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Author Topic: they turned on me  (Read 3466 times)
rgy
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« on: July 19, 2010, 08:07:14 AM »

I have one realy good hive and two terrible hives that we started this yr.  They have been so gentle and nice that I haven't been using smoke or wearing my veil or gloves.  Boy did that change yesterday!!!  walking up to the hive I got blasted by one right on the temple so I decided to suit up.  took the top off and started to take the inner cover off and the girls came out of there on a seek and destroy mission.  I must of got 10 stings on my hands before I had the inner half way off.  Man am I glad that I decided to get the suit on after the first warning sting!!!! My hands are swollen and ITCH like you can't believe with little blisters where the sting was.

I see on the "Bam in the eye" thread that Kathy says they get mean when they have a honey store.  Is that why?  It does have one honey super on.

This one hive seems to be a super one.  we started it in may with a 3lb package and put a honey super on two weeks ago.  There are bees every where!!!! (less about ten)
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lisascenic
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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2010, 08:14:09 AM »

I'm glad I wear gloves. The bees stung the gloves repeatedly this weekend.

Also, one got inside my zipped-on veil, which was disconcerting.

And one stung me on the inner thigh. Must not scratch in front of co-workers!
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FRAMEshift
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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2010, 10:24:53 AM »

I'm sure having honey to protect makes them more touchy.  I don't know if this is true but I have heard that the bees have a stronger sense of hive identity in the late summer and fall.  I think this was in the context of it being harder to merge colonies.  Anything that gives them more hive identity would probably increase their aggressive instinct.
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sarafina
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2010, 10:51:11 AM »

You'd be mean and cranky too if someone was stealing the food you needed to make it through the winter!

I never work my hives without gloves, suit and smoke no matter what time of year.  That's just me and I admire others who can work thier hives with less protection.  I am not afraid of getting stung and don't have a terrible reaction, but I don't like it and since I know a way to (mostly) prevent it then I adhere to it.  It gives me a sense of comfort and security so I am calmer when I work my hives so it works out better for both of us.   grin
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AllenF
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2010, 12:48:34 PM »

I get mean and cranky every month doing my tax deposits.
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AliciaH
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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2010, 03:54:15 PM »

I feel for you! 

Last year, my hives were out in front of our barn and work shops.  When Western WA got a week of upper 90's, my normally docile bees got very cranky and no one could go near them.  A sprinkler (for better water access, not on the hives themselves) seemed to help, but what a shocker it was to be chased! 

I guess it's no surprise then that when I told my husband I wanted to get more bees that he evicted my little apiary to our back field!
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greenbtree
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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2010, 04:17:23 PM »

I have one of my hives semi-close to the house.  Usually mow in front no problem, although I make sure to go the direction that doesn't throw grass clippings on them.  Mowed close, ten minutes later was mowing elsewhere and saw a huge swarm of agitated bees by that hive.  I thought robbing was going on or something, so I threw on my veil and checked it out.  Nothing wrong - just really angry off bees!  It was like the whole hive turned out to run off the intruder.  I backed off VERY slowly.  Glad I had not returned to make another pass!

JC
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beequeen1
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« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2010, 04:22:03 PM »

Spray your hands with apple cider vinegar and you should be fine smiley
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Bee Happy
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« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2010, 06:06:37 PM »

Mine got cranky when the stores were up and the flow had reduced; so I took the honey and split the hives, that'll teach 'em.
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mdaniels
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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2010, 07:03:00 PM »

Maybe something happened to your queen and you don't know it?

I am new at this and I won't work with the bees without smoke and my suit.  I am much more confident that way and do not spaz, even when they are a little cranky.
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Paynesgrey
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« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2010, 07:42:27 PM »

We are new at this, but evolving Smiley

One of our hives is grumpier than all the others. We started out in bare hands. longsleeves and veils, WITH SMOKE Smiley but now that there is honey in the picture, we started wearing the long leather gloves, veils, of course, & full mechanics jumpsuits (Dickies)to work with the hives (Picture light grey beesuits, marked down to $9 because it is "too hot to work in them in Texas" now. Unless you are working with bees. Just remember to sew the wallet pockets closed Wink)  

We wear them "just in case". It does make us calmer, especially if something happens that makes the bees less than calm.  

I'm sure a bee will sting thru someday, but I watched one try for quite a while, give up and go after the veil. The other hives are fine, but as you near the grumpy one, you start to get harrassed by it's guards.

