When I got them my bees were placid and easy to handle and docile. Now after the winter they are pretty angry when you open up the hive. They now bomb me and on occasion start to cluster on me and sometimes go into a sting frenzy.
Now each time I do an inspection, I get a group a 10 or so which follow me for ages and wont give up. They dont sting but I dont want to take my suit off to find out what would happen if I did. They have even taken to hanging around after I have been in the house for ages to harass me when I go back out.
They queen is the original queen (2013 mating - still red marked) (also bad behavior precedes the current queen cup/swarming issue)
I don't open them up on stormy days
I am as careful as I can be so not to kill/crush any bees (though I usually manage a couple of times)
I have washed my gloves/suit to remove pheromones.
I just wondered what I am doing wrong and what solutions there may be?
I have children who play in the garden - the bees are usually fine but I can have them being so agressive.
I am thinking either I will have to move them elsewhere or I will need to re-queen.
I am sure you are doing nothing wrong, one of my hives that has changed over winter. The simple answer is to re queen with a queen from known good tempered stock. Moving the bees won't cure the problem but you may feel better able to deal with them away from the house.
Thanks Keith. I was watching Martha Carney's program on BBC 4 and her 'aggresive' bees were calmer than mine.
I will wait until the swarming episode plays itself out then requeen.
Do you know of a good supplier of calm queens, and any race you would recommend (I would default to the Buckfast strain otherwise)?
Bees even worse yesterday - initially ok ish (for them) and then the follower issue was worse. I had 20-30 following me back home and then 10 or so lingered outside for 4 hours or more until evening.
They also attacked anything that went within 30 m of the hive so neighbours, pets etc.
I am going to have to explore moving them elsewhere and requeening.
In terms of requeening I have a simultaneous issue with my queen not being there and a new one coming into place - (see other post) . I left a sealed queen cell yesterday so how long should i leave it before killing this one to replace with a nice queen?
Others may have a more informed opinion on this... If you are going to move your hive elsewhere, you will need to do it in the next couple of days before your new virgin hatches otherwise you will risk her getting lost. Your new queen may calm the colony right down again even though she is the progeny of the ill-tempered queen, so if you can sit tight it may all work out. On the other hand your neighbours may now be more fearful of your bees so you may find that you end up having to move them to keep the peace.
I hope it all works out for you.