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Rhsgc

Is it the moon?

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In healthcare we always see the strangest, maddest patients around the time of the full moon.... or so it seems. Has anyone noticed their bees being affected? Totally tongue in cheek, of course, but it would be nice if this was the cause of my recently requeened hive becoming very grumpy!

They were requeened by emergency method after I did a paupers split in November. The hive with the original queen are their usual peaceful selves but the one under new leadership is getting me worried as we are urban - last couple of days I've been buzzed and followed by some very persistent guard bees, I was also stung this morning when slipping back wax cappings under the follower board - normally it's not a problem to check space by moving the follower board back and having a look at whats going on on the last few combs. But today they were pretty mad about being touched, it's warm, fine weather and there is plenty flowering.

The dog has also been chased inside a couple of times.

Do I wait and see if they settle down or should I look at requeening asap? Don't want to cause a nuisance to the neighbours and also don't want to interfere unnecessarily - baby is due in two weeks so I'd rather deal with it sooner rather then later if needs be.

Checked the hive on the weekend and there was eggs and brood in all stages so I don't think they're mad about not having a queen. They also have ample stores.

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I once tried beekeepeing by the Maori fishing calendar but could not find a correlation, not saying the moon does not affect bees but if it does, not much.

 

Hard to know if the aggression is caused by the new queen, because you are not specific enough about dates. But let's say you did the split mid November. You could expect to have a laying queen around 5 weeks later, or mid to late December. First bees from her emerge 3 weeks later, ie first or second week January. They do not fly or do gaurd duties for another 2 weeks, ie, late January.

 

A more likely cause of the aggression is 2 things. The bees in the hive now are mostly old. The older, the more aggressive. Seeing flowers is different than nectar coming into the hive. In a drought when plants are feeling dry, the first thing they turn off is the nectar. If the drought has caused a dearth of nectar coming in, couple that with high percentage of old bees and that is the problem. The other hive, which has had a queen continuously, has a higher percentage of young bees.

 

Giving wet cappings wax can also cause aggression.

 

It is too soon to blame the queen. Check the hives and see if they need feeding, if so, feed them. Other than that, just forget about the bees till after your new baby and a few weeks after that, when you feel ready. 

 

Should add though, it may be you do have genuinely aggressive bees. For now, best thing is leave them right alone, because even requeening will take maybe 3 months to change the character of the hive and you don't want to be messing with this in the last week or two of pregnancy. Better, would be get a beekeeper experienced with many hives, who knows what is and what is not aggressive, to take a look and give an opinion if the bees should be requeened. But right now and for the next couple months, best thing would be leave them alone other than feed if need be.

 

 

Edited by Alastair
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Thank you so much @Alastair, good point about older bees in the hive - I guess they would be much happier out foraging then stuck in the hive on nurse and house duty!

The hive was split off on the 17th of November so as you say we probably don't have any of the new queens babies emerged yet - would be unfair to blame her in that case!

Well they've got plenty of room so might be best to leave them be for a while as you advise ?

Edited by Rhsgc
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Give em a bit of time, Ruth.     What Alastair said, and the weather is so up and down here at the moment with weird humidity and rain threatening every couple of days... that always sets them on edge.  

 

We've got three days rain forecast from this afternoon onwards... none of my girls get a red card for behaviour today.

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Thanks Dee, ill let them off on it and leave them to it for a few more weeks. Hopefully they leave the neighbours alone!

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4 hours ago, Alastair said:

Giving wet cappings wax can also cause aggression.

 

 

 

 

Do you think that's because no matter how good the flow is the neighbour hood bees all seem to know that a hive has a top feeder with wax capping  full of  honey and that  hive gets unwanted attention.

So the bees in the hive get defensive.

Edited by Trevor Gillbanks
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So I've given them plenty of time now and been back in to harvest honey and treat mites. The hive with the older queen was a breeze to work with, the new one not so much. I had to abandon the attempt.

She's layed a shedload of brood - 9 bars at last week , this week there was brood on he 13th bar. I would love to keep a hive this productive but they're buzzing people in the garden and I was stung a few times. 

There are still drones in both my hives but I'm thinking it's too late in the season to squish her- is my best option to buy a queen or wait and squish in spring?

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Very much a beginner here, but the hives I look after and help with are all horrible at the moment. Better than they were 2 weeks ago, but still vastly more grumpy than pre-Christmas. I’m going to wait and I’m sure they’ll calm Down as numbers fall off. There is little for them to do at the moment except rob and cause trouble.

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