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This hive is three years old. It has always been nasty tempered. I was doing maintenance around the hive and was attacked when working quietly behind the hive from 15 feet away. This hive has always been hot. The Queen is the natural daughter of the first nasty Queen, and today they showed they are still extremely nasty. I received 7 to 8 stings. Fortunately, my awesome bride was with me, and she escaped with only one bee in her hair; no stings. I checked to see if the hive was queenless, but there is a lot of brood, larva, and eggs. Looks Queen right; just plain mean. No Queen cells either. I will be re-queening ASAP.

However, genetically, what actually leads some colonies to be this way? What actually causes it? There are 4 other hives at this apiary, but this Italian hive is just bad. It was a clear day, mid 70's, and only a very slight breeze. The hive is on a stand that is high enough to be free from small creatures, and there did not appear to be anything inside the hive to stir them up. Smoking rarely helps on this hive. I should scoop some up and send them for testing, but it in some ways seems pointless. If they were Africanized, there would probably have been double or triple the amount of angry bees, so I hate assuming in that direction. I ended up putting on my bee suit to weed-eat around it; I have never had to do this with any other hive, and they just came boiling out to defend their home. You would have thought I kicked the hive, etc. It is the first time I have been stung through this heavy suit, but I just kept going. I think I was as angry as they were.

Michael Palmer; would you have any thoughts on this?
 

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You may want to go ahead and have some sent off for testing actually. Knowing if there was such a hive of AHB in the area would let others know that if they ended up with hot hives from newly mated queens, to just go ahead and requeen asap.

However, on the fact that there seems no reason for them to be "hot", some Italians back in the day i'm sure had a chance to cross breed with the "OLD Black Bees" from yesteryear. I've heard so many stories about how mean and ill tempered they were. It would stand to reason that at some point some of those bees drones from feral hives have had a chance to cross into Italian hives and create havoc. JMO..
 

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I will let a hive by with being mean once, they may have a reason I don,t know about. if they are mean consistently, I requeen them out of a hive I like. I usually keep a few queens in nuc boxs
 

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Harley;
I guess I am curious about genetic traits, not so much if they are Africanized, but rather if they have some other strain in there somewhere.

drlonzo;
It is interesting that you mention the Black German Bees. Old timers around these parts claim there may still be some here. Not sure how true it is, but if the queen mated with a drone from the Black Bee, I could imagine there might be some sort of genetic attitude. I don't know how all that works. Would love to study it.
 

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It was once thought they still existed here in this part of WV a few years back. The last hive i knew of for sure died out about 15 years ago here. The man that owned them couldn't even walk through his own yard they were so mean. He resorted to moving the hive after dark way back in the woods away from the house. lol..

If there are still wild colonies of the old black bees in the area, and the queens were mated with drones from them, the attitude from them are probably starting to shine through. With each downline mating of a queen's doughters to the wild drones you would end up with weaker and weaker genes from the Italian side, and more and more genes from the Old german black bees. Genetics is somewhat fun to think about with bees..
 

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It was once thought they still existed here in this part of WV a few years back. The last hive i knew of for sure died out about 15 years ago here. The man that owned them couldn't even walk through his own yard they were so mean. He resorted to moving the hive after dark way back in the woods away from the house. lol..

If there are still wild colonies of the old black bees in the area, and the queens were mated with drones from them, the attitude from them are probably starting to shine through. With each downline mating of a queen's doughters to the wild drones you would end up with weaker and weaker genes from the Italian side, and more and more genes from the Old german black bees. Genetics is somewhat fun to think about with bees..
I've been told that the older guard bees do the stinging. After they sting they die. So if I receive seven,or eight stings a day ,and I smash 10 to twenty a day that are trying to kill me,then I am cooling down this hot hive. I would pinch this queens royal head off. If they can't make a new queen then they got what they deserved.
 

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I had 2 hives started this year from purchased nucs. They came from Florida. I had several really scary experiences with these hives and decided to requeen. A week after release saw the queen on the frames in both hives. Another week and both hives are queenless and had yet another bad hive inspection with both. Washed my gloves in non scented soap and did an inspection a few days later in a nice hive. They went nuts. Not as bad as my nasty hives but pretty bad. My gloves had come free with my bee jacket order. I did some research and they are synthetic leather. Its called Amara leather and made in China, At one point I did an inspection with one Amara glove and the other cowhide to test and the bees do not like the Amara at all. I ordered a pair of goatskin from Mann Lake and they work great and bees don't crawl all over them.
 

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I have a hive that is similar to yours. It too, is three years old. I have tried unsuccessfully to replace the queen on two different occasions. I am going to make one more attempt at changing out the queen next month. If that doesn't work, I am going to split the hive into boxes, pinch the queen, and combine with other hives, but I am never going through this again. In the future, when my bees become mean I am going to be proactive with splitting and pinching queens. Life it too short to suffer bees that take the fun out of beekeeping.
 

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I don't like nasty mean tempered bees. Today is the first day that I open up a
hive without wearing a veil after requeening with a gentle queen a month ago using
a #8 window screen to cover the entire frame with emerging bees and the new queen in it.
Another generation of mean queen will give off bad bee genetic I think. Next season I will
flood my area with good Cordovan genetic to offset some of the carnis genetic.
 

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My bees aren't really mean, but if I go into the bee yard - or even get within about 50 feet of it - without a veil I am very likely to get stung by one that randomly gets caught in my hair. That doesn't take the fun out of it, I just always wear a veil. No one ever gets stung by one of my bees that is not near the hives unless they step on it or something.
 

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I think I would bust it up into five frame nucs and give them all queen cells or queens. I don't want a mean hive either. It is OK if they get upset when you work them, but to just get stung for being in the yard is no bueno.
 

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David, that is sad to hear. Not even at 50 feet close by? I stuck my head near the hive and still o.k.
without getting sting. Maybe I the lucky beekeeper, eh.
I agree with Shannon to not want a mean hive either.
 

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Back in the '80's (long before Africans arrived) I had a junk yard dog mean hive. I hated that hive. I armored up every time I got near it...is was second in a row of six next to an alfalfa field in Kansas. But...when I harvested honey it produced twice as much as my next best hive...nearly 200 pounds of honey. So...:lpf: I loved that hive! I was careful to work it on a bright sunny day with nary a cloud in the sky, in the afternoon when the foragers were out, with lots of smoke, and wore my gloves (of course the veil).

So what kind of surplus has your hot hive produced? And do you think it is worth their attitude? If not, requeen.

Recently I requeened a hive with a new queen from an area that had some Africanized bees. One week I worked that hive, and they boiled out attacking me. I took six stings before I could get my gloves on, and then there were a boatload of stings in the gloves. Two weeks later I could work it with no gloves. I seems the queen may have mated with an Africanized drone, and that particular batch were his daughters, with his attitude. I've never had any more trouble with that hive. fwiw.
Regards,
Steven
 

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I will let a hive by with being mean once, they may have a reason I don,t know about. if they are mean consistently, I requeen them out of a hive I like. I usually keep a few queens in nuc boxs
Good advice.

Don't get bogged down in AHB or Black Bee genetics. If they are consistently aggressive, find her, pinch her, and replace her with a daughter queen from one of your better colonies. This crops up sometimes. Just replace the queen, problem solved.
 
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