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Author Topic: Do your bees know you?  (Read 9488 times)
KONASDAD
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« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2006, 11:52:08 AM »

There a difference between recognition, and knowledge. I believe all animals recognize and have a resulting biological reponse when appropriate. As for some "emotional" respionse, I don't think bees would. I am sure they recognize my smell, have no negative history and respond accordingly. When anything in environment changes, all prior history goes out window and all bets are off.
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rsilver000
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« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2006, 12:33:30 PM »

In order for a bee to recognize you it must have a fairly well developed brain with a large cerebral cortex.  The cortex is the front part of the brain that allows thought, unlike the lower portion of the brain and brainstem that controls the basic functions.  Bees have a pretty primitive brain, I doubt that there is much thought processing going on other than survival.  Most insects have survival/instinct processing only.

I think that we as beekeepers show less fear and do less movements that either signal or stir up bees to the point where they are concerned about hive survival/attack.  That is the reason they are calmer around us than the general public.

Show fear, secrete chemicals through your skin or in your breath that signal concern/fear/anxiety and bees will get stirred up.  Bees have a much better developed sense of their surroundings that are important for survival than we do.  Our ability to detect chemical or magnetic clues in the environment are extremely limited, not so with insects.
Just my thoughts.
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« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2006, 04:39:48 PM »

I have not noticed any clever ideas in bees. If they were clever, they should wait me behind the hive corner that they could give to me 2 547 stings to my arse..

In spring they try to drop their poo on me and it is awfull smell. It they were clever, they all  1 million bees  will sit on me and paint me with yellow feces.

If you have not enough imagination, read the animal revolution, where pigs are more equal than other animals or Lassie comes home again.
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Zoot
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« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2006, 04:09:41 PM »

Man, you guys are a hoot. I suspect the gentleman from Finland is correct but I had an experience today that did at least hint at cleverness: I had walked back across a pasture to my house after a routine inspection - no aggressiveness at all at the hives, everything normal - and when I got in and pulled off my veil, I discovered to my dismay that 4 or 5 bees had hitched a ride on my back. They immediately became angry and I was stung 3 times in rapid succession.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2006, 04:50:43 PM »

Here's a story about "Do your bee's know you?"
I use to check my bees every 2 weeks on a set schedule.  My older brother wanted to learn the bees so I began taking him to the hives with me.  I could go into the hives in my bathing suit and they wouldn't bother me.  But at first they buzzed him even in his bee suit while they left me alone without any protective gear.  Over time the bees began leaving him alone too.
Then one day, trying to make a point to another beekeeper, he went into an unfamiliar hive.  I told him not to do it as the bees in question didn't know him.  He went in anyway and he got stung so bad he became alergic.
Animals (dogs & cats) tell us apart more from our individual scent than how we dress or what we look like.  It is the difference in scent between people that Blood hounds focus on when searching for a lost person.  Bees work on scent also, it is how they distinguish robber bees from hive mates.  
It's not a large leap to reason that smell is as go, if not better, distinguisher than eye sight.  If a creature can smell it can differenciate.
My bees know me, and unless I disguise my odor with another odor they dislike (see my earlier post) they leave me be.
How you handle your bees is also a determiner as to whether the bees see you as a friend or foe.
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ctsoth
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« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2006, 04:53:25 PM »

I think that it is a romantic notion to think that your bees could come to "know" you.  I think that, at best they could come to recognize your scent, but with the short lifespan of a bee and the sometimes extended period between inspections, whatever bees saw you last time you opened the hive are probably either dead or out foraging...

And even if they do get to know you, it isn't in a good way.  You go in and tear up their home, move their frames away, take the children away, and take their crop away.  If bees truly came to know you, I think they would follow you and wait for you to take your protective clothing off and then jump you.

I don't think bees know you any better than the spider in the garage or the wasps by the garbage can do.  I think that you notice a difference in the bees reaction towards you because as you grow more experienced and more comfortable you probably act different in such a subtle way that you may not even notice, but the bees pick up on it and your presence is no longer such a threat.  Perhaps when you were new you made quicker movements, didn't watch your breathing or were harsh with frames.  Perhaps with experience you have become more careful and delicate without really realizing.
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« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2006, 08:50:06 PM »

This has been (and still is) an interesting and whimsical topic - life should have more ponderous topics and less thoughts of dread and despair.

I'll state the following and HOPE that no one here will disagree with AT LEAST THIS COMMENT: whether or not they know YOU, they DO recognise fear, anxiety, incompetence and all these can INSURE a more troublesome hive inspection. Can't we all agree on those?

If SCENT is the main component we all seem to agree on (whether it is sweaty people trigger alerting action in bees) to (we all produce a chemical alert that animals sense - and likely bees do too) so if smell is a component to reaction in a hive, any hive can react differently that if the beekeeper were less fearful, more confident, better prepared, less invasive, etc. I hope we can agree on those - at lease SOME of those.

I agree that the life-span of the workerbee is unfair - arguably the hardest worker in the animal (compared to vegetable or mineral - lol) then surely 5 to 6 weeks is a sadly short life-span. I'd love to see a worker in her golden days kick-back and have a maitai which laying in a mini lounge chair on the flight-deck of the hive - mini umbrellas and sun-glasses. I see a market shocked okay... I see a tee-shirt - lol.

