aggressive swarm

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by thequeensblessing, May 24, 2005.

  1. thequeensblessing

    thequeensblessing Well-Known Member

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    DH has kept bees for about 25 years, running as many as 500 hives in Utah years ago. It's fair to assume he knows his stuff fairly well.

    Yesterday we had a hive swarm into a small nearby tree. DH took a box and went up to the hanging swarm to catch it. He rarely dresses for the occassion, and ususally he can pick up the swarm and not get stung once. This time, he proceeded to attempt to lightly knock it into the box. Those bees went crazy! It's like they weren't in swarm mode at all. He got stung at least 30 times. (we scraped 30 stingers out of him) He is sore and still rather swollen today on his face and his right arm. This is the worst he's been stung in all his years of beekeeping.

    Any of you ever have experience with an aggressive swarm? This is our first really aggressive swarm. We did manage to catch them, and they seem to have settled into their new hive.

    What makes a swarm aggressive rather then gentle, as most swarms are?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    When a swarm first leaves the hive, each bee is so full of honey that it couldn't sting even if she wanted to.

    After they have been gone a few days, they have consumed enough honey so that they CAN sting if they want to. And, they decided that they wanted to! :eek:
     

  3. thequeensblessing

    thequeensblessing Well-Known Member

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    You know, you may be right. I had just assumed that they were a new swarm because it was close to one of our hives, and right outside our garage door. (where we store our extra frames and boxes). Perhaps it was an older swarm that was attracted to the scent of the frames? I guess we need to get out and go through our hives and see who swarmed, if it even was one of ours. This was a large swarm, so it should be fairly easy to tell. We had just gone through them with the bee inspector the previous week, and although we knew that one or two of them were going to need a box added soon, it didn't seem that imminent.

    Thanks for the idea!
     
  4. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    That's one of the reasons I'm a Woos and always suit up when I get near bees. I've gotten stung maybe a half dozen times total over the year and that''s about it. On the other hand, I had to pull about 20 stingers out of DWs scalp when she was careless a few years ago.

    I've only run across a couple of aggressive swarms. Most are pretty docile. I suppose we could chalk it up to a large group of females <G>.

    Mike
     
  5. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Another thing is genetics. We've all had "hot" hives before. This may be a swarm from one.
     
  6. WayneH

    WayneH Active Member

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    Third generation Carniolan bees seem to be as mean as a bee hive can get. I've only worked two like that, so my experience isn't very extensive. The reason that I was working them is because a friend was demonstrating how mean they get.

    They weren't as mean as my church bees though. I re-queened those as soon as I could!

    Wayne