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Do cranky bees make productive bees


#1

I have 9 hives at the moment and all are doing well.

3 of my hives get noticeably aggressive during hive inspections but these 3 hives have produced a lot more honey than the other 6. They’re only aggressive when I go into the hives and don’t bother me at any other time.

Is this the usual case - bees with attitude are better honey producers?


#2

Hi Matt, I’m pretty sure that is the case. Bees only have attitude from our perspective. In the natural world, bees with attitude must be a good thing. Apart from being good at all hive duties, they are probably also good defenders.


#3

Do you look into the cranky bees as often as the others?


#4

My hives are set up at a number of sites but they get checked as often as the other hives at each location.

The cranky hives have noticeably more honey at each site.


#5

I haven’t read anything specifically but I subscribe to this theory a bit purely because I have a particularly aggressive hive that swarmed from a roof cavity that has stored a good amount of honey in a pretty lean season. I’m usually getting the ‘raindrop’ sound on my veil before I even start manipulating the frames!


#6

I asked, because I have a theory. I don’t think cranky bees are better honey producers in general. I think bees get on better if opened up less…that’s one theory.
Cranky (defensive) bees are excellent robbers. This is a trait well known in Ligustica.
I’m talking here of silent robbing…no violence.


#7

A local beekeeper with 40 hives told me his aggressive hives are (unfortunately) the most productive. Also KI Ligurian bees are know to be relatively calm bees- but not exceptionaly productive…


#8

If I go into any of the colonys here smokeless they get cranky and try to ping me. I’m gentle, slow and methodical yet they take offence.
Frankly I don’t blame them…
Which strain of bee is the most productive? (Honey wise)
My most productive was 1st year, full sun purchased bees.
Least productive, 1st year cut out, shaded.
2nd most productive, 2nd year cut out full sun.
2nd least productive, 1st year purchased, shaded.
The thing in common is that if I disturb any of them they all get cranky.


#9

This is why many beekeepers in AZ/TX etc are not trying to fight the Africanized bee “problem”. They are more aggressive, but they also produce a ton of honey. I don’t know if anything scientific has been conducted about aggressive bees and honey production but anecdotally it seems to be true.


#10

I have one hive that has always been more feisty than the others & recently I had to requeen when they began following me down to the house & hitting the glass so hard they knocked themselves out (this when I had not been within meters of them for a few days). They have always been quite a bit behind the others & they were the first one set up last spring.
I have read that some believe their cranky hives are less productive precisely because they spend so much time & numbers of bees in defending…