I cleared weeds by hand & scythe from in front of the hives the other day, still dressed in full bee gear. No problem, except from that one hive, that sent the obligatory 2 guards out to bob in front of my face for the next hour I worked in the yard.  

I agree with SaraFina. I like not getting stung on the hands, which was turning into an every week occurance. In spring, with new meek hives, I will probably drop the beesuit, and return to it as, or more likely, shortly after  Undecided needed again.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2010, 07:52:44 PM by Paynesgrey » Logged
Scadsobees
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« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2010, 10:11:32 AM »

Wow, that's terrible!

Why just last saturday it was soo hot and I didn't feel like putting my shirt back on much less my veil so I said why not? and did some short inspections with just shorts and sandals!   grin  It was NICE!!!   afro

And they all have honey to protect right now.

There are some variables - weather, skunks, queenlessness, other invaders such as shb.   It could have been any of those.  Hive temperament can change as well over time.

Sunday was a bit unsettled as far as weather goes, that can play a large role - if rain is impending they seem to stay home more and get more cranky because they can't get out as much.

If it continues then you may want to consider requeening.

Rick


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Rick
harvey
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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2010, 10:17:42 AM »

Bad weather, Bad back and lack of using smoker was my downfall,  I went into one of my booming hives without smoke,  Had never needed it before, In between a morning thundershower and a noon thundershower?  Turned wrong and dropped a deep!  Never saw so many angry bees in my life and don't plan on it again.  Both deeps came out to say hello and each one seemed like it just had to land on my legs and say hello.  Now the smoker will be lit each time!  and I will be comfortable with the weather first.
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sarafina
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« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2010, 11:02:20 AM »

I agree witrh scadsobees.......  if you have one hive that is a lot meaner than the others then I would consider re-queening, especially since you are in AHB country.  I re-queened one of mine last year and they are acting like true Italians this year - they just wave at me and say "Ciao" - instead of being in full-attack mode for looking at them sideways.  Within 4 weeks of re-queening their whole attitude changed for the better.  The downside is it sets them back a bit, but it was worth it.
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rgy
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« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2010, 11:12:11 AM »

I'm going to blame it on the weather for now.  It had been cloudy with a little rain and then cleared up before another small shower later in the day.  I thought the small window of sunny skies would be enough.  When the swelling goes down we will go look at them again and bring PLENTY of SMOKE just in case.
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2010, 12:50:00 PM »

I agree witrh scadsobees.......  if you have one hive that is a lot meaner than the others then I would consider re-queening, especially since you are in AHB country. 

I sure hope not yet!!  shocked

Southwest michigan    Wink
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Rick
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« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2010, 12:52:02 PM »

Due to back surgery a few years ago, I was not able to get to my hive (just had the one then) until late July to do anything more than remove the winter entrance block.  I knew they still had about half a medium left to fill with comb when I put them to bed, but this is a prolific bunch!  Needless to say, by then they were hot, honey bound, and bursting to the seams.  The entire hive was sleeping outside in one big beard each night!!!  

Imagine my concern when it came time to mow the (now waist high) grass.  I thought for sure they'd all be tee'd.  I had several neighbors over helping out since I was still recovering.  I wanted them to have a "good bee experience" so I sucked it up and grabbed the weed whacker, no veil, no gloves, no suit.  I did, however, tell hubby to be ready with the epi-pen.  To my amazement, they never flinched, not even the guards.  Temperament does matter.
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kathyp
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« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2010, 01:09:15 PM »

temperament and timing.  i would have mowed around my hives without problem earlier in the year.  i would not do it now.  i stand in the flight path and watch them early in the year, but i would not do it now.
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sarafina
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« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2010, 01:24:16 PM »

I agree witrh scadsobees.......  if you have one hive that is a lot meaner than the others then I would consider re-queening, especially since you are in AHB country. 

I sure hope not yet!!  shocked

Southwest michigan    Wink
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I hope not, too!

sorry... should have specified I was replying to Paynesgray in East Texas  grin
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Mason
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« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2010, 01:56:22 PM »

Same situation here.  My bees hate me.  They are far too mean to go at them with no protection at this time.  They have stores but we seem to be in somewhat of a dearth with not much blooming.  Very very hot.  The longest day of the year was just a few weeks ago so I think we may be between the spring and fall bloom.

I have re-queened both of my hives this year due to some crappy queens I got with my original packages.  I don't think it is genetics causing them to be crazy.  I'm hoping they settle down.  I even tried giving them a little syrup to see if that might make them more calm.  It didn't work. 

