I you ever read the Keeper of the Bees you know that the beekeeper in the story always crushed mint or other flowers on his hands before going into the hives. I've tried it a few times when the bees were extra testy--seems to work.
Brian, actually read several of the "Hive and the Honeybee, Spell of the Honeybee, ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture.
All very, very old editions that I have. They all speak about the lemonbalm, everyone on the forum speaks of the lemongrass, seems they are one in the same. I grow lemonbalm. I also read that taking the leaves of the lemonbalm and rubbing them on the hands, right on the hive bodies, on the clothing calms the bees. It probably makes them believe that they are in the midst of the beautiful aromas that come from these "lemon" essences. I have used the leaves of my lemonbalm rubbed on my hands. I also made a tea to take with me into the yard. I honestly don't know that I have felt any difference or not with the lemon scent. I rarely have been stung on my hands. Wrists yes, face (capturing a swarm) yes, that is about it.
In the depths of summertime I attend my bees with a veil and always a sleeveless tank top and blue jeans. I am always working out in the dirt so I wear jeans almost all the time in summer, except when sitting by the poolside, enjoying the shade of our burgundy Beech tree. It is not hot wearing jeans, as I am usually knee in the dirt stuff.
Hmm..where was I? Oh ya, I rarely ever go into the bee yard without a veil of some sort. I know how nosy bees can be. I do not want any bees even landing on my face, that strikes terror in my heart. Silly, but that does not matter. If I am working with the bees, I want to feel 100% confident that I will not have some little lady delight in getting back at me for entering their domain. Nope. Not for me. I never have, never do wear gloves. A tip that I got from a fellow beekeeper at our club, told me one day when he was helping me to hive a swarm that ventured into my back acreage, to put on the baby powder. If I am putting my hand deep within, I have a small bottle of baby powder that I sprinkle on my hands. The bees actually like this stuff. They land on my hands and I can tell that they are taking a really good whiff. No idea what is in the baby stuff, but they do not ever sting me. Perhaps bees know more than we give them. Maybe they think that some kind of "baby" is around. LOL. Now that was supposed to be funny. I do know that (I think it was you Finsky) said we cannnot put the emotions of humans to bees. But.....maybe we can...now that is food for some thought, come on.!!!!! LOL.
For example, have you ever watched a foal and another older horse, other than its mother. The little foal opens his mouth and kind of goes what I could only describe as "ya, ya, ya". The older horse, no matter how many times I have seen this done, does not bother the little baby at all. Nor do dogs. If there is ever a puppy that comes to our home (we have 6 adult dogs) (and we have many visitors with all the inhabitants that live on our property), not a single one of the older dogs bears any aggressive behaviour to that little baby. They all love it to pieces and want to befriend it.
Oops, got that long-winded thing going again. I apologize, it just runs away with me and I can't stop it. All have a great day. Cindi