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Author Topic: Breathing on the bees  (Read 2300 times)

Offline millipede

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Breathing on the bees
« on: August 04, 2013, 09:22:46 PM »
Well today I was just out observing one of my hive and I got a little too close and exhaled into the landing area. They boiled out of there like the place was on fire. Had to have been 3-400 bees. Most just flew around and returned but a couple went in for the kill. I have noticed in the past that when I accidently breathed on them during an inspection the got a little worked up but nothing exciting. But holy cow, must be the hot weather because they sure are crabby right now.
Anyone know if it's the carbon dioxide that does this? They don't seem to get worked up over a breeze blowing in just me lol.

Offline Cedar Hill

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Re: Breathing on the bees
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2013, 09:52:37 PM »
     Did you have a little wine before breathing on the bees?   That will do it every time.   OMTCW

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Breathing on the bees
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2013, 11:15:41 PM »
Bees react to your breath due to thousands of years dealing with bears sticking their snouts in their hives and causing maximum destruction.
Jim
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Offline 10framer

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Re: Breathing on the bees
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2013, 11:48:46 PM »
Bees react to your breath due to thousands of years dealing with bears sticking their snouts in their hives and causing maximum destruction.
Jim

^^^exactly.  bees go for co2 and fast movements.  if you ever find yourself in a situation where bees are hitting your head raise your hand above your head and shake it around as you move away holding your breath.  at least some of them will go for the motion instead your eyes.

Offline sc-bee

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Re: Breathing on the bees
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2013, 12:05:34 AM »
Don't know about the bears cause we ain't got none  :-D But I do know they go to the Co2 :shock:
John 3:16

Offline BlueBee

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Re: Breathing on the bees
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2013, 04:45:46 AM »
Good question millipede. 

I don’t know the answer, but sawdstmakr hypothesis sounds more probable than CO2.  Using a little deductive reasoning; we know the main component of burning organic material is CO2 + Water vapor.  Our smokers are going to be generating plenty of CO2 and we know by observation that the bees don’t attack the smokers.   Hence it seems unlikely that CO2 is what sets the bees off.  Probably some other trace molecules coming from our (mammals) breath that the bees have become sensitized to over the eons. 

Offline sc-bee

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Re: Breathing on the bees
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2013, 05:11:23 AM »
Using a little deductive reasoning; we know the main component of burning organic material is CO2 + Water vapor.  Our smokers are going to be generating plenty of CO2 and we know by observation that the bees don’t attack the smokers.  

 Geeze-Oh please, I know you didn't compare the two, are you kidding! I throw the flag on that one and since iddee's little neighbor may be tuned in I won't say what kind of flag.
John 3:16

Offline BlueBee

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Re: Breathing on the bees
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2013, 05:13:22 AM »
 :? You lost me on that comment SC  :?

Offline sc-bee

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Re: Breathing on the bees
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2013, 05:15:21 AM »
:? You lost me on that comment SC  :?

Comparing smoke from a smoker to someone breathing??? May be I am the one lost????
John 3:16

Offline sc-bee

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Re: Breathing on the bees
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2013, 05:21:07 AM »
Don't know the attraction but we know it is true. They target the face/ respiratory areas. Look at examples of AHB and animals such as horses etc.
John 3:16

Offline millipede

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Re: Breathing on the bees
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2013, 08:35:40 AM »
I am pretty sure CO not CO2 is a major gas released in burning wood, also the creosote and ethers make it very different from mammalian respiration.

Offline BlueBee

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Re: Breathing on the bees
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2013, 08:46:18 AM »
Sorry Millipede, but you are mistaken.  The primary products of combustion are CO2 and H2O unless you are in a low O2 environment.  In a low O2 environment, you will get more CO than in normal combustion.  CO (carbon monoxide) is a deadly poison.  I haven’t seen too many beeks keeling over from using their smokers yet, but you never know with bee keepers.  :laugh:

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Breathing on the bees
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2013, 09:36:23 AM »
"We must avoid opening the hive too brusquely; in separating the combs we must act slowly, taking care to wound none of the bees:  when they are too much clustered upon the combs we must brush them softly with a feather, and, above all things, not breathe upon them; the air which we exhale appears to anger them:  the nature of this air evidently possesses some irritating quality; for if we use bellows to blow upon them, they are rather inclined to escape than to sting."--Francis Huber, New Observations Upon Bees, Volume I, 13th Letter, pg 192 of the 2012 edition

Link to 1806 English edition:
http://www.bushfarms.com/huber.htm#humanbreath

"Bees dislike the offensive odour of sweaty animals, and will not endure impure air from human lungs"--L.L. Langstroth, The Hive and the Honey Bee

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My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline millipede

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Re: Breathing on the bees
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2013, 03:51:03 PM »
Isn't the smoke made from smoldering wood in your smoker in a very low oxygen environment? Seems if it was not it would flame up and burn.

Offline BlueBee

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Re: Breathing on the bees
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2013, 04:06:38 PM »
Current OSHA limit is 50ppm Carbon Monoxide.  I hope our beeks have their smokers well tuned. :police:

http://www.epa.gov/iaq/co.html#Exposure_Limits

CO inhibits oxygen uptake in mammals.  Not sure what it does to insects, but since they run on oxygen too, I kind doubt CO is very good for them either.  Yes, CO is generated in low O2 environments and low combustion temps.  Both of which is present to some degree in a beeks smoker, but if it were the primary output gas from the smoker, bee keepers would be dropping like flies. :(

Offline dprater

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Re: Breathing on the bees
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2013, 09:35:10 PM »
Its a good way to get the bees to move off a frame when your looking for eggs.


dan

Offline sc-bee

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Re: Breathing on the bees
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2013, 11:28:16 PM »
Its a good way to get the bees to move off a frame when your looking for eggs.


dan

Yep use it all the time but I am never without a veil at least not on purpose  :-D
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Offline bud1

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Re: Breathing on the bees
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2013, 07:53:39 AM »
sounds like youall need to brush yo teeth  i am always blowing on them to move them around. but never without smoking them first.as dan says.
to bee or not to bee

Offline LindaL

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Re: Breathing on the bees
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2013, 10:00:08 AM »
sounds like youall need to brush yo teeth  i am always blowing on them to move them around. but never without smoking them first.as dan says.


I was going to suggest mouth wash but that works :)
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Bee keeper since July 31, 2013

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Breathing on the bees
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2013, 10:50:32 AM »
Blowing on bees to get them to move is a useful tool... but only if you have a veil on as sometimes they hit your face stinging rather than move...
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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