Bad@ss bees--how do I sweeten their disposition?

George_in_MA(z5/6 MA)June 8, 2005

My wife and I are new beekeepers. Early in the season we installed two hives of bees. Everything was going well, so we decided to get a third hive. This third hive of bees is of a very different temperment than the previous two, which are very docile and really a pleasure to visit. These new bees are very aggressive and simply nasty. My wife doesn't like visiting this hive, as the bees seem to ignore the smoke and try to attack us. I've begun wearing gardening gloves anytime I visit the hive, and on one of my last visits, one of them stung me right through one of the gloves (my first sting after numerous visits to each of the other hives).

I realize that all beekeepers get stung, and that any visit to a hive eventually will be regarded as an intrusion by even the most docile bees. But this third package of bees we have are just ornery. If all bees were like these I'd give up the hobby.

Anyone have experience with nasty bees, and have any ideas how I can put them in a better mood?

Thanks in advance for any insight.

George

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steveintn(Z6-1/2)

Requeen. Sounds like a good opportunity to try out a new breed, Russian, whatever.

It's amazing how fast their disposition changes with a new queen.

Order the queen. Wait till it gets to your house, then open the hive, locate the old queen and kill her with your hive tool. Don't remove her though. You might hear the bees sing shiva, a particular sound only heard when the queen has died.

The next morning take the wood plug out of the new queen's cage, take a thin nail and poke it through the sugar, not enough to let a bee through, just enough to help things along. Wire the cage into a frame, put it into the hive.

And lo and behold, their disposition will change.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2005 at 11:29PM
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amymcg(z5 MA)

I agree with SteveIn - requeen

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 6:27AM
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George_in_MA(z5/6 MA)

Thanks for the advice. I think locating the queen will be a real chore for us at this point, but I'll look into it. These bees is bad!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 9:45AM
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bambooo(6 CT USA)

No need to locate the queen at first.
Split this hive into at least 2 halves and come back in 2 days. Set them one atop the other with their own bottom boards and entrances. The one with no eggs gets requeened, young eggs stand on end, couple day eggs lay on their sides so it's easy to tell.
Best to carry the box you are working on away from the original site and let the field bees fly back to the other box where they can be nasty without keeping you from working. Then when you go to examine that box you switch their places and again work away from the original stand letting the field bees drift on back.
You have snotty bees during nice weather and a honey flow and they are not worth tolerating.
Another option is to move a nice hive onto the original stand and allow the field bees from the snotty hive to drift into it keeping the nasty hive weak and easier to work while you await a new queen.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 10:33AM
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ccrb1(z5 IND)

Just remember, sometimes the ill tempered bees are the best producers. Personality isn't everything.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2005 at 12:46AM
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