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11 hours ago, WebKiwiNZ said:

m pretty sure my bees are aggressive with the new queen. They lift off and ping my face net when I go near after even the top box is off.

I had an agressive hive yrs ago . I requeened her and problem solved .

One of my current hives was aggro early in the season but has settled down .

I think she could still turn nasty if  circumstances are not favourable so I shall probably requeen her .

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Thanks. I've looked at one club but its first Sat of the month - completely coinciding with a  previous commitment and also my sons gradings.   I checked he clubs on this site - but none in

Thanks @CHCHPaul. Sounds like your timing and advice was spot on ?

Well it's been a while so heres a progress update. 1. I'm pretty sure my bees are aggressive with the new queen. They lift off and ping my face net when I go near after even the top box is off.

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It turns out I not only suck at Where's Wally (my kids beat me every time) but that it also extends to 'Find That Queen'.  How is it that I have heard so many disaster stories of people killing their queen but when you want to find her she is as elusive as truthfulness at an impeachment hearing.

 

Having decided the hive is aggressive, and having @CHCHPaul help me source a calm queen (thanks -for that and the advice - really appreciated) I ventured out to find and replace my current queen.

 

So I donned my bee suit, gumboots, my new leather gloves, put on a hat to keep the net away from my ears and went forth to find the queen.  Smoker loaded, kids warned to stay away and off I went.

 

After taking off the tin cover and lifting the lid I knew I was in for an epic and any doubt these girls are aggressive was dispelled. The top box is a lightly populated honey box above the Queen Excluder. More activity than previously but as soon as I took off the lid a wave of bees starting pinging my face and ears. Apply smoke, put them to one side, cover them and look at box two with the queen excluder on. 

 

Wow - I didn't even get a chance to touch them and what felt like half a frame of bees lifted off and I had my own mini swarm. Smoke, loosen the box, put it to one side, cover it and attend to the base box first.

 

Double Wow - I thought the second box was aggressive - I get close and another wave of bees.  My daughter (who was watching from a safe distance with a bee net on - abandoned me at this point - even she could hear the noise level change...again!!). After smoking them I put my hand towards the frames and got wave two. Loosened the first frame and got wave three. Lifted it - wave four. I must have looked like that kid Pig Pen from Charley Brown cartoons ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pig-Pen ) I never knew bees could growl - wow!!!

 

I have to confess this was the moment I asked myself if I really really really wanted to keep bees. I could either close the lid, turn away and find someone to sell them too or suck it up and move forward, knowing that I was likely in for multiple stings and a lot of sucky work. It turns out my wife is right (again) - I am just too dumb to know when to quit. Either that or adrenaline, fear and large doses of masochism are really my thing.

 

I removed two outside frames (light barrier method) peered in - but that was pretty much a waste of time. The frames were heaving, bees flying and moving in all directions, so lifted out the frames and started checking - a quick look on both sides (outside of edge to inwards) then a slower inch by inch inspection of both sides. Nothing..nada...zip. I can spot drones, but not queens.  Lots of brood, less honey and nectar than I would like - two bumble bees (one in not so good condition) occasional drone cone but not much (I think that's expected coming towards winter) no swarm cone, larvae on three frames at least but no eggs spotted.

 

Finish off the frames, put it back together, resist the temptation to put the second box on top (it would have been a better height to work with) , cover it and on to box two.

 

Lots of honey, lots of nectar, a few brood frames (but not many) a repeat of the bombing runs of box one - but interestingly less so than box 1. Someone had told me to hit box one first as it means you have less returning workers to join the fray. Box twos bees were still awful but less so than box one. Good advice I think.

 

No queen found. Pretty sure she is in box one - where there is more larvae and brood - but possibly was on the floor or walls - or hey - as I said I suck at Where's Wally - and these girls are all wearing stripes.

 

I will revisit them on Thursday - and try again. I had heard of a process of putting a QE on the base of the hive, adding the boxes above and tipping all the bees in front of the door step to re-enter the hive. @CHCHPaul told me about the bee sieve method - empty box on top, with QE below, tip bees into that and smoke gently downwards leaving the queen and drones. If I fail to find them on Thursday will do a bee sieve.

 

Looking at the bees in the hive - still lots of nectar, saw a number with orange pollen in box one so there is still pollen coming in, saw 2-3 bumble bees inside and a couple try to enter the hive.  So some bumblebees robbing at least box one. Box one less honey than expected - but box two absolutely heaving with it - so not worried about feeding or starvation.

 

Lessons learned:

1 - Leather gloves rock. I will have to pull out a number of bee stings stuck in there, but with just nitrile gloves this wouldn't have been a good outcome.

2 - Check your gumboots before visiting the hive - mine had a split in the back I hadn't noticed. Saw it in time - thanks gaffer tape.

