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My bees hate me :-(

Hi all

First time poster - thanks in advance for any tips. I installed 6 frames of bees into new hive at a holiday house on the great ocean rd (Victoria, Australia) about 2 weeks ago. When I installed them there was plenty of buzzing around me to the point it became distracting enough that I didn’t spend enough time trying to find the queen.

Today I went back with the plan to open up, have a good inspection and find that queen. So far as I can tell, I didn’t do anything particularly wrong - used smoke in the entrance and on top (albeit I probably didn’t wait a while after smoking) but the bees became really aggressive - attacking anything going near the brood box including the hive tool and me for the 30 minutes or so the hive was open. Kept trying to use some smoke (when I could get the ***ing thing to stay alight but that’s another story) but that didn’t seem to placate or distract them.

Got stung quite a few times and for the rest of the day, I couldn’t approach the hive (i.e. within about 5-10 metres) without being attacked again. I suspect they picked up on my scent and now know me - I was being cautious with the kids but they did go over to the hive later on without the same problem.

I was probably apprehensive but not scared as such - although as I started getting stung my stress levels probably increased somewhat.

Still couldn’t find the queen but am confident she’s there - could see plenty of brood, larva and eggs and the bees have filled 2 frames with honeycomb in 2 weeks.

Can anyone offer advice on:
a) what I might be doing wrong?
b) is it possible to just have an agressive hive?
c) will they remember me next time I visit?

Cheers

Richard

If you got stings to your suit then there is the ‘sting here’ pheromone on your suit and the only way to get rid of it is to wash your suit.
Yes you can have an aggressive hive, it is being defensive and that can happen if you don’t smoke the hive enough with a couple of minutes after a couple of puffs under the roof, then as needed if the bees are getting angry. A queenless hive can be aggressive also. If you hear the bees getting hot then close up and go back another day. Be smooth and slow when working in a hive, darn slow is best.
Bees in my opinion do have a short term memory but some say they don’t. But if you are nervous working in a hive they will know so try bluffing them by being as relaxed as possible.
Welcome to the forum Richard

Smoking your suit at the sting region may temporarily confuse the pheromone smell and buy you some time to keep working with the bees.

Working a bee hive can get overwhelming quite quickly, especially when what you plan to do turns out differently.

Some times walking away from the hive for 5 to 10 minutes to recoup can help. You can use this time to check there’s enough fuel in your smoker.

Pete has given some very good tips above. I’m a highly strung person, so working a bee hive is supposed to teach me to stay ‘relaxed’. It is somewhat therapeutic, but it does mean you have to ‘fake it until you make it’ by acting calm around the bees.

Welcome aboard.

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Would have to be there in person to see what is going on. No need to find the queen everytime, the presence of eggs lets you know she is there. Have you checked over the hive for any disease, its probably a long shot but disease can sometimes affect their temperament, they can get grouchy like the rest of us when they are not well.

Yes, very much so. Could be a number of factors, the weather, nectar sources like citrus, smells they don’t like, my bees are generally very calm and easy to handle but if I start digging in the garden, adding mulch or Seasol they turn and will sting. I have even lost a couple of chickens to bees scratching around near the hives.

Yes, they might. But really, they are most likely just aggressive bees. You don’t need much smoke, only a couple of puffs. Any more than that and they will just get “shitty” :laughing: with you. I would give the bees another month and if they don’t settle down, the queen should be replaced. There is no fun in keeping bees of an overly aggressive hive.

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Yes I have the same problem I have Guard bees that love me way too much they chase my wife but seem to settle about a week after hive inspection

I have a "three strikes’ rule. If a hive is grouchy on a day of bad weather I don’t count that, but if there isn’t any reason that I can see, I put a red pin in the hive. If it happens again, I give them another red pin. If they are nice I remove one pin. If I get to three pins, I requeen.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesrequeeninghot.htm

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Thank you all for the advice an information. Will leave them a few weeks and try again. Washing my suit sounds like a plan too.

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