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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    worthington pa usa
    Posts
    76

    Post

    First let me say I really enjoy all of your input, just found this site a week ago.
    started into this fascinating hobby last spring with one 3lb package of bees. after being stung half a dozen times this past summer not wearing gloves,i opted to wear them. just wondering do you guys wear gloves or am I just wimping out,or maybe doing something wrong?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,953

    Post

    I don't put on my gloves until the bees become vicious, and that rarely happens with the strains I use.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Clarksville, TN, USA
    Posts
    60

    Post

    I started out in leather gloves along with the full bee suit etc. As I progressed in experience and confidence I took steps to get out of the gloves.

    First thing, I cut the fingers off mid-way I found that I could finess the bees and not get stung.

    The next major step, while working for a commercial bee keeper. I forgot my gloves and I was not going to get paid to go back and get them (about a 2 hours round trip) We were inspecting a newly purchased stand of bees for diseases for 7 hours that day. I had to work without gloves got stung only twice from queenless hives.

    Remember the key to working gloveless; Confidence, slow, deliberate movements, light smoke, and having a plan of what you are going to do before you open your hive. You will find that your sting count will diminish greatly.

    Instead of buying the leather gloves, if you intend to work gloveless, use plain old rubber dish washing gloves till you get your movements down and become smooth in your manipulations of the hives.

    Of course, it will not eliminate all of the stings, but that is just one of the hazards of life in beekeeping.

    Chuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    If you are getting stung, wear the gloves. That's what they are for. But I would try to figure out if you are doing something wrong that excites them or if you have mean strain of bees. You shouldn't be getting stung that much.

    I have had bees go vicous on me. Usually it's a hybrid like buckfast, starline or midnite and they have superceded and the next generation is mean. If that's the problem, you need to requeen. It's easy to tell if they superceded if your queen was marked and the new one isn't.

    When you smoke a hive, smoke the entrance and the inner cover well and wait about three to five minutes. You want the bees to have time to suck up some honey.

    When you work with them find a speed that gets things done, while moving very slowly and smoothly. Sudden movements get them excited. Slow yourself down. If you watch them, when you break a frame loose or anything else sudden you see them (and hear them) react. Try to find ways to minimize this. When you pry a frame loose do it as gently as you can. Try to find ways to do it that don't cause sudden movement or vibration.

    Also you can make, or buy, manipulation cloths. You can just cut a slot big enough to fit about two frames through in the middle of a peice of canvas and put a dowel on each end for weight. You can slide this to the frame you are working and less bees are exposed to the air. A simpler one is just a piece of canvas with the dowels but no slot and you roll it back and pull out a frame and cover it back up. It keeps the bees in the hive and keeps them calmer.

    Also, if it takes a while to do the work you're doing, smoke the hive some more during the manipulation.


  5. #5

    Post

    hello
    just had to put my 2 cents in on this. depends how you look at it we all started out wearing gloves.
    I just don't wear them because its like trying to pick your nose with a pair of boxing gloves on.
    I have to be able to feel the bees as i pick them up=I catch a lot queens in a hour but if I were to take off honey after the flow when they gwt upset I would.
    good luck======Don

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Elizabethtown,KY
    Posts
    260

    Post

    I wear leather gloves and always have from the time I started keeping bees 7 years ago. Why? Because I am a wimp and i do not want to get stung. (Although I have wondered if the stings would stave off the inevitable arthritis of getting older)
    Denise

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Clarksville, TN, USA
    Posts
    60

    Post

    The main reason I don't wear gloves, is simular to Don's. They are cumbersome, I have squished a lot of bees wearing them and got stung many more times from that.

    Plus gloves get very hot in the Summer.

    It's also a time issue. I work as a Realtor now and I get to work with my bees between clients in the spring and summer. I show up at my apriary in my slacks and shirt, a smoker, hive tool and a plan why I'm there. Do what I need to get done and go back to work smelling slightly of burn burlap . I get a lot of honey sold that way too.

    Chuck

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    I do both ways. There are many things to consider here. The weather, bees temperment can change on dark over caste days. Now working bees on a schedule I have to work on less than perfect days. Keep the gloves handy, the girls will let you know if you need them. Another thing to consider is if you are using smoke. If there is a dearth of nectar. I guess my rule is simple if you don't need them don't where them. If the circumstances change and you must work bees and there temperment that days is less than freindly by all means put them on. Use them when the girls say too. Just keep them handy as you should the smoker and other equipment. I've been around bees since I was 9 yrs old after all these years, I prefer no gloves but don't hesitate to put them on when called for. Got alot of work to do no since trying to "bee da man".

