When bees won't leave you alone...

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Ian123 

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All bees have a bad, if there as bad as you suggest though you’ll definitely want a plan how to proceed even if next time they’re pussy cat’s. Repeated and prolonged following is not to be tolerated. Ian
 

Arfermo 

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Found QCs in an overloaded hive so did a split of it into a nuc on Wednesday without finding the clipped Q. Could be in either part but both have plenty of bees, BIAS and stores and drawn comb. Did some mowing after and got stung on the back of my neck - obviously didn't like my new haircut after being more familiar with my 9 month mullet! Yesterday went to have a look at a distance via my Swarovski birding binoculars (just a tiny brag?) and got banged again - but for the very first time in my beekeeping life it was high on my left cheek with just an itch or two since and no swelling whatsoever. AM AMAZED!!!!! Luck or something else? Lot of this following problem about this year?
 
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Hebeegeebee 

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TylBee,
Bees like this are no fun. They are pain in a field miles away but definitely not good in a domestic situation. You will need a plan to replace the queen (they will almost certainly get worse as the colony gets bigger). You need to find an out-apiary site too as you may need to move them there pronto.
For inspections, water spray and smoke as required (use judgement as to whether smoke makes them worse). A little sugar syrup in the water will slow them down a bit more. Don't wear black gloves. Cover cloth, move to one side, as has been suggested. (Even the first frame out can be laid on the frames to cover some of the colony). Warn anyone nearby that the bees will be a pain for possibly the rest of the day.
 

Markw 

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Hi,
On a lovely warm day this week I went though a very busy hive to look for the queen. Couldn't find her so I slowly started to go through them again. By the second frame they became very agitated - bees pinging off me and my black Marigolds (can black gloves upset them?) and then the stings started going in (five in one hand) so I picked the stings out my gloves, closed them up and retreated.

They followed me up the garden (20 metres) and kept pinging and stinging, I found two stings later in the side of my veil. I ran my gloves under the tap. My smoker was making enough smoke to close Gatwick. I walked off up the lane, lost the bees, and then they were back the minute I got into the garden - and they stayed angrily bouncing off my veil for half an hour before I ducked into the house, and watched them circling outside wondering where I was.

Is there anything I can do to next time to distract them so they leave me alone? Any old tricks? Any new tricks?
I had the same with one of my hives. It got so bad I could not go out any day without being attacked. I re queened and they settled after a few weeks.
 

enrico 

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TylBee,
Bees like this are no fun. They are pain in a field miles away but definitely not good in a domestic situation. You will need a plan to replace the queen (they will almost certainly get worse as the colony gets bigger). You need to find an out-apiary site too as you may need to move them there pronto.
For inspections, water spray and smoke as required (use judgement as to whether smoke makes them worse). A little sugar syrup in the water will slow them down a bit more. Don't wear black gloves. Cover cloth, move to one side, as has been suggested. (Even the first frame out can be laid on the frames to cover some of the colony). Warn anyone nearby that the bees will be a pain for possibly the rest of the day.
In fairness they did give them a tough time. I would be inclined to see if they settle!
 

ericbeaumont 

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I only have one other colony to compare them with, and they are very calm, not like the bolshy lot at all.
Rid yourself of the defensive genes in the troublesome colony:

1 Kill the defensive Q, as Greg said, and unite with newspaper. Split when good-tempered open brood is in all boxes, and let them make a Q.
or
2 Cage the defensive Q and wait 7 days. Remove and kill her and give a frame of eggs from your other colony. Let them get on with it.
 

Levitt53 

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I would assume they have already swarmed. Move the box to the side as others have suggested. If it was me I would dispose of all QCs (check carefully and get them all - might need to go back another day depending on timing) - and the existing queen if you do find her and they haven't swarmed - then depending on timing put a frame of eggs from your other colony in there and let them requeen themselves from that hive. Stick an extra super or two on and leave them be for a while. And yes bees don't like black!
 

StephenT 

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One of our normally calm hives swarmed and we have since done a couple of rather intrusive inspections to ensure one good QC. A few Bees from that hive have been a real pain which I put down to being wound up by us and being queenless. The queen should emerge this weekend and hopefully get mated leading to relative calmness. Fingers crossed.
 

StevieD 

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I had the same with one of my hives. It got so bad I could not go out any day without being attacked. I re queened and they settled after a few weeks.
Found QCs in an overloaded hive so did a split of it into a nuc on Wednesday without finding the clipped Q. Could be in either part but both have plenty of bees, BIAS and stores and drawn comb. Did some mowing after and got stung on the back of my neck - obviously didn't like my new haircut after being more familiar with my 9 month mullet! Yesterday went to have a look at a distance via my Swarovski birding binoculars (just a tiny brag?) and got banged again - but for the very first time in my beekeeping life it was high on my left cheek with just an itch or two since and no swelling whatsoever. AM AMAZED!!!!! Luck or something else? Lot of this following problem about this this?
i had one of my double hives like this and it got to the stage that they were attacking neighbours. when I opened the hive I had so many bees on my visor i could not see through it. it was scary.
i sealed up the hive late at night and poured half a litre of rubbing alcohol through the mesh in the crown board.
1 hour later problem solved
 

pargyle 

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i had one of my double hives like this and it got to the stage that they were attacking neighbours. when I opened the hive I had so many bees on my visor i could not see through it. it was scary.
i sealed up the hive late at night and poured half a litre of rubbing alcohol through the mesh in the crown board.
1 hour later problem solved
Oh dear .... this is not a good twist to the tale.... there's not many on here that condone bee euthanasia I'm afraid ...

