What is the best way to requeen a flaming hot hive? I’m talking at least 2000 bees trying to kill me and my beekeeper friend standing 50m away. To the point of us having to get in the car, all windows open, drive 500m down the road before they left the car and went back to the hive. Hive is strong, lots of brood, lots of honey. They were a gorgeously gentle swarm I hived about 8 months ago but in the last few months they’ve been impossible to work. I’m worried if I just kill the queen they’ll raise another terror queen so what’s my best plan of attack? I have 5 other gentle hives I can manipulate as I’d prefer not to buy a queen. Thanks for any advice!
In that case, I would kill the queen in your evil hive and swap a frame or two of very young brood and eggs in from one of your gentlest hives. If you give the hot hive very few options for creating a queen (they need eggs or a 3 day old larva for the best queen), then they will use the donated frames to make a new queen. Wipe out any queen cells on other frames at about 5 day intervals to prevent a resurrection of the devil queen bee.
Just my thoughts. I bet @JeffH has some good ideas too.
All of this assumes that the super-hot hive has plenty of food stores, and no other threats or issues (like ants, toads, predators etc).
Thanks Dawn, that sounds like a great plan of attack! Thank you!
One more thought. I have dealt with Africanized honey bees here in the US. It really is no fun. I have a photo of my husband’s sock with about 50 stingers embedded in it. This is just one side of the sock and I count about 26 stingers or remnants.
In that case, there is really only one way to go other than wiping out the hive.
Divide and Conquer.
Our hive was 2 deeps of brood, so we split it into 4 nuclei. A lot of work, but much easier to search for the queen in each, without being attacked too badly. Also, when they are smaller, they are lot more docile. When we found and dispatched the evil queen, we had a new queen and just recombined everything with newspaper. It worked great and the hive never misbehaved again.
It may also be that your hive is just too strong, so another option would be to split it 50/50. Not the best time of the season, however, QLD has a flow for much of the year, so you may be fine. Time for @JeffH’s input
My thoughts are the same as Dawn’s except I don’t allow the hot colony to make any queen cells with their own brood.
Neither do I. My new queen was laid back and from Hawaii. However, if I had a hot hive in a non-africanized area, I would not want her daughters ruling the hive, ever.
Have you got canola or rapeseed nearby? I’ve heard of people having issues when that is in flower. Perhaps a particular source of nectar is causing the issue, especially if they weren’t previously so bad??
I don’t think so. None that I’ve seen.
They’re on a friends acreage with 6 other hives that are all lovely. I’ve had other hives get very cranky on inspection but the next time are back to being gentle. This one is just so aggressive, it’s hard to do anything with them. I walked away with 6 stings yesterday and barely hit the brood box
Hi Natalie, the main part of my strategy is in the first half of my video. The last half didn’t work out well because most of the bees went back to the original hive. That left the brood that I left vulnerable to SHB damage, which did happen. There was a lesson learnt there. I should have closed them up & taken them back to my place or at least 5 k’s away so the bees would stay with the brood.
The first 1/2 worked well. They made a nice new queen. I guess with my strategy, you actually get 2 new queens.
Thanks so much Jeff. It was a very informative video.
I’ve never killed a queen before and am not looking forward to it but it’s completely unworkable and has been for a few months now. Plus, it’s on a friends property and although there’s been no issues for them so far, if someone bothered them there would be a good possibility of death with their explosive aggression. I walked away with 6 stings and my friend with 3 (and she was standing way back). They chased us for ages. My suit is COVERED in stingers.
I’m going to go up tomorrow and sort this out. I have 6 other lovely hives to pick from.
Do you just squish her between your fingers? Or step on her or similar? I’m dreading it…
Natalie, your most welcome. Killing the queen is the easy part Squash between fingers.
If you prepare well, everything will be fine. If you do what I did at the first part of the video, there’s no need to find the queen that day, or if you did it in the morning, you can wait til later on that day. The reason for this is so that a lot of the bees will have left & gone back to the original site as long as you take it well away. The longer you leave it, the better because you will only have nurse bees to contend with. Give us a ring if you have any issues.
Squash her between your fingers, Natalie, do it fast and that is a humane way, she definitely has to be replaced. Not a nice thing to do but you need to do it for your safety and piece of mind.
Most people squish, but I can’t do that myself. I put her in a small pot, then stick her in the freezer. If you add a little rubbing alcohol once she is dead (keep it in the freezer with her floating in it), it will extract the queen pheromones and you can use a couple of drops in a swarm trap. So even when dead, she is still helping bees.
No problems at all Natalie, you’ll be able to get virgin queens mated right through winter.
Jeff, you’re my absolute guru! No more freaking out, I’m gonna sort this crap out now! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
In our climate there are drones in number all of the year. Our Winter is a good Summer climate in other locations. I have done splits right through our Winter. This is our Summer and my hives have lots of drones right now so you should not have an issue. Just do it and you will have a new queen.
Thank YOU Natalie, there is no need to freak out at all. When I say prepare in advance, I mean to have your second brood box read. Also have something to sit the honey super on so as to minimize bending over. Have your smoker well primed. At 9.30am, you’ve probably finished by now. I hope it all went well. cheers
Well, it didn’t quite work out as intended. I went through the hive I planned to donate from and although honey wise they’re pretty good, brood was pretty poor. I did see some eggs but not many. So I decided I’ll donate from a different hive that’s on my property and will need to pull frames from them on Wed and head straight back up to my site to complete it.
And then think about this other hive that’s slowed a bit.
At the very least, I hung around near my aggressive hive for about 1/2 hr to see if I’d be attacked and they were fine. So I feel more comfortable that no one will be mauled just by walking past.
Fair enough Natalie, it’s a bit too hot to be doing anything in a bee suit anyway. I’ve been getting all of my bee work done before breakfast. This morning I returned home with a spare sticky, so I added it to the colony I did the update on before breakfast.
It’s good that you feel comfortable that no one will get attacked. There is storms around. I’m hearing the first bit of thunder now. With storms around, that could change their mood for the worse.