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Author Topic: Too many stings  (Read 2028 times)
jester7891
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« on: July 09, 2008, 03:51:29 PM »

          I started my hives for the first time on April 15. I lost one queen early (which has been replaced) and this hive has had trouble getting back to snuff.  I looked at it the other day and the hive seems to be doing better now.  That's actually not my problem.  The second hive did tremendously well from the get go.  The problem is that the bees are extremely aggressive.  I was using a homemade beekeepers outfit but plan on buying a standard one (I have the proper headgear).  The bees from the second hive are extremely aggressive even with a lot of smoke going into the hive.  The stings are painful enough by I almost feel guilty watching so many of them sacrifice themselves as they try and prevent me from doing my work.  They are extremely good workers and I've already gotten a couple pounds of honey from the shallow supers.  The brood chamber and heavy super is packed with pollen and honey and growing bees so I think they will do pretty well over the winter unless some unforeseen catastrophe/infection/infestation happens.  As a new beekeeper, I ordered two sets of Italians.  I have compared bees from both hives and they look identical so I do not believe that I'm dealing with another subspecies.

   Besides getting the beekeeper's outfit and gloves, does anyone else have any suggestions?  Will the standard beekeeper's outfit prevent the stings from getting in? Additionally, I remember reading somewhere that patients with rheumatoid arthritis seem to feel better after a bee sting.  I find the opposite to be true as I have more aches and have trouble writing the next day after opening the hives (and being stung).  Thanks, Jester.
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Keith13
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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2008, 03:56:26 PM »

If the bees are to aggresive for your taste requeen the last thing you want is for working your bees to be avoided because you don't want to be around them for fear of beeing stung. this is a Hobby to enjoy not to cause apprehension everytime you need to work them.

Keith
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Moonshae
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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2008, 03:58:52 PM »

After the swelling goes down, you should feel better. The sting sites are generally sore for a few days, especially when the swelling is at its peak...swollen joints are tough to move. Eventually you will develop an immunity to the venom, so the swelling will be limited.

How much smoke are you using? There's a line between too little and too much. perhaps you're smoking too heavily. Also, if the hive is disturbed frequently, either by you or a nighttime intruder (skunks, kids with rocks), they will become more defensive. If you see scratches on the landing board, you probably have a skunk.

Requeening, while somewhat slow, will reduce the defensiveness of the hive in a few weeks once the new queen's offspring populate the hive, assuming they are defensive by genetics and not some outside influence.

Regarding your stores, July and August are often times of dearth, so the bees will consume a great amount of their stores during these months, especially with the population so high. keep a close eye on how much food is available, and supplement if necessary.
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octagon
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2008, 04:00:08 PM »

are you smoking them good and giving them a chance to start gorging themselves, give them a few minutes to get their mind off you and on the food.
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randydrivesabus
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2008, 04:44:33 PM »

i don't know what you are using as a bee suit but a good one makes quite a difference. you need to work them confidently and without fear so cover up properly and enjoy them. the first couple of years ( i am in year 3)i got one of those tyvek paint suits they sell at lowes and it is stingproof or close to it. I also started wearing nitrile gloves which aren't sting proof but do help.
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qa33010
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2008, 04:56:59 PM »

     Some folks used to believe that hot hives were the best honey producers.  That is not so any more.  Get a good queen from quality stock and requeen.  Especially if you're in town, you have a duty to keep gentle hives IMHO.

     Remember bees do get more defensive as their home grows larger and they have more to defend.  I have Russians and ferals and a couple swarms.  One of the swarms is a little more defensive than I like.  They don't have the size as four of my Russian hives, but they are more defensive.  I am going to requeen asap.
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mark
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2008, 05:42:05 PM »

watch the weather when you work them.   if there's a storm front moving in choose another day. they will not be happy.  certain odors will annoy them also.  above all slow down and treat them with respect.  you are not a commercial beekeeper....yet  so you can afford to take your time.  don't bang or jar their home. you will get better results ,   see more and learn more if you take your time and allow them to go about their business with no concern for what you are doing.  oh and one more thing.   slow down and take your time.  i've had bees off and on since '87 and have taken less than 10 stings in all that time. 
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jason58104
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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2008, 06:33:21 PM »

requeen, requeen, requeen.  life is too short to deal with a hot colony.
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Moonshae
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« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2008, 09:52:02 PM »

I've found genetics to play a bigger factor than hive size regarding defensiveness. I cracked open two of my hives today that I know to be gentle, no smoke, and they could have cared less that I was there. The queens are amazing layers, and the hives are packed with bees and brood. These are going to be the source of my ongoing genetics, assuming they make it through the winter.

