Dawn: actually the taranov method can be done with the board away from the hive. Most places have it immediately in front but I have watched videos where it is 20 feet in front- same result. Like this:
Why can you not just split all the frames into pairs and look half an hour later.
Much easier to find the queen between two frames in the middle of a box (doesn’t even need to be a brood box, a cardboard one would do) leaving an empty box on the original site for all the flyers to go back to.
Jack, if you reread the scenario. The bees are “very hostile”. I guess “very hostile” could be measured in degrees of “very hostile”. 1 being slightly very hostile. 5 being Africanized very hostile. @Dawn_SD, what # very hostile are these bees?
In any case, I doubt if those people would be sitting or casually standing around if those bees were even slightly very hostile.
I have an extremely hostile bee story to share one day, if anyone’s interested.
This happened over 20 years ago. It’s funny we remember the extremely hostile bee moments more than we remember the calm bee moments.
After the week we have had with a very grumpy (but non africanised) hive on our big block with multiple people been stung, the only way we could have dealt with them with neighbours would be either persudae the neighbours to stay indoors for a week, or to move the bees far away and not bring them back again until they were very calm.
Hope the swelling from the stings have gone down!
I’m interested. . I have one too, but it is not that interesting and it would lose too much with the ripe language removed.
Do you know what causes the bees to become hostile (in Australia?) by any chance?
edit: I’m talking about the colony being hostile irrespective of environmental factors such as weather, dearth, being without a queen or being interfered with etc.
I found this interesting article about it…
Local bee enthusiasts banging on and on here in the UK
Funny how some of us with Buckfast and Carniolan don’t bang on and on about how rubbish local bees upset our stock?
The only research and selective breeding for VSH going on here is by Carniolan breeders.
Local bee keepers just rely on treatment free to annihilate their stock every year in the hope they find the holy grail
This quote from the last paragraph is interesting
Your own locally-evolved bee is best – whatever that is in your area/country. The important things are (1) the environment will select for particular genes so (2) use free mated bees from a long established colony in your area, such as from a beekeeper who has been using local bees for years, or an established feral nest. Ferals will likely be varroa-resistant, too.
Quite a few surveys have revealed that most feral bee colonies survive only to be killed by varroa and their nest recolonised by beekeeper swarms.
I think this is an important point. Tom Seeley wrote a recent paper which is quoted as showing that feral bees are less affected by Varroa. However, I can’t help thinking that is because they choose more limited space than a human beekeeper would give them, so then they swarm far more frequently. The brood gap from swarming helps them keep Varroa under control. That isn’t a good plan for a human-managed hive, though.
I would give them a 3 to 4. If we haven’t been into the hive for 3 weeks, they tolerate us within 10 feet of the hive, with just the occasional bump. If we have been in the hive in the last 3 or 4 days, they sting without warning up to 50 feet away from the hive. The Africanized bees which I have experienced would attack in multiples, 200 feet away or more, even without inspections/provocation.
Please tell us your story.
Thank you Dawn & @Dan2,
A lady phoned me & offered me a bee hive that was left on her vacant block of land. She made every attempt to locate the owner but failed. It was about 45 minutes away. As it turned out the hive hadn’t been opened for about a year. She gave me the street name & lot #… I wanted to retrieve the hive in one trip.
I went early one day & found the street but not the lot #, there was 2 builders starting work for the day on house foundations, I asked them. They gladly looked at their map & found the battle axe block diagonally behind where they were working. They were all large blocks, however I could spot the hive in the distance & thanked them.
The hive was in good nick but consisted of one full depth super for brood, one full depth honey plus one ideal honey, both full. Too heavy for me to lift in one piece.
I proceeded to separate the hive, it soon became apparent that these bees were angry. Because the hive had been unopened for a long time, everything was propolized together, making if difficult to remove just one frame. The bees got angrier & angrier with every frame I removed. Then in the distance I noticed those 2 friendly builders profusely waving their arms around. They told me they were going home & calling it a day. I felt bad about that.
The man in the house in front of the battle axe block stood in the middle of his front footpath shouting at me while swiping at bees trying to get him. I convinced him to go inside & come to the back door & stand behind the screen so I can explain. He thought I was the owner of the hive, every time the owner opens the hive this bloke gets stung.
He was easy to calm down & talk to.
During the process I saw a lady on the near side footpath pushing a pram. I shouted at her, I told her to go to the other side of the road. I was worried about the baby, not to mention her as well.
It was a stressful couple of hours. I got everything onto the back of my ute, gave the man in the house some honey in comb, we parted as friends. Then I brought the bees to my main site.
It must have been well over 20 years ago, I would have done a lot of things that I wouldn’t do now. I think my biggest mistake was to be stubborn & only want to do one trip. I shouldn’t have continued once the bees got angry.
