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Inspection accident = p***ed off bees! How best to proceed?

 
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lildesyl
House Bee


Joined: 22 Mar 2015
Posts: 17
Location: Cloughjordan, Tipperary, Ireland

PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 4:16 pm    Post subject: Inspection accident = p***ed off bees! How best to proceed? Reply with quote

Hi all,

I'm a newbie here... first swarm caught and happily installed in my HTBH in June last year.

I regularly inspected the hive throughout last summer-autumn and had no problems, the bees have been very happy and docile.

I opened up the hive today for my first inspection of the year. The bees have been very active for the last couple of weeks, and I went in early afternoon. They were completely indifferent to me... until...

It turned out that the follower board had warped/swollen over the winter and was firmly stuck. I gently tried to free it up and thought I'd succeeded but no, so as I moved it the hive gave a mighty jolt and suddenly I had boiling mad bees!

I got stung maybe 5 times but that's no problem... but I'm very concerned about my furious bees. I did the decent thing and left, but this means that the hive is open at the moment. I need to go back and add a couple more bars if possible (it's packed to bursting in there) and get the roof back on.

I'm not concerned about being stung, but I want to know the best way to do it without further upsetting the bees. I feel rotten for causing such disruption and just want to let them return to their normal, chilled-out state.

I'd also be grateful for any tips as to how I might successfully inspect the hive next time as the follower is wedged so tightly.

Thanks!

Lil
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rmcpb
Scout Bee


Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You will have to get rid of the problem or it will keep causing you grief. Get all your gear on, smoke them and get that follower out. Then just close it up and leave them alone so they settle down. It will be confronting but the problem will be gone.

Cheers
Rob.
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lildesyl
House Bee


Joined: 22 Mar 2015
Posts: 17
Location: Cloughjordan, Tipperary, Ireland

PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rmcpb wrote:
You will have to get rid of the problem or it will keep causing you grief. Get all your gear on, smoke them and get that follower out. Then just close it up and leave them alone so they settle down. It will be confronting but the problem will be gone.
.


Thanks Rob Smile

I left them alone for a good while then went back and managed to add a couple of bars and get the roof on. They weren't ecstatic to see me but they mostly stayed inside.

I'll get a new follower made and take your advice. Have never smoked before but think I can get a loan of a smoker.

Was no bad thing to have this experience, to stop me getting too complacent. And one thing's for sure, I do have a very healthy colony!
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rmcpb
Scout Bee


Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good. Getting too complacent with bees is a bad recipe! I thought it may be worth even making a temporary hive, transfer them, fix your hive and transfer back if the board is too jammed. That way you could really get stuck into your problem and not pee them off too much.

Cheers
Rob.
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lildesyl
House Bee


Joined: 22 Mar 2015
Posts: 17
Location: Cloughjordan, Tipperary, Ireland

PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, I actually have an empty HTBH hive that I was going to set up this May... perhaps I should just swap them...

Now I know they're healthy I'll leave them be for a couple of weeks then take another look... now the weather's warmed up that follower might shrink back a bit.... fingers crossed!

Lil
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rmcpb
Scout Bee


Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just move your old hive and put the entrance of your new hive in the same place as the old one. Transferring them will not be too hard but I am not sure how you would shake the leftovers out of such a big box. Suppose you would just turn it upside down and give it a good bump in front of the new hive. With my boxes I would do the same but over the hive so most of the bees fall into the hive.

Hopefully someone with more HTBH experience than me will chime in.

Cheers
Rob.
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prakel
Guard Bee


Joined: 13 Nov 2012
Posts: 65
Location: Dorset, UK

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lildesyl wrote:
Have never smoked before but think I can get a loan of a smoker.!


Getting your own and having it lit before opening the hive at each inspection might be a good idea. I know that there seem to be a lot of people who think using a smoker is a sign of incompetent beekeeping, but it's not. Leaning to use a smoker properly is actually a corner stone of efficient management. It's certainly better than needing to retreat and leave the colony without a roof until the airborne bees have returned to the box.
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lildesyl
House Bee


Joined: 22 Mar 2015
Posts: 17
Location: Cloughjordan, Tipperary, Ireland

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hopefully someone with more HTBH experience than me will chime in.

