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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    131

    Default 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?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,497

    Default

    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.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Woodlawn, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    327

    Default 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!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,325

    Default

    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.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Tip of the Thumb, Michigan
    Posts
    676

    Default

    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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    139

    Default

    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.

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