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Author Topic: What constitutes a mean hive?  (Read 256 times)

Offline Bob Wilson

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What constitutes a mean hive?
« on: March 10, 2020, 02:45:18 pm »
What constitutes a mean bee hive?
My bee are not as nice as last year...
1. Even smoking them, they are more agitated and aggressive.
2. They harrass if I walk near the hives (10 feet or less)
3. They harrass around the head for longer periods, even if I walk 100 feet around to the front of my house.
5. They are stinging my suit much more often.
6. They start harrassing when I open the hive, and get even more agressive if I move any frames.
7. I would not work gloveless now, like I did last year.

Offline CoolBees

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Re: What constitutes a mean hive?
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2020, 03:19:32 pm »
Bob - from my experience, when a hive gets mean it can be because they have a problem/issue. When that gets resolved, they calm right back down. Try to find what's bothering them: Queenlessness? Robbing? Mites? Dearth?  ... etc.
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Online van from Arkansas

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Re: What constitutes a mean hive?
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2020, 03:25:27 pm »
Bob, to answer your question of ?what constitutes a mean hive??

I think that is a matter of personal preference,  to me, if I walk by a hive and the bees come after me, the hive is requeened after several walks.

Of course I would note what cool texted before I requeen.

Van

Add: any calm hive can have a bad day, but repeated aggression are dealt with by requeening.
Bless the Beekeepers.  Dealing with venomous insects takes courage, patience, dedication and a desire to be with nature.

Offline SkoroBees

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Re: What constitutes a mean hive?
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2020, 03:38:55 pm »
I had that same issue with a hive. Turns out they were getting ready swarm.. after they swarmed, yes I caught them.. We've been best buds!

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: What constitutes a mean hive?
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2020, 04:38:01 pm »
Maybe that is why they are testy. Stress.
One hive swarmed.
I split it first hoping to stop it, and they were ugly when I did it.
Now they have swarmed, but I found yesterday that the stronger hive, which swarmed, is robbing the weaker split. I never saw robbing before. It took a while watching beofre I was sure. So robbing causes mean bees?
I reduced the entrance of the weak hive down to around 1.5 inches square inches yesterday. Today, they are still robbing it, so I will reduce it down to one bee width as soon as I can.
Perhaps they will all calm back down after a while.

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: What constitutes a mean hive?
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2020, 04:43:20 pm »
The above sums up my hives right now. I presently have all three issues which makes bees testy.
There is a queenless split.
There is swarming.
There is robbing.
Makes sense. That's why I like this forum. Thanks for the info.

Online TheHoneyPump

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What constitutes a mean hive?
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2020, 12:08:45 am »
Bob - from my experience, when a hive gets mean it can be because they have a problem/issue. When that gets resolved, they calm right back down. Try to find what's bothering them: Queenlessness? Robbing? Mites? Dearth?  ... etc.

As for causes; 
This above, usually.  The other case(s) is when there is a hot chili pepper somewhere in the genetic lineage.

What constitutes a mean hive?
- do the bees chase passer-by walkers un provoked. 
- do you have to wear gloves when working the frames when properly smoked
- are the bees runny or flighty soon as the lid is lifted
- do you smell bananas every time go near the hive or work the hive no matter how gentle you are being
- are you scared, nervous, or hesitant to spend time with the bees.

Yes to ANY of the above is a mean hive that needs to be culled out of the gene pool.
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: What constitutes a mean hive?
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2020, 06:54:46 am »
Bob,
What you are describing definitely sounds like a mean hive. Quite often the biggest cause is the hive is queen less.
The first thing I would do is smoke it per the method below and look for signs of it being queen right. If you do not find queen signs, add a frame of brood and eggs and see if that helps. I have had a really mean hive calm down just by using the below method.
Also check to see is you have a skunk scratching the landing board at night. They leave scratch marks. This will cause a mean hive.


Calming down a hive.
I can make the calmest hive mean and I can make the meanest hive calm. It is all about you handle them and how you smoke them.
I teach the 10 minute and 30 second smoking procedure. Get your smoker puffing thick smoke. Puff 3-4 puffs into the bottom of the hive. Wait full 10 minutes, puff 3-4 puffs into the bottom of the hive and wait 30 seconds. While waiting, slowly slide your hive tool between boxes to break the propolis. Do not bang on the hive tool to do this.
One thing you do not want to do is bang anything against your hives.
Move slowly and gently slide frames in and out of the hive.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Acebird

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Re: What constitutes a mean hive?
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2020, 08:02:43 am »
I presently have all three issues which makes bees testy.
Sometime it is hard to determine which hive is the aggressor so it may require distancing the hives.  Robbing usually doesn't go on for long before the hive is overcome or the queen is killed.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: What constitutes a mean hive?
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2020, 08:05:02 am »
Honey pump. Lol. Funny about the chili peppers. Mexican is my favorite cuisine. Maybe spiciness is leaching from our house.

Jim. I think it was the queenlessness/swarming/robbing. All three problems have been fixed, and they have calmed right back down again. It surprised me to no end. I had to get into one of them two days ago, and it was gentle like before. It really surprised me, because they had gotten mean earlier. I am glad to see them gentle again, going about their bee work, unmindful of me.

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: What constitutes a mean hive?
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2020, 08:13:31 am »
Acebird. I see now. Yes, the robbed hive was overcome. Three big queencells opened and empty. No brood. No eggs. No pollen, and very little nectar. The frames were light, empty, and covered with mature bees.
I shook them off into the yard, and stored the frames for giving to my caught swarm tomorrow, when I hive it.
The shook off bees mostly begged into the original hive with the new queen, going in little by little from the mob in the grass.. I hope they dont kill her. I put a few more empty comb frames in it when I saw them going there, to accommodate the extra population, and give them something to do.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: What constitutes a mean hive?
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2020, 09:49:32 am »
Bob,
If the bees are returning to the original hive they will not kill the queen. Even if they were going to a new hive, unless there are more bees than the hive box has and they have a queen with them, they will not kill the queen. If they did try, the hive bees will ball the queen to protect her. I have seen this happen in my observation hive.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Acebird

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Re: What constitutes a mean hive?
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2020, 08:53:42 am »
I put a few more empty comb frames in it when I saw them going there, to accommodate the extra population, and give them something to do.
Be careful, too much space is a problem too.
Brian Cardinal
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