (just as well pop that extra super on and then close);
Go home; have a beer and reflect about the current happenings, weather, and such.

Next time do that.
:)
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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have a beer
Ha, I am doing that now. Tomorrow I will be feeding and performing an OAV treatment. :)
 

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Ha, I am doing that now. Tomorrow I will be feeding and performing an OAV treatment. :)
Tis Friday!

Of course, I am pressed to harvest my berries - they are turning to wine!
I will have some cold beer in 2-3 hours too and reflect how I will do some bee work tomorrow.
Need to handle my **** Russians for a bit too.
LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Weather was nice today. So I can’t really blame that.
It was one of those days though. I had to go back twice to relight my smoker and then forgot my hive tool. And only had 8 frames in my honey super. So had to go back again. All before even opening the hive.
So hopefully it was just a bad day.
I’ll be heading back tomorrow. Hopefully it goes better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This is my first year beekeeping. So to be honest I don’t know how to judge if it’s a dearth or not. There is 100 acres of sunflowers in full bloom in a field near my house. So I’m sure they have found that. They were pretty busy bringing yellow pollen in yesterday I noticed. And lots of comming and going of foragers.
I got a call from my neighbour yesterday to say that my bees are over at her house all over her Hostas and other garden flowers. So I would presume that there is not a dearth at this point.
 

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3rd yr- Having a cloud of bees around you can be very intimidating. It gets easier. Suiting up properly also helps. Your baby colony may be getting bigger. Be sure they have protein patties and sugar syrup if food is scarce. Hungry bees are cranky bees.

My bees are bringing in pollen by the truckloads but I’m also feeding pollen patties. My resource hive is getting a sugar slurry and the production hives have nectar stores.

Other practical tips include using cover cloths to drape over the top of boxes. I use flour sack dish towels with a tight weave purchased at the local discount store. This keeps the bees down in the box. Using a quiet box to place frames taken out of the hive. I also smoke my hands or even myself briefly to mask any alarm pheromone. If you get stung immediately apply smoke to it.
 

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I dont know where your bees are from or how similar they are to the bees to the west of Ottawa but my experience with my sons bees from that area is that they are a heck of a lot more aggressive than my bees. No possibility of working them without being suited up. Even people standing 50 feet or more away are stung this time of year. Earlier in the spring, not so bad.

It is not easy to keep your bees friendly there either if you are allowing splits with the local drones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Today was a better day. Guess I just caught them on a bad day.
Was able to do a full inspection on both my hives.
And the one hive from yesterday that was ambushing me was nice and calm.
Yesterday I couldn’t find eggs at all. Which was leading me to believe that it might be queenless and that’s why they were grumpy.
Funny thing today. I pulled the second frame out and went to flip it over and the queen landed right on my lap only bee to fall off the frame. It must of been a sign from the beekeeping gods.
All is good. Found fresh eggs on the frame she fell off. And lots of larva on the other frames.
I was going to mark her today. But since I got stung numerous times on my hands yesterday, I wore gloves today. So didn’t want to try picking her up with gloves on.
Next inspection maybe I’ll attempt it.
 

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Today was a better day. Guess I just caught them on a bad day.
Was able to do a full inspection on both my hives.
And the one hive from yesterday that was ambushing me was nice and calm.
Yesterday I couldn’t find eggs at all. Which was leading me to believe that it might be queenless and that’s why they were grumpy.
Funny thing today. I pulled the second frame out and went to flip it over and the queen landed right on my lap only bee to fall off the frame. It must of been a sign from the beekeeping gods.
All is good. Found fresh eggs on the frame she fell off. And lots of larva on the other frames.
I was going to mark her today. But since I got stung numerous times on my hands yesterday, I wore gloves today. So didn’t want to try picking her up with gloves on.
Next inspection maybe I’ll attempt it.
Have you practiced on drones? If you do, squish them or they will be giving you a start many times by flashing their colors; If you dont want to squish them at least dont use this years color.;)
 

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This is my first year beekeeping. So to be honest I don’t know how to judge if it’s a dearth or not. There is 100 acres of sunflowers in full bloom in a field near my house. So I’m sure they have found that. They were pretty busy bringing yellow pollen in yesterday I noticed. And lots of comming and going of foragers.
I got a call from my neighbour yesterday to say that my bees are over at her house all over her Hostas and other garden flowers. So I would presume that there is not a dearth at this point.
Don't assume the sunflowers are good source by default.
Many hybrid varieties are useless - not much nectar to speak of.
If the bees are on Hostas/garden that maybe an indication of that.
But I doubt your bees are on Hostas because people routinely have no a clue what the honey bees look like.
Honey bees don't fly onto ornamental plants much - those are mostly useless for honey bees.
 

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Today was a better day. Guess I just caught them on a bad day.
...
Well, here you go.
No need to jump into re-queening project just yet.
Maybe today the nectar flow is better, who knows; about a zillion variables.
But mild bees are always milder than jumpy bees.
:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Have you practiced on drones? If you do, squish them or they will be giving you a start many times by flashing their colors; If you dont want to squish them at least dont use this years color.;)
Yes I have practiced on drones. Many times actually.
Used my wife’s quick dry nail polish ( purple). Was pretty funny actually to see them in the hive weeks later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Don't assume the sunflowers are good source by default.
Many hybrid varieties are useless - not much nectar to speak of.
If the bees are on Hostas/garden that maybe an indication of that.
But I doubt your bees are on Hostas because people routinely have no a clue what the honey bees look like.
Honey bees don't fly onto ornamental plants much - those are mostly useless for honey bees.
They were definitely my bees on her hostas. I confirmed that today. She grows them in a huge patch. Probley 30’ by 30’. So it’s well worth the bees time to go there. They are all flowering now.
I have 5 or 6 hostas at my place but only thing I see on them are bumble bees.
 

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They were definitely my bees on her hostas. I confirmed that today. She grows them in a huge patch. Probley 30’ by 30’. So it’s well worth the bees time to go there. They are all flowering now.
I have 5 or 6 hostas at my place but only thing I see on them are bumble bees.
Good to know.
Now I know to consider hostas a forage plant.
Never seen bees on them before (not that I looked on purpose).

Check those sunflowers to see if the bees are actually working them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Went and took a closer look today at them on the hostas.
Their pollen sacks were packed full with bright yellow pollen. It was actually hard to see them on the flower. Cause they crawl right in the small flowers.
Didn’t have my phone with me to take a pic. Not sure if they are collecting nectar as well. But pollen for sure.
They haven’t touched my hostas though
 
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