3 - A brimmed / floppy hat inside the net really keeps the ears protected.

4 - Staying still, moving slow, does help - mostly helped me get more confident in my gear. Being in a mini swarm of angry bees is freaky - but good gear works.

5 - Hive work is sweaty - and even the 'ventilated' bee suits will keep you sweating.

6 - Details. Check the details - like the last few millimetres of zip are done up, or the velcro is clipped down. Bees will find a way if you let them.

7 - Bees rock. This was not a pleasant trip to the hive  but watching them communicate is cool (less cool if they were passing info on about where I forgot to do up a zip or something) , seeing the pollen on their legs, different colours of brood cap, the progression of honey, the work they do cleaning, building, feeding, how amazingly strong propolis is,  their fanning, bearding, activities .... plus all the things i am learning along the way. In the long run I think they are worth the effort.

 

Last thing learned - You can say to your bees - you're beautiful when you're angry - but it turns out that's not a good line to say to your wife. Another lesson learned.

 

 Bee suit plus hot day = Sweaty WorkClick to choose files

 

 

 

 

On 2/02/2020 at 10:12 PM, Paul Beer said:

You're welcome to have some of our honey, we have too much, although it's just not the same as from  your own bees I know.  I don't use insecticide.  Heaps of our bees were hanging outside this afternoon too.  Riccarton area.  Gosh it was hot.  I will be adding OA strips next week I think. 

Hi @Paul Beer - thanks for the offer - but I'll decline. Its not about honey for us (that's just a bonus) but if you are trying to divest of some, I know of some community houses / projects that would gratefully accept.  ... or I know a school that would possibly appreciate some - as part of their food process.  It might make a good session getting people to extract their own honey

 

Again thanks for the offer.

 

Shane

 

 

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Wow. That hive sounds down right dangerous. 

They sound like they’re acting queenleas to me. Disorganised on the frames, no eggs, aggressive.

there is a chance they are in the the process of re queening already. 

If you can’t find her or eggs next inspection (and bear in mind all continual opening them up and pulling the hive apart also makes them more defensive) 

 

Take the top two boxes off.

Shake most of the bees from brood box two into that bottom brood box. You don’t have to get every bee just enough so you’re comfortable you haven’t missed the queen. 

Queen excluder next with 3 or 4 layers of newspaper on top of excluder. Slice a couple of holes in the newspaper. 

Put the second brood box on the bees from that honey box should come down and look after that small amount of brood. 

Put your caged queen into box 2. Tab end facing upward. 

You can either remove the tab now or come back a day or two and do it. 

Leave them alone for 3 weeks.

after that go back and find that queen in box 1. Often the bees will have already disposed of her. 

 

Good luck. If you can cope with this hive you’ll make a good beekeeper. 

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Just re-queen with a protected queen cell and the virgin queen will be the assassin who kills the present queen for you.  In 6 weeks all the bad tempered bees will have died of old age and your hive will be nice again.

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8 hours ago, tudor said:

Just re-queen with a protected queen cell and the virgin queen will be the assassin who kills the present queen for you.  In 6 weeks all the bad tempered bees will have died of old age and your hive will be nice again.

Why wont the old queen kill.the new one .

I saw a young queen wrapped around and old queen trying to kill her in a hive once.

But this was a supercedure and the young queen would have the hives permission to do that .

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  • 5 months later...

Hi,

 

Its been a while - Covid 19 had me super busy (working in a food bank) and then trying to get back on my feet with the community centre I work with opening up. We also used it as a time to teach people to extract honey from frames by hand. Crush and strain - then boil down the wax.

I tried making meed with the rinsing water. It was too cold so got honey vinegar - but that's still quite nice.

 

I had requeened (thanks @ChchPaul )and things seem better.  I also did a round of apivar a while back - and need to remove the strips but the rain is likely to make the girls niggly. Hopefully remove them tomorrow - if the sun gets around far enough to make it slightly warmer.

 

We are getting robbers still, but have the entrance small and they are doing their jobs.

The girls are still finding white and yellow pollen. Much quieter - but it is colder.

Three weeks ago the boys got turfed out - lots of dead been on the concrete.

I also intend to reshuffle some honey around - hoping we have an empty space or two as I had two full boxes and a few spare frames of honey needing to be used up.

 

I thought I would share this video - my hive was a bit nasty - but this one gives me the screaming heebies just looking at it. I really appreciated the guy taking time to explain his rationale to why he terminates this hive. Its got a few points worth thinking about - no matter if you are in town or out in the country.  Hopefully I never meet a hive like this.

 

 

Looking forward to spring - With the amount of food the hive has it should be strong start so hopefull a bumper crop. I'm only glad lock downs dont apply to bees.