Once you rule out environmental factors, find a local supplier of queens (don't buy from a company that might be in AHB territory), and requeen.
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EasternShore
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« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2008, 10:09:38 PM »

Sorry to hear your getting so beat up.

I'm very very new at this so take my works with a grain of salt...

I spent the first day or so letting my girls get use to my smell, I try to move reaaal slow around them..often sitting to the side of the hive letting them land on me, smell me closely, and always bring sugar water to either spray them or surup to feed them.
At first the ladies were sorta like my first date...tried to push me away and really wanted me to stay back about 6 feet.
Now a sentry will buzz me..take a sniff and go back to the entrance, seems to bee a smell thing.
Everything I do is very slow motion..moving even the least bit faster than a crawl seems to piss my ladies off..not to the point of a sting..
I only wear my suit when I'm opening the hive..otherwise I'm bareback...so to speak.

Try to sugar spray..they love to groom each other so it seems to distract them.

Good luck..hope my words help.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2008, 10:50:27 PM »

   Besides getting the beekeeper's outfit and gloves, does anyone else have any suggestions?  Will the standard beekeeper's outfit prevent the stings from getting in? Additionally, I remember reading somewhere that patients with rheumatoid arthritis seem to feel better after a bee sting.  I find the opposite to be true as I have more aches and have trouble writing the next day after opening the hives (and being stung).  Thanks, Jester.

A few tips on equipment.  A misquito net works well for a veil and only costs a few dollars (less than 5) at Harbor Freight.  Blousing rubbers or hair bands work well to close up sleeves and pant legs to keep bees from getting to distracting areas and are inexpensive.  A cheap head band to keep the sweat out of the eyes can be made from an old towel and an little velcro or elastic. 
And Yes, the bee stings help with arthritis, RLS, muscle cramps, and a host of other things, it even helps my Fibromyalgia.  I  really begin to feel it if I don't get my weekly dose of bee stings. 
Your stiffness is due to a mild reaction to the stings.  A desensitation routine of applying stings on purpose every day for a couple of week should cure that.  I've Found that the initial stiffness was the venom working on the arthritis, etc, and after a while the stiffness went away along with the pain, and the result was better movement.
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JP
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« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2008, 11:15:05 PM »

I have a question for you and some feedback, are you aware that bees don't like certain odors? When you work your bees do you have cologne on, or are you a big coffee drinker or smoker?

If not, requeen, requeen, requeen, it ain't worth it.


...JP
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bassman1977
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« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2008, 09:55:12 PM »

Cologne and alcohol in general is bad.

Brian, what is RLS (I'm a medical idiot).

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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2008, 10:20:23 PM »

Cologne and alcohol in general is bad.

Brian, what is RLS (I'm a medical idiot).



RLS = Restless Leg Syndrome.  Your legs get so twitchy they feel like your pedalling your bicycle all the time and in an position you assume.
I could post my complete medical history here but the forum doesn't have enough room.  Just the current acute/chronic stuff takes up 5 pages.
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budhanes
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« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2008, 08:16:41 AM »

I'm curious as to if your doing as Octagon suggested. I have made it a rule to myself, that before I open a hive, I smoke it, and wait at least 3 minutes before opening it. It helps greatly to give the bees some time...
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bassman1977
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« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2008, 09:21:55 AM »

Quote
RLS = Restless Leg Syndrome.  Your legs get so twitchy they feel like your pedalling your bicycle all the time and in an position you assume.

That's something.  My wife is always doing that when she's trying to fall asleep.  Drives me up a wall.  So all I have to do is have some bees sting her in the legs and that'll be the end of it?  I'm sneaking some bees under the covers tonight.   evil
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marliah
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« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2008, 09:23:41 AM »

I agree with everyone else, try giving the smoke a minute to do its job before you dig in, and if they are still stinging requeen. I only started beekeeping this year and only have one hive, but I feel comfortable wearing gloves/mask and a tank top (so my arms are completely exposed) out there and haven't had any stings. 
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Tara
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debay
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« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2008, 09:31:24 PM »

My girls started out as gentle as lambs. However, I lost my queen and they have been in the process of re-queening themselves. I prob should have just bought a queen the day I noticed there were no eggs. Anyway, they seem to have a new queen but Im not sure she has mated yet. They stayed pretty calm for the most part but Im starting to see a mean streak. Ive been dive bombed a couple times with a head butt here and there. I hope my girls stay calm and workable. I bought a nice bee jacket with the folding hood. I dont even really need it. I have had my girls since May 5th and to date- no stings-. I went out and gave them some syrup today and bumped the hive. It was small bump but they lit up pretty loud in there. I dont think I would have wanted to open them even with my jacket on. Crossing my fingers hoping my queen is mated, and that she raises gentle girls.

All of that to say, Requeen man!
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