How do I make my hive less defensive?
A. Try these practices:
- Place your hive in a low-traffic area, where people, pets, vehicles are not streaming past the entrance. It is best if hives have about 10-20 feet in front of their entrance for an unobstructed flight path as they fly to and from the hive.
- Always use a well-lit smoker and don’t work the hive just before or during a storm.
- Do not go into the hive more than once every 2 weeks unless necessary.
- Do not wear perfumes, aftershaves, or other fragrances when working bees.
- Do not keep the hive open for more than 15 minutes in most circumstances.
- Always wear protective gear and light-colored clothes when working bees.
- To requeen a mean hive: move it in the middle of the day - of course suiting up and making sure to apply plenty of smoke. If you can get the hive a couple of hundred yards from its original location then you will most likely strip off the more defensive foragers and it will be easier to requeen and/or split out into several 2 frame nucs. If you split out into 4 x two frame nucs you can tell where the original queen is sometime in the next 4-5 days, then kill her, and eliminate queen cells from the others. You can either reunite (post queen killing) or start several more hives with new queens for each nuc.
If you notice the bees are darting you more and more, try to complete your task, smoke often and close the hive.