Don't talk down your own experience! Your suggestions have been really helpful, thanks very much Smile
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lildesyl
House Bee


Joined: 22 Mar 2015
Posts: 17
Location: Cloughjordan, Tipperary, Ireland

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

prakel wrote:
Getting your own and having it lit before opening the hive at each inspection might be a good idea.


Thanks, and agreed, I have no problem with smoking if necessary... but I'd like to avoid it if possible, for the bee's sake. For this time, I have a close neighbour with a smoker, but I will get one for "belt and braces" in the future.

I think the main lesson here for me was that if I'm having difficulty then I should close up and go away to think about it rather than soldiering on! If I'd done that yesterday then I never would have upset them in the first place.
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prakel
Guard Bee


Joined: 13 Nov 2012
Posts: 65
Location: Dorset, UK

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's another thought to throw in the pot -just to add some variety. Are you sure that the queen you had last season hasn't been superceded as that could explain a change in character.Remember, it's not enough to have seen last year's queen yesterday, you also need to actually know that there isn't a daughter in there too because it's common enough for both to go through the winter together.
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lildesyl
House Bee


Joined: 22 Mar 2015
Posts: 17
Location: Cloughjordan, Tipperary, Ireland

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Prakel,

maybe you didn't see all of my original post? There was a clear reason for their behaviour because of a sudden violent disturbance to the hive... it's not a general change of character.

They are already back to their relaxed selves today, but I will still leave it a while before I open them up again,

Thanks, Lil
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prakel
Guard Bee


Joined: 13 Nov 2012
Posts: 65
Location: Dorset, UK

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lildesyl wrote:
Thanks Prakel,

maybe you didn't see all of my original post? There was a clear reason for their behaviour because of a sudden violent disturbance to the hive... it's not a general change of character.

They are already back to their relaxed selves today, but I will still leave it a while before I open them up again,

Thanks, Lil


Hi, yes I did see all of the original post, but as I said sometimes it's worth throwing in a few other ideas too Smile
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rmcpb
Scout Bee


Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lildesyl wrote:
I have no problem with smoking if necessary... but I'd like to avoid it if possible, for the bee's sake.


I am not sure where this train of thought has come from but isn't it better to just give them a few puffs of smoke before disturbing them so they stay calmer. Going in without smoke just lets the alarm pheremone get spread then you have an upset colony. Spraying water or essential oils have longer term effects on the colony but smoke just drifts out and they are back to normal very quickly.

Food for thought.

Cheers
Rob.
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zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rmcpb wrote:
...just give them a few puffs of smoke before disturbing them so they stay calmer.


+1

Bees stay calm, everything is fine. At end of day a little smoke is much bee friendlier.
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I know that there seem to be a lot of people who think using a smoker is a sign of incompetent beekeeping, but it's not.


Just in case this was pointed to me Very Happy I would like to clarify something; I never said that smoking is for incompetent beeks nor did I ever read others here using that insulting word really.

We were mostly discussing what that does to Bien, what it might trigger in comparison to the water spray method.

I hardly have anything against smoking (even to death) a vicious colony. What Im against is smoking bees each time one approaches the hives, which is done by most conventional beeks, no matter if bees are docile or aggressive. I rather have a veil on my head than smoke the bees just so I could walk around without a veil. In case they show grumpiness most of the times they are saying "get the hell out of here, you chose a bad day to open our body" so I respect that and close it ASAP and go have a cup of tea instead.

Another thing is if the colony is always grumpy (time to requeen maybe) and smoker might be needed but let me mention that colony which attacked in masses when I opened them, I had a smoker but no amount of smoke would calm them I've got 20 stings that day which ended in my skin through the bee suit who knows how many more ended in the suit not reaching my skin Laughing Laughing After a month that colony totally calmed down on their own. In 3 years I only used water spray with very good results calming down the few agitated bees, forcing them to return to the hive instead of buzzing around me.

