Hi, on North Coast NSW. Got my nuc in March and the brood box was mostly filled in early July which is when I put the flow super on. All inspections prior to that were fine. Today however noticed bees in the flow super but no honey or nectar. Lots of burr comb on the excluder and bottom of flow frames. Noticed as I was inspecting that the bees were a lot more aggressive. The first two frames in the brood box were full of capped honey and were pretty much stuck together. I eventually got them out but had honey dripping as I pulled each one out. Bees got progressively more aggressive and were stinging through my suit so could not inspect the rest of the frames. I left the excluder off to try to get them moving into the flow frames. What perplexes me is the super aggressive nature of the hive. Even two hours later the bees are still very aggro and attacking anything up to 30 metres away. We are on a macadamia farm which is in early flower so lots of nectar and pollen available. Help!!!
Were they aggressive (stinging when near the hive) prior to (in the days leading up to) the inspection?
I suppose you might need to wait a few days and see if they are still a problem. If so, there are strategies for finding and replacing the queen presuming she is producing overly aggressive offspring.
I am not sure leaving an excluder off is necessarily going to work out because some people have found that unfortunately the queen can come up into the super and lay eggs in the cells.
Hi, there were no signs they were aggressive prior to me opening the hive. Previous inspections were quite normal. I’ll leave the excluder off for a week or so and see how it goes.
Thanks for the feedback.
Noel, I would encourage you to read threads on this forum about the ordeal that you will have to deal with if your queen lays in the flow frames. I believe there are also YouTube videos out there about it. If you have bees investigating the frames they will end up working in them and will happily traverse the excluder to do so.
I have cranky bees at the moment as well - I am hoping it is just because of hive manipulations and requeening. Sometimes we beekeepers just tick them off!
Thank you. Yes I will put the excluder back next week. Just got to work up the courage to do it. They were seriously angry. I thought maybe because I broke some of the capped honey in the brood box and it started dripping that may have made them angry.
Get that excluder in yesterday. If the queen puts brood in the flow feames you will hVe major clean up problems.
Put the Queen Excluder back on post haste or you will make a bad situation even worse. The worst thing for a flow hive is having the queen laying in it.
Did you brush molten bees wax onto the flow frames? And brush on a fairly good coating over all of the frames? I have experimented with mine and had good results doing that and bad results not doing it.
If the hive is getting over crowded and you haven’t ‘painted’ the frames the agro could be happening because the bees are not recognizing the flow frames as storage areas for the honey they are bringing in and have run out of room in the brood area…
Plenty of smoke under the lid, give them a few minutes and get that QX back on, give them a day to settle then if you haven’t painted the flow frames do a couple at a time then close up when the bees get to hot to handle.
Get that excluder back on ASAP! That queen is looking for space to lay, especially if your brood box is clogged up with honey.
I would actually have a good look first at the flowframes to make sure she isn’t up there.
Thank you. Will put it back on tomorrow and make sure she’s not in the flow frames. I’ll put some beeswax on the frames as well and hopefully that will help. Hopefully they won’t be as nasty tomorrow.
Make sure you have the smoker ready: I puff them in the entrance and under the lid and then walk away for a minute or two, puff them again and then go to work.
Thanks will do. I was quite surprised how angry they were and I did use the smoker but did open it immediately after giving the entrance a couple puffs. They seemed to rev up as soon as I puffed them so I’ll do as you suggest and give them a chance to settle before opening tomorrow. Thank you.
There can be many reasons why a colony gets very defensive all of a sudden. Late afternoon, storm approaching, too cold, you steal honey clumsily, you drop a frame, you move too fast, you wear deodorant, you get stung, and again, then your gloves smell like sting alarm pheromone, the list goes on.
Also, a lot of dripping honey can drown bees. Was it excessive? Maybe close to the queen? They just try to defend what’s essential to their survival.
The queen excluder is just to exclude the queen to move up into the flow frames. The other bees will go up fine to store honey up there.
It sounds like you put on the flow box a tad early and are now impatient for the bees to go up.
If you are experienced, you can work your hives by taking honey out of the broodbox now. That doesn’t mean the bees go straight up into the flow super, as they need to fill out the replacement frames first.
You need to assess your individual situation separately and perhaps seek advice from a close local beekeeper.
My coastal hives would swarm by now if I didn’t manage them, my mountain hives are way off swarming, they didn’t even start drone cells yet, whereas the coastal ones already produced two generations of them.
My coastal hives are just 20km away.
Your bees will calm down soon. Just adopt a Zen like approach.
Thanks so much. The frames filled with honey were on one side and were the most recently filled. When I put the super on the edge frame was about half filled. Now it’s completely full and when I pulled it up it uncapped some of the cells and dripped some honey. The queen excluder is partially covered in burr comb so i’ll clean it off and put it back on tomorrow. Have washed my Bee suit and gloves as would have been covered in stings so maybe a new day brings a calmer hive🤞.
Way to go. With flow frames one doesn’t work the hives in traditional ways for production, moving frames up and down. Just don’t put the flow super on too early.
Where you are, you have a very good chance to end up with an awesome harvest in summer.
Use the burr comb to melt the wax and using a brush paint it onto the frames with a good coverage over each side of the flow frames. Use smoke and give the bees a few minutes to eat some honey and that will help them to calm down. Work with confidence and don’t rush it.
Spend some time reading threads so you will get a better idea on your hive management and do regular hive inspections especially for SHB because if they get out of control they can set you back past square one.
Shake the frames well that will be above the queen excluder in front of the hive entrance so that if the queen is on a frame chances are she will be shaken off and go back into the brood box, you might not be experienced enough to see the queen.
If you like the help tick the heart, we like to know our help is appreciated and it makes sense to you.
I am interested in how to clean burr comb from the plastic excluder without damaging it…
In fact, what about cleaning a metal one? I guess that can get scratched up too. I have used a heat gun to blast the comb off a metal one.
Does anyone have any tips?
The stainless steel QX is easy to scrape clean it something like a paint scrapper won’t even scratch it. With the common metal QX I still use a paint scraper when in my apiary working with the blade flat but off site the heat gun is fast and effective. I only got ‘sucked in’ once because of the price of the plastic QX and wasn’t in the know of all the pit flaws with them, they are not very friendly for the bees or the bee keeper, I figure they are as useful as the Chinese bamboo QX’s.
Put it on a flat surface (piece of plywood, inside of a flat hive roof, inner cover etc), then scrape it like a lady. Don’t try to get every little scrap off, just clean off the big chunks. They are going to rebuild it anyway. Then giggle as you take the beautiful wax home for rendering.
Hi Dan, you can place the QX in the sun for 5 minutes to warm the wax & soften it, then scrape it off with a broad knife or paint scraper. I never bother with whatever wax is within the QX, I think the bees will move that if it suits them to.