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NZBF Grumpy bees

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I have a grumpy hive. It isn’t terrible but has an edge to it when you are working it. Bees follow your hands and chase ether hive tool. They stand on the frames doing that grumpy posture they have before launch, and I get a sting or 2 each time I work them.

Before this bad behaviour they were queenless for about a week, then the queen they grew hatched but never returned to lay. I merged them with a small nuc and there is now a mass of brood and they have merged well. 

But they are still grumpy (this would be a month in now).

 

How long does it take before the new queens influence take over? Until or the old bees die or should it happen as soon as her pheromone gets about? I’m not clear on what gives the temperament.

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4 minutes ago, cBank said:

I have a grumpy hive. It isn’t terrible but has an edge to it when you are working it. Bees follow your hands and chase ether hive tool. They stand on the frames doing that grumpy posture they have before launch, and I get a sting or 2 each time I work them.

Before this bad behaviour they were queenless for about a week, then the queen they grew hatched but never returned to lay. I merged them with a small nuc and there is now a mass of brood and they have merged well. 

But they are still grumpy (this would be a month in now).

 

How long does it take before the new queens influence take over? Until or the old bees die or should it happen as soon as her pheromone gets about? I’m not clear on what gives the temperament.

The queens pheromone influences their behaviour, hence when they are queenless they are grumpy, as does the genetics. 

So, a grumpy hives temper can improve straight away with a new queen .

 

Sounds to me like your new queen lays grumpy bees 

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Thanks, I thought it was supposed to be a relatively quick change but hadn’t seen it yet. Her first will be hatching about now and I’m pretty sure they aren’t friendly. Annoying when she has a good pattern and a lot of brood.

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9 minutes ago, cBank said:

Thanks, I thought it was supposed to be a relatively quick change but hadn’t seen it yet. Her first will be hatching about now and I’m pretty sure they aren’t friendly. Annoying when she has a good pattern and a lot of brood.

I had one of those. Always had the hood ready .

My current crop are pretty good . I normally do not need a veil , except for circumstances like today when I was getting all the bees in one box and brushing them off the frames .

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When you joined two different hives together they merge together quite quickly but I have noticed they can have a grumpy edge for quite some time afterwards. I suspect this grumpiness is caused by friction between the two groups and when you disturb a hive the aggression is transferred to you.
Grumpy hives can be improved by re-queening but the old Queen's influence will remain until the last of her bees are gone. One snotty bee can upset the whole hive and one bad hive can set the whole apiary on edge.
Genetics is the most important thing when it comes to temperament but how you work hives, when you work hives, weather, honey flow and outside influences ranging from sprays to upset neighbouring hives all have an effect.

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Thanks @john berry. I’ll keep this in mind and thinking about it I might also try working that hive first as they seem a little riled when I start, so I’ll give them some time and change things about before I try regicide.

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If you have a really grumpy hive, then re-queening with a new queen from different stock is effective.  A queen cell works fine (and the VQ acts as an assassin to remove the old queen), and sometimes there is an immediate response, but usually after about 6 weeks when all is happy after the grumpy bees have died.

By really grumpy I also mean that the neighbour in their garden gets chased inside !

 

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The reverse is true also. 

You can turn a mild tempered hive into a nasty thing almost immediately by requeening with a queen from a very nasty hive . The type that sting hands as soon as the hive mat is popped. 

 

How do I know this ? Experimenting . I’ve patched up hives with highly productive queens from nasty hives and lived to regret it 

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21 minutes ago, M4tt said:

The reverse is true also. 

You can turn a mild tempered hive into a nasty thing almost immediately by requeening with a queen from a very nasty hive . The type that sting hands as soon as the hive mat is popped. 

 

How do I know this ? Experimenting . I’ve patched up hives with highly productive queens from nasty hives and lived to regret it 

I have requeened my hives with less productive queens from very docile cooperative hives .

 

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Originally posted by @M4tt, as follows

 1/10. Bees are so calm whatever you do doesn’t fluster them . I don’t have any this calm 

 

2/10. Bees are calm . I can puff the hive with smoke , then break it all down right past the queen excluder without any more smoke . Bees remain calm with only slight movement in the frames . I have hives like this . 

 

3/10. As above , but by the time you crack the QE off , Bees need more smoke to settle them , which is about all the smoke they need . 

 

4/10. Bees need more smoke but are still nice to work . They move about more on the frames making the queen a bit more difficult to spot 

 

5/10. This is an average hive to work . It’s still easy to get all the way to the brood Box , but there are some bees flying in the air , checking the beek out . 

