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Author Topic: Decided to check on the girls.......  (Read 1080 times)
Satch
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Location: Cuba, MO

Grandpa and Brandon in the hives


« on: January 29, 2013, 01:17:15 PM »

After having a couple of days of 60+ weather, decided to check on my 5 hives and add a pollen patty to each.  Being as all the hives have new queens and have been very polite, I just grabbed my pullover hoodie/veil like my son is wearing in my avatar.  Grabbed up the pollen patties and off I went.

Got in first hive, doing good, a little testy, but put the pollen patty in and all was good.  Second hive, my biggest hive, things were a little more busy, but they just bounced off me and gave some warning fly by's.

By hive 3 they are realizing that they do not like unannounced visitors, but no stings.

Hive 4 Pretty nice bunch of bees.

Hive 5, Still got some genetics of bees that were the Spawn of Satan.  Up to this point they have been tolerable, but were probably going to be requeened if I felt it necessary later in the spring.  Took the top off and an evil buzzing black cloud emerged upon me.  Great Googley Moogley, Yowzers and lots of other words that are not repeatable came out.  There was no visible white from my pullover, couldn't see through the mesh on the front and about that time I thought a briar had poked me through my Scrub bottoms (really suited up for this one).  Then a second prick and I'm trying to figure out where I found a briar in my pasture.  I've slowly been wiping the bees from my veil only to see that my legs are covered with a VERY angry bunch of bees. 

Did a hasty retreat while trying not to kill all the stinging demons.  Get to the front door only to be greeted with it being locked and the wife and kids laughing and telling me to get rid of the rest of the clingons before coming in.

Do my best and still managed to bring in two with me,

Go get out the vented bee suit, thicker gloves and considered the wasp and hornet spray, but didn't.  Went back out to close up the hive and that was the happiest bunch of bees I've dealt with.  Placed the pollen patty, replaced the top and then went in to take benedryl and put vagisil on the stings.  Looked like I'd had a go around in the chigger patch with all the red spots, but if you can walk away from something and learn, it's a good day.

Lessons learned.
1. Scrubs are not thick enough to offer any protection.
2. hooded veil also has hole in armpit which explained why more bees were found in house and spots on neck.
3.  Never think you are Superman and just a quick look doesn't require protection in the winter.
4.   Kill that #%^$%%$^* queen when I get a replacement for her.
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Vance G
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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2013, 01:43:47 PM »

You were a volunteer, were you not?  Hungry bees in the winter can be testy with large animals mucking about.  I take the same minimalist approach when popping the lid for a quick look.  Yeh pay yer money and take your chances!  I have a couple queens that will be replaced too.   
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Bees In Miami
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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2013, 02:59:57 PM »

Satch:  I learned the hard way that the girls have an unbelievable knack for finding that one, tiny place of vulnerability!  evil  Preparation H works great on stings, too!  I just don't buy both Prep H and Vagisil on the same trip to the store or they'll think I have serious problems down there!!   lau   Sorry to hear of your incident.  As you say, lessons learned!   Wink
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2013, 03:26:03 PM »

You can't blame the queen when you go opening the hive on a winter day... any hive that does not attack you isn't doing their job.  If they are that way when the first blooms are out, then, yes, replace the queen.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Finski
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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2013, 04:38:56 PM »

.
Strange winter there. Today +19C and after two days -7C night forecast.

Missouri Cuba.
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Language barrier NOT included
Vance G
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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2013, 05:58:15 PM »

Two days ago it was 50F and today it is 2F.  It is a pretty normal  swing here.  I don't know what is normal in Missouri.
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Satch
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Grandpa and Brandon in the hives


« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2013, 10:33:23 PM »

Mike, these bees from this particular queen are either super mean or super calm.  Certainly no middle ground with them.  I will wait to see how they do in the spring, but not holding my breath.

As far as Missouri weather, If you don't like it, go inside, turn around three times and when you walk back out it will be different.  70+ for past couple days, calling for snow by tomorrow morning.

I really enjoy beekeeping and hope to educate someone else by my boneheaded mistakes.  You  can laugh at me or with me.  I know I laugh at myself plenty as it is.
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Bees In Miami
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« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2013, 11:21:51 PM »

Satch... Definitely laughing WITH you, as I have been there, too!   I posted on the forum, and many admitted it happens to everyone far more often than they are willing to divulge!  I shared this story with my husband, who thought it was hysterical that you'd been locked out.  (again...laughing WITH you!)  Unfortunately, the same will likely happen to me next time they turn on me!   laugh  When one of my hives turned on me bad (but absolutely nothing even close compared to what you describe!), I kept yelling for his help (just to suit up QUICK and man the smoker so I could get the hive back together!), and all of a sudden, he was verrry deaf!!!   laugh   What?  What??   rolleyes  I know when I go into my hives now, I may look like a goof, but at this point I do NOT care.  I take my precautions, and walk away hopefully sting less.   I don't know how close together your hives are, mine are pretty close.  I changed things around and go into my strongest hives first, then the weaker, to hopefully keep alarm pheromones down, or less warning to the strong hives, if that makes any sense.  It has worked thus far of late, but they're bees....it can change in a moment!!   I hope this hive mellows for you come spring.  In my very minimal exposure, it seems my kick butt hives have kick butt queens, and they really thrive.  And yes, they are the most heavily defended hives by the colony, likely driven by strong populations.  I will also say something that does concern me for you a bit...if you were truly enveloped by bees, like the hive nearly emptied on you like it sounds, might it be a truly africanized hive?   I missed your location before typing this.  If they reacted and attacked that bad down here, my inspector would make me burn the hive and all.  I wish you and your bees the best!!  Good luck!   

ps...I have always said that the only thing worse than getting attacked at a hive is to have the right equipment available, and not use it.  Don't ask me how this stupid beekeeper came up with that rule!   embarassed   Learn, learn, learn!!!   Wink
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kanga
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« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2013, 11:47:04 PM »

Satch,

When I first started to learn about beekeeping my mentor (who had been keeping bees for over 50yrs) advised me that generally speaking if it is a nice warm day, there is few clouds in the sky, and little breeze, and the nectar is flowing then butter would not melt in there mouth. However if there was a cool breeze blowing or there was little nectar coming into the hive then be prepared.
Apart from when a queen needs replacing I have found this advise to be fairly well spot on.

Kevin (from Aus)
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Joe D
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2013, 12:14:22 AM »

You may not be able to where you live but I, depending on their general mood, will give them some sugar syrup, then a puff of smoke then open.  And as far as the mood, mine last year were as mean as any, in the spring they swarmed, I caught all the swarms, and then they were as gentle as a kitty.  I know some say "A good beek doesn't have swarms" or that is what I was told, but it sure helped mine.  I was ready to requeen them all before they swarmed.  Good luck with yours.




Joe
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10framer
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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2013, 10:25:12 AM »

popping the top with no veil or smoker works during a good flow with all but the hottest hives (i usually suspect ahb genes from bees that attack during a good flow).  but if the workers are restless you can expect a welcoming committee.  
it was 60 and sunny the other day and i was visiting someone else's bee yard and took a sting in the eyelid just standing in front of some nucs.  during fall and winter they get pretty protective of their homes.
 
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Greg
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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2013, 01:53:22 PM »

I went smokeless 2 weeks ago for a quick check.  I had just enough time to take the honey super off, set it down and when I turned around it looked like a someone was shooting at me with a bee Uzi.

Smoked 'em the next time and they were quite agreeable.
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Maryland Beekeeper
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Nature does nothing uselessly. Aristotle


« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2013, 02:14:38 PM »

Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves for we shall never cease to be amused Smiley
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Bees In Miami
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« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2013, 01:10:36 AM »

Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves for we shall never cease to be amused Smiley


And Blessed are we, who find enjoyment interacting with 60,000 wild stinging insects per hive!!!   (Are we NUTS??)   lau lau lau  Can't imagine life without them!   bee bee bee bee applause    grin
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10framer
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« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2013, 10:59:53 AM »

Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves for we shall never cease to be amused Smiley


And Blessed are we, who find enjoyment interacting with 60,000 wild stinging insects per hive!!!   (Are we NUTS??)   lau lau lau  Can't imagine life without them!   bee bee bee bee applause    grin

i started keeping bees before i was old enough to drive and even in the years that i didn't have bees i had dreams about going through hives or catching swarms.  it's probably in my blood more than anything.  i've always been fascinated with them.
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