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Author Topic: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.  (Read 584 times)

Offline FloridaGardener

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Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« on: May 14, 2020, 02:05:00 pm »
        I had a call from a gentleman in the next town over who has a self-built long lang hive that he's left alone since last year. The space on top is too large, so he has a wealth of burr comb with brood above the bars. The hive is now too hot for him to work comfortably because when he lifts the lid he rips up all the burr comb with brood in it.  So I thought it'd be helpful to have this thread with everyone's input added please to these reasons, starting with...

Why bees get hot:
-   Dearth
-   Queenlessness
-   Imminent Rain
-   Wind
-   Hassling (Loud Banging noises such as demolition next door, inspecting too often, annoying/toxic dryer sheet smell from dryer vent)
-   Animal harassement
-   Beesrobbing
-   Recent honey harvesting or pulling of brood frames
-   Not inspecting enough and bees aren't used to it

How to handle them (except in the case of beesrobbing):

-   Of course, all the basics such as decent weather, advance smoking, use cool smoke, spray bottle of water, personal protective equipment, etc.
- Make sure jacket/veil is freshly washed with no fabric/soap scents
-   Use a clean, smooth, lightweight white sheet or waxed paper to cover each box as it is lifted /inspected.  "Keep a lid on it."
-    No horsehair bee brushes
-    If you use leather gloves, pull a nitrile glove over it
-  Know exactly what you're going to do and work swiftly and smoothly. "Get in, get out."
-   Work them a little bit at a time, 5 days apart.
-   If suspected queenless, but the bees are too hot to get down to the brood nest, add a frame of eggs up top, and check back in 5 days.  Or, add a queen cell above a queen excluder, with an imrie shim/entrance above it.
-   Split them up to carefully combine to other hives or start nucs

Input to this topic is welcomed!
« Last Edit: May 14, 2020, 02:47:16 pm by FloridaGardener »

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2020, 03:37:43 pm »
Florida. Short of sawing height off the top of the hive, maybe a soft inner cover over the entire length of the box will incline the bees not to attach to the top cover again. That is, after the mess gets cleaned up.

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2020, 04:28:48 pm »
Yes, for his particular situation, I suggested 17? x 8? Luan interior cover boards with 2 perpendicular 1x1s underneath them, which will lift the cover boards above the frames. 

But how to most skillfully work a hot hive is good for this situation and others... Would be nice to compile a lot of tips here from the real pros (not myself).

Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2020, 07:15:17 pm »
You left out change queens, if a hive is consistently fizzy then change the queen is the easiest option.

Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2020, 08:20:21 pm »
Why genetics not mentioned?  African Bees are the extreme example.  Some bees are genetically predisposed to defensiveness and nothing[except CO2] can be done other than change the genetics.  No amount of smoke or gentleness will calm an african defensive honeybee.  For the record, not all bees in Africa are defensive.

Horse hair brush, don?t use, I don?t understand unless you are referring the touching of bees which, yes, excites the bees?  I have two bee brushes, one is coarse nylon, a stiffer brush use to remove bees off a capped honey frame, two is my horse hair brush which is so soft this softness affords me the ability to remove bees off of delicate queen cells.

Health to your bees.
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2020, 08:32:13 pm »
Mr Van, I know a fellow who uses a turkey feather for gentle handling. I have not tried this simply because I do not have a turkey feather. lol

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2020, 09:29:59 pm »
I am absolutely not one of the "real pros" you mentioned, but I have one to add: Jim Altmiller's smoking method.  Smoke them and then let them sit for 10 minutes, smoke again and wait 30 seconds, and then start the inspection.  Works wonders on a big and/or cranky hive. 

-   Use a clean, smooth, lightweight white sheet or waxed paper to cover each box as it is lifted /inspected.  "Keep a lid on it."
I have 2 old pillowcases that I use for this; the one I put on the box(es) I'm not working, and the other I put on the box I am working and then I roll it back as I go through the box so that only a few frames are exposed at a time.  I also use these on every hive, hot or not, during robbing season.   
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Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2020, 05:33:07 am »
Why put up with bad tempered bees, if you have to go to all this stuff to handle your bees it would be a pain in the rearend.
Even if you only have a few hives it must take all the fun out of it working fizzy bees. If I can't work a hive with bare hands then they are classed as fizzy.
If a hive is fizzy at an inspection and the others aren't then they get "fizzy+date" on the lid, two fzzy's is replaced by a RQ.
Next lot of queens for that apiary and the fizzy ones go.
Change queens and enjoy your bee keeping.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2020, 09:03:21 am »
If the bees are truly aggressive my solution is to dump the hive or crush the queen if you can.  If it is an equipment problem well duh, fix the equipment.
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Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2020, 01:01:31 pm »
     Well, I should clarify....I'm not speaking of chronically hot hives.   And I'm looking for tips that can also help someone like the gentleman with the burr comb problem.  His bees will be very upset while he fixes the problem. But they might well be very good bees.