So, we take advantage of what time mother nature gives them, work them to death and what I find remarkable, we make conditions right for a life time of work, but they do it with or without our intervention.

Even if they are creatures with no recognizable traits (when it comes to recognition of any kind) and everything they do is instinctual - we should STILL give them EVERY BIT OF RESPECT THEY DESERVE.
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« Reply #27 on: May 19, 2006, 08:50:18 PM »

This has been (and still is) an interesting and whimsical topic - life should have more ponderous topics and less thoughts of dread and despair.

I'll state the following and HOPE that no one here will disagree with AT LEAST THIS COMMENT: whether or not they know YOU, they DO recognise fear, anxiety, incompetence and all these can INSURE a more troublesome hive inspection. Can't we all agree on those?

If SCENT is the main component we all seem to agree on (whether it is sweaty people trigger alerting action in bees) to (we all produce a chemical alert that animals sense - and likely bees do too) so if smell is a component to reaction in a hive, any hive can react differently that if the beekeeper were less fearful, more confident, better prepared, less invasive, etc. I hope we can agree on those - at lease SOME of those.

I agree that the life-span of the workerbee is unfair - arguably the hardest worker in the animal kingdom (compared to vegetable or mineral - lol) then surely 5 to 6 weeks is a sadly short life-span. I'd love to see a worker in her golden days kick-back and have a maitai while laying in a mini lounge chair on the flight-deck of the hive - mini umbrellas and sun-glasses. I see a market shocked okay... I see a tee-shirt - lol.

So, we take advantage of what time mother nature gives them, work them to death and what I find remarkable, we make conditions right for a life time of work, but they do it with or without our intervention.

Even if they are creatures with no recognizable traits (when it comes to recognition of any kind) and everything they do is instinctual - we should STILL give them EVERY BIT OF RESPECT THEY DESERVE.
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ctsoth
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« Reply #28 on: May 19, 2006, 10:30:53 PM »

I agree with everything in your post beemaster....

The hard part about this discussion is even accepting what it is for your bees to know you.  While assigning a human trait to an insect, you have to reclarify what exactly that human trait means.

Does it mean that the bee recognizes the scent?  Is generally aware of and tolerates your presence?  Can differentiate you from someone else by appearance?  Comes over for tea?  Sneaks in and steals your remote?

I think one thing of interest is that if you are smoking your bees they probably aren't going to get a good reading on what you smell like...
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« Reply #29 on: May 20, 2006, 12:27:15 AM »

I haven't mentioned this in a while - so it is a good time to reflect. I guess it is barely on topic, but I'll finish anyways.

I'm a tee-shirt and shorts kinda beekeeper. I like sunny days, light wind, happy bees, well setup inspection areas and a smoker if I have a restless hive.

I do use a smoker when needed and don't when I feel it is not. I try to keep the hive parts loose enough to pry apart easily and I have a place for everything to be placed before I lift a super from the hive.

I have a secton on the Tai-chi of beekeeping, it is designed to teach beekeepers (small 1 to 5 hive setups) how to manage the hives with little or no fuss and minimal protection to get between you and the bees.

If you are prepared and appear to know what you are doing - to the bees (I BELIEVE) you appear to be just another bee doing duties differt then them.

I uess in this case, it isn't me wanting them to know it's me - it is more like I don't want them to know ANYONE is there at all!!! Good question. Check my Beekeeping Course http://www.beemaster.com/honeybee/beehome.htm for the tai-chi section. Somewhere there is a link to 4 pages of exercises and inspection setups - I need to unbury the links and get them up front, it is some very interesting reading material.
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ctsoth
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« Reply #30 on: May 20, 2006, 01:12:05 AM »

I only have two hives, and this is my first year, but I do not use smoke.  I did the first few times and then because of time constaints I didn't use smoke on an inspection and I noticed -NO- difference...  As long as I don't breathe on my beens my buckfasts don't care.  If I do breathe on em 5-10 will make a bee line for my face.  Yay for the net on my head.  I just go slow and try to make my presence as uninvasive as possible.

My other hive seems a little less docile, but as long as I move slowly and try not to bash anything few to no bees land on me.  Although they are italian workers and they make an annoying habit of flying around...  I can't wait till the carniolans start hatching...
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Finsky
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« Reply #31 on: May 20, 2006, 05:27:13 AM »

I have nursed bees 45 years and I have noticed any hints how and WHY bees should know me.
HOW BEES SHOW THEIR KNOWINGS?
I could say that when my 3 sons were babies, bees did not sting them even they were in same home yard.  
DO BEES LOVE BABIES?

Once my wife kept on arms our 1 moth old baby. Bee attached to her hair, wife dropped the baby to ground and run indoors to shelter. Baby cryed in ground but bees did not killed him.  -- Bees knew the baby, but my wife either has done nothing bad to bees.  It were 500 000 bees in our yard and only one attached. Did the bee knew my wife or knew not when it stung?

