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Author Topic: they turned on me  (Read 3621 times)
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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"My son,  eat  thou honey,  because it is good;  and the honeycomb,  which is sweet  to thy taste"          - Proverbs 24:13
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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Mason
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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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David Stokely
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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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Davepeg
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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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We love the girls...
dennis2021
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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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Pillpeddler
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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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AllenF
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« 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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