Smoke will alarm the whole colony while spray will only calm down the 2-3 agitated bees and the rest is going on with their usual tasks instead of filling their bellies with honey because they feel the house is burning and they will have to abscond soon. For me this is logic for others maybe not.
But as it is with many things in life everyone to its own, we are any way drowning in the vast ocean of differing views Laughing
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prakel
Guard Bee


Joined: 13 Nov 2012
Posts: 65
Location: Dorset, UK

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Che Guebuddha wrote:
Quote:
I know that there seem to be a lot of people who think using a smoker is a sign of incompetent beekeeping, but it's not.


Just in case this was pointed to me Very Happy


No it wasn't specifically aimed at you. Why would it be? I have better things to do than follow silly little campaigns against individuals -which is what you're implying (intentionally or not) if you think I'd cross over from different threads just to make a point.

Also, you seem to be misjudging me because if I had something to say to you I'd do it without any tip-toeing around Smile.
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lildesyl
House Bee


Joined: 22 Mar 2015
Posts: 17
Location: Cloughjordan, Tipperary, Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow.... this is quite an experience for a newbie!

I joined the forum, and posted this topic, because I thought this was a place for those with an emphasis on natural beekeeping, and I had an immediate short-term problem that I wanted a little advice on.

The heading for this section of the forum seemed to imply that it was the right place to go.

I posted my query and got a helpful response from Rob (thanks Rob).

In my answer I already explained that I had the problem sorted.

End of story, no?

But, unfortunately, people are now whaling in and turning this thread into an argument over issues that are not relevant to my short-term help query (I'll point out again the heading for this section... URGENT Help needed now!). At this point the argument is becoming a bit personal and abusive.

This reminds me why I don't usually go to internet forums.

So, less than 48 hours after joining this community I'm feeling that I am probably in the WRONG place and I'm completely disinclined to open any kind of discussion here again.

Go Team Biobee Rolling Eyes
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 582
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lil,

Unfortunately, you will find that this is common experience on most beekeeping forums, or even when talking to beekeepers face to face. If you ask three beekeepers, you will get four opinions !

Perhaps we should all be more disciplined about looking at who posted the original inquiry in which subsection of the forum, although I have to admit that usually I just treat the forum as a single forum rather than paying that much attention to its subdivisions.

However ... the forum did do its basic job for you, which is to provide you with a quick answer to an immediate problem. That's what I found when I started beekeeping a few years ago. Basically, this forum worked pretty well as a support line, because there was nearly always someone to provide sensible advice at pretty short notice. That enabled me to start in natural beekeeping even though I had never kept bees and there were no natural beekeepers anywhere nearby. I particularly remember a couple panics I had when I thought I had lost the queen ( I hadn't ) and when I thought my bees had some terrible disease ( they didn't, it was just Himalayan Balsam pollen ). I only had to wait a couple of hours before people on the forum gave me loads of helpful advice and assurance that nothing was wrong.

So I would encourage you to persevere a little and just switch off when the debates get a bit theological. And perhaps there needs to be a bit of self discipline as well by more experienced beeks when the original inquiry was for urgent help.

Adam.
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lildesyl
House Bee


Joined: 22 Mar 2015
Posts: 17
Location: Cloughjordan, Tipperary, Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adam Rose wrote:


So I would encourage you to persevere a little and just switch off when the debates get a bit theological. And perhaps there needs to be a bit of self discipline as well by more experienced beeks when the original inquiry was for urgent help.

Adam.


Thanks Adam Very Happy

TBH I find that it's not just beekeeping... All forums seem to be this way. But you're right, and I will persevere!

I really would ask forum members to be aware that if they start bickering then they're being very destructive. I considered switching off notifications for this thread, but why should I have to? That would mean that if another member posted some really useful info later on, I'd miss it.

I'm sure I'm not the only person on here who's come to learn, and we're depending on you experienced folks as teachers. So, if any of you find your personal disagreements creeping into this thread (or any other simple query) then please... take it outside!

Thanks again for the voice of reason Adam Smile L
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I apologise if my reply came across as rude Smile (note the smileys in my previous post). Written form is not the same as when talking face to face and we can easily misinterped each other.

