Jump to content

How many real beeks get grumpy hives?


Wildflower
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have had a month of it!

Grumpy bees!

My husband is ready to divorce me (well not really) friends worry about having a BBQ here

(exaggeration!) But yes I have had grumpy bees. Ended up with 5 hives and only 2 Queens....Then came the virgin?  an introduced mated Queen, and another MQ just in case. ?

Watched the hives tonight with binoculars. Too whoosy to sit as I normally would, on a pallet right there with them.

As the sun started dropping behind the trees. I watched as to which direction they were flying from? They were not ALL perfectly  relaxed. 3 bees buzzed around my head with high pitched buzzes. Not for long though. I did keep the binoculars on my eyes. Didn't need another sting above the eye! Ironically went back to take a photo. One silly bee went for  my hair and is no longer...

Whilst I was relishing in the almost back to normal contented bees, I found myself hoping that real beeks find the time to appreciate happy content bees.  Then I wondered? Do they actually have many grumpy hives? I vow to now requeen every 2 years. No more really old queens. What's the story? Do real beeks ever relax and watch? Do they just have mostly nice bees and young queens?

I need relaxed bees, for the sake of my marriage!!??

('cause I ain't givin'up my bees!?)

20201210_192931_copy_1612x1209.jpg

20201210_192813_copy_1612x1209.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Wildflowerim guessing you will be surrounded with green clover laden pasture possibly under pivot irrigation as well, this weather we are getting now hot, calm and humid with an abundance of forage sources should mean you could open up your hives without a suit .. I will go as far to suggest the temper issues may be genetic.. I worked veil less today the bees are working hard on a heavy flow. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, Stoney said:

@Wildflowerim guessing you will be surrounded with green clover laden pasture possibly under pivot irrigation as well, this weather we are getting now hot, calm and humid with an abundance of forage sources should mean you could open up your hives without a suit .. I will go as far to suggest the temper issues may be genetic.. I worked veil less today the bees are working hard on a heavy flow. 

Been planting for bees for 8 years. No food problems here. Yep maybe old queens and or bad genes.?

One nice Queen. Two new ones. One swarm Queen and a Virgin. Please keep your fingers crossed for me. ?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Genetics plays an important part but so does weather and high humidity is something that tends to wind them up.

Bees on a honey flow are generally at their quietest but when there has been a dearth for a long time and they are just starting on some fresh honey they can be really grumpy for the first day or two. I got five stings today while checking a hive with a smoker but without any gear on.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

When you have a hive with horrible bees just re-queen ASAP with a protected queen cell.  The newly emerged queen will kill the mother of the horrible bees (acting as your assassin) and the mood of the bees can change quite quickly or take 6 weeks until all the eggs laid by the old queen have hatched, done their stuff, and died of old age.

Don't hesitate, nothing as horrible as horrible bees.

  • Thanks 1
  • Agree 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, tudor said:

When you have a hive with horrible bees just re-queen ASAP with a protected queen cell.  The newly emerged queen will kill the mother of the horrible bees (acting as your assassin) and the mood of the bees can change quite quickly or take 6 weeks until all the eggs laid by the old queen have hatched, done their stuff, and died of old age.

Don't hesitate, nothing as horrible as horrible bees.

When you have a hive with horrible bees just re-queen ASAP with a protected queen cell.???? ..........

Very curious. Protected Queen cell?

SO over any of the nasty ones. I can handle it,sort of? But my friends and family freak if any grumpy ones hang around. Besides,I want to train people to ? bees right?

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a look see at some hives in the gully here this morning ..... warm, clover, manuka flowering .... popped some lids no veil .... and got hammered .  Even as I walked away the bees kept coming .... even as I jumped on the quad and tried to find the start button, they kept coming ..... Dog was running for cover  ...... strange ..... no flow maybe .

Sometimes the hassle of putting a veil on is less than the pain of taking a few up the nose.

  • Agree 1
  • Haha 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice article Nick .   I'm always a bit cautious about direct celling in October , only on account of the fact that the weather can be so fickle.

I prefer to wait un til now when the days are warmer, and a hive will make a crop on the hatching brood, whether there is a queen or not .

Meanwhile, a few years ago a mate did a whole heap of direct celling with a large corporate in late January. It was a total disaster and lotsa hives went into the winter queenless.

I think there is a small window of opportunity .... mid December/mid January. 

