Short version: I have two hives, one that’s very placid and one that’s become so aggressive it’s unmanageable. In three days, summer starts, along with a total fire ban, which means I can’t use my smoker - not that the aggro hive cares about smoke anyway. I haven’t been able to source a replacement queen. I’m lost for what to do next.
Long version: I’m towards the end of my first year as a keeper and have two hives in the Perth Hills, Western Australia. I’ve got two hives, the first bought from a local, experienced keeper and breeder, the second is a cutout from a birdbox. Nerd that am, I call them Normandy and Mako. Normandy’s always been a strong hive while Mako’s struggled to get established, not helped by last year’s terrible season; I was been able to take Normandy of brood and honey to shore Mako up until it got going under its own power.
Mako is now a lovely hive, full of relaxed bees, queen is laying in a picture-perfect patter, plenty of stores and more coming in all the time. Normandy, on the other hand, has undergone a slow but noticeable personality change in the year since I got them. They started out being as chill as Mako, but have gotten progressively pissier and pissier. It was unpleasant, but manageable until yesterday. Yesterday I tried to open them up for an inspection, and they were pinging off of my veil from the moment I took the lid off, and went absolutely ballistic when I tried to pull a frame. No amount of smoke or seemed to deter them, nor the water spray that had worked, quite successfully, on Mako. I
In the time it took to decide to put the lid back on and start to make my retreat, I got stung through my suit three times, countless more just stung the suit itself and five more found a gap between my sock and boot and gave me a lovely ankle bracelet. And then they gave me my own personal escort back up to the house, about 10m away. And then refused to leave. Since then, there have been a lot of bees hanging around the back door to the house, acting very aggressively towards anyone who sets foot outside - I’ve been stung again twice.
I’ve asked around locally if anyone locally’s got a spare queen or nuc going to re-queen them, but have so far had no luck on that front - too late in the season, I guess. Do I have any other options?