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Discussion Starter #1
the girls are so cranky now! what is happening!
we're in SE CT USA, the weather has been nice. we're in a rural area with lots of forage, many trees, gardens, and orchards surround us.
last year, first year hive, installed a package from TX. they were great, got a little bit cranky when a skunk was bothering them at night. (skunk died of lead poisoning.) so after that, the bees lived nicely in the backyard and no one got stung. they did really well over the winter and are now they are building up nice stores of honey.

installed a second package last week, from same place in TX. new hive is next to first hive, both are in the corner of the backyard. put a fence around the hives to keep skunks away, and the grass in front of the hives is not flattened, so I don't think the skunks are getting inside the fence.

And now the girls are really cranky!! I can't tell if it's the new hive or the old hive, or both, but we (me, hubby, neighbors) get attacked by beez - EVEN IN THE FRONT YARD!!! no where hear their hive... just now, my neighbor and I were standing in the front yard and two beez swooped in out of nowhere and were pestering us!! we can't mow the lawn.. even in the front yard, w/o being attacked. the mailman tried to deliver a package in our driveway, and got stung... I went to the back yard to see what was happening at the hives and stood along side them, and got bombed by bees!! WTF!!!
this is not going to work out.. our landlord lives across the street and is alergic to bees...
Does anyone have any ideas why the girls are so cranky and any advice on what we can do about it?
I love being a beekeeper and love to support the craft, but it does not good if hte bees are giving themselves a bad rap! :(
thanks...
 

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The reason bees are cranky can be numerous. Just to list a few:

Africanized genetics.
Queenlessness, or failing queen.
Changing atmospheric pressure, or approaching storm.
Skunks, raccoons, kids with rocks, or other disturbances.
Pulsating sounds (like a mower's exhaust).
Nectar dearth.
Robbing (either robbing or being robbed out).
Severe pest infestation (like SHB or wax moth).
Chemical attractant (like banana extract or some hair products/soaps).
Aggressive beekeeping skills.

These are just some reasons to chew on. Barring external influences, I'd requeen with a known gentle and Northern breed. A simple requeening will change the temperament of the hive quickly and is a good management practice for a hot hive.

Happy beekeeping,
DS
 

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Discussion Starter #5
re-queen? which hive? last year's or this years??

I think hive #2 (this year's package) is too new to have genetic traits from the queen - just installed Sunday...

and why would last years bees (hive #1) go cranky?? I don't think hive #2 (the new colony) is strong enough to be robbing hive #1...

I checked on the hive #1 on Monday... they were supremely pissed then... didn't see queen, but did see lots of eggs and larva... also added another shallow super, they were looking crowded.. .. it seems as if they are still pissed now. It's 6pm, and they are atacking in the front yard. ARGH!

and how can I tell if it's hive #1 or hive #2 from where the cranky bees are coming?
 

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You'd get an idea from how they behave when inspected.

You've already said that Hive #1 is POed when you went through them. So, they're automatically a candidate for requeening. Take a look through Hive #2 and determine if they're hot too. If not, then there's your answer; Requeen Hive #1. If they are, I'd be a little more inclined to wonder WHAT was making them BOTH hot. You're right. A package ISN'T typically made with the queen who reared the bees in the same package, therefore the queen's genetics wouldn't be indicative of the bees behavior yet. Keep in mind though, requeening sometimes has an almost instant effect on temperament.

Good luck,
DS
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks BigDaddy and Mike...

I think either re-queening hive #1 and/or observe the effect of temporarily moving hive#2 are the answers for right now....

it was all so wonderful last year with the nice sweet colony... why did I decide to get a second one? ;)

anyone have any idea why the queen from hive #1 would start laying eggs for cranky-bees?

thanks, everyone for your time and advice.
 

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even though the package bees are not the queens daughters, they react aggressively when the queen is not putting out the right amount/kind of pheremones, and may just have aggressive traits. reread post #3, those points apply to either hive. a quick solution is to divide the old hive into 3 boxes and pinch the new queen and give them a frame of young brood to make a new queen. good luck,mike
 

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"...anyone have any idea why the queen from hive #1 would start laying eggs for cranky-bees?" the queen will mate with an average of a dozen drones, but the sperm is not mixed-think of it as layered. when one drones sperm is used up, anothers comes into play, along with his specific genetics. good luck,mike
 

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You might consider re-queening both hives with queens from an area that does not have Africanized Bees. But let me add that that may not be your problem...if they don't settle down soon...I would requeen.
 
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