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When Good bees go bad


Well I don’t think they have gone bad, but since I transferred the bees from the temporary hive to the flow hive (added the super at the same time) about 1 month ago I have spent nearly 5-10 minutes everyday observing the bees at the entrance, observation window and from the extraction window with happy bees not caring about my presence.

Two days ago I opened up the super to inspect the frames (40-50% capped in the middle frames, uncapped on the outer frames). I did remove the super but didn’t go go under the queen excluder just had look through it into the brood box. My hive is still young started from a 4 frame nucleus in mid December.

Yesterday within 30 seconds of opening the observation window one bee started buzzing around my head. I walked away and it basically chased me about 20 m from the hive before giving up. I waited 5 minutes then went back to the hive to close the window when one bee again chased me until I was about 20m from the hive. About 10 minutes later I was walking past about 10m from the hive when one bee again started buzzing around my head and stung me on my neck.

Is this normal just one bee attacking? Will the hives settle down if I stay away for a few days before doing observation window inspections? Or is this the start of them getting aggressive?

I live in Brisbane so it is early autumn (feels like summer still). Still lots of flowers around.


Guard bees ya gotta Love them

She was just doing her job protecting the hive.

Did you wave your arms about?

Some bees are more vigilant than others, sometimes if forage is getting less they can become more protective.


Bees are variable and unpredictable. Unless you know exactly what is going on inside the hive, and with local nectar flow (very difficult to achieve), it is hard to know whether external influences (food supply etc) or genetic influences (mean bees) are causing the behaviour.

If you are a new beekeeper handling a new colony (less than one year old), I would suggest always approaching the hive in protective gear, even when you just open a side view window. Bees don’t like light in the hive, and they may emit their alarm pheromone, in case something is tearing their hive open, letting daylight in where it shouldn’t be. Some bees are more liable to do this than others, just like some humans scare more easily than others. Once they release the alarm signal, the hive will be on alert for several hours.

If you really need to check on your hive (and you should, on a regular basis), I strongly suggest full protective gear, and a smoker whenever possible.



Started waving my arms around when I got to about 15m away.

Bees stings don’t bother me too much. I just don’t my wife getting stung (she swells up bad after an ant bite). Full protective gear for her.

They were fine before so it just seemed out of character for this hive. I think this one bee was just in a bad mode.


Try not to wave your arms it comes across as aggressive and she will sting you. Walk away if you’d had the suit on she may not have got you - if you have a smoker on smoke the area to dampen the attack pheromone when you get stung.

So you have been initiated now, wont be your last


Yes I always have full gear and smoker when opening the hive, but I am normally in thongs (flip-flops for non Aussies) and shorts when gardening and if I wonder past the hive I am drawn too to it, and then I am compelled to watch the bees. :grin:


I do as well mostly my girls are fine. Hubby and son each had a sting last summer - Robert was mowing the lawn - obviously cheesed them off and James was up the back garden - unfortunately he was clearing blackberries and I think he annoyed one or 2.

I get bees in my hair if I forget to put it up. And I realised the other day, my glasses go black in the sunshine - I never even think about it also the camera being black so they always seem to buzz that - got kissed on the eyelid while filming - I swelled a little but only because that tissue is loose and prone to swelling.

I normally have sandals, clogs/crocs or sometimes wedged thongs but rarely get stung on the ankles


But she started it (the bee) :wink:

If I don’t get stung by at least one wasp, ant, or 20 mozzies then I don’t consider it a good days gardening. Bee stings don’t really bother me. It’s the red belly blacks and the brown snakes that concern me.

I only started waving the arms (more of a one handed wrist swatting action) when it got annoying around 15m from the hive.

Anyway hopefully they have settled down by this afternoon as I have some more weeding to do about 10m from the hive.


No need to worry about the aggressive single bee that stung you. It’s now taken out of action


Certain perfumes, deodorants, and fragrances make them mad. Want to get lit up really fast? Eat a banana while near the hive lol. If you ever open the hive and it smells like bananas, it’s too late lol.


Glad you clarified that… I had a Chippendale-style beekeeping image! :blush:


I don’t want to scare the bees off.


The beekeepers dance. We all do it. As for waving your arms about it takes nerves of steel to just stand there and let the bees lose interest often they don’t and you wish you had danced away.


Yes. In my experience. You have been assessed as not being a threat or you would have more than one bee.
I occasionally get a single bee circling around my head and I believe she just reminding me to move away …
I have noticed you but your not worth my life. Initially I just moved away to a distance she was happy with and she would return to the hive. 15 mins time I could go back to the hive and continue what I was doing.

Now I find camouflage is better. Winnie the Pooh suggested go as a dark cloud singing the “How sweet to be a cloud” song. I discarded that because I sing out of tune, apparently. So I opted for the leaf disguise. There is a branch from a Yellow Box reaching the ground a few feet from the hive. When my mate comes over and says “Hello Hello, what’s going on here” in her best police buzzing voice. I just move into the branch so the leaves surround me and the bee goes away immediately. After a few minutes I can move back to the hive with no bother. Only happens about once a week and usually when I have bumped the hive or do things like putting the entrance reducer on while they are flying in and out.


Yes, I think so. If a bee is out to get you she’ll be there and stung you before you know it. Rather than circling round evaluating you she just dives in and wallop!!!
It’s a pity they have to give their lives to defend the colony, though.


use the smoker on yourself, that will chase the bees away and leave you alone…

Yup I like to be in shorts and flip-flops too!


On Friday, another bee chased me away, but on Saturday and Sunday no problems. A few flew near me but didn’t circle my head. I had protective gear on Friday and Saturday, and Sunday just normal gardening clothes.

Cheers everyone


I just this minute came inside after getting attacked by a bee, she didn’t circle my head she went straight for my earlobe. Well, it did rain for most of the night & I did go & absent mindedly stick my head right in their flight path less than a meter from the entrance.


Yep…like I said.
I’ve been got without warning and one of my colonies is a real pig for two or three days after I have looked inside…very defensive


bee stings…

always funny when its someone else… :joy:

the bees can be calm but then get feisty after an inspection…

I have found that even colour can have an effect… if I wear my blue shirt with flowers on it compared to my green shirt with flowers on it can make a difference… they are more calmer around my green shirt… go figure…

as the hive gets stronger they’ll have more guard bees and more to chase you away…

I always wear my hate with a veil to the bee area in case I meet a feisty bee…

always try not to swat at them like flies… they will sting if you do so…

sometimes if I’m vacuuming around the bee area and I have ONE pesky bee… swffft… it’ll get sucked up the vacuum… lol

remember… you still have 30,000 other bees :slight_smile:

if a rogue bee chases me outside of the bee area then her days are numbered as that’s one thing I wont put up with…