Beekeepers need to understand what makes a beehive aggressive so they can have the proper foresight and know-how to deal with the problem. Bees go through emotional cycles, sometimes rising in agitation and at other times becoming completely calm. You must learn how to follow and respond to these cycles as they come.
The Absence of a Queen
A hive without a queen can grow restless and aggressive. When a hive loses its queen, the bees in it enter into survival mode. They quickly go about the process of creating a new queen, which often makes them aggressive and agitated. Their ill-tempered behavior will usually subside as soon as they have another queen or a beekeeper gives them a new one.
When bees can’t find nectar, they may begin a cycle of aggressive behavior called robbing. Often, robbing is what makes a beehive aggressive and involves bees swarming other hives to try to steal their honey. Not only do the robber bees become hostile, but the bees defending their food stores also become aggressive to fight back. You’ll know robbing is taking place because there will be dead bees outside the hives.
During a robbery exchange, the smell of honey and dead bees may attract yellow jackets and wasps. This can escalate fighting and aggression even more. Additionally, attacks from raccoons, possums, and skunks could occur at any time.
Rain, especially when there’s a lot of heat and humidity, also sparks agitation in your beehive. Bees are highly sensitive to the weather. As a result, you should pay extra attention to your hives whenever there’s a significant change in the climate.
As a beekeeper, you must be aware of what to do when your hive gets aggressive. Know that bees go through mood changes constantly. Just because they become aggressive for a time doesn’t mean they’ll stay that way.