• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Nancy Reading
  • r ranson
  • Jay Angler
  • Pearl Sutton
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Leigh Tate
  • Burra Maluca
master gardeners:
  • Christopher Weeks
  • Timothy Norton
gardeners:
  • Jeremy VanGelder
  • Paul Fookes
  • Tina Wolf

Stressed beehive

 
pollinator
Posts: 437
Location: Finland, Scandinavia
341
trees
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi,
I got my first beehive last week. It was supposed to be two, but the other had not overwintered well.
I drove them to my farm. In the beginning, the hive was calm and full of actively working bees.
During the 2 hour trip, on each stop they got noisier and more agitated. Many had risen to the top grille (it was there for ventilation)

One day after arrival I took off the top and heard a huge  WOOSH as all the bees started purring.

What is this? I have never been warned (attending a beekeeping course) that the colony acts as one. And gets stressed just from opening the top and is actually hissing at me.

I have been told to check on the bees frequently, but now I am starting to think it may really stress them.

 
pollinator
Posts: 206
Location: S. New England
97
fungi foraging trees chicken bee wood heat homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
HI Kaarina:

Welcome to bee-keeping! ...yeah, bees don't take kindly to being disturbed too much. I'm assuming they were just warning you, did they actually take flight and try to attack you? If not, you should be fine with them. I know if I try blowing on a cluster of bees they will "buzzz" like that as a heads-up to the other bees that there is an intruder. Try not to breath on the colony if at all possible. Not implying that you have bad breath or anything ;-) , but I think they may smell the CO2 and that sends them into "intruder alert" mode. Use a little smoke to calm them and help mask your scent (and their alarm-pheremones),

What kinda bees did you get ....Im assuming European?

As far a checking the hive, it's best not to open the hive more than every other week or so, unless you have good cause to do so (ie: if you are feeding them). If they are being disturbed too much, there's a chance they will abscond in search of a more secure home. In between inspections, observe what the workers/foragers are doing. If they are bringing in pollen, that's a pretty good sign that your queen is laying and all is good.

 
Kaarina Kreus
pollinator
Posts: 437
Location: Finland, Scandinavia
341
trees
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I got Italians.
Yes, got the message that they do not need guests 🙂. A small amount actually flew to me buzzing angrily.

I am more than happy to observe instead of taking the hive apart every week as I have been taught. But how do I see if they are collecting pollen???

I've been told to check eggs, drones and possible queen cells, pollen, honey weekly
 
master pollinator
Posts: 4657
Location: Due to winter mortality, I stubbornly state, zone 7a Tennessee
1990
6
forest garden foraging books food preservation cooking fiber arts bee medical herbs
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When I started out with bees, I got two nucs. I set the nucs beside the hives, in preparation to move the frames to the hive bodies. The first one, when I opened up the entrance they exploded out of the hive. It scared the crap out of me. I was well to to side, rather then in front of their entrance. The bees were not interested in me at all.

With great trepidation, I opened up the entrance to second nuc. The bees in this colony lazily came outside to take a look around.

It turns out that the first nuc had significantly more bees then the second one. So the first colony got hotter in the box during transport. They never acted In such a manner again.

I think you bees were just too hot while contained.


 
gardener & hugelmaster
Posts: 3606
Location: Gulf of Mexico cajun zone 8
1903
cattle hugelkultur cat dog trees hunting chicken bee woodworking homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
One way to check for pollen is to look at the legs of returning foragers.

I suspect your bees will settle down soon. A two hour trip is rough on bees.

Unless there is problem that needs monitoring I think opening them once a week is too much. I generally only open mine 3 times per year. Once in early spring, once mid summer after the main honey flow, & once in late fall. Opening them in the middle of the day when many are out foraging makes it a little easier. Technique is important. Move slowly, work fast but be gentle, try not to create vibrations.

 
steward
Posts: 3694
Location: woodland, washington
195
  • Likes 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Kaarina Kreus wrote:I've been told to check eggs, drones and possible queen cells, pollen, honey weekly



well... that's one way to do things. get used to irritable bees if that's the route you choose. the hive atmosphere plays a large role in honey bees' communication as well as their immune and reproductive systems. without a lot of precautions, opening a typical frame hive dramatically disturbs that atmosphere. scholarly estimates I've seen for recovery from that disturbance are on the order of one week. so if you're opening the hive every week, the bees may never reach the steady state they would ideally have to thrive.

now, obviously there are a great many beekeepers doing just what you've been told to who achieve success as they define it, so that's certainly a viable approach with a track record.

as an alternative, though, I suggest observing entrance behavior. a lot of what goes on inside the hive can be discerned by observing what happens at the entrance. there's obviously some more learning and patience involved because you don't see what's in the hive directly, but I and many others have found it rewarding. my experience also suggests that bees prefer it. and you don't have to go to the trouble of putting on a veil or lighting a smoker.

the tricky part, if you haven't already realized, is that to get a more precise correlation between entrance behavior and what's going on inside the hive, you would have to both observe the entrance and open the hive. that's certainly also an option as a middle path, and a reasonable one for a short initial period. observe behavior before you open the hive. and realize that you may already be associated with disturbance and your presence alone may change their behavior.

after you've got some confidence in your bees, you can then only open the hive when you notice a change in behavior at the entrance that leads you to believe something needs your intervention.

just a couple options to add to what you've already been taught. it's fine to adhere to what a mentor or beekeepers association is telling you is the one true way while you get your feet wet, but know that there is no one true way. it's really a choose-your-own-adventure situation. there's a hive and style of beekeeping to suit almost any persuasion. if, after spending a lot of money and time following instructions, you find you don't particularly like the methods you're being taught, don't despair. just try another way.
 
