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DulwichGnome 

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Hi, I had a look at my 'lively' hive today (double brood, 3 supers, lots of bees and hard work). I know these bees follow me and this time was not exception, so I picked up my gear from where a get suited and booted, 5M away from the hive, to where the gate is, 10M, but one or two were still around my head. Out the gate and another 5M and every thing seemed to be OK. Took the top of the suit off and tied the arms, went back to lock up and bam, Stuka bee hit me in the face :svengo:. This was some 15 minutes after the hive was closed and a good 15m away!!

Has any one else had this level of persistence? I may have to find somewhere round the back in the shade to sit and wait out these attacks or requeen!!

Mike.
 

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One of my hives did the same today.
First time I have had any of mine following like that,lucky I have managed to work out what hive it was so will be keeping a very close eye on them.
 

DulwichGnome 

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It was a hot day and it was tough going so it may well have been my 'odeur de travail' that she was homing in on. Time to wash the suit me thinks.
 

grizzly 

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It was stonkingly hot, especially in all the garb, oneof mine is like that at the mo, not sure if its because they have some honey stores, or if its because we are approaching june and forage is drying up ?
 

jon 

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or if its because we are approaching june and forage is drying up ?

I have personally never noticed a June gap. I think lack of nectar coming in is more due periods of bad weather. The blackberry will be out soon and that is one of the most important nectar sources around here.

If one colony is consistently stinging or following I would requeen asap. You don't want those drones mating with any queens you try and rear.

If all the colonies are aggressive at the same time it could be Oil Seed Rape of poor handling skills by the beekeeper.
Bees which attack 15 metres away need to be requeened, imho. Other people who may happen to be in the area will not be wearing beesuits.
 
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grizzly 

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i shall be sorting out the hive in question as soon as i know what they are up to, have not seen the marked queen for two weeks, no eggs, and no QC, so i want to see if there is a virgin first before i pay out money only to have the new queen done in.

one of my other hives was in the process of superceding when i caught and removed the old girl, popped in the new Queen and never saw her again. i must have missed the cells on the comb.
 

jon 

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Hi Grizzly.

I find the most useful thing to have is several nucs. If you have a problem you can combine a nuc with a queenless colony using the newspaper method.

When my colonies started making queen cells I made up several nucs earlier in May.

I am going to requeen several of my colonies shortly. One is a bit too defensive/nervous, although not with bees following or attacking away from the hive. They rise up off the comb too readily during an inspection. Another has bees which run on the comb far too much. I have 2 colonies which you could work bare handed and I hope to requeen with the daughters of these queens which I have in several nucs. No sign of brood yet though but I am hopeful of successful mating flights after this warm weekend. I rate aggression on the record sheet on a 1-10 scale on every inspection and any queen scoring 5+ on a regular basis is living on borrowed time. The two quietest colonies always score 1 or 2 for temperament.
I work my bees using just a veil, latex gloves and wellies for protection, so I have no time for bees which want to sting through the shirt sleeve.
 
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DulwichGnome 

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Need to requeen

I work my bees using just a veil, latex gloves and wellies for protection, so I have no time for bees which want to sting through the shirt sleeve.
I'm with you on this one Jon, this queen must go.

Does any one have a couple of Queens/National nucs for sale?

Mike.
 

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We inspected 15 hives and nucs yesterday with some very positive results. Of 5 new virgin home grown queens in 4 and 5 frame nucs, all were laying. I was pretty happy about that to be honest. Out of the 15 inspections we hadn't had any bouncy bees on viels or problems. It was an absolute pleasure.

The final hive had swarmed on Thursday and it was my intention to find and kill the queen in the swarm and then recombine them. On closer inspection I found 3 sealed cells in the hive which I decided I would place in Apideas with plenty of bees. As I went through the hive I shook the bees off the frames with the cells and all hell broke lose. It wasn't a violent shake, it was my usual gentle but forceful shake. The bees went crazy. I carried on and got all three cells out and into Apideas but the bees were getting quite defensive. So I shut them all up and decided to call it a day.

As I was back at the car taking my suit off, my brother in law and is Mrs appreared. They were both immediately chased and took a sting each. Then one chased me off and stung my ear. They were following for nearly 25 meters. A young lad who was watching close by also took a sting to the side of his head. It took nearly an hour for the bees to calm down. I went to see the young lad and his mum and appologised and tried to explain that "something" had triggered this unusual behaviour. I also promised to take the young lad with me on future inspections so he could see for himself that bees are gentle. Thankfully he wasn't too upset.

Im going to move the hive to an out apiary tonight and away from the urban area where it sits. It's one of those things in bee keeping, bees are wild insects and sometimes they are unpredicatable. I will not take any chances with this hive and will immediately re-queen it. If the cells hatch and after mating show jumpy characteristics then they too will be destroyed.

