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margob99 

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So I started this spring with one hive; which swarmed - now I have 2. Hive no 2 is progressing well; queen laying, bees very even-tempered.

But Hive no 1 is just going from bad to worse. Cast came 3 days after the swarm (luckily caught and found a home for the cast). On last inspection 8 days ago, Hive no 1 appeared queenless, with one swarm cell looking like it had been torn open and one small cup Q cell. I couldn't get in to see what was in there - mostly because the bees were insanely feisty.

Checked the hive again yesterday, and ye gods and little fishes, those bees were grumpy! Ok, the weather was windy with fast-moving clouds. I just couldn't complete the inspection to see if I now have a laying queen.

The bees were stinging outrageously, and I had "followers" attending me - even hours later. They literally took over the garden.

What on earth does one do in a situation like this?!
 

jezd 

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Sorry, its called beekeeping :) lol

Assuming they are reduced in size, then the odd on them swarming again are low - leave them alone. When did you last check them? are you checking too often?

There are people on here who seem to be in and out of the hives every 2 mins (not saying you are).

JD
 

Mike a 

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So I started this spring with one hive; which swarmed - now I have 2. Hive no 2 is progressing well; queen laying, bees very even-tempered.

But Hive no 1 is just going from bad to worse. Cast came 3 days after the swarm (luckily caught and found a home for the cast). On last inspection 8 days ago, Hive no 1 appeared queenless, with one swarm cell looking like it had been torn open and one small cup Q cell. I couldn't get in to see what was in there - mostly because the bees were insanely feisty.

Checked the hive again yesterday, and ye gods and little fishes, those bees were grumpy! Ok, the weather was windy with fast-moving clouds. I just couldn't complete the inspection to see if I now have a laying queen.

The bees were stinging outrageously, and I had "followers" attending me - even hours later. They literally took over the garden.

What on earth does one do in a situation like this?!
First action is complete a full inspection to determine what state the colony is in.
Pointless trying to guess what is wrong until you know as much as you can.
 
Last edited:
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Tom Bick 

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Hive no 2 is obviously your original queen.


As you say the queen cell looks as though it has been torn down this may well be a failed queen cell and your hive perhaps queen less this will stress the bees and alter temperament.

Take a test frame from hive 2 with eggs ideally and put it in hive one if they are queen less they will build queen cells from the frame and may be less aggressive.

Also as you are in a garden I think it is wise to re queen with gentle queens from a professional supplier.
 

margob99 

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I absolutely won't take offence if you say I'm could possibly be checking too often. I'm too new; I take criticism constructively, and you could well be right :) That said, the original swarm happened because I didn't check regularly (14 days unchecked on the trot in cold weather was the original reason for the first swarm) - so I could be over-compensating.

I'm inclined to think the ongoing bad weather here in the south-east, combined with upset in routine caused by the swarm and the cast, as well as my kack-handed newbeek style of beekeeping is contributing to the problem.

I guess I'm going to have to curb my impatience, bite the bullet and hang fire for a good-weather day in the next 10 days to see if there's a new queen laying in there. I like the advice offered to bring a frame of new-laid eggs across from Hive no 2. And also the option to re-queen with a gently-bred queen from a professional supplier. Thank you :)
 

admin 

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Do you have an empty nuc/brood box you can put frames into ?
That way you can remove a frame at a time and put a lid on the box,you will then end up with the hive in 2 halves so less bees attacking as you go through.

Maybe put a cloth over the brood box as you go to keep flying bees inside making each frame inspection calmer.

Pick a nice warm sunny day if you can around midday and most of the foragers will not be at home.

Dont use to much smoke to drive them back down,a few puffs of smoke only and maybe a good spray of 1:1 sugar syrup every time the guard bees venture above the frames.

If all this fails then ask a local experienced beek to go through with you,I guarantee the bees will show you up by behaving like little lambs if you do..
 

margob99 

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Find me a nice warm sunny day, and I'll give it a try! :hat:
 

thurrock bees 

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Find me a nice warm sunny day, and I'll give it a try! :hat:
try doing the inspection every 7 days ( gives you 3 days if the weather is bad).

I inspected my bees yesterday ( monday) and every hive was bad tempered :toetap05: so i will put it down to the weather.

The weather is meant to improve from wed.
 

SixFooter 

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Sorry, but it's good to know that it's not just me having diffculties this year!
This is my second year and currently, I have 4 colonies and 4 mini nucs and none of them have laying queens. I'm worried that next year, I'll be an ex beekeeper!
It's not as though I've been careless or blase. I know the bees dont read the books, but I have read obsessively for a year, studied this and the other forum daily and I think I understand what is supposed to happen in swarming/ swarm control. The bees are not on the forums and have other ideas!