You have heard about a beard of bees....I had gloves of bees the other day and must have got hit 25 times.  Not fun.  I can't even take the outer cover off these days without them coming after me.
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Sean Kelly
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« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2010, 04:08:58 PM »

You have heard about a beard of bees....I had gloves of bees the other day and must have got hit 25 times.  Not fun.

Sounds like you need to clean your gloves.  They must be covered in alarm pheremone.  I smushed a  bee a few years ago between my fingers and in the same spot several other bees tried stinging.  Pretty soon there were tons of bees trying to get to the same spot.  Was like that for weeks.  Some saddle soap and a little oil and the problem went away.

A tip for the rest of you, if the hive is HOT (which you should see pretty much right away), close it up and come back tomorrow.  Bees can have mood swings like people too.  A day of rest sometimes could mean a world of difference.  Also, limit your number of inspections.  Its fun to look in there and hard to resist sometimes, but the more you're in there, the more stress they'll have and the more agitated they'll become.

Sean Kelly
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mdaniels
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« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2010, 06:27:02 PM »

I also read that smoking the gloves might help--I do this before opening each hive when I am doing an inspection.  I have not been stung thru my glove since doing this.
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AllenF
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« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2010, 08:14:54 PM »

I have never washed my bee jacket for that reasoning.  Of course it is now very very dirty and smells bad, the bees don't mind.   It did get rained on this weekend though, very hard, 5 minute rain shower.
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saritacoleman
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« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2010, 02:07:35 AM »

"My bees hate me."

Ya'll are scaring the heck out of me. We put the upper deep on and let them be for 2 and a half weeks now. I've been gearing up when I give them their sugar water and mowing around the hive due to my dang vanity and previous horror sting posts. (I do not want to take a hit in the face)
They are right off our deck...I can see them from my kitchen window. I love that.

Our plan is to go in on Saturday. In the last 10 days we've seen 4 orientation flights. Lots, lots, lots of bees.

So...is ignorance bliss? Should I just refrain from reading such posts or should I just put my big girl panties on and just deal with it?

In light of all of this...lots of bees I know are a blessing. Truly it could have gone the other way as new beekeepers have posted. I'm just a little overwhelmed at the tasks being new to us. I'm sure it would be a similar feeling if we lost them and I certainly empathize for the first timers where it did not work out this year.

I truly hope all is well with everyone.

Best,
Sarita
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Natalie
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« Reply #24 on: July 22, 2010, 11:12:09 AM »

I think each of my hives has sort of their own personality. I have a couple of hives that I would never attempt to go near without my smoker and then there are several that just go about their business while I pull frames and inspect. I still have my smoker handy but sometimes I am done with an inspection before I realize I never picked up the smoker.
Other times the stronger colonies just fill the air around you with bees.
The hive temperment can change at any time too.
I checked 10 colonies yesterday and with the first one I smoked the entrance and under the cover before starting the inspection.
I lifted the inner cover off and the bees lit me up good up and down the leg, stung me through the pants along a straight line. I smoked them heavily and finished the inspection because I couldn't afford to let them go any longer because I needed to see if the new queen had mated and was laying.
So by now I am ready for the rest of them to be nasty but it didn't happen. The other hives were so docile it surprised me.
The things is some of the nicer hives have had their nasty days as well, you just never know how the weather and food stores are going to affect their behavior so its better to be prepared and be pleasantly surprised than be caught without enough protection.

Sean is right, don't bother trying to inspect a hot hive if you don't have to, I do the same thing he suggested if I don't absolutely have to get in that particular hive.


J
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lisascenic
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« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2010, 12:46:02 AM »

I think that you have to move last fear. Put on your Big Girl Beesuit!
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saritacoleman
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« Reply #26 on: July 23, 2010, 01:21:00 PM »

"I think that you have to move last fear. Put on your Big Girl Beesuit!"

I'm doing my darnest to try. We are not going in this weekend. Too hot to be any fun.

Monday is looking cooler so that's when we will go in.

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winginit
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« Reply #27 on: July 23, 2010, 01:57:06 PM »

Sean--thanks for your post, I was wondering about that. I can't put my gloves near the brood frame without the bees buzzing really loudly, and they come out if I lift it (but it's okay if I'm 4 frames away from the center of the brood). Gloves aren't very old, but I might just clean them as I'm sure I've killed a few bees with them. Also, I got stung through my suit (on the underarm), will that be enough pheromone to make a difference? I'm thinking that if Allen has never washed his jacket, it's not a problem.