In bee keeping we cannot make any excuses. A hive that has bad temper must always have the queen replaced if it is in an rural area where people are the firing line.

Jay
 

jon 

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In bee keeping we cannot make any excuses. A hive that has bad temper must always have the queen replaced if it is in an rural area where people are the firing line.

Jay
Agree 100%.
I have also noticed on occasion a slightly macho attitude in beekeeping where the beekeeper has an outfit like something out of Nasa which means he can handle the colony roughly without taking a sting. Heaven help the next person to pass by.
If you wear less protective clothing, especially thinner gloves, it will teach you to handle bees more gently and also focus the mind as to what is acceptable or unacceptable behaviour from a colony.

Mission. I think if you want to use the queen cells on a frame you are better brushing the bees off rather than shaking them. I have had the same thing happen me with an explosive reaction after a seemingly routine shake of a frame.
 
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grizzly 

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Hi Grizzly.

I find the most useful thing to have is several nucs. If you have a problem you can combine a nuc with a queenless colony using the newspaper method. When my colonies started making queen cells I made up several nucs earlier in May.
Hi Jon

I did make up a few nucs back Apr/May - they have all expanded really nicely and are nice to work, even those i let raise their own queens are behaving nicely, other hives have bought queens, as it is not clear what is going on in my nasty colony i am relectant to lose a good queen to any little monster the nasty hive may have raised.
They have alsways been a bit feisty but workable, as they now appear to have lost their young queen from last year, as you say they need to be dealt with.
thing is (and this is where my inexperience kicks in)
I thought about letting their numbers drop so it becomes easier to ensure there are no QC anywhere, and also to spot any virgins. How would you tackle it ?
 

Hivemaker. 

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Mission, no wonder they were not happy,they had lost there Queen,and along comes you shaking them off the frames containing there future Queen,not a good idea if you want to use the cells,never shake them off,use a brush or some nettles,gently.
 

gavin 

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If temper (theirs, not yours!) is limiting your inspections, you can shift the hive a several feet away and place a box on the old site for an hour or so to collect the flying bees. The remaining house bees are usually less unkind. Put it back at the original site later of course.

all the best

Gavin
 

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Grizzly:
Gavin beat me to it with the advice.
Has the aggressive colony got brood?, ie there is definitely a queen in there.

If you want to find a queen in a vicious colony you could do as Gavin suggests and then force the remaining bees through a queen excluder. It would probably be a complete nightmare though.

Another method often mentioned is to split the colony into a series of 2 frame nucs. the queen will be found between one of the pairs of frames. It is always easier to deal with vicious bees when the numbers are smaller.

Once you are sure there is no queen, just unite the remains of the colony with a queenright nuc via the newspaper method. I find this to be very reliable.
If you don't have a nuc near the colony, as long as you have 2 nucs together you can leave one on the original site to pick up the flyers that return after you move one.

Last week I removed the queen on a frame from a colony which kept making queen cells even after an Artificial Swarm. I united it with the queenless half of another artificial swarm by removing all the queen cells and placing the queen on her frame in a brood box above it over a sheet of newspaper. Next day I checked and she was still in the upper box but bees were coming and going through a few holes in the paper. I lifted off the upper box and put the frame with the queen on its side above the frames in the lower box. She walked off and down a frame with the bees treating her like their regular queen which they had been removed from a couple of days before. I like to see that the queen has been accepted rather than putting 2 halves together and crossing my fingers.
 

grizzly 

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Well this is why i have held off, there is sealed brood, from the previous queen, but no eggs or larvae.

I will follow your advice guys, thank you for that, but will do it next week, if there is a virgin in there she may well be laying by then.

Just to rub salt in the wound i have put a couple of clearer boards on as two of the supers are ready to be extracted.

Would you leave them on until they are queenright ?

Cheers
Andy
 

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If temper (theirs, not yours!) is limiting your inspections, you can shift the hive a several feet away and place a box on the old site for an hour or so to collect the flying bees. The remaining house bees are usually less unkind. Put it back at the original site later of course.

all the best

Gavin
Nice tip there Gavin,thank you..
 

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I like to see that the queen has been accepted rather than putting 2 halves together and crossing my fingers.
This is a habit I have got into,I managed to save a queen a couple of months back that I put onto a frame with no brood on,the bees balled her straight away so I grabbed her quick,I then put her on a frame of brood and tried again without any problems.
 

grizzly 

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might stick a frame of eggs in there from one of my good colonies next week if i dont see any on the frames.
 

gavin 

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Nice tip there Gavin,thank you..
Bad tempered bees is something I have quite a bit of experience with! Trying to put that right this year ....

G.
 

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