Every year I get a lot of calls emails and messages regarding aggressive bees as the season moves on to late summer early autumn.
There normally from fairly new beekeepers who start with a Nuc or a package of bees.
there are a few reasons why this once calm colony of bees become progressively more aggressive towards the end of the season.
Consider the following possibilities, and see whether any apply to your situation with your beehives:
A newly established colony almost always starts out gentle. As the colony grows in size and the season progresses it goes from around 10,000 bees to around 40 to 60,000
- Incorrect use or lack use of the smoker can result in irritable colonies and in some cases no smoker being used at all.
- Bee suit may need a good wash as any old stings in the suit or gloves will be giving off the alarm/attack pheromones.
- Robbing by other bees or attacks from wasps will put the bees on the defensive.
- Do you have a Queen in the colony? Are you sure? Having no viable Queen can make the bees very testy.
- Lack of flow causing the hive to become stressed.
- Weather conditions at time of inspection.
- Do you still have your original queen? Are you sure? Is she marked as your original Queen? She may have been superseded.
- Poor handling while inspecting can really make them kick off!
- Other stress factors on the hive.
I have seen many hives that new and sometimes seasoned beekeepers have said were very aggressive and on inspection using the right amount of smoke and careful handling have been a dream to work with. Poor handling and incorrect use of smoker are the top 2 especially for the beginner.
So before paying out and going to the trouble of re queening your colony take a step back and consider some of these points first it could save you ££££s