What can I do with nasty but prolific hives?

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Stedic

House Bee
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Leicester, UK
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I have one hive who are distinctly grumpier than the others. I don't know their breed as, well, I'm not well read enough. Queen is jet black, no stripes. Most bees have faint yellow stripes but are quite dark. My mentor has a similar looking hive with similar behaviour. Both from local swarms. A bit too interested and a bit of following but not too 'stingy'.

He plans to request his and I though I'd do the same. BUT these two hives are mega prolific, both have drawn combs quickly and brought in more ivy than any others.

Mine are on a remote farm so have so leeway for bad behaviour. Is there some way I can use them? I wondered about using them to draw comb for other hives? Or perhaps moving their queens to nucs and using the nucs to supplement the nicer hives. Or use them to raise queens?

I don't want nasty bees - but i think their genes suit my locality, so I'd like to get the best out of them somehow. I've tried behaviour charts and naughty steps, but that doesn't seem to have worked!

Any thoughts?
 
You have outlined the problem. Keep them or requeen (request) them. You have to make the choice!!
 
If you keep them bear in mind the colonies drones will spread those aggressive genes into the "local" population.
 
One thing I wouldn't be doing is raising Queens from those genetics you could end up with more queens that produce more badly behaved bees.
Personally (as with my mentor) I'd requeen as I wouldn't accept aggressive bees. But as said above it's your choice.
 
My experience of not requeening bad tempered hives was that their behaviour worsened with every subsequent self requeening when they swarmed. So much so they would greet all visitors to our house when they parked in our drive....

I requeened them - a bit of an epic - and they are now "normal" regarding temperament. The horrible bees did not collect much honey - they just swarmed and swarmed...
 
Requeen....

with queens of a proven temperament from a local friend/beekeeper/association/ LOCAL BIBBA group

Nasty genetic probably from something exotic someone imported... black yellow purple or whatever>>>>>>>>>???

Good luck

Yeghes da
 
A fairly new beekeeper can have confidence knocked quickly with an aggressive hive. Becomes a chore.
I suggest requeen from a good source. Better a little less honey and enjoy the experience, than the alternative... plus, as mentioned .. those drones with that gene... no thanks..
 
Yes, tending an aggressive colony is a miserable experience, I nearly gave up twice in my first year. The situation was resolved for me when my original queen left with a swarm and her daughter took over. Within 6 weeks the temperament of the colony was much improved and they were just as prolific.

But also I think it's important for new beekeepers to ask themselves if there's anything they can do to improve the mood of the colony. I made some fundamental mistakes such as using the wrong fuel in my smoker and rolling the bees when I was inspecting. It's maybe too easy to blame the bees for something we're doing wrong.

Good luck though OP
 
As mentioned grumpy bees are not fun, but in my early days I knew no different. One of the newer keepers I mentor complains about his angry bees. When he handles them they are a problem, when I handle them they are OK. He is gradually learning how to handle bees!
As a result of selecting for temperament each year, with queens I or the colony raises, my bees have gradually improved in temperament. Nasty queens are squashed. I do not want her drones around thank you.
Well behaved bees can be prolific too, and handling them makes it so much more fun.
 
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Nasty genetic probably from something exotic someone imported... black yellow purple or whatever>>>>>>>>>???

Absolute tosh...but typical BIBA propaganda.
The aggression comes from the local bees genetics. The imports are all non aggressive UNTIL their daughters mate with the locals.
 
Absolute tosh...but typical BIBA propaganda.
The aggression comes from the local bees genetics. The imports are all non aggressive UNTIL their daughters mate with the locals.

TOSH.....INDEED... from the usual quarter!!!

I have had bees ( and have possibly a hell of a lot more years of experience than many!) that have been aggressive from most sub species... now IF this GRUMPY gene is only to be found in the Native honey bee ( Apis mellifera mellifers) how come bees that I kept in the Home Counties could be bitches from hell and back... best imported Buckfasts from a reputable South Downs Bee supplier????? As Beef and others of 5 minutes of beekeeping inform us that the native bee population ( especially in the South East) was wiped out half a century ago by Isle of Wight disease?????????

My thoughts are that there MAY be a genetic involvement... but a lot more to do with lack of experience and bad beekeeping skills.
( fortunately skills can be learned from a good teacher... I have had some very good teachers!!:winner1st::winner1st::winner1st:)

Yeghes da
 
Curiosity...what was the "wrong fuel"?

I started with newspaper and cardboard (creating hot smoke), and soon realised I was being an idiot. I then moved on to dedicated smoker fuel and occasionally use dried pine cones.
 
I started with newspaper and cardboard (creating hot smoke), and soon realised I was being an idiot. I then moved on to dedicated smoker fuel and occasionally use dried pine cones.

Touch wood is cheaper... and fun to collect.
One acquaintance will use nothing but sweet meadow grass... and despite keeping nothing but Cornish Dark Native bees... never sees any aggression... perhaps because he uses very little smoke and has a certain calmness with his beekeeping .... almost ZEN...that can only come with the right sort of mindset.... gets bountiful amounts of honey too ... year in season out!!!

Yeghes da
 
now IF this GRUMPY gene is only to be found in the Native honey bee ( Apis mellifera mellifers) how come bees that I kept in the Home Counties could be bitches from hell and back..


Problem with some "old timers", like yourself, is you simply rehash misinformation ad nauseum.
 
I started with newspaper and cardboard (creating hot smoke),

I still used corrugated cardboard as smoker fuel with little problem....but it is a cool smoke. I won't comment on what that makes me as Hoppy is just itching for any piece of me he can get. Sad isn't it.
 
I still used corrugated cardboard as smoker fuel with little problem....but it is a cool smoke. I won't comment on what that makes me as Hoppy is just itching for any piece of me he can get. Sad isn't it.

Ignore the ones who want to fight. I think you're wonderful.
I guess the cardboard burns slower than newspaper so creates less heat, so it's probably the paper rather than the cardboard which is the problem
 
Touch wood is cheaper... and fun to collect.
One acquaintance will use nothing but sweet meadow grass... and despite keeping nothing but Cornish Dark Native bees... never sees any aggression... perhaps because he uses very little smoke and has a certain calmness with his beekeeping .... almost ZEN...that can only come with the right sort of mindset.... gets bountiful amounts of honey too ... year in season out!!!

Yeghes da

Is there anywhere you would recommend as a source of such fuels (barring the obvious crawling around on hands and knees in the wilds)?
 

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