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Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by Oilpatch197, May 25, 2004.
I really don't like bee stings, is there any good tips on how to avoid bee stings, at all cost?
purchase a gentle strain of bees and use your smoker, that with a quality bee suit shoud help. now if you live where there are the africanized bees ,you will sooner or later run into them. when working bees move slowly .
Mind, I have been working bees for a year and have only been stung 3 times, so the risk isn't THAT high!
Things that upset bees include:
1. Acting like a bear. In other words, do NOT show up wearing wool, and dark colors, and smash your way through the hive. They do NOT like that! :no: Bears are dark, hairy, and on a smash-and-grab mission. Bees respond out of instinct, and if you ACT like a bear, they will TREAT you like one. Wear light colors and move slowly and gracefully.
2. Opening up your hive when all of the foraging bees are home. That means at night, and during high winds, cold weather or rainy weather.
The bees will be sitting around, feeling bored and grumpy, and then YOU show up. You will be the entertainment of the day! :haha:
3. Lastly, use the smoker when you do anything invasive to the hive. When they smell the smoke they gorge themselves with honey in case they have to leave the hive. It's instinctive. Smoke a bee and it will usually go back inside the hive and eat. Not only does that give them something important to do, once they have stuffed themselves they CAN'T sting! They have to bend their bodies to sting, and they are too full.
Using a smoker disrupts the hive, so beekeepers don't like to smoke unless they have too, but if you're going to open up the brood nest and move their youngsters around, smoking is prudent.
In other words, I work my 2 hives during good weather, wear my veil and gloves, somke if I am going to take the hive apart, and I don't worry about stings because I don't expect to get any. I have been wrong 3 times, but such is life.
They DO make full bee suits, by the way, that cover you from head to toe.
I remember when I started in bees many years ago. I bought all the stuff I could find to keep from getting stung. Full suit, zippered veil, leather gloves and duct tape.
Worked great, never got stung, but man, did I ever sweat! Bit by bit I lost the equipment. Eventually I learned to work without any protective gear at all and still never got stung.
As mentioned above, there is a techniqe to working bees and familiarity helps. Work them frequently and they become accustomed to your distinctive odor. Move slowly, including putting your arms down, legs together or even finger together. Bees crawl everywhere and need a moment to get out of the way, otherwise they will sting if they are squashed.
I still cringe when they get around my eyes, but I've taught myself to blink slowly.
I always tried to avoid smoke and only used it when I absolutely had to. For some reason I was always spending more time tending to the smoker than tending to the bees.
What amazes me is that you really do become accustomed to bee stings over time. A misquito bite bothers me more than a honey bee sting.
I got rid of the duct tape this year!!! :haha: Really! I would duct tape my gloves onto my sleeves and around the bottom of my pants!!
It's easier to pull your socks over your pants leg. :haha:
Yup found that out.
We don't use any protective gear at all, but we do use a smoker. The bees instinctively start fanning the smoke out of the hive and while they are busy trying to save what they perceive as a burning hive, we slowly and systematically do what we need to do. On rare occassion we'll get a bee sting here or there, but it is usually attributable to the fact that the weather is overcast and humid, which makes honeybees irritable. Every once in a while you may get a 'nervous' hive. One that is simply more aggressive then the average hive. We find that the nervous hives often are better honey producers, however if a nervous hive makes you nervous, you can re-queen and see if that helps, or you can sell the hive and buy new.