Sarita--big girl beesuit, LOL. Sometimes I have mine on, and I'm suddenly really nervous. Other times, I'm just fine. I think the loudness of the hive has a lot to do with it. When they're quiet, I'm quiet. When they get loud, I'm nervous...and I get louder too, talking to them (telling them that everything is okay, which they don't believe at all). 
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bberry
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« Reply #28 on: July 23, 2010, 05:32:49 PM »

I find that our bees almost always go into a snit in mid to late summer~whatever the reason i figure it's better to fully suit up and have all your ducks in a row before inspection so you can get in and out quickly! I usually like to take pics of my frames just for reference...but not in summer grin
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beekeeper1756
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« Reply #29 on: July 24, 2010, 10:16:32 AM »

Being a new beek this year, I've learned a great deal.  Trying to work and inspect hives, even refilling feeders, can be hazardous to one's health.

I was preparing to do a cutout on some bees and went to my bee yard to get frames for the box.  I took the lid off of the first box and without realizing it, must have breathed on the girls because they flew instantly into my veil.  I thought to myself 'Touchy this morning are we?"

The cutout was the typical battle of the wills.  However, this was the first time that the bees didn't sting me thru my suit.  Don't get me wrong, it was for a lack of effort on the bees' part.  They surely gave it the ol' team effort, the stings just didn't get through my suit.

The combs in this old shed were in excess of five feet high.  I took pics and will post them later today in a different thread.
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Storm
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« Reply #30 on: July 24, 2010, 11:35:10 AM »

My girls, after putting up with tall grass being thrown at them (again) two weeks ago by the mower and the week eater without so much as a flit, were buzzing loudly when I tried to adjust the lid to give them more ventilation.  The main hive is one big beard each evening again, just like it's been the last three summers, despite all shade and ventilation measures.  I dunno, maybe this queen is just extra-prolific in the summer and they're getting crowded?  Anyway, they suddenly got REALLY loud, but they never came at me, so I just closed up shop and figured I'd try again today.

Like Sean Kelly said, if they're having a bad day, give 'em a day to cool off.
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« Reply #31 on: July 29, 2010, 02:25:22 PM »

Quote
Sounds like you need to clean your gloves.

What gloves? When I said gloves of bees I actually meant gloves of bees not gloves covered in bees.

I only use gloves when I am robbing or doing something more aggressive than just an inspection.  I usually get stung a couple of times on the hands but with the gloves I tend to disturb the bees more and send them flying everywhere.

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« Reply #32 on: July 31, 2010, 08:38:32 AM »

I don't think that it's having honey that makes them grouchy, but a lack of nectar and all the workers present in the hive with nothing much to do, but be on guard for predators.  The weather also will surely make them cranky.

I harvested honey a couple of weeks ago from 4 hives and wore no equipment and did not use smoke.  I have a lambs wool duster that I bought for $5 at Walmart that I gently brush the bees off the frames with.  I've used smoke once in two years and put on gloves and a veil maybe twice in the same amount of time.

As someone else mentioned, if they appear especially cranky, I button the hive back up and come back another day. Even if you can protect yourself from stings, I think it greatly disrupts the hive to go to war with them and get them all riled up.

I gently open the top and observe.  If I have bees aggressively coming out at me.  I close it back up and go, but in any respect I take my time and do everything slow motion and let them become accustomed to each change before going onto a new phase of my inspection or harvesting, etc.

25 years ago when I had bees, it was always a war between the bees and I.  Every time I went into my hives I had to have full equipment on, and still got stung many many many times.  Then one day the Indiana State bee inspector came to inspect my hives.  The inspector was a young lady.  She had a jump suit on, sleeveless top and short shorts. She wore sandals, no gloves, but she did wear a veil.  Said she didn't like the bees crawling on her face. And these same bees that I battled with each week were so docile during her inspection.  From watching her I learned a great deal.

I really believe that there are indeed inherently grouchy bees, but most often I think it has more to do with nervous beeks who rush and bump the bees raising their alarm level.
 
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Storm
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« Reply #33 on: July 31, 2010, 10:52:59 AM »

I agree David!  In most cases I can handle my girls with little or no disruption.  Even harvest seems to get them more curious than agitated.  My husband, on the other hand, seems to get stung every other time we're out there.  The way he moves even makes me nervous, so I'm certain that's what makes the difference.  Also, I talk to my girls constantly.  Even if they don't know what I'm saying, the effort and the soothing words help me, which helps them.  He's just the opposite, getting quieter and more agitated as the inspection continues.

