Do I give them a Second Chance?

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thedeaddiplomat 

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This year, I have had one colony that has tended towards aggression. At one stage, I was going to re-queen but it began to calm down a little. By October, they were relatively well-behaved, but still inclined to anti-social behaviour if I tried for more than a very quick peek at the hive.

I put this down, in part to my second year heavyhandedness, and a tendency to crush more of this colony than of the others due to anxiety. But also in part to a hint of bloodymindedness in the hive (though all my Queens are from the same stock).

What would the experts do? Is it worth giving them another chance in the Spring, in the hope that I have learned a little more gentleness in my handling? Or would you assume that these particular leopards cannot change their stripes (if they have any), and plan on an early re-queening?
 

Monsieur Abeille 

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How long have you had her, and (if honey is important) are they particularly good foragers? Is the agressiveness causing you or others problems?
 

rich 

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Re-queen, I have this self same dilemma, being an old soft hearted thing,(but don't tell the kids that) I let her be, by May I was really bemoaning not going with my gut reaction to dispatch her. Ended up re-queening mid season and only by late Sept did I seeing any improvement in temper.

Rich
 

Mike a 

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Give her another chance

If you don't want her then pop her in a nuc and leave her to build up into a strong colony and offer her to another bee keeper. (not a newbie)

:p
 

oliver90owner 

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I would ask a few questions:

Is this the colony you always leave 'til last? (smells, pheromones, from the others)

Is it your smell? Sorry, don't mean to be personal, but you may experience it with different aftershave/deodorant, or possibly simply after working through two other colonies (getting hot), or as you say, simply your apprehensiveness when arriving at this one?

Or, are these bees are more affected by your mobile phone, even if it is only 'turned on'?

Those out of the way, now:

Is 'docility' your only required trait? Certainly not the only one on my list.

Do they have traits which should be encouraged, rather than snuffed? So what might the losses be.

What are you going to replace her with? New gene pool or with the local genes.

Are these traits in the local community, so will return (unless buying in queens)?

Will there be any drones around from this colony, if taking queen cells from one of your other colonies?

Personally, I would get three or four queens in nucs, from queen cells from your chosen breeding queen colony, and unite the 'nicest' one with this colony, after they have proved themselves, if I only wanted 'quiet' bees.

Not so easy with only three colonies, so I would suggest a split, three or four ways (depending on strength), and raise queens, as above, and then recombine using the best queen after appraising them. You would lose about a month laying time, if the queen is squished at splitting time, or less if later, but done early enough, there may be foragers available for flows later in the season (and 4 queens laying helps, remembering it takes 6 weeks, after laying recommences, for any new foragers from the new queens).

I think you are going to requeen it, one way or another. I take cells/eggs from a couple of my colonies and raise queens with bees from those (and other colonies, if enough around elsewhere for a honey harvest) as splits and decide later in the year how to proceed, so don't particularly target any one hive (although there may be some good candidates for a change of genes!)

Regards, RAB
 
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re queen....... got to be worth £20 to £30 not to be chased around the apiary by a hostile "grist of bees"

the NewZealander is a nice gentle and productive little fellaest!
 

jimbeekeeper 

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Of the few "agressive" hives I have had, I could always link it back to me in some way or my actions.

Is it possible to get another experinced keeper to examine?
 

Poly Hive 

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An aggressive colony in Autumn will still be an aggressive colony in spring, unless..... they supercede. If your queen is clipped and or marked that will be obvious in Feb.

PH
 

Rosti 

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How long have you had her, and (if honey is important) are they particularly good foragers? Is the agressiveness causing you or others problems?
I am with MA with a couple of caviates alluded to by MA anyway.
Does their ASBO tendency affect others?
Does it significantly alarm you / reduce your enjoyment?

If no to both take the honey. My St Trinians colony can be a right pain (see previous posts) but they are no where near any public access, I am used to they're little anticks and by god do they cram in the nectar! For that reason I tollerate leaving them until last and double gloving specially. That said she'll be needing a natural replacement next season anway.

Bottom line: this is mean't to be an enjoyable hobby not a chore. If it becomes the latter then sadly; squish the bytch :reddevil:
 

Silly Bee 

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I'm not really into "Squiding" Queens, Let her lay eggs but keep her seperate, and breed a new queen.
 

Rosti 

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SB, bees do the same to their own - all the time!

While you are leaving her be you are allowing a proliferation of genes you have decided you can't tollerate.

Granted when we are putting the good of a colony before the queen our priorities might be a little different, but our methods are rather more humane than the bees dish out to each other, whether queens or dones for that matter. Unless we get into the wider debate of sacraficial drone brood and inspecting drone brood for varroa in which case thaat is positively barbaric compared to squishing an unruly queen.

Thoughts?
 

Silly Bee 

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Doesn't that depend on what type of drone she mates with?
 

RoseCottage 

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I would wait and see. Leave her a month in march (ish) and see how they behave. What do you lose by giving them a chance?

I have never consciously requeened yet. My first colony we think superceded and have become even more docile but produced 135lbs of honey too.
My second colony, different stock, less honey and more feisty.

If I kill the queen in this colony and let them rear from her eggs will I always get a feisty monster?

Sam
 

Silly Bee 

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If I kill the queen in this colony and let them rear from her eggs will I always get a feisty monster?


Personally I don't think so, but more knowlegable keepers may know better.
 

Rosti 

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Doesn't that depend on what type of drone she mates with?
Well yes, you are right, but as beeks we are attempting to manage our bees and their traits so relying on a randomly good drone combined with the hope that that drones genes can win a bet against genetic probability being very much toward the proliferation of the queens genes (great explanation in superorganism and brother adams book on breeding discusses this as well) suggests that a random mating would give us more of the same traits as the original queen in offspring. Which comes on to Rose Cottages question, yes you'll probably get feisty monsters. Better to control things by breeding the queen you want with eggs from your favoured queen / colony / temperament. Either by giving those eggs to your breeding colony and raising queens, or more simply giving a frame of eggs from your favoured queen to the colony you want to requeen and then managing the situation to ensure that only cells from those donated eggs reach maturity
 

RoseCottage 

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Rosti thanks for that quick response. I'll bear your advice in mind next year,
Sam
 

Finman 

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So simple : re-queen.

Agressivenes is bee's natural habit to survive in nature. Nothing strange in it.
Human try to weed out agressive genes from semi domesticated bee. It is called breeding and selection.

Agressive bees do not bring more honey than tame bees. The good yield is in flowers, not in bees.
 

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