Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This hive had one of my oldest queens coming in to this season, she was around 3 yrs old and this was the start of her 4th season. When I checked the hive over a month or so ago it wasn't very strong but she was still in there but there were supersedure cells so I buttoned the hive up and left them alone knowing next time I went in there'd be a new queen.

Went and checked the hive to make sure it was queen right now and knew immediately there was a big difference in temperament. These bees started after me before I could get the first puff of smoke in and when I cracked the lid they were loud and came out in numbers. This hive had always been one of my more gentle hives but not anymore. Went through the hive with a black cloud of bees around me at all times but I did find the queen and the hive is full of brood in all stages and they're putting up honey like crazy.

Now to the really bad part... This hive is on someone else's property and they love the bees and have never had a problem, the property is at least 5 acres and the bees are a quite a ways away from their house. Well today while I was working this hive one of the property owners was working in her garden about 400ft away and was chased by 20+ bees and subsequently stung a few times before she was able to get into her house. I've never seen a hive this HOT before and as I watched them from a distance(still wearing my full suit) afterwards there were a lot of bees(maybe 100 or so) flying in circles about 20ft off the ground and they were covering over an acre of property just looking for something to go after. They almost looked like giant orientation flights like after a hive has been moved but covered more area.

This hive is located in the Sierra foothills east of Sacramento, Calif. at about 2800ft elevation so I'm pretty sure we don't have any AHB around. From the hives on my property to my farthest hive is only about 6 miles and this hive is located in the middle so i'm concerned about drones from this hive mating with queens in my other yards and I don't want this to happen. I've always requeened hives I thought were to warm for my liking but this one is out of control. What should I do with it? If I requeen I still have drones from this queen in the hive and I'm not sure I'd even be able to requeen successfully because of their temperament, it's been my experience that the more docile hives are the easiest to requeen. Even if I could requeen them I'd still have these angry ones for a few months and the property owner loves bees so much she didn't want me do do anything with them until we gave them at least a few days to calm down. Any and all advice/ideas are greatly appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,713 Posts
Please, whatever you do, don't ask for advice about alternatives to smoking them...:lpf:

Smoke them, re-queen them. Destroy mean genes.
I'm going through the same thing, and that's what I'm doing. I'd move them if I could.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Please, whatever you do, don't ask for advice about alternatives to smoking them...:lpf:
Thanks Colobee just saw your thread:lpf:... I haven't ever tried anything other than good old fashion pine needle/oak leaf smoke for mine and it's worked great up until this point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,713 Posts
Thanks for your understanding, and please accept my sincere apologies for including you in a distantly related experience that will no doubt make it into a book I'm formulating on Adventures in beekeeping, to be released only upon my demise.

Seriously, I can only imagine what you are going through. Honestly, I'm ashamed to admit that a hive that hot would likely best be dealt a swift and sudden demise. The last thing I would do is ask for suggestions as to how. I would probably just rig something up to my tailpipe... and start refocusing on those hives that are no where near as disagreeable, and are more deserving of my determined efforts.

I'm considering removing the brood nest from my hot hive, placing a single hive body to collect the unruly foragers, and dispatching them in a similar but as yet to be determined manner.

Tomorrow is their last chance, and your bees' yesterday, if it's as bad as it sounds?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,693 Posts
As a fairly new beekeeper, I have not experienced a really hot hive. My approach would not work with 20 bees chasing.

I occasionally have 1 nasty bee. I just let her sting me so she'll die.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
97 Posts
Two of my hives superseded this spring both were "mad as hell" for a short time (+/- two months) I could not get near them. I too wondered about AHB as I had heard from commercial folks that commercial folks were moving them up here for cherry pollination. I went ahead and moved them to a new location down the road so they would quit tormenting my family. Checked on em last weekend and they were nice as could be and makin lots of babies and honey???? I would move them into solitary confinement if you have the resources to do so, If they dont shape up then gas em.. or again, if you have the resources make up a few small splits and see how bass ass they really are. I vote for the latter as I am trying to build up my staff. Of course this is just an opinion formulated on my vast knowledge of bee's. I am going into my 2nd no maybe 3rd year and am still in the " I am going to save the world one bee at a time" stage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,297 Posts
There is a good chance the hive will quiet down in 2-3 weeks. Hives swarming or undergoing supersedure are notoriously defensive. Since guard bees are recruited on an ad hoc basis, avoid disturbing the hive for a while. Over-inspection drives much bad behavior.

The drought year we are having is affecting bee behavior -- the population peaks naturally at the solstice, but if the bees are in dearth now, they are sensing things are very wrong.

I find nothing compelling about the argument that the Sacramento foothills cannot have AHB. Hundreds of wild-caught AHB swarms are moved to Ca from Arizona for pollination. The studies in south Texas documenting the AHB takeover showed the virtually complete replacement of the genetics in 3 years. When a critical mass of AHB establishes in a region the takeover is rapid and irreversible. AHB usurp weakened hives, and in the current Ca drought, a AHB explosion may have begun last fall. My county had roving swarms of AHB usurping and emptying established hives last fall. They would empty a hive of all food, and fly on. How and where the swarms would settle for breeding needs to be studied.

You may break down an aggressive hive. You will need 3 or 4 mated queens of known disposition. Move the hive about 30 feet away from its present location. Unstack it completely spreading the boxes widely. Take a break and let the bees settle over the boxes. Then, Proceed to go through the boxes, building up new brood boxes with frames shook free of bees (and the queen). Move two of these boxes back to the old location and place them side by side. The queen location in the old hive may be obvious from behavior at this point. You may use an empty box with a queen excluder screwed to the bottom to seive the bees into boxes while trapping the queen. Use lots of smoke to drive them down. If you don't find the queen, don't panic. The break down will dispirit the aggression, and you will have another chance with less chaos to look for her.

Wait a day or two and introduce queen cages to the various breakdown hives you created. If you see them balling the cage, you have located the queenright box. The AHB hives I have dealt with take domestic queens easily, much better than the fickle "Russian" bees.

Uncap all the drone cells you see. You don't want those genetics breeding.


I have anesthetized and killed AHB hives by placing dry ice on top and bagging the hive in a large garbage bag pulled over the top. The dry ice doesn't damage the honey. Enough dry ice kills the bees, a bit less just knocks them out, and you can proceed with a split with immobile bees. I not sure you can meter the CO2 precisely enough to use this as split technique, but the possibility is intriguing. CO2 is heavier than Atmosphere, so sinks down from the top.

Burning sulfur is the classic bee killer. Detergent and water mix knocks them down rapidly. I would say both are contaminants that waste the honey, though not the comb.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,694 Posts
"What should I do with it? If I requeen I still have drones from this queen in the hive ... ."
Just speaking to the drone issue, if I were concerned, I would eliminate the drone cells, put queen excluder over the entrance, and return after dusk and remove the drones at the entrance trying to get in.
"Any/all ideas are greatly appreciated."
As best as I can tell from your post, the time between your having seen the old queen and the aggressive incident seems a little short for a virgin queen to have hatched, mated, laid eggs, and enough bees from those eggs to have completed the nurse to forager cycle to have so affected the overall disposition of the hive. I would make sure the entrance to this hive (and other nearby hives) is high enough that the bees are not being molested by an animal at night. Given the severity of the attack, I would still, at a minimum, remove the new queen, remove all emergency queen cells from that queen as they appear, and requeen immediately. If other circumstances indicated that the hive should be moved or eliminated for safety reasons, then I would do so. If there is a better location available for this hive I would move it now. I am not an expert, that's just what I would do. I hope it goes well for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,280 Posts
if you can move them, do it and re-queen or wait a bit and re-queen if they stay mean... if they are attacking your host and you cannot move them then kill them. I understand that down south they put a big heavy plastic bag over the hive tip the works upside down and seal the bag, I think I would suit-up real well first. the bees will soon all be dead without contaiminating your stuff.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Put a 5 frame nuc. in 10 frame hive in place of old hive, Move old hive about 50 ' away. Take every frame out an brush bees off on ground, return frames to nuc an supers if there are any on it. The old queen will usually be found on ground, kill her an wait about 2 weeks before going into them. an there will be a change for the better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the responses... I think I now have a plan of attack and will be carrying out part of it a little later today, divide and conquer will be my mantra and a little bit of dry ice and a plastic trash bag might come in to play, too.

Michael... Thanks for the link to your site, I go there all the time but had missed the part dealing with requeening "hot" hives.

1) drones don't attack 2) in six weeks the drones will all be dead
I'm not worried about drones attacking as they can't sting. My concern with the drones is the fact that this time of year is when I do my splits and requeen with queen cells and I don't want any of these virgin queens mating with these drones.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
695 Posts
Short of dry-ice I would move them immediately, before attempting anything else. Cant have host and neighbors getting stung.

Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
>I don't want any of these virgin queens mating with these drones.

And odds are they won't. The mechanism is built into bee biology that queens usually don't mate with drones from their yard. Queens fly further than drones and at different altitudes...

http://cabdirect.org/abstracts/1989...8;jsessionid=3500BA63FFC4BF66ADBD572E0A074ABD
Thanks for the link... I really enjoy reading documents like this, but this only furthers my concern for the 20 other hives I have in 4 different outyards located within about 3 miles as the crow flies. In order to keep my gas costs down all my hives are located within about 6 miles(straight line not country road miles) of my house and this one is smack dab in the middle( plus or minus a little).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
177 Posts
Thanks for the link... I really enjoy reading documents like this, but this only furthers my concern for the 20 other hives I have in 4 different outyards located within about 3 miles as the crow flies. In order to keep my gas costs down all my hives are located within about 6 miles(straight line not country road miles) of my house and this one is smack dab in the middle( plus or minus a little).
Another method is to "divide 'em and conquer" : split into many nuc's. That will demoralize them quickly. And calm down.

Earthboy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,713 Posts
Mother Nature is lending me a hand with her own form of "dry ice". "Tornadic super cell, hail, heavy rains"... take the good with the bad.
'Careful what you wish for...
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top