Those poor builders having to go home, especially after pulling their map out to help me find the hive.
It would have been a happy ending for the bloke living in front of the hive
“Do you know what causes the bees to become hostile (in Australia?) by any chance?”
I have no idea Dan, except that it must be the mix of the genes.
I have recently theorized & speculated, wondering if since the queen mates with several drones, if she uses the sperm from each drone separately. If that’s the case, the temperament of a colony of bees would change as she goes from one sperm sack to the next.
I do remember one colony that I kept putting off requeening only to find out that I didn’t need to. Their temperament improved without changing the queen.
Conversely that could be the reason why a colony goes nasty without requeening.
I did read that… I am assuming a fully suited beekeeper in my scenario… I’ve never experienced a really aggressive hive- but one thing I found interesting about the taranov that was there was absolutely 100% ZERO signs of any aggression when I did it with normal bees despite it being such a radical thing. You’d think they’d be incensed… They behaved exactly as a swarm would- completely docile. No idea if aggressive bees would be the same though.
Quite a good article here:
“No idea if aggressive bees would be the same though”
The thing about aggressive bees is: the challenge of actually removing the frame out of a hive, let alone shake the bees.
Just removing the first frame will be challenging. Then it just gets worse after that.
Us beekeepers compound the issue by not inspecting the brood on account of the aggressive bees. That just makes the job harder because the frames get more propolized in, therefore harder to remove without upsetting bees.
Knowing what I know now, I believe that the best strategy is to remove the hive from it’s position to allow the majority of the bees to move into another weak colony, or nuc or something like that. THEN after most of the bees have left, start looking for the queen.
Hi Jeff, have you ever tried copious quantities of a fine spray of say 1:1 sugar syrup? I remember seeing a video you made once of dripping/dribbling honey on the tops of frames to help direct bees so it has me thinking. Perhaps a common garden pump sprayer and a fine mist? I’m not linking this to Dawn’s particular situation but wondering generally about whether or not it works for aggressive bees. Perhaps some have found it makes things worse…
Anyone else ever tried misted sugar syrup?
G’day Dan, I’m sure that misted sugar syrup would help, because the bees will be busy, as Dawn said, licking it off their bodies. Top Bar Hive purists are against smoke, I think they use misted water & or syrup instead.
For me, like in my video it is so much easier to relocate the hive. You notice in my video that after removing a frame, the cranky bees attacked me before going back to the original position. The penny dropped for me quite a few years ago that working over an angry hive while in it’s original position is not a good idea. You get the same bees attacking you over & over again, incessantly.
Wow! Lots of learning curve in this thread! But hypothetically, if you have unneighborly bees could you trade the hive with someone who isn’t near another home? The reality for the individual under California bee legislation seems slanted towards people (though Africanized bees are a threat) while in the midst of saving the honey bee and other pollinators. Though once in court the un bee friendly neighbor might ruin ones entire beekeeping experience. While fun to theorize, problem solve and use bee knowledge to resolve an issue, thinking outside the hive might be easier. What led me to form a theory was the breeding queens article. I had a barking dog issue while at work and ended up with a poisoned dog I had to put to sleep. The neighbors cat used to taunt my dog from atop my tool shed. While my dog was contained in my yard the complaining neighbor hated my dog barking at their cat in my yard. I did have to go to animal control court and won but I lost a beloved pet mysteriously. Why one can use critical thinking skills related to the solution the complaintant wants it stopped and they might not care how. However, this has been an interesting read though I have tried to address the issue from a whole different angle.
Hi Martha, yes this has definitely been one of the better threads for learning.
The experienced folk on the forum might find it tedious however . Hopefully the aggressive genetics issue might give them something more complex to consider and given an opinion on. I am confused about that issue. I gather unless you are re-queening with a “certified” non-aggressive queen every year, it might be just a matter of time in an urban area before things turn bad. I can’t buy queens in Tasmania, so I need more information unfortunately.
I also agree with your point about not caring how.
This is another strategy for removing the cranky bees from a colony so as to make finding the queen much easier. You don’t even have to shift the hive. A simple trap out for 3 days will lure most of the mature bees into a brood box that, once you put the frame of brood containing the first lot of bees into, can be setup so as not to be opened for a month or so.
At the end of 3 days, lock the bees in, ready to take to an out apiary somewhere.
On day 4 it should be much easier to inspect the brood frames in order to find the queen.
A trap-out from a bee hive would have to be the easiest trap-out to do because the bees aren’t going to find another exit. Plus you can position the lure box exactly in the right position to be effective.
Exactly. If you want honey from your bees there is a trade off