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off-grid organic farmer
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In a nearby city, I have a friend who this spring got her first beehive.

This past Saturday she called me. It seems that her new hive has swarmed [She had bought all the extra stuff]. So she and her son suited up and went out to cut some tree limbs. It seems that before they could enclose the swarm with burlap, and cut the limb the bees had taken flight and left to another limb.

So after a while she opened the hive.

Now she smoked the bees, and they still stung through the suits to give both her and her son over 20 stings each.

Ten frames full of brood, and a super full of honey. On the bottom side of the frames she found 20 queen cells [two empty].

Now 6 weeks ago these bees were a nuc. 5 frames, a queen and 5-pounds of bees.

Now she has ten frames of brood, 80-pounds of honey, and extremely ****ed off bees.

I got two replacement nucs at the same time. One of mine is 3 frames of brood, and some fresh comb. Another is 5 frames of brood and 5 frames of fresh comb. I smoked mine, inspected every frame and got no stings. Walking away I only had two bees clinging to my suit.

I have never seen such aggressive bees. Aggressive growth, aggressive nectar collecting and aggressive behavior.

Is it possible that the breeder accidently got some African blood line into that one queen?

This lady lives in a city, 50foot city lot with a house and small garden in back. It is kind of grey if she is allowed to have bees. Surely if anyone knows she has African bees, the city and state will come in to destroy them.

I have offered to swap her hive with one of mine.
 

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Sounds like she needs to destroy all the new queen cells and add a super. Order a replacement queen from a reputable source with a gentle hybred queen. Upon arrival of the new queen, destroy the existing queen in the hive and introduce the new one. Life is too short to fight an agressive beehive or hostile woman in your life! :D:
 

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when the hive swarms, it's the old queen that leaves, which means that it's the new queen that is now occupying this hive. It could have mated with Africanized males especially if the new hive did not have a significant drone population. It does sounds like she needs to destroy the queen and requeen her hive. I hate fighting an agressive hive like that.
 

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when the hive swarms, it's the old queen that leaves, which means that it's the new queen that is now occupying this hive. It could have mated with Africanized males especially if the new hive did not have a significant drone population. It does sounds like she needs to destroy the queen and requeen her hive. I hate fighting an agressive hive like that.
It is not always the old queen that leaves. That is a choice that the bees make and no one knows why. It does not have to be an africanized situation that causes agression with the hive. However, it just takes a few dollars to keep the gentle hybred gueens such as starline and midnight in the hive. If you are a commercial beekeeper then you will most likely be raising your own queens and nucs. If you are doing this for a hobby, keep it simple and gentle! :)
 

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The only time I've even known the old queen to remain with the hive is if she's been clipped, but it's good to know that that isn't only the case. I've had some pretty mean hives out there that weren't africanized that's for sure and regardless of whether they are mean spirited or africanized, they need to get changed out. I've never raised starlines or midnights, but I have heard good things about both of them. Good luck!
 

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off-grid organic farmer
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
In their first month they have already filled a super. Now she just put a second super on. [going on the theory that one super should get them through the winter the second super is for the beekeeper].

My hives have never took off so quickly, nor produced so much, nor been so aggressive.

I have seen single bees crawl through a fold in a suit and sting me. But 20 bees sting through the layers of a suit? Never.
 

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In their first month they have already filled a super. Now she just put a second super on. [going on the theory that one super should get them through the winter the second super is for the beekeeper].

My hives have never took off so quickly, nor produced so much, nor been so aggressive.

I have seen single bees crawl through a fold in a suit and sting me. But 20 bees sting through the layers of a suit? Never.
The reason that the Africanized bees were introduced in the first place was that they were great at honey production. It was just the hostle behavior that created the problem. The fact that they are producing so well and are agressive makes me suspect that some lineage toward the African bee is present. It is a fact that the African bees produce more honey than other bees. If you live in South America and are willing to fight them, then ok. But as a hobby beekeeper, it is not worth the effort! I would rather raise the "red wasp"! LOL:D:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
We have grown tired to replacing so many colonies each spring.

These sound to me like they might be better at surviving.

When we heard about this issue my wife suggested to me that I consider a heavy set of coveralls instead of the thin ones that beekeepers usually wear.
 

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We have grown tired to replacing so many colonies each spring.

These sound to me like they might be better at surviving.

When we heard about this issue my wife suggested to me that I consider a heavy set of coveralls instead of the thin ones that beekeepers usually wear.
Have you considered building some nucs and raising your own queens? There are numerous books explaining how to do it. I have never done it but it sounds like a real interesting hobby. Maybe something to check out!
 

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A suit?

Never heard of Africanized making it that far north. Did she buy a package or nuc from down south here?

As of a couple years back at a state Beekeeping convention the word was they were "in Florida and parts of south Georgia." But their are also a lot of package producers down in these parts that ship all over.

I've had first year new started from a package in March hives that have swarmed in May, even with plenty of space. That's o.k. I like freebees.

Lowdown3
 

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off-grid organic farmer
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have thought about dividing.