A lot of the times we let the bees do it for themselves ..... they seem to know.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

i have had a couple of goes with protected cells and have to say I was underwhelmed with them. We went through the hives afterwards and I can't remember the exact percentage but it wasn't  good enough to make me want to do it again. On the other hand it's an easy way to do it and if you only have a few hives you can always have several goes at it.

  • Agree 1
  • Good Info 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, john berry said:

i have had a couple of goes with protected cells and have to say I was underwhelmed with them. We went through the hives afterwards and I can't remember the exact percentage but it wasn't  good enough to make me want to do it again. On the other hand it's an easy way to do it and if you only have a few hives you can always have several goes at it.

Me too. Gone back to see and not very effective. It's possible that your queens were young? As Nick's article states, young queens hold on. I think @jamescspot on, it's timing. And no excluders, mid flow. Some do it every year and they seem happy enough, but I don't think they really know how well it's worked. Its quick, cheap and unknown. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, john berry said:

i have had a couple of goes with protected cells and have to say I was underwhelmed with them. We went through the hives afterwards and I can't remember the exact percentage but it wasn't  good enough to make me want to do it again. On the other hand it's an easy way to do it and if you only have a few hives you can always have several goes at it.

Logically, to me,this doesn't seem like my easiest option?

Do I need correcting? 

 

First hurdle, is that unless I graft my own cells,with only a few hives (5 actually)I am reliant on my bees actually creating cells between mid Dec and mid Jan.

Second hurdle,is that if my grumpy Queen is young and grumpy due to genetics,she may have the vigor to kill new Queen?

I think what I am getting from this discussion,is that if I wish to replace a grumpy Queen,and spot a queen cell,I can insert protected cell,the bonus being, it is easy and cheap,and the hive remains productive until Queen hatches.... 

Other than that, I am wondering what the bonuses are,over just making a nuc with a good cell (from a nice quiet hive!)and if it works,swapping out that Queen for the grumpy one? Is it purely a time saving operation?

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Running a bee operation well is incredibly labour  intensive. Especially so if you want to requeen every second year.

When we were doing comb honey we 'Two Queened' six hundred  hives every year that then went together as a double broods at the end of the season, and the bees sorted out whether wanted a new or an old queen.

These days we run a lean operation , should probably take on a cell raiser in the busy times so we have heaps of cells coming out over a short period of weeks ..... but the money isn't there for an extra labour unit at the moment,  so I do all the cell raising and if we see old or wingless queens as we are browsing through boxes, they get the Heave Ho and re celled. 

So no, we certainly aren't religious about requeening very second year.

We are always making up hives so we have bees  to replace duds in the season, whether that is with nucs or units.

We run 150 hives that are solely for building up and splitting ,  but many times the bees seem to know when to supersede, and there is always a percentage that get the timing wrong and miss the nectar flow.

And then we run poly nucs as well, so there is a bit of a supply of cheap mated queens for last minute patch ups.

When honey is worth $3.50 - $4.00/kg  you do what you do to keep the costs down.

50k in wages is quite a lot of honey for us.

 

  • Like 2
  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, jamesc said:

Running a bee operation well is incredibly labour  intensive. Especially so if you want to requeen every second year.

When we were doing comb honey we 'Two Queened' six hundred  hives every year that then went together as a double broods at the end of the season, and the bees sorted out whether wanted a new or an old queen.

These days we run a lean operation , should probably take on a cell raiser in the busy times so we have heaps of cells coming out over a short period of weeks ..... but the money isn't there for an extra labour unit at the moment,  so I do all the cell raising and if we see old or wingless queens as we are browsing through boxes, they get the Heave Ho and re celled. 

So no, we certainly aren't religious about requeening very second year.

We are always making up hives so we have bees  to replace duds in the season, whether that is with nucs or units.

We run 150 hives that are solely for building up and splitting ,  but many times the bees seem to know when to supersede, and there is always a percentage that get the timing wrong and miss the nectar flow.

And then we run poly nucs as well, so there is a bit of a supply of cheap mated queens for last minute patch ups.

When honey is worth $3.50 - $4.00/kg  you do what you do to keep the costs down.

50k in wages is quite a lot of honey for us.

 

Thanks  jamesc. Bit by bit I start to see the whole picture.

I find it fascinating and take my hat off to you. You certainly deserve your Winter breaks.

( but then of course comes the boring maintenance)

I apiary is enough for me.?

Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Wildflower said:

Logically, to me,this doesn't seem like my easiest option?

Do I need correcting? 

 

First hurdle, is that unless I graft my own cells,with only a few hives (5 actually)I am reliant on my bees actually creating cells between mid Dec and mid Jan.

Second hurdle,is that if my grumpy Queen is young and grumpy due to genetics,she may have the vigor to kill new Queen?

I think what I am getting from this discussion,is that if I wish to replace a grumpy Queen,and spot a queen cell,I can insert protected cell,the bonus being, it is easy and cheap,and the hive remains productive until Queen hatches.... 

Other than that, I am wondering what the bonuses are,over just making a nuc with a good cell (from a nice quiet hive!)and if it works,swapping out that Queen for the grumpy one? Is it purely a time saving operation?

 

 

You probably would be better off buying some good calm stock mated queens. If you are grafting cells and relying on Drones from your hives or even locally you may well end up with grumpy hives again.

 

  • Like 1
  • Agree 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

On 10/12/2020 at 8:01 PM, Stoney said:

@Wildflowerim guessing you will be surrounded with green clover laden pasture possibly under pivot irrigation as well, this weather we are getting now hot, calm and humid with an abundance of forage sources should mean you could open up your hives without a suit .. I will go as far to suggest the temper issues may be genetic.. I worked veil less today the bees are working hard on a heavy flow. 

The bees are generally calm if there's a heavy flow on and dont even rob, hives get nasty when queen less though even if a flows on

  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, jamesc said:

I had a look see at some hives in the gully here this morning ..... warm, clover, manuka flowering .... popped some lids no veil .... and got hammered .  Even as I walked away the bees kept coming .... even as I jumped on the quad and tried to find the start button, they kept coming ..... Dog was running for cover  ...... strange ..... no flow maybe .

Sometimes the hassle of putting a veil on is less than the pain of taking a few up the nose.

Went to do a site of 12 the other day and hadnt even touched the hives, we were having smoko and bang, the bro moved faster than the flash? after the site the other bro took his veil off a bit early and took one under the nostril his eyes teared up ??? followed by 3 Haaaaaaaas, was soo funny but it always is unless it's you.

  • Like 2
  • Haha 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps the majority of hobbyists struggle to find queens and I suspect the same may be the case these days for commercial beekeepers. Stroppy hives make it even harder to find the Queen and they are also harder to re-queen full stop as they tend to be less accepting of cage queens especially and even sometimes cells.

If you have the skills to find  queens then you have a lot more options when it comes to re-queening but if you don't then protected cells are a reasonable fallback option with reasonable results.

When you get queens from cells that have come from good quite stock then even if they mate with aggressive local stock the bees tend to be of reasonable temperament and of course the drones from that Queen will be exclusively from her genetics.

You could for instance kill your aggressive Queen and then go through the hive seven days later and destroy every single queen cell. Then place a brood frame with some eggs from your quietest hive and you would have about an 80% chance of ending up with a reasonable Queen.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

When working for my first boss 20+ years ago he bought 100 hives from east cape, we were getting attacked when looking at them before he picked them up, the meanest, blackest, be-arches I have ever encountered, the queens were black, the bees were black, the drones were black the old dark comb was black and it took ages to try and fined the queens. We just rugged up and shake them all through a box with excluder on the bottom when the queen was found you had had squash her first before she squashed you. Yanke mated queens in for replacement and boy what a difference, this was before carnies.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, Dennis Crowley said:

When working for my first boss 20+ years ago he bought 100 hives from east cape, we were getting attacked when looking at them before he picked them up, the meanest, blackest, be-arches I have ever encountered, the queens were black, the bees were black, the drones were black the old dark comb was black and it took ages to try and fined the queens. We just rugged up and shake them all through a box with excluder on the bottom when the queen was found you had had squash her first before she squashed you. Yanke mated queens in for replacement and boy what a difference, this was before carnies.

Certainly there were some ferocious bees back in the old days. The guy I first started beekeeping with back in the eairly 90s always had a spare pair of overalls in the truck that he would put on as a second pair over the top of his other's when things got nasty. Those bees make today's worst hybrids look like kittens. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

When I started 10 years ago I met bees on the Otago Peninsula who had no requeening for a long time, and they were not very welcoming - at all.  New queens were effective in developing gentle bees, but still veils and gloves needed.  But every now and then an aggro hive appears, and simple intervention with protected cell has always worked.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...