2 of the colonies are also now very agressive - following, pinging and stinging . They only sting (me) once or twice each inspection and are fine when left alone. Luckily, they are in a field about 100 yds from the car park, so If I leave the car there and walk slowly back to the car, they've left me by the time I get to the car.

I'll requeen in Autumn, but I want to wait until the swarming has settled down.

Beekeeping is sooo worrying!
 

thurrock bees 

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Sorry, but it's good to know that it's not just me having diffculties this year!
This is my second year and currently, I have 4 colonies and 4 mini nucs and none of them have laying queens. I'm worried that next year, I'll be an ex beekeeper!
It's not as though I've been careless or blase. I know the bees dont read the books, but I have read obsessively for a year, studied this and the other forum daily and I think I understand what is supposed to happen in swarming/ swarm control. The bees are not on the forums and have other ideas!

2 of the colonies are also now very agressive - following, pinging and stinging . They only sting (me) once or twice each inspection and are fine when left alone. Luckily, they are in a field about 100 yds from the car park, so If I leave the car there and walk slowly back to the car, they've left me by the time I get to the car.

I'll requeen in Autumn, but I want to wait until the swarming has settled down.

Beekeeping is sooo worrying!


do they have means of raising their own queens?? i.e. eggs? if not you can buy in some queens of your choice and use this to requeen them now?
 

Roy S 

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Sorry, but it's good to know that it's not just me having diffculties this year!
This is my second year and currently, I have 4 colonies and 4 mini nucs and none of them have laying queens. I'm worried that next year, I'll be an ex beekeeper!
It's not as though I've been careless or blase. I know the bees dont read the books, but I have read obsessively for a year, studied this and the other forum daily and I think I understand what is supposed to happen in swarming/ swarm control. The bees are not on the forums and have other ideas!

2 of the colonies are also now very agressive - following, pinging and stinging . They only sting (me) once or twice each inspection and are fine when left alone. Luckily, they are in a field about 100 yds from the car park, so If I leave the car there and walk slowly back to the car, they've left me by the time I get to the car.

I'll requeen in Autumn, but I want to wait until the swarming has settled down.

Beekeeping is sooo worrying!
Where about are you?, I'm on the outskirts of Liverpool, and if you get stuck I can get a frame of eggs and young brood to you. I'm running dark bees, I'd say Amm but dont want to risk the flaming that merely uttering the words Apis mellifera mellifera seems to invoke!!!
:toetap05:
regards
Roy
 

crazy_bull 

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try doing the inspection every 7 days ( gives you 3 days if the weather is bad).

I inspected my bees yesterday ( monday) and every hive was bad tempered :toetap05: so i will put it down to the weather.

The weather is meant to improve from wed.
Totally agree on the weather yesterday it was very close and humid which can make even the most gentle bees get tetchy, mine were a bit buzzy, a nice sunny dry day and they are a very calm.
 

margob99 

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After my inspection on Sunday, they were following all day, all round the garden, but were perfectly back to normal yesterday, and let me have my garden back :)

I HAVE to get in there at some stage to try and see what the h*** is happening in terms of whether they have a Queen or not!!!!!!! At least the weather forecast is looking good for the weekend
 

susbees 

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Dont use to much smoke to drive them back down,a few puffs of smoke only and maybe a good spray of 1:1 sugar syrup every time the guard bees venture above the frames.
So how exactly do you recognise a guard bee except when it's hovering in your face :D? Different uniform? I have developed the "about to rain" trick of whirling a water spray round my head with a couple of drops of lavender oil in it. Is their a bee-equivalent of catnip (for cats)?

Sympathy all round btw. We sent our evil hive away after a week (arrived as one of two, the other full hive is fine) because we couldn't deal with having to destroy the drones to stop them breeding our other nice hives virgin queens and try to requeen when our next option was to sieve them (plenty eggs and evil bombing bees following easily 500 yards and bombing and stinging easily 100 yards away when no-one had been near their hive :( ). So we swapped them...and the queen had already absconded from that one!

We also have three hives and two mininucs which we are willing to come up with a serviceable queen. Today's the day for inspecting two of them but been tipping down all day. Hmm...Otherwise it's robbing eggs off another hive, and another wait :S. Sigh...

The fact that even the experienced are finding it a challenging year with absconding swarms etc doesn't make it feel better! Got a swarm collection call this morning. From Bucks!!!
 

SixFooter 

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Where about are you?, I'm on the outskirts of Liverpool, and if you get stuck I can get a frame of eggs and young brood to you. I'm running dark bees, I'd say Amm but dont want to risk the flaming that merely uttering the words Apis mellifera mellifera seems to invoke!!!
:toetap05:
regards
Roy
You are a star. I live in St Helens so not far at all. I'll see if I have any eggs anywhere next weekend. If not, I might take you up on the offer.
 

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