When Good Girls Go Bad

When I wrote last week, I had a very harrowing experience with Large Marge’s hive and got stung several times on the neck. Her hive was very aggressive, and I went back the next morning when the temperature was just above 50 hoping the girls would not be as active. That was so not the case. Just opening the outer cover sent them boiling out of the entrance, and I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and quickly closed up the hive.

I reached out to a bunch of experienced beekeepers in the area, and most believed that the new queen in Marge’s hive mated with an Africanized drone thus eventually turning the hive into the aggressive mess I dealt with last weekend.

My initial plan was to requeen following the instructions by Michael Bush. I was a little nervous about this process especially after reading this paragraph:

First, Be prepared to be stung. Be prepared to walk away for a while. Be prepared to run away for a while. I find running through some brush is a good way to get rid of clinging and following bees.

Luckily, my beekeeping friend Jim Hogg was going to walk me through the process as he has lots of experience in these types of situations.

However, plans changed when one of the chickens of Baab-Brock Farms was found dead a few days later. All the chickens got chased around the yard for several hours when Marge’s hive was stirred up. We didn’t find any evidence of the chicken being stung to death, rather we think her poor heart gave out from the stress. The other three chickens are still alive and will most likely need counseling from this ordeal.

At this point, I felt the responsible thing to do was move the hive out of the neighborhood. I ended up selling the hive to Konrad of Round Rock Honey who will come move it to one of his remote apiaries. The current plan to is to move it one evening this week weather permitting. I’ve never moved a hive before, so this will be a new learning experience and extra precautions will be needed. I will certainly try and get pictures and write about the process in my next post.

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2 Comments

Filed under beekeeping

2 responses to “When Good Girls Go Bad

  1. Ouch. And double ouch. I’ve never seen an AHB hive up close and personal, so I admire your tenacity. And seems to me like you did the responsible thing, once hearing the AHB girls were out terrorizing the neighborhood.

  2. Yvette

    Wow. I and my future colony will be in New England, so I’m not so worried about MY accidentally managing AHB there, but I am currently in South Florida and do everything I can to grow honey bee habitat, to the extent that I can. So far, the (visiting) girls I’ve seen have been extremely calm. They completely take over my two large brugmansias, as well as my mangos and avocados when they’re in bloom, to the extent that the trees are LOUD from inside the house, and they ignore the greyhound who is always snoozing beneath the trees.

    I have to say, the idea of a riled-up AHB hive scares the crap out of me. Anaphylaxis is no joke. Chasing the chickens for several hours (!) is worrisome. I’ll be on the edge of my seat…please do let us know what happens with the relocation. Be safe. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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