You may make what ever legends but bee are to me stupid bugs.

Now I have 1 million bees on my cottage yard. One or two attach on me per day. DID THEY KNEW ME OR NOT.

DID  THE REST 999 998 KNEW ME OR NOT WHEN THEY DID NOT ATTACHED ON ME?
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« Reply #32 on: May 20, 2006, 08:40:19 AM »

FINSKY:

You'd take the BUZZ out of a BEE!
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #33 on: May 20, 2006, 11:03:42 AM »

I believe that experience and skill, allow a person to work bees with a minimum of stings.  Calm bees are tolerant of intrusions into the hive where the disturbance is minimal.  But a hive full of calm, gentle bees, can become a blitzkrieg in a nanosecond when something goes wrong.  I moved a half dozen hives last week, and the bottom board broke loose on one of them as I handtrucked it off the trlr (three deep monster)  Already in a foul mood from the trlr ride, they exploded out and were on me like ugly on an ape.  This hive along with 5 others has been 20 feet from my back door for months and worked frequently.  Did they calm down when they realized, smelled, remembered, or used ratio senatia to determine it was me?  Heck no!!  They wanted to kill me.  Then to top it off, the nosey horses in the pasture decided they wanted to have a closer look.  They leaned over the fence, for some nice white painted wood to chew on.  With some coaxing by the bees, they quickly realized that this was not the place to be.  I've given them a few days to calm down, so I'll go out there today and see if they remember me.  I sure hope not!
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Finsky
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« Reply #34 on: May 20, 2006, 11:48:37 AM »

Quote from: beemaster
FINSKY:

You'd take the BUZZ out of a BEE!


Really, at least I try:P
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« Reply #35 on: May 20, 2006, 01:07:54 PM »

Golf:

That was soooo similar to my NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE (thank God I was doing 30-40 stings a day in apitherapy for about 3 months at that point and carried a sting kit ) but while carrying a brood box with lid and bottom board, the box shifted out of square and fell to pieces, hundreds of pieces and the hive was on me like white on rice.

I may vary in the number of stings I recall, but it was nearly 200 stingers I scratched off - I literally had a pile of them when I was done - ugh. I remember the effects of anaphylaxis coming on (all the usual symptoms) and I searched madly for my sting kit which somehow ended up in my trunk instead of the glove box - my hives were on a friends property, so I kept the sting kit in the car, when and how it made it to the truck - who knows.

I remember well the friend/owner of the property who was a true hippy, a likable guy and sadly dead at 49 years of age. He stood there, watching as the bees engulfed me, not really understanding the seriousness of the situation - he was in hysterics watching me slapping at every inch of my body and I'll never forget his famous words "Want me to knock you out with a 2X4?" which at the time sounded pretty good - lol.

I sat up against a tree in the shade, near my car and away from the shattered hive super - it took awhile to get up and around, I honestly felt buzzed (no humor intended) anyone doing bee-sting therapy will tell you that the pain is tolerable, but the after feeling of swelling and warmth is like a heating pad under your skin doing its magic. On this occasion, I felt warm to hot all over, as if in a pool of venom.

So, those bees are long gone, but to get back on topic - I STILL KNOW and REMEMBER THEM!

NOTE: for those who followed my other mishaps - this WAS NOT the same incident that a worker crawled up my boxer shorts  rolleyes  You'll need to SEARCH the index for THAT story. But here is a story that I know MOST of you will enjoy - I call it THE NIGHTMARE ON THE TOMS RIVER - enjoy.

http://www.beemaster.com/travel/canoe.html
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« Reply #36 on: May 20, 2006, 04:29:55 PM »

Quote from: Finsky
Now I have 1 million bees on my cottage yard. One or two attach on me per day. DID THEY KNEW ME OR NOT.

DID THE REST 999 998 KNEW ME OR NOT WHEN THEY DID NOT ATTACHED ON ME?


That looks like more than two that is on you according to your photo/avatar.  Cheesy
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #37 on: May 20, 2006, 04:43:10 PM »

Back in the day, when I bought a new brood box, the bottom boards were always attached.  The old equipment I culled from my uncles place also had attached bottom boards.  I don't know if it was because they were migratory based outfits, or if it was the norm, but I never gave it a second thought.  

For this move, I stapled the bottom and supers together, and screened the entrances.  I felt everything was secure.  I didn't take as many stings as you describe, but I don't think 60-70 would be exagerating.

I went out and added supers today.  One hive was very defensive, although it was not the one that fell apart.
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« Reply #38 on: May 22, 2006, 09:53:24 AM »

So Finsky, what I want to know is how you convinced all of these bees who don't know you to pretend to be a beard for your picture?

BTW, have you seen this?

http://www.normangary.com/

Linda T
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« Reply #39 on: May 22, 2006, 11:36:37 PM »

Quote from: Finsky

Once my wife kept on arms our 1 moth old baby. Bee attached to her hair, wife dropped the baby to ground and run indoors to shelter. Baby cryed in ground but bees did not killed him.  -- [/b]


hehe, if little momma dropped my baby to save her carcass from a bee sting, I would re-queen MY hive.
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