What's up with my unfriendly bees?

Bees creating a chain between the frames
I haven't confessed this yet - but my bees scare me. I thought it was just a stage they were going through but nope, I think they hate me. I went earlier on at lunchtime and when I first open up it's fine but the longer I'm there the more annoyed they get - they rise up to the top of the frames and fly around my head. Not exactly dive bombing but they make it very clear they don't want me there. 

As the inspection progresses more and more bees rise to the top of the frames

I'm really pleased I invested in a pair of leather gloves this week as I saw quite a few bees stinging me. As far as I know there can be a number of reasons for this behaviour - they are feeling threatened by wasps (and there were quite a few wasps who had drowned in my homemade wasp trap near the hive - empty jam jar with a bit of diluted jam at the bottom), they are protecting their honey stores, the weather (although today was a fine day) or issues with the queen. Another thing I noticed today is loads of chalk brood debris on the inspection tray:

Having read up in my 'Bee Manual' this may not necessarily be a problem but there seems to be a lot of it.

So, I think I may have to requeen - basically the temperament of the bees is dictated by the queen and I think Pippa is giving them the hump. But I'm wondering whether it's too late in the season to requeen but I've been told not as the queen is delivered by Royal Mail (rather apt for royalty) and you slowly introduce her to the bees. But first you need to dispatch of the old one...

Anyway, there is not much a can do at the moment as I'm jetting off to Bangkok this evening. I'm back on Friday but then leave for a week's holiday to France on Saturday. So, it looks like it will be the beginning of September when I'll be able to sort my bees out. 

But, it's not all doom and gloom as I had a fab afternoon yesterday helping out my local Warwick and Leamington Spa beekeeper's 'Hive of Activity'. Set up in the glasshouse in Jephson Gardens in Leamington, we were educating the public about bees - it's amazing how many people are so interested in bees and it's a pleasure to chat to them. 

Mick Smith had the children in rapture inside his mesh tent

I was on honey selling duties - all gorgeous local honey

Mary had loads of little people (and big people too) who wanted to learn how to roll wax candles


  1. How strong is the colony? Usually chalkbrood is thought to become noticeable when the colony is weak and when levels of carbon dioxide rise above normal, because the bees are failing to maintain the correct conditions in the hive. Using dummy boards can help to keep the colony warm.

    Doesn't sound much fun inspecting at the moment, hope you can get a nicer queen, either this autumn or next year!


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