As I said at the beginning this lady and her son were both wearing suits, and they both received 20+ stings from the bees, through the suits.

Our local nuc provider buys a truck-load of packages in April, then a truck-load of nucs in May. He gets them from down South somewhere. No idea where exactly.

Most of the time I do not bother to put on a suit, when I tend my bees. Just a mesh over my head to keep bees off my face.
 

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Actias Luna
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I am at 15 colonies of bees right now, two of which are very aggressive. One of them has gone from one super to two deeps and three shallows in three months. They were the ones who had the most bees coming out of winter, and they were mean then. Monday I took three stings in thirty seconds, right through the suit. They sent me running (if that's possible in a bee suit).

I am keeping my mean girls. They produce a lot of honey. If mean is what it takes for them to survive, well then bring on the stings. I have taken around 20 through the suit in the last 2 weeks. That never happened until this year.

FB, if I were in your place I would try to trade with her. If I had the mean girls on my first try I doubt I would have made it through the first year. Maybe if she has a docile hive she will stay interested.

My BIL caught a wild swarm about a month ago. He has taken so many stings from them. When we went out to inspect it together they seemed to be the meanest bees I have seen in 3 years. They swarm on his hands and when he holds up his gloves you can see dozens of stingers. Those bees have heavy brood pattern and seem to be very productive. We are in Iowa, maybe there are Africanized coming this way?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I am at 15 colonies of bees right now, two of which are very aggressive. One of them has gone from one super to two deeps and three shallows in three months. They were the ones who had the most bees coming out of winter, and they were mean then. Monday I took three stings in thirty seconds, right through the suit. They sent me running (if that's possible in a bee suit).

I am keeping my mean girls. They produce a lot of honey. If mean is what it takes for them to survive, well then bring on the stings. I have taken around 20 through the suit in the last 2 weeks. That never happened until this year.

FB, if I were in your place I would try to trade with her. If I had the mean girls on my first try I doubt I would have made it through the first year. Maybe if she has a docile hive she will stay interested.

My BIL caught a wild swarm about a month ago. He has taken so many stings from them. When we went out to inspect it together they seemed to be the meanest bees I have seen in 3 years. They swarm on his hands and when he holds up his gloves you can see dozens of stingers. Those bees have heavy brood pattern and seem to be very productive. We are in Iowa, maybe there are Africanized coming this way?
I have three hives now. It is hard to keep going when you loose hives every winter.

When talking to this lady, my wife overheard and she suggested doubling the suit. Or in this area 'Cartharts' are very popular, everyone has a suit of Cartharts [coveralls made from heavy firehose duct with insulation inside]. But a set of Cartharts on and the white bee suit over the top should make it nearly impossible for aggressive bees to sting through.

One hive surrounded by four empties should re-populate in short order if the bees were this quick to divide.

I am okay with only harvesting from the supers after the temps have dropped so the bees are no longer active.

:)
 

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I use the Ultrabreeze suit and I've never had a single sting get through it....it's pretty cool (relatively) as well.
 

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off-grid organic farmer
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I use a 100% cotton zippered suit from Dadant I got in 1991. I have never been stung through it.

This family got new suits this past winter. I think they got them from Dadant.
 

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I have a question for all the bee keepers out there. I have a top bar hive that was started in mid may. The bees are doing very well they have double in numbers. My hive is 48" or so long and we opened it for the first time this past weekend to find that the bees have filled up almost 75% of the hive already. Which is wonderful. My question is do we need to get another hive ready in case they swarm? Any advice in this would be very helpful!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have a question for all the bee keepers out there. I have a top bar hive that was started in mid may. The bees are doing very well they have double in numbers. My hive is 48" or so long and we opened it for the first time this past weekend to find that the bees have filled up almost 75% of the hive already. Which is wonderful. My question is do we need to get another hive ready in case they swarm? Any advice in this would be very helpful!
It is hard to predict when a hive will swarm.

Some hives were already swarming a month ago, before they had filled their brood frames.

If you have a colony, it is always wise to keep a spare hive box near by, ready.

Also keep plenty of queen lure on hand.

If you were using Langstroth hives, and you said that your hive was 75% full. We would ask if the fullness was brood or honey? Some people here are already on their third honey super this season. If you get 'too much' brood, you could add an additional brood box. Or you could do a split, yourself, into two separate hives.

Since you have topbar, you have fewer options.

I suggest that you keep a spare hive box ready, with queen lure in it.

:)
 

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This weekend we're going to look into the other end of the hive to make sure they didn't just start in the middle or something to make sure that it is filled with comb. We couldn't really tell all we could see was a huge mass of bees and a small bit of comb visible at the bottom.
So what's queen lure? Is there a specific one you would recommend?
 

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Hello,

Any update on the situation of the original poster?

I have a colleague (in SE Michigan) that had a colony a few years ago replace it's queen and become extremely mean. The original queen was from Texas (he didn't say which vendor). They were extremely productive. They would follow him far longer than regular bees. He has a full suit and said it was downright scary. With small kids at home, he it killed off.

inMichigan
 
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