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Author Topic: Me and My 2 Hives - Beginner - Aggressive?  (Read 254 times)

Offline GeorgiaBeeKeeper

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Me and My 2 Hives - Beginner - Aggressive?
« on: June 14, 2020, 06:19:38 pm »
I installed 2 packages in April (my first bees ever) - they now are now in double deeps
I wear a full suit during inspections (head to ankle, gloves)

When I inspect, I do a small introductory puff of smoke at the entrance, and a small introductory puff under the lid, and try to be as gentle as possible when moving frames.  I always inspect the bottom of the double first while I keep a cloth covering the upper brooder which sits on a bench next to the bottom hive.

When I inspect one hive - I don't get bumped and the hive goes about its business - this is the "weaker" hive.  It's a pleasant experience.

When I inspect the second hive - I always have 5-10 bees constantly bumping my veil/body - and the hive buzzes loudly when I do anything (remove the frame, insert frame, etc...) - and the bees are looking at me as soon as I open up their hive and they will start bouncing off my hive tool too.  Smoking them doesn't seem to make a difference.  I don't get covered in bees - it just seems to be a constant 5-10 bees bumping me and my hive tool and the much of the hive seems angry and stares at me while the 5-10 bees bump me throughout the ENTIRE inspection.  This is the stronger of my 2 hives.  Is this  normal?  Are they too aggressive? 

Thanks!

Offline beesonhay465

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Re: Me and My 2 Hives - Beginner - Aggressive?
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2020, 07:28:32 pm »
im also a beginner as of last year. i dont use a smoker. i build a fire in a metal wheelbarrow and smoke myself . only wear long sleeves gloves and veil.the bees just ignore me . iv been stung 4 times total but only if i dont do the smoking
 :smile:

Offline JojoBeeBoy

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Re: Me and My 2 Hives - Beginner - Aggressive?
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2020, 08:06:28 pm »
Have you confirmed the second hive still has a queen? If there is a queen (or eggs, meaning queen is in there somewhere), and they are too aggressive, you have several options. I'll let some other folks here speak to those.

If they are queenless, then you can expect them to be jumpy and mean.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Me and My 2 Hives - Beginner - Aggressive?
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2020, 08:19:13 pm »
Georgia,
Here is a copy of a thread that I wrote some time back about calming down a 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.

I have tried most of the fuels that other beeks recommend. Pine straw works the best for me. I take a small  full and light it and use my hive tool to push it into the smoker. I puff it to get it going real good and then I take a big hand full and roll it up and slowly pack it in the smoker while puffing. I give it a few minutes and then start slowly packing it down with the hive tool until it is tight. All the while I?m puffing it. Then I add more to make it packed full. At this point it should be puffing thick smoke. If it is used lightly, it will last 4 to 5 hours. After it sits without puffing, it quite often is smokeless. Just puff it a few times and it will bee real thick again. Good luck.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Robo

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Re: Me and My 2 Hives - Beginner - Aggressive?
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2020, 08:25:16 pm »
I wouldn't consider they too aggressive as you describe,  but as a new beekeeper you might find them more aggressive than you are comfortable with.   Jojo is spot on,  my first thought of what you described was a queenless hive.   If however, there is a laying queen than they are probably just more aggressive.  Replacing the queen will usually solve that if you are not comfortable with them.
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline GeorgiaBeeKeeper

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Re: Me and My 2 Hives - Beginner - Aggressive?
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2020, 08:17:13 am »
The hive definitely has a queen - and she is laying eggs like crazy

In fact, about 2 weeks ago was the FIRST time I was able to finally find and mark the queens in both of my hives.  I was REALLY excited that I was able to finally figure out how to find the queens.

I will definitely try the calming the hive approach - I don't want to stress them out which is what I'm most concerned about.
I'll report back after I use it during my next inspection.  Thank you!!!!

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: Me and My 2 Hives - Beginner - Aggressive?
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2020, 08:44:53 am »
Georgia. When Sawdstmakr says puff the smoke in the entrance, he doesnt mean from a foot away. Bring the spout close to the hive entrance (an inch away) and puff the cool smoke directly inside.
Too little smoke is as bad as too much smoke.
I am only a year ahead of you. We new beeks have a hard time even knowing what "normal" is suppose to look like. Be encouraged. The second year brings more confidence and more understanding. I am expecting that to be true for us with each year that passes.
I am in Mid- Georgia. Welcome to the forum.

Offline Robo

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Re: Me and My 2 Hives - Beginner - Aggressive?
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2020, 09:03:58 am »
On a positive note,  more aggressive hives tend to produce more honey.

Ultimately it comes down to your comfort level.   If it becomes uncomfortable for you it would be time to re-queen.   When YOU are uncomfortable you tend to be more tense which causes unintentional banging/bumping which gets them more riled and you more uncomfortable.  It is a vicious circle.   You will tend to procrastinate going into the hive and spend less time in it.   It is so much better for you and the bees when there is a mutual calmness.   
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline GeorgiaBeeKeeper

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Re: Me and My 2 Hives - Beginner - Aggressive?
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2020, 10:29:42 am »
Thank you for the smoke puffing advice!  I AM doing it a little too far...I was smoking the guard bees in front and not thinking about those inside. 

I agree Robo - after watching online videos...I think I'ld requeen if there were a lot of bees landing on me....but 5-10 bumping constantly I can handle.

Offline Robo

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Re: Me and My 2 Hives - Beginner - Aggressive?
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2020, 03:49:23 pm »
Just keep an eye on them as aggressiveness tends to increase with population.  Not sure where you got your packages but I am hearing rumors that one of the big breeders may have had a few mating yards within reach of AHB this spring.   If so, I would suspect we will start to see many more people with overly aggressive bees.  Not the best thing for new beeks to be experiencing.   
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline GeorgiaBeeKeeper

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Re: Me and My 2 Hives - Beginner - Aggressive?
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2020, 09:39:14 am »
Good to know!  Thanks Robo!  I got my packages from a local breeder.  I saw some videos online of people who had really "hot hives" (that's a new term I learned) and mine is no where near the problem that those people have.

Offline GeorgiaBeeKeeper

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Re: Me and My 2 Hives - Beginner - Aggressive?
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2020, 01:30:45 pm »
Sawdstmkr - It worked!!!

My "angry" bees were as gentle as could be
I did your smoke technique...
and I went VERY slow and calm and no jerking motions, etc...

It was like they didn't even notice I was there

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

Offline Beeboy01

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Re: Me and My 2 Hives - Beginner - Aggressive?
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2020, 07:24:12 pm »
I've found that bees get more aggressive when there isn't a nectar flow. They are protecting the hive against robbers and the larger the hive is the nastier they can bee. Just went through it in my little bee yard, two weeks ago with no blooms going on they were aggressive and popped me a few times during an inspection, this week the Cabbage palm bloom is coming in and they were calm.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Me and My 2 Hives - Beginner - Aggressive?
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2020, 08:41:17 pm »
Sawdstmkr - It worked!!!

My "angry" bees were as gentle as could be
I did your smoke technique...
and I went VERY slow and calm and no jerking motions, etc...

It was like they didn't even notice I was there

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!
🤗
Glad it worked for you.
Jim Altmiller