I setup a new hive back in April and it was very gentle when I was doing hive inspections. Now the population has exploded over the last few weeks and as I was doing a hive inspection today I noticed they were a lot more aggressive. I’m just wondering why the change? I have read that some hives when they get very large can be a bit more aggressive, or maybe they have become queenless?
Bees that are normally defensive will seem less defensive while the colony is small because every bee that stings, dies. A small colony doesn’t have the bees to sacrifice like a large colony does. Bees prioritize jobs that need doing for the benefit of the colony. With a weak colony some jobs just don’t get done, defending might be one of those jobs.
Your smoker will be your best friend. Keep it lit during the whole inspection, & don’t be frightened to use it.
Could be queenless, or your original queen might have been superseded, which opens up the possibility that she mated with Africanized drones out in your region.
In addition to Jeff’s comment, there could also be something going on that has them upset. They’ll get more defensive if there’s a dearth, or they’re being harassed by wasps or other predators, daytime and nocturnal. Sometimes the floral source of nectar can make them moody, like citrus. Also eliminate pests or disease. The strongest colony will succumb to AFB.
Here’s a map showing where Africanized bees are in your region. The colors show what year they were first spotted:
Or perhaps where they were…
Last updated 2007! I wonder if they have made a more recent map?
My queen was bred with known genetics and was already laying when I got the nuc. The nectar flow is still on here although it will be ending here in a few weeks. No pests that I have seen and I sit outside with my hive everyday almost.
I did drop a frame a week ago doing an inspection… still feel pretty bad about it. As a newbee that hadn’t happened before and I kind of freaked out a little. Now I’m worried if the queen might have been on there. I guess I will have to get in there and check for eggs and larvae just to be sure.
Geez I didn’t see that, but is there reason to think they are not endemic in those areas now?
I am sure that they are endemic there, and in more areas too! I think that they are vastly underestimated, and that may be a very good thing for the general public (reduces panic).
However, for beekeepers who want to be responsible, it would be better to have up to date info, especially from a respected source like NASA. We should go and bang on their door and protest!! There are other sources, but they are nowhere near as nice and clean as the map you linked, @Eva . Thank you for finding it for us!