Newbie question - Nightime beekeeping
What are the drawbacks to working with bees at night? I hear everybody say it's bad but not why. Any ideas?
They are harder to see... You can work them with a red led light, but it may be better to work them just before dusk when they are settled down for the night but still enough light to work.
nighttime may be fight time
Tried to super a hive tonight just before dark. These bees have not been aggressive at all, so thought I could just pop it on. Bad idea! One of the guard bees gave me a warning tap on the finger, which is still sore. Three more head butted me even after I had retreated 15 feet from the hive. I would recommend having the smoker tuned up since the worker bees will be home for the night, and be prepared for them to be a little more protective. The temp might be cooler, but the hive might be hotter!
I frequently work mine in the dark with a red LED headlight, no veil. Smoke is still often necessary. In red light some things are very difficult to see clearly enough, so I save those tasks for the short daylight hours when it is still cool enough to work bees. Even switching my headlight to its white-light mode for just a moment is usually a bad idea. Nights with lots of moonlight can also be problematic. Remember most bees won't fly, in the dark or red light, but a few will and they can still crawl pretty fast.
47 years - 50 hives - TF
Joseph Clemens -- Website
From my personal experience... just don't!
Guard bees seem to always be on HIGH alert and, although they're not supposed to fly at night, you'll swear they're jumping REALLY far! They'll fly at headlamps. They'll attack car headlights. They'll crawl on the ground and up your pant legs, and up and under your veil.
Night time will turn your gentle little lambs into crawling, stinging little nastys!
DS is right. Never worked a hive at night but was trying to box a swarm years ago right before dark & nothing went right. I had always heard not to mess with bees at night but that's when I learned why. Bees do crawl at night & they go UP, including legs. I ended up with a softball size ball of bees on top of my pith helmet not to mention the ones that got inside the veil.