 

6/10. Smoke is puffed around the entrance as usual , plus a puff into the hive mat as it is cracked . Same procedure for all hives . This time , the hive starts buzzing and there are tails in the air . The Bees really aren’t happy , but remaining calm and careful sees the hive thoroughly worked without being stung . Any hives from here on should be a candidate to be requeened . 

 

7/10. As the hive above , but this time you’ll come away with a minimum of 2 kamakaze stings to the hands , if you’re lucky. Bees are looking and sounding fairly annoyed and are running around in the frames 

 

8/10. Things are getting really unpleasant now . Bees are actively atacking your hive tool and your hands and bombing your veil 

 

9/10. What a disaster . As you crack the hivemat, it seems every Bee in that Box spews out from the gaps and heads straight at you . The further into the hive you get , the more you wish you hadn’t . The air is full of bees . You can hardly think . More smoke . More smoke . No, that doesn’t work , it makes them worse . You stack the boxes back up , getting stung again and again , squashing Bees as you go . Aargh what a disaster , and you make a run through and around bushes trying to escaped the Bees chasing you !!! 

 

10/10. Don’t bother . Get someone who knows what they are doing to help you requeen 

 

Edited November 3, 2017 by M4tt

 

I have found this an useful tool for assessing the temperament of the hives...

 

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I had a 9. I didn't like having a cloud of bees hitting my veil while I walked back to the house. I sent the Queen to heaven.

 

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9 hours ago, Beefriendly said:

Originally posted by @M4tt, as follows

Well done @Beefriendly. Gems like this need to see the light of day on a regular basis.

 

Theres such a wealth of stories / advice / on here ..some of which I would like to be able to bookmark for quick recall. Like a cookbook...the best pages are easy to identify.

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I’ll make the decision next sunny day - might allow me to reduce hive numbers by one!

 

I found a useful tool for bad tempered bees last autumn when it was completely out of hand. As soon as I’m done and robbing or defensiveness is happening, turn the sprinkler on. You don’t even need it on for long. 

 

It was a mad period. Any baking or honey usage in the house had them coming in the kitchen fan extractor vent and the back door keyhole. Wasn’t mine of course, someone else’s mongrels.

 

Edited by cBank
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I have printed out M4tts bee temperament scale. I’m going to add that measure to my inspection record.?

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2 hours ago, GoED said:

I have printed out M4tts bee temperament scale. I’m going to add that measure to my inspection record.?

It needs diagrams, and would be an excellent wall chart. Matt’s Bee Tempament Chart, with those Arizona specials coming in at 11.

Edited by cBank
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1 hour ago, cBank said:

It needs diagrams, and would be an excellent wall chart. Matt’s Bee Tempament Chart, with those Arizona specials coming in at 11.

Hmm great idea..I’ll think about how I might present that in visual form, if it comes out OK I’ll post it.

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What great info from @Beefriendly & @M4tt creating and sharing that temperament scale.

Here I was thinking my hives were mostly calm and friendly.

Turns out at best I have a couple of 5/10 the others range to 7/10  & maybe an 8/10.

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19 hours ago, Mummzie said:

Well done @Beefriendly. Gems like this need to see the light of day on a regular basis.

 

Theres such a wealth of stories / advice / on here ..some of which I would like to be able to bookmark for quick recall. Like a cookbook...the best pages are easy to identify.

I really miss the book mark feature that was available before the upgrade of the forum 

Ive created a google Doc to copy and paste the ‘pearls’ for reference 

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1 hour ago, Deon said:

What great info from @Beefriendly & @M4tt creating and sharing that temperament scale.

Here I was thinking my hives were mostly calm and friendly.

Turns out at best I have a couple of 5/10 the others range to 7/10  & maybe an 8/10.

Over time each time you requeen you’ll be able to select the calmest most varroa resistant hopefully ?

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1 hour ago, GoED said:

Over time each time you requeen you’ll be able to select the ..... most varroa resistant

Not a show while you're treating for varroa !

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5 hours ago, Beefriendly said:

I really miss the book mark feature that was available before the upgrade of the forum 

Ive created a google Doc to copy and paste the ‘pearls’ for reference 

 

Instapaper is excellent for this, and there will be others too no doubt, but that one was first. 

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On 25/11/2018 at 5:21 PM, yesbut said:

Not a show while you're treating for varroa !

Yes! Of course, silly me! Beginner mistake in thinking.

I’m never going to be able to select am I in my situation - Randy Oliver’s programme involves monitoring non-treated hives then removing and treating hives with unacceptable varroa numbers in isolation. Can’t do that on 980 sqm with a handful of hives with another Beeks hives just 900m up the road. That’s a shame I’d love to breed bees selectively, oh well hopefully I can ‘take part’ once commercials nearby start varroa resistance breeding programmes. I can do alcohol wash varroa monitoring though.

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