I was working one of my hives which I had moved a comb back a bit to let any brood yet to emerge finish up before I cull the comb. Today, I concluded it was time to remove the comb.

I proceeded to get my brush to brush the bees off of the comb, and lo did they get pissed. I don't mean disturbed a little like when you knock bees off of a comb back into the hive. I mean severely pissed. When I saw their reaction I gently placed the brush down ontop of the hive and backed away a little and watched in fascination as somewhere between 5 and 10 bees were trying to sting the brush part of the brush. Keeping in mind that I don't wear protection, this was slightly unnerving to watch. I went and got a cigarette, and let the bees calm down for a few minutes, I removed the brush from the hive, then carefully while both backing away and returning carefully several times, reassembled the hive.

I think the only reason I didn't get stung was I didn't have the odor of the brush, and also the brush was black bristles which of course I don't have any black on me. These bees were intent on stinging the brush, and funnily only the black bristles of the brush, ignoring the blue handle entirely. They sting, take off in about 3 seconds to about 3 to 5 inches away and launch again at the brush. Interesting really that they don't just sting you, they prepare to sting you and hit you with the abdomen first while anchoring with their legs.

The lesson? Don't brush bees without protection.

Luckily and ONLY with luck, I didn't get stung.