    Clay

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    worthington pa usa
    Posts
    76

    Cool

    Thank you for all your input . One thing I haven't been doing was waiting five minutes before handling the bees after smoking. I am going to try cutting the fingers out this year. I guess that its something you evolve into with experience.I am new at this game and have enjoyed every mitute of it {except for the stings } and really enjoyed all of your posts, keep up the good work !

    scott/ pa.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    worthington pa usa
    Posts
    76

    Cool

    Thank you for all your input . One thing I haven't been doing was waiting five minutes before handling the bees after smoking. I am going to try cutting the fingers out this year. I guess that its something you evolve into with experience.I am new at this game and have enjoyed every mitute of it {except for the stings } and really enjoyed all of your posts, keep up the good work !

    scott/ pa.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    Personally, I wouldn't cut out the fingers because I only wear them when the bees are grouchy, and then I need the fingers.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Enfield,Ct.
    Posts
    470

    Post

    Try latex or nitile gloves for a transition.They're not sting proof but they're slippery and the bees can't get a grip easily.
    Jack

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    West Harrison, NY, USA
    Posts
    261

    Post

    HI
    My approach has been different. The hell with the gloves! I did not buy any, nor do I bring them to the hives. My reason is that a bee sting or a few is really no big deal. The best way to figure this out is to let yourself be stung and do nothing about it. I don't take the stinger out because when you squish it, all the venom gets released onto your skin attracting more bees to sting you. The first few times you will swell a lot, but by the end of the first season, you will barely notice any swelling anymore. I don't feel it is a macho thing but the gloves bother me no end (and so does the veil, but i do use the veil when they get too hiper). Also, the effect on arthritis has been quite well documented both by experiments and also anecdotaly (very few beekeepers are arthritic), and although I don't have that problem (yet) I see it as prophilactic treatment. My wife's grandmother is 95 and she does this on purpose. She get a "dose" of around 30 beestings in a single session (weekly or more often less frequently). She still walks around and is as active as she was 20 or more years ago. She tells me that her mother was wheelchair bound until she discovered apitherapy. She went through the "treatment" for a couple of months and got rid of the wheelchair.
    On the other hand, I can see the professional beekeeper that keeps hundreds of hives be less willing to take stings because the number of stings is multiplied by the number of hives. With only a few hives, no big deal. With hundreds ... I don't know what I would do.
    Jorge

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    brown county,indiana,usa
    Posts
    571

    Post

    gloves seem clumbsy to me,i think you are more apt to smash bees and make them angry,bare handed is the way to go,you can often nudge the bees out of the way if needed.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Jameson, MO USA
    Posts
    76
    Just to put in my two cents worth, I don't wear gloves for the same reason as some others - they're just too bulky, and I wind up killing bees because the gloves make me clumsy.
    If you have reasonably tame bees, and handle them smoothly and not too quickly, you will be stung very seldom. If the bees are not tame, then requeen! (This is only if one hive is consistently mean, while others are not. Even a tame hive can occasionally be angry because of a dearth, or temperature, or time of day, etc.)
    If you are stung, the odor of the sting will anger others and cause them to want to sting also. I correct this by scrubbing a handful of grass on my hands to cover the odor of the sting. It usually works well. I do differently than Jorge - I remove the stinger right away to minimize the amount of poison received. If you use your finger nail and scrape the stinger off with a sweeping motion from one side to the other, you will avoid injecting more poison into the skin.
    I accept being stung as part of the price of the wonder and joy of keeping bees. I find that usually the only time I do get stung is when I am careless in picking up something which has a bee on the underside which I don't see, and squash in the process. Guess what? Bees don't like being squashed, and they sting! As I said, being stung is usually my fault, and I don't enjoy it, but it ain't no biggie, not really.

    ------------------
    gnubee

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    Yes but try requeening a really viscious hive without gloves. That's when they really come in handy.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    California- bay area
    Posts
    188

    Post

    I don't ware gloves anymore unless I am taking off honey or am working an angry hive and I don't ware my veil as often anymore. I stopped using gloves because I lost my hive tool and had to use my hands to get the frames out of the hive, it's not easy taking frames out with gloves the finger tips always get caught up.

    Joseph

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Jameson, MO USA
    Posts
    76

    Sad

    Michael is so right. I remember one nasty hive I requeened. Wore 2 pairs of pants tied around the ankles with hightop boots underneath. Three heavy workshirts tied at the wrists over thick leather gloves. When I finished the job, the bees chased me to my car, and followed me for over 1/4 mile down the road. Nasty!

    ------------------
    gnubee

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,521
    I believe hoosierhiver is a "no gloves" kinda guy:
    http://www.bee-l.com/bulletinboard/hater/index.htm

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    Catching swarms with his bare teeth! Yea, I think I would guess he's a no glove guy.

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