The better option (before anyone else wades in !) would have been to have another site available without vulnerable neighbours - move the hive at night when they have stopped flying and then ... I would have split the colony into two ...moved the two halves away from the original site and put an empty box on the original site ... you will bleed all the fliers to the empty box and you will have two small colonies in which you can more easily find the queen as it is mainly the fliers that give you the problem.

Then, having found the queen despatch her ... at that point you can either combine them all back together with a bought in good tempered queen - allow them to raise a new queen or two ... or you could leave them as two smaller colonies. Put both boxes equidistant from the box containing the fliers and then tip the fliers out ... they will go to one or the other new boxes. Problem solved.

Bees are an expensive commodity ... a double brood early in the seaon ? £250 at least or as a honey producer conservatively 30kg of honey ... £300 at least.

Killing bees is rarely an answer and as I've often said (although occasionally fail to take my own advice) think about what you are doing before knee jerking ...
 

Arfermo 

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Oh dear .... this is not a good twist to the tale.... there's not many on here that condone bee euthanasia I'm afraid ...

That is not what would do either. I have somebody who wants the split, good or bad! It's partly why I did it.

The better option (before anyone else wades in !) would have been to have another site available without vulnerable neighbours - move the hive at night when they have stopped flying and then ... I would have split the colony into two ...moved the two halves away from the original site and put an empty box on the original site ... you will bleed all the fliers to the empty box and you will have two small colonies in which you can more easily find the queen as it is mainly the fliers that give you the problem.

As above.

Then, having found the queen despatch her ... at that point you can either combine them all back together with a bought in good tempered queen - allow them to raise a new queen or two ... or you could leave them as two smaller colonies. Put both boxes equidistant from the box containing the fliers and then tip the fliers out ... they will go to one or the other new boxes. Problem solved.

Not in my case.
Bees are an expensive commodity ... a double brood early in the seaon ? £250 at least or as a honey producer conservatively 30kg of honey ... £300 at least.
Killing bees is rarely an answer and as I've often said (although occasionally fail to take my own advice) think about what you are doing before knee jerking ...


I am definitely not a knee jerker - much too old!!
 

StevieD 

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Oh dear .... this is not a good twist to the tale.... there's not many on here that condone bee euthanasia I'm afraid ...

The better option (before anyone else wades in !) would have been to have another site available without vulnerable neighbours - move the hive at night when they have stopped flying and then ... I would have split the colony into two ...moved the two halves away from the original site and put an empty box on the original site ... you will bleed all the fliers to the empty box and you will have two small colonies in which you can more easily find the queen as it is mainly the fliers that give you the problem.

Then, having found the queen despatch her ... at that point you can either combine them all back together with a bought in good tempered queen - allow them to raise a new queen or two ... or you could leave them as two smaller colonies. Put both boxes equidistant from the box containing the fliers and then tip the fliers out ... they will go to one or the other new boxes. Problem solved.

Bees are an expensive commodity ... a double brood early in the seaon ? £250 at least or as a honey producer conservatively 30kg of honey ... £300 at least.

Killing bees is rarely an answer and as I've often said (although occasionally fail to take my own advice) think about what you are doing before knee jerking ...
yes I know that , been keeping bees for years , but this hive got to the stage of what you would think killer bees would be like, I had thick clothes under my bee suit and double gloved as was still getting stung, I tried to find the queen but it was impossible with their relentless attacking and I could not see through my veil with the amount of bees on it. when I put the hive back together and moved a few hundred yards away from the hive they were still after me, and when I finally got into my house, they were still pinging my door two hours later , to the extent that I would not go out till it got dark.
as I said , I have kept bees for years and have never ever experienced that degree of aggressoin.
even Thorns said that those genes need eliminating
 

Erichalfbee 

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But did they get like that overnight?
Didn’t you have time to consider that they were becoming aggressive?
I like bees in the garden.Who doesn’t? But if you have neighbours you have to have access to an out apiary.
I’d hate to think that beginners might imagine that bad tempered bees are disposable.
 

StevieD 

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But did they get like that overnight?
Didn’t you have time to consider that they were becoming aggressive?
I like bees in the garden.Who doesn’t? But if you have neighbours you have to have access to an out apiary.
I’d hate to think that beginners might imagine that bad tempered bees are disposable.
it was a new Buckfast queen at the start of the season, and they always say if you get a mongrel they can be nasty , and boy did I get the mongrel. I've always kept my hives in my garden, always had passive hives with British black bees, that acted like you wasn't there even when the hive was apart
Was the first and last buckfast i will ever have.
It was necessary to kill all of them as any drones that were present could have mated with a queen in the area and passed on the nastiness gene
 

Moobee 

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Inspected my bees last week, calm as anything.
This week, not happy with them pinging off the veil and several giving me grief a few hours later when I went to my nearby greenhouse.
I put it down to being slightly rushed in my inspection (friends dropping in way earlier than they said they would), having to remove a fair bit of brace comb, my smoker giving up half way through and probably a bit too breezy.
Every day’s a learning experience.
 

enrico 

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Mine have been hell today. It was the hive I failed to find the queen in last week to dispatch her. She isn't going to get many more chances! They are just beginning to cross the line from defensive to aggressive. I can't tolerate that........God I hate having neighbours! It means you can't be as patient as you would like. I have sympathies with StevieD. There will always be times when the loss of one hive might mean you can keep your others in peace! Don't be too quick to say there is always another way. Sometimes there just isn't. Fingers crossed!
 
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