Kaarina Kreus
pollinator
Posts: 437
Location: Finland, Scandinavia
341
trees
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Your advice really hits home. I am attending a standard beekeeping course and already feel many things I am being taught are not good.
Disturbing the hive seemed bad, I really had to sit down and reconsider. Do I really need to take their home apart, dilute the smells and cause alarm, just to check whether they manage their lives correctly?
 
Kaarina Kreus
pollinator
Posts: 437
Location: Finland, Scandinavia
341
trees
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Pete Podurgiel wrote:HI Kaarina:


As far a checking the hive, it's best not to open the hive more than every other week or so, unless you have good cause to do so (ie: if you are feeding them). If they are being disturbed too much, there's a chance they will abscond in search of a more secure home. In between inspections, observe what the workers/foragers are doing. If they are bringing in pollen, that's a pretty good sign that your queen is laying and all is good.



Thank you. I see them flying back and forth, the entrance looks like a busy airport ❤
Why do they have these evening gatherings?
20220522_214140.jpg
Late evening party
Late evening party
 
Pete Podurgiel
pollinator
Posts: 206
Location: S. New England
97
fungi foraging trees chicken bee wood heat homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Kaarina Kreus wrote:
Thank you. I see them flying back and forth, the entrance looks like a busy airport ❤
Why do they have these evening gatherings?



That's great - sounds like they are adjusting well to their new home.  As far as why they hang out on the porch, I've been trying to figure that out myself.  I'll see some that look like they are 'swabbing the deck' like they are cleaning or chewing something (mold/mildew?). Some will act as fans and are working to ventilate the hive. You may see others that will have their butts up in the air and fanning - they are sending out pheromones to help the workers find home. If it gets real hot out, they will often cluster outside the entrance.

Amazing critters, I love to watch them do their thing.

Is it safe to assume your queen is laying now and all is good?

I'm curious as to the 'staggered' boxes - do you have a bottom board with an entrance or did you just happen to do an inspection?
 
Mike Barkley
gardener & hugelmaster
Posts: 3606
Location: Gulf of Mexico cajun zone 8
1903
cattle hugelkultur cat dog trees hunting chicken bee woodworking homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think the main reason they hang out on the porch "bearding" is to help keep the interior cooler.
 
Kaarina Kreus
pollinator
Posts: 437
Location: Finland, Scandinavia
341
trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have let them take care of themselves. I just sit nearby and observe.
The two entrances are busier than  London Heathrow. The hive buzzes loudly.
20220607_184209.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20220607_184209.jpg]
 
Kaarina Kreus
pollinator
Posts: 437
Location: Finland, Scandinavia
341
trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was worried about my reputation, because after the stressful transport, the bees attacked me every time I went close to the hive! I had been labelled as a terrorist and just planting a hedge next to the hive alarmed them and sent me running for cover.

Now a month has passed and those bees have probably already died. Seems they do not pass on characteristics of known terrorists! I sat half an hour next to the hive, observing, enjoying the fragant smell of beeswax wafting from it and listenong to the buzz of the hive. Nobody paid any attention to me, although I stuck my nose quite close.
20220607_185814.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20220607_185814.jpg]
 
pollinator
Posts: 3782
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
671
books composting toilet bee rocket stoves wood heat homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just seen this - back to the original issue of them being stressed in transit.

They are very prone to overheating in transport, and they ventilate using their wings, which makes a loud and distinctive noise. That noise is not necessarily a sign of defensiveness or aggression.
 
Kaarina Kreus
pollinator
Posts: 437
Location: Finland, Scandinavia
341
trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

tel jetson wrote:

well... that's one way to do things. get used to irritable bees if that's the route you choose. the hive atmosphere plays a large role in honey bees' communication as well as their immune and reproductive systems. without a lot of precautions, opening a typical frame hive dramatically disturbs that .


Thank you.
 
Kaarina Kreus
pollinator
Posts: 437
Location: Finland, Scandinavia
341
trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Kaarina Kreus wrote:

tel jetson wrote:

well... that's one way to do things. get used to irritable bees if that's the route you choose. the hive atmosphere plays a large role in honey bees' communication as well as their immune and reproductive systems. without a lot of precautions, opening a typical frame hive dramatically disturbs that .


Thank you.



I sit by the hive every day. I love the buzz of the hive  the smell of beeswax, the unbelievable traffic at the entrances. Thank you for helping me to trust my instincts. Why should I tear up a hive (=lift out every single frame in bright daylight) if they are obviously busily taking care of their hive?
 
Kaarina Kreus
pollinator
Posts: 437
Location: Finland, Scandinavia
341
trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Pete Podurgiel wrote:

I'm curious as to the 'staggered' boxes - do you have a bottom board with an entrance or did you just happen to do an inspection?



It was really hot, over 30'C, so I felt they need some ventilation.
The bottom is open, there is a net. But the hive is high, so I created small air inlets on every floor.

They use them as extra entrances and hang out there, so I thought it worked.
 
I didn't like the taste of tongue and it didn't like the taste of me. I will now try this tiny ad:
Learn Permaculture through a little hard work
https://wheaton-labs.com/bootcamp
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic