Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Angry bees and a beginner

  1. #1

    Default Angry bees and a beginner

    We're new to bee keeping, this being our second year. After a failed attempt at swarm prevention last year (we had 3 swarms, or more accurately 1 swarm and 2 casts!) we resolved to do better this year. I opened up one of our two hives yesterday to do the first of the Snelgrove method 1 steps. I managed to get stung through the veil but was able to complete the process with the queen hopefully in the bottom box on a frame of brood. The bees were quite upset during the later stages and after I had closed the hive I was pursued for fully 25 minutes by some angry bees. It was heavy weather yesterday and my being stung won't have helped but does that seems excessively aggressive? My wife was pursued and stung this morning but thinks the bees got trapped in her clothing. Later today we have both been pursued by one or two bees whenever we entered the garden.
    Any advice or suggestions welcome. I'm a bit nervous now about tackling the second hive. We live in Haddington, East Lothian if there were any volunteer mentors itching to get stung.
    Thanks for any helpful thoughts, Simon

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Aberdeenshire
    Posts
    447

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SimonB View Post
    We're new to bee keeping, this being our second year. After a failed attempt at swarm prevention last year (we had 3 swarms, or more accurately 1 swarm and 2 casts!) we resolved to do better this year. I opened up one of our two hives yesterday to do the first of the Snelgrove method 1 steps. I managed to get stung through the veil but was able to complete the process with the queen hopefully in the bottom box on a frame of brood. The bees were quite upset during the later stages and after I had closed the hive I was pursued for fully 25 minutes by some angry bees. It was heavy weather yesterday and my being stung won't have helped but does that seems excessively aggressive? My wife was pursued and stung this morning but thinks the bees got trapped in her clothing. Later today we have both been pursued by one or two bees whenever we entered the garden.
    Any advice or suggestions welcome. I'm a bit nervous now about tackling the second hive. We live in Haddington, East Lothian if there were any volunteer mentors itching to get stung.
    Thanks for any helpful thoughts, Simon
    Hi Simon, I'm a bit far away so cant come to help you but I would say that does sound quite aggressive and probably not ideal for keeping in the garden. I would consider re-queening if it is an option. It quickly becomes a chore going through nasty bees!

  3. #3

    Default

    Those were my thoughts too but I'm too wet behind the ears to make big decisions like that and also don't know how to re-queen! Thankfully a member of the local association has stepped up and will come to look at our hives and advise. I'll feed back once I know what the plan is.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Rosneath Peninsula Helensburgh
    Posts
    691

    Default

    When you come to find the 'angry queen' move your hive some distance to the side. Put another box in its place and wait a bit. All the flying forager bees will make for the new hive where the old hive used to be leaving you with less bees in your original hive and mainly nurse bees that tend not to be as aggressive.
    It will make the job of finding the queen easier


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Senior Member Greengage's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Ireland
    Posts
    513
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default

    I had shotgun bees, every time I it opened it, it was like a shotgun going off. This is what I did to find her, removed the brood box with all the bees to one side, got a second brood box placed it on the stand, removed all the frames with open brood and placed it in the second brood box on original stand with no bees. Reassembled everything with old brood box on top with a Q/E between the two boxes 24 hrs later opened the hive again most bees moved down to the opened brood and queen was in top box with less bees, dispatched her and re queened problem solved. Not saying it will work for you, but it did for me. So many questions.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Scottish Borders
    Posts
    407

    Default

    It's a very subjective call. I bought some bees from a lovely couple and frankly they are in the process of being re-queened as they have so many bad traits it is not funny. They sting unprovoked, they clump they run and to cap it all with loads of space proceeded to offer to swarm. The folk I got them from thought all of this was quite normal..... er no. Not in my book.

    PH

  7. #7
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Norfolk East Anglia, South Scotland
    Posts
    764

    Default

    heavy weather can give rise to bad temper - as can the end of OSR. Although a decent colony should not be as troublesome as you describe.

    I inspected a colony last week that was scheduled for requeening. Bees were not happy and trying to go into my boots and my cuffs. I had to go home to put on some trousers (rather than shorts under my bee suit) and put on a rugby shirt. The bees were waiting for me when I returned I found the queen and caged her; moved 1/2 the colony to one side so the flyers returned to the old site. The 1/2 colony without the queen and now without many of the flyers by the end of the day, was given a young caged queen. Assuming it's sucessfull, I can unite to the bad tempered colony in a week or so after removing the unwanted queen. With her still in the hive, I hope I won't have queencells to deal with and they won't behave as a queenless lot which which could be worse. The colony behaviour was not special but manageable, and as I said, due for requeening anyway. OSR has now finished.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Aberdeenshire
    Posts
    27

    Default

    Hi Simon, a bit of tobacco in you smoker will calm them so you can work with them (I had a few Golden Virginia plants in the green house for such problems) just enough so it smells like cigarettes, this will allow you to work with more comfort so you can requeen.

    I usually kill the queen wait till they raise cells, if I have a nice hive I will kill all their queen cells then give a frame with eggs from it (this is my normal method) and the bees do the rest. If I don't have a suitable frame of eggs I take pot luck that the new queen will be nicer, even though she is a daughter of the "problem" queen, this often works but not always. My method avoids importing queens and costs nothing, though you will not get much honey this season.

    Cheers Roger B

  9. #9

    Default

    I would never recommend killing a queen until there was a mated one to replace her. If you do as rogerb does you will lose up to a months egg laying and get líttle honey (as he points out). Also bad tempered bees become even worse when queenless.
    If the other colony is better tempered then rear a queen from her (if you carry out a demaree you can combine queen rearing and swarm prevention). Maybe someone in your local association has nice tempered bees and will give or sell you a queen.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Aberdeenshire
    Posts
    27

    Default

    Hi masterbk,

    Queens raised by the colony don't get rejected (at least I have never known it), so for a novice loss of honey would be better than the loss of the colony. My experience of working with a few bad tempered colonies over the years is that they are the ones most likely to reject a queen, but maybe that's not generally true just my limited experience?

    Cheers Roger B

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •