What causes a hive to raise aggression levels so that they attack anyone within 20 metres of the hive?
You say raise levels so I assume this is not their normal behaviour.
These can make bees more agressive but dont always; losing a queen, new queen, drought, food shortage, weather,thunder, machinery esp vibration, robbing, stressors. Im sure there are more,things like smells toxins might affect them.
Has anything changed in their environment?
No major changes but they were relocated 3 months ago, only began the very aggressive behaviour in the last three weeks. Unfortunately, they have starting stinging neighbours, and relocation during our extreme Melbourne lockdowns is not possible due to ridiculous curfews and 5 km driving limits.
When did you set the colony up and when did you last inspect them?
Colony established from a swarm in Nov 2019, inspected regularly every two to three weeks.
Did you requeen the swarm?
No, but I have relocated them twice.
Any idea what strain they are or are they ferals?
Could just be that they were always a bit agro and moving them to where you have them now has made that more apparent, they would have also been increasing their population in the last few weeks with spring build up.
Relocating the hive isn’t the answer, but I would bet the neighbors would be pleased to see them gone.
I’m a lot more often than not against blaming the queen but I wondering if she has bad temperament genetics or she mated with an ill tempered drone.
In your situation I would buy in an Italian queen and when you get her then terminate the present queen and 24 hours later introduce the new queen to the hive.
Could the queen not be the original but a queen that mated about 4 weeks ago so her off spring from the get-go have been aggressive and the hive has built up with more of her off-spring to become a real issue. It is bad enough as a bee keeper to have an overly ‘hot’ hive so considering your neighbors I would make a move soon. My thinking is that relocating the hive is not an option, chances are you are going to only move the problem to somewhere else.
Let us know what you decide to do and if it works.
Thanks for the advice, I will think about getting a new queen but am concerned that the current hive may be too dangerous for my neighbors.
I suggested requeening so that if it is a genetic issue a new queen will hopefully produce a calmer bee, but that will take time for the present bees to die out. But what other option do you have? other than to terminate the complete colony. That is a hard decision to make…