I wasn't mad at you for saying that some use the term "incompetent" I only wanted to say that most (If not all) members here avoid using patronizing terms. So it wasn't pointed at you mentioning it. Sorry for my poor frasing.

Also apologies to the original poster Smile I knew you got your answer, one you are happy with. It's normal for threads to go on after the original question was answered and there is a unsubscribe option for all threads one is involved and they aren't any more relevant.

Again it's good to note the smilies they are there to express the part others can't see.
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lildesyl
House Bee


Joined: 22 Mar 2015
Posts: 17
Location: Cloughjordan, Tipperary, Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank You Che (I'm the OP)

I do know that I can unsubscribe, but as I said above I don't want to have to and miss something useful later on!

I wasn't aiming my comments at any one person though, so don't take all the burden!

Good time for a smiley Very Happy

Lil
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Che Guebuddha
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1549
Location: Hårlev, Stevns Kommune, Denmark

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Slainte Lil Very Happy

EDIT; and just to give you heads up so you are prepared in the future not to enter certain "ongoing debate" here (if you dislike such that is) and those are Top Entrance vs Bottom Entrance and this one already mentioned here as well as Treating vs Non-treating, other than that all is milk and honey here on Bio Bees in my opinion Very Happy It is a great place to learn.

I came to Biobees as a total newbee and got most of the info I needed here. At that time I experienced a few older members leaving the forum because of debates which can go over board and thought to just leave but Im happy I stayed because most of the time this forum is great place to get info on beekeeping inspired by actual bee biology instead of based on bee manipulation for honey sake. Yes sometimes differing info but that is up to each of us to decide which path we will choose to incorporate into our personalised bee journey Very Happy
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1567
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dusko, you forgot to mention "feeding versus not feeding" debate which was probably one of the first ones you got involved in..... how could you forget that ! Wink

Lildesyl, I hope you are able to overlook this unfortunate dispute on your thread. It is no doubt a result of people being passionate about what they believe and life would be very dull if we were not passionate about things. It just needs to be tempered with moderation and consideration for other people's point of view. Sometimes that is lost in the heat of the moment. It is certainly not just forums where this sort of thing occurs, so expecting it not to happen on a forum is perhaps optimistic. It can be seen in all areas of life from the work place to the pub, the football stadium and even in the home.
As has been stated, the lack of inflection in the written word makes it easy to misread the tone of a post and when English is sometimes not the first language of one or both of the proponents that can aggravate the problem of interpretation, let alone cultural differences.

Anyway, welcome to the forum and I'm pleased you resolved your urgent problem and hope the "bee kisses" (as Bernhard calls them), didn't cause you too much discomfort.
For info, I use 1/4 inch MDF for my follower boards and just give them a good coating of beeswax to seal them.... I recycled a board of it that someone was throwing out, so no cost incurred, easy to cut and no warping.

It is a useful idea to have a piece of heavy duty fabric like canvas or even an old damp tea towel folded up, to hand that you can put over the gap in the top bars/hive if you get a disruption like that or have to leave it open for a few minutes. I sometimes find I get half way through an inspection and I need something(usually a queen clip or marker pen or these days spectacles!) and for some reason it hasn't got put back in my beekeeping box and I have to go look for it and it is kinder to the bees to leave them covered rather than open and vulnerable to robbing.... which can make them more tetchy when you come back.

Anyway, congrats on over wintering your colony and good luck with the coming season and we will hopefully remember to play nicely next time you ask a question. Rolling Eyes
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trekmate
Golden Bee


Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1123
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lildesyl wrote:
.....I'm sure I'm not the only person on here who's come to learn......
An important point! We should ALL be here with the intention of learning from each other.

Some are quite dogmatic, but should still be able to learn that there is more than one way to keep bees successfully!

Some are very experienced, but I doubt very much if anyone would claim to have all the answers! I've met one very knowledgeable beekeeper who has cared for bees for over 60 years and considers himself a beginner and still learns something new on a regular basis!
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