Can't wait until the boys learn enough to take over for him!
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« Reply #34 on: August 01, 2010, 07:23:29 AM »

I THOUGHT I was suited up pretty good yesterday when we went into the hives to check them.  Long pants, shirts, veil and gloves.  Well one of the girls got under my pants and stung me good in the calf of my leg!  Usually I just get a little sting and that's it.  This one REALLY hurt and leg was painful all day. Swollen and stiff my night time.  Kept it elevated and on ice. Helped quite a bit.  Sure wish they wouldn't sting me like that.
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« Reply #35 on: August 05, 2010, 02:48:28 PM »

I have heard from long-time beeks that the smoke is for the bees as much or more than for us. It keeps them calm, meaning less stress on them. It makes sense to me. I always give a puff in the entrance then a little puff when I pop the top open. I have to admit, I have peeked in the top a few times with out smoke. But if I am going in at all, I smoke. Also I have heard that if they are hot all of a sudden, it may have been a skunk or the like the day/night before. Look for evidence, then take measures if needed. They will be very hot if something has bee messing with them when your not around.
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AliciaH
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« Reply #36 on: August 05, 2010, 03:10:45 PM »

That has been my experience, too.  If I have a hive that is not usually cranky and one day suddenly is, then they're telling me they've been picked on.  If it's not robbing, it's time to put out the live trap!  Darned skunks!
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« Reply #37 on: August 05, 2010, 03:52:27 PM »

When I did my split today the bees were still fairly calm while I took 2 frames of brood out of the bottom deep.  However, when I started yankin out the honey frames I needed they immediately started pinging off my veil.  I did not have gloves on but thankfully didn't get stung.  My father-in-law had one get after him 50 yards away by my truck, it had followed me and the honey over to him.   evil An accident, surely!  As an aside, he is a great guy and helps me with the bees most times.  He, and his father before him, had bees for years and years til the mites moved in back in the 80's.
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gundalf
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« Reply #38 on: August 05, 2010, 06:19:23 PM »

A few weeks ago a beek friend told me that my bees were the best behaved bees he had dealt with...   That was then...   They changed...   About 8 got through my wet, sweaty suit sleeves and there were 30 stingers in my gloves that didn't get me...   They were hot, dry and hungry so I thought I'd feed them through the nasty dry spell with some 3 to 2 and developed a robbing problem with their neighbors...   When I attempted to close the access down to small, they all ganged up on me....
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Good fences make good neighbors...   If that don't work, "Remember the Alamo"...     
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AllenF
Galactic Bee
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Location: Hiram, Georgia


« Reply #39 on: August 05, 2010, 06:58:50 PM »

a few weeks ago a beek friend told me that my bees were the best behaved bees he had dealt with...   That was then...   They changed...   About 8 got through my wet, sweaty suit sleeves and there were 30 stingers in my gloves that didn't get me...   They were hot, dry and hungry so I thought I'd feed them through the nasty dry spell with some 3 to 2 and developed a robbing problem with their neighbors...   When I attempted to close the access down to small, they all ganged up on me....
Do you AHB, or not use smoke on them?   
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hoxbar
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Location: Ardmore, Oklahoma


« Reply #40 on: August 06, 2010, 12:39:32 AM »

Let me say this, sometimes my bees are mean as he'll! I've never been able to work them without a full suit and gloves. I live in AHB area and told a local beek that I thought I might have Ahb. He told me if you think you have AHB you do not, you will know if you have AHB.
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gundalf
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Location: Albright, West Virginia


« Reply #41 on: August 06, 2010, 09:46:54 AM »

a few weeks ago a beek friend told me that my bees were the best behaved bees he had dealt with...   That was then...   They changed...   About 8 got through my wet, sweaty suit sleeves and there were 30 stingers in my gloves that didn't get me...   They were hot, dry and hungry so I thought I'd feed them through the nasty dry spell with some 3 to 2 and developed a robbing problem with their neighbors...   When I attempted to close the access down to small, they all ganged up on me....
Do you AHB, or not use smoke on them?   
The smoker was not doing well...   No AHB...
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Good fences make good neighbors...   If that don't work, "Remember the Alamo"...     
http://picasaweb.google.com/1bigyeti/BeesOTheShire#
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