     And I have a situation now at friend's home (suburbs). I have a large colony from a year-old split that's been a sweetheart, except for some random times when they've been absolutely berserk.  In order to figure out why, I have to at least get part way into the colony and check for queenright -  despite screeching, headbanging guard bees that I can't smoke off, spray off, or walk off.   

    The first time it happened, all looked fine in the hive, but I was left with a raging headache.  I realized that the neighbor's dryer vent was belching strong perfume with phthalates and who-knows- what toxic chem  (there's a lot of research on how toxic that stuff is at EWG.org).  Naturally, I moved the hive far from the smell and things returned to calm.  All was well for awhile.  This hive is large, and I regularly pull brood frames for mating nucs.
 
     The second time they went berserk, yesterday I couldn't get in the hive far enough to check for queenright because I simply could not see through the cloud of frenzied bees. I tried all the techniques I listed.  Any and all more tips are appreciated.

      What I did get done, is begin separating it by moving  the top, partly-filled super above an escape board. I'll return tonight to remove the frames above the escape board, pull the escape board, and add open brood to see if a queen cell begins to be formed. I won't try to go in the 3 medium hive bodies below.  They could be crazed also because of not being QR.
   
  AND as I left, I saw a giant backhoe 300 ft down the street which had just demolished a house and a dozen huge oak trees.  I found out the backhoe had been thumping and rattling my friend's house for 3 days.  Incidentally, at the same time and place, I had a nuc abscond and hang in the neighbor's tree.
 
    SO... tips for handling fizzy bees due to provoking situations - not cranky queens - is where I'm looking for input.  Sorry not to make it clear at outset.  Thanks for the 2 cents.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2020, 01:49:32 pm »
Sounds like a naturally born hot hive to me. "The second time they went berserk".
A little unruly (possible so but doubtful). BERSERK? No way a backhoe 100 yards away should provoke them go totally berserk. Unless they are Africanized or totally too hot. Oldbeavos advice is sound.

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2020, 02:38:28 pm »
IDK.  Randy Oliver says NO vibrations ever, not even from a hive lid set oN another hive lid...each hive should have its own stand. 

And I thought about ?tanging? especially Since the nuc was hanging in a tree.

And for the other 30+ inspections I have done on this hive in the past 14 months, they?ve been fine.

Online TheHoneyPump

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2020, 03:00:52 pm »
Great opening list there, Gardener.

Given the scenario described, note that there are times when hive maintenance and management has been neglected , needing alot of work, and despite all efforts even the gentlest hive is going to get upset.  In these situations you just have to grit your teeth and go in being the big bad beekeeper.  Here are a few tips that can help, but they are going to mad no matter what you do.
- Pick a day that has a nice forcast.  Pick a day that is a work day so the neighbourhood is away at work most of the day.
- Plan to do the work EARLY in the morning. Just as the sun is coming up, dawn. This will be before neighbourhood wakes up so mad bees everywhere won't bother anyone. It is also the time that bees are most placid.  An early disruption also gives the bees the rest of the day to recover and settled down.
- Have a plan, know why you are getting into the hive and what you will be doing.  Do it all at once, on one entry., no matter how disruptive.  Do not try to spread it out over multiple visits.
- Be prepared.  Have plenty of coffee in you.  Suit up thoroughly.  Have your tools at the ready.  Have your smoker billowing with smoke.  Have a spray bottle of warm sugar water ready too.
- Do your best to calm them with smoke before going in.  Jims method...?
- Get started.  Progress with purpose and determination. Cleanup, sort, rearrange as needed to get the hive equipment back into shape. No matter how disruptive or how the bees react, get it all done, get through it.
- The bees will get riled.  Use LIGHT smoke to calm them and use the sugarwater spray to dampNclamp them to keep them less flighty. Do not spend much time trying to pacify them.  Grit your teeth and IGNORE THE BEES.  You are suited up and you need to get through this.
- Be efficient. Time is a big factor in such work.  Get done quickly, regardless of their reaction. IGNORE THE BEES.  Get the job done then get out of there.
- Leave the hive alone undisturbed for at least 5 days before going back.  If you had a plan in the first place and got it all done, you should not have to go back for 2 weeks.
- The hive will be irritable until about high noon the day you rattled their home. By later afternoon and dusk they will be settled right down.

Hope that helps!


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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2020, 03:43:28 pm »
IDK.  Randy Oliver says NO vibrations ever, not even from a hive lid set oN another hive lid...each hive should have its own stand. 

And I thought about ?tanging? especially Since the nuc was hanging in a tree.

And for the other 30+ inspections I have done on this hive in the past 14 months, they?ve been fine.

I don't know either. Being they are hanging from a tree may make a difference. Perhaps the vibrations, even 300 feet away could make a difference. (very possible). Mr HP laid out a good guideline. Let us know how this works out for you and the bees.

Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2020, 11:12:20 pm »
Split the hive and walk away.  Then do as HP suggest.  If you are afraid, in extreme cases, use carbon dioxide this will put the bees to sleep.  Not more than 10 minutes or the bees start dying.
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline beesonhay465

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2020, 12:46:47 am »
if you are going to run a long lang you should probably make your frames with the top rail solid edge to edge and no possibility for the bees to get into the attic. thats the way in a long hive with top bars

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2020, 07:56:32 am »
Yes. Florida knows the beek built the hive with too much head space. I have built mine with proper 3/8 inch headroom above the frames, and then a migratory top. I think it helps the bees move the air along the top of the long hive. They never build any burr comb in mine.

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2020, 03:19:42 pm »
[ You are not allowed to view attachments ]
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Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2020, 04:16:03 pm »
[ You are not allowed to view attachments ]
The arrow is pointing to a hive body for size comparison...snapped the pic with a spare hive body when I went to have a lookiloo today.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2020, 09:44:32 pm by FloridaGardener »

Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2020, 08:43:55 pm »
We loaded 64 hives onto our trailer at 6pm, they spent the night on the trailer, at 4am we drove them 300 kms, last 6km on gravel road with the next 3km of forest track.
Unloaded them, bit of smoke at the door and opened them at their new location. No hive went ballistic and we could work other hives next to them.
If your select for temperament you end up with quiet bees.
You can make excuses for fizzy bees for ever, but in the end you still have fizzy bees.

Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2020, 11:16:22 pm »
Mr. Beavo, I always appreciate, enjoy your post;  1.  You are knowledgeable and 2. You are in the other side of the planet.

Being on the other side of the planet I would like to ask about your weather regarding bees?  Anything unusual thus year?

I ask because in my area, the weather is very strange: constant rain and very cool.  My honey production this year is a bust as the Spring flow has been to cold and wet for my bees to forage.  Our Fall flow is very minor in this forested area we call the Ozarks so Spring is the mainstay.  I have lost 2 batches of queens due to chill, like in the 40F for weeks when normal is 55F.

Cheers and keep posting Mr. Beavo.
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2020, 10:14:28 am »
We loaded 64 hives onto our trailer at 6pm, they spent the night on the trailer, at 4am we drove them 300 kms, last 6km on gravel road with the next 3km of forest track.
Unloaded them, bit of smoke at the door and opened them at their new location. No hive went ballistic and we could work other hives next to them.
If your select for temperament you end up with quiet bees.
You can make excuses for fizzy bees for ever, but in the end you still have fizzy bees.

Thanks Oldbeavo....

Offline minz

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2020, 07:20:56 pm »
I had a hive earlier this year like I had never seen. I had bee problems with stinging 75 yards away. Went in and done inspections and when I opened up #7 it was insane! I had full jacket on and denim and was covered in angry bees by the time I got the super off. I backed out and tried it again the next day better mentally prepared. I did find that I had a tear in my vale though. I took at least 3 stings to the left eyebrow plus others in the face. My denim had hundreds of stings in it by the time I got the boxes apart (moved it in half). The bees followed me through the bushes, 75 yards up and into the dark garage. My pants were furry with bees and stingers. I corrected the situation with some large black garbage bags that evening. I did call up KathyP and ask her if she wanted them before I put it down!
Poor decisions make the best stories.

Online .30WCF

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Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2020, 08:22:28 pm »
If they are otherwise gentle bees, and you?re only worried about when you dump honey all over their house, can you force them to abscond with smoke into a box rigged to the entrance or vacuum them out? If you can get the hive empty, you can clean the burr and wayward comb and dump them back in.


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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2020, 10:28:26 pm »
Minz, did Kathy take them? 

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2020, 12:15:09 am »
If they are otherwise gentle bees... can you ... vacuum them out? If you can get the hive empty, you can clean the burr and wayward comb and dump them back in.

Great idea actually, for rogue or burr comb, to treat it like a cutout if you have a bee vac.  The vac always wins.  Just takes a long time.  When the weather is warm the brood wouldn't be lost.  I leave the nurse bees on anyway, when rubber banding a cutout, they're only singing sadly - not stinging madly.


Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2020, 06:15:34 am »
Why cut out burr comb, the bees have put it there for a reason, bracing etc.
You are on a hiding as they will probably rebuild it back where they want it.
We have 15 year old hives that are left to their own devices, we inspect frames and put them back. We have some hives that may never have all the frames taken out at once, especially if we find the queen, or are satisfied with our inspection.

Offline minz

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2020, 04:42:03 pm »
Minz, did Kathy take them?
nope!
Put them in couple of black plastic garbage bags.
Poor decisions make the best stories.

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Re: Why bees get Hot, and what to do about them.
« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2020, 05:59:49 pm »
Why cut out burr comb, the bees have put it there for a reason, bracing etc.
You are on a hiding as they will probably rebuild it back where they want it.
We have 15 year old hives that are left to their own devices, we inspect frames and put them back. We have some hives that may never have all the frames taken out at once, especially if we find the queen, or are satisfied with our inspection.
My suggestion wasn?t intended to just clean the hive up. Of course the hive would be modified to proper tolerances once it was workable with out getting lit up.


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