 

Shane

 

Edited by WebKiwiNZ
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  • 3 weeks later...

Thought i had lost the hive today. A bad moment but all is good.

 

There has been a lot of robbing, dead bees, weaving flights, bees looking at cracks etc and different coloured bees.

 

I was due to remove strips and one box had come apart so decided to get into it today. 

 

Taking the top mat off .. lots of mould and moisture. Cleaned it with hot water and a rag.

 

Removed top box to put aside ... lots of bees.

 

Went through bottom box, removed strips and checked. Plenty of bees, nectar, capped honey but zero brood.

 

Put new top box down and started swapping second box frames across. First 5 frames ... nector and capped honey but zero brood.  Now convinced ive lost the queen.

 

Oddly no swarm cells but 3/4 of a hive and no brood.

 

Was tempted to call it and close up but kept on. Next frame saw the queen. Frame after full off broodand also the next two. Whew. I was very careful moving the queen frame. Lots of checking she was still there after the move.

 

I dropped in a full frame of honey from the removed top box replacing a partially drawn out frame, put a top feeder plastic lid on, added the tin lid and closed up.

 

@CHCHPaul that queen you supplied is going well. Not much uncapped brood seen but i guess winter is different. Looking forward to spring and the second hive.

 

If anyone has suggestions re the damp / mould happy to hear. 

 

The entrance is about 4 bees wide. They seem to be jolding their own but lots of bees on back doorstep and concrete so watch where you walk.

 

These bees way less agressive. Got pinged a couple of times in the hood but pulling a hive apart in winter would make me grumpy too. No stings although plenty landed on hands.

 

The banana like smell has gone. Smells like honey now. Tum. Roll on harvest.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hey Shane. It’s pretty early to be working a double decker hive that still has plenty of stores. As long as the varroa has been taken care of you should probably leave it alone for another month. 
 

Regarding the mouldy stuff... it sounds as if you left a honey super on for the winter...? Too much space over winter usually leads to too much moisture and mould develops. In future, just one or two brood boxes is all they need. 
 

The robbing is happening here too. Not too bad, but with this spring like weather for the last couple of weeks there is a lot of bees out and about with not much to forage on. Your colony should be abLe to defend itself. And the forecast says it winter again in a week ☹️
 

All the best. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 3/08/2020 at 8:05 AM, CHCHPaul said:

Hey Shane. It’s pretty early to be working a double decker hive that still has plenty of stores. As long as the varroa has been taken care of you should probably leave it alone for another month. 
 

Regarding the mouldy stuff... it sounds as if you left a honey super on for the winter...? Too much space over winter usually leads to too much moisture and mould develops. In future, just one or two brood boxes is all they need. 
 

The robbing is happening here too. Not too bad, but with this spring like weather for the last couple of weeks there is a lot of bees out and about with not much to forage on. Your colony should be abLe to defend itself. And the forecast says it winter again in a week ☹️
 

All the best. 

Hi @CHCHPaul Yuo. I had left the honey on in a third box so i think youre right about the space and moisture. 

 

I have one full frame of honey in storage if they need feeding and the plastic top feeder if i have to suppliment.

 

The girls get visited a lot. Always sweeping away dead bees. Getting good at spotting the change in flight and sounds.

 

When youre ready will buy that nuc off you. There is a lot of keeness at the cimmunity garden to have a hive. Got a nice spot all worked out. All day sun and dry.

 

Take care.

 

Shane

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On 20/08/2020 at 8:19 AM, WebKiwiNZ said:

Hi @CHCHPaul Yuo. I had left the honey on in a third box so i think youre right about the space and moisture. 

 

I have one full frame of honey in storage if they need feeding and the plastic top feeder if i have to suppliment.

 

The girls get visited a lot. Always sweeping away dead bees. Getting good at spotting the change in flight and sounds.

 

When youre ready will buy that nuc off you. There is a lot of keeness at the cimmunity garden to have a hive. Got a nice spot all worked out. All day sun and dry.

 

Take care.

 

Shane


Great stuff. Exciting times ahead with the new season upon us. I’ve been enjoying watching the girls come and go on sunny days with full pollen saddlebags. Yellow, orange, purple and red so far, so plenty of nutrition coming in. Hives will be brooding up nicely. 
 

I should have nucs ready to go in the next two or three weeks. Looking forward to helping you with the next set up. 

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  • 2 months later...

The two hives are going well. @CHCHPaul CHCHPauls queeen is settling well.

 

Warm day saturday so bearding on both hives .. all through the night and still some today - tuesday - even after two cooler days. 

 

Normal activity both hives and the latest check for swarm and supercedure cells found none. The extra space is working.

 

Watching the new hive its gone from a few bees to busy so i think the extra frames have hatched. A good start.

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