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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Madisonville,TN
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    184

    Default How do some guys go without any kind of protective gear what so ever?

    I have been watch fat man bee videos on you tube for the past few weeks, and am left wondering: how does he do it? How does he go without even wearing a veil, and not get the first sting? And he is not the only one, video after video of people going through hives wearing no gear. I just watched a video of a guy and girl wearing shorts and t shirts checking a top bar (nothing against top bars, I've got four myself), anyway, they walked up to the hive, put their hands on it and said, I kid you not, "hello bees, how are you today?" Then they checked the hive bees flying everywhere, and never got the first sting. So today, I thought I would try it, walked up and said hello to the bees, after taking off the cover, got two stings on the hand. Maybe I did it wrong. Are some people really just born with a gift for handling bees?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,644

    Default Re: How do some guys go without any kind of protective gear what so ever?

    > walked up and said hello to the bees ...
    > Maybe I did it wrong.

    Are your bees Italians?

    You need to say "Buon giorno", or "Ciao a tutti"
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,550

    Default Re: How do some guys go without any kind of protective gear what so ever?

    It depends on the bees, the hive strength, the flows, the weather, the time of year, the hive stores, etc.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    218

    Default Re: How do some guys go without any kind of protective gear what so ever?

    It's mid winter here in Oz, but I just paid mine a visit, I do wear a veil, but it's a home brew hat with some mozzy/fly netting around it and is more for my confidence than protection. I don't wear gloves (never have), I wore a long sleeved polo shirt today, but in summer it's a light tee-shirt. I have two TBH and will start two Lang's in spring. No stings and more often than not none buzz me either.

    Do I have the calmest bees ever? No, when I set up the first of these TBH I collected 37 strings in that one DAY. Now I guess they like me?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee, USA.
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: How do some guys go without any kind of protective gear what so ever?

    type of bees plays a factor. Knowing when to smoke, how much to smoke, and when not to smoke is vital as well. Not using strong deodorant's, not smelling like livestock, or smelling like your pets play a major role also.

    Not messing with them more than you have to while in the hive. Not getting into them to often.

    I personally have noticed more aggressive behavior when hives were located in heavy shade but that might just be my bees.

    I keep my 100 plus hives with just a veil, t-shirt and crocs 99% of the time. I still use my bee suit when needed. Its a tool no shame in using it.

    I have been stung at least 15 times this year. Part of the trade.

    Some days they will hit you through the suit, some days you could work them buck naked. That's the way my bees are.

    And these are a colony of females...... who knows what they'll do next!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Ka'u Hawaii
    Posts
    169

    Default Re: How do some guys go without any kind of protective gear what so ever?

    What Ray said.

    Plus, there are some very gentle bees out there, Often, a. i. was used to develop them. Think..................queen breeders.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Upperco, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: How do some guys go without any kind of protective gear what so ever?

    I've done it bare handed and come to the notion that bees have tiny brains and regardless of how much I want to become "one with nature" they might not follow the script. I believe it is irresponsible for an instructor to demonstrate handling bees without protective clothes. It makes new people think that being a "good" beekeeper means handling bees in bare skin. That is nonsense and has probably caused people to consider themselves failures as beekeepers. My wife was in the ER from a blood infection caused by a sting--odd but it happened. She is no longer "one with the bees". I got hit twice in each hand and swelled up like a tick. Did I do something to cause it? Don't know, don't care.

    Sorry to be on a soapbox but this topic gets my head spinning. Guys who catch rattlers wear knee-high leather boots.

    One little variance in your chemistry , or something you ate yesterday could cause bees to react poorly. "born with a gift"? Nope, they are just willing to get stung a lot. why they risk getting stung seems to have more to do with the ego, who knows? more likely they are born less sensitive to bee venom.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,106

    Default Re: How do some guys go without any kind of protective gear what so ever?

    Experience. Knowing what one can do and get away with.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,788

    Default Re: How do some guys go without any kind of protective gear what so ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Experience. Knowing what one can do and get away with.
    But then comes that day that bees can't be read correctly and you get lit up. I never lift a lid without a veil anymore.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Chattanooga, TN, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: How do some guys go without any kind of protective gear what so ever?

    First let me say that I think it is important to protect yourself when you are in a potentially dangerous situation. Removing a hive from a house means I am wearing the full jacket, suit, and gloves. But day to day working with my own hive I didn't need it all. This is my first year beekeeping and I never got that scared, anxious, hesitant, or nervous feeling. I never felt like I was taking a big risk. The first day installing the package I had the jacket and veil combo, gloves,and long pants. I felt clunky so I took off the gloves and haven't put them on since. Weeks later I still felt very comfortably around my bees but a bit restricted so I soon bought a simple veil and hat. I figured I would still wear a large white long sleeved shirt the next time I went out, but it started warming up I forgot the long sleeves. Now I usually go out in jeans and a t-shirt and the only reason I'm wearing jeans is because I have to walk through tall grass to get to my hive. A Friend of mine who is a beekeeper keeps telling me there will come a time when I need all my protective gear, but for now I will just enjoy working them with out wearing a jacket in 80 degree weather. I think I have been blessed with some gentle bees, so I am thankful and will enjoy them.
    Zone 7a Beekeeping since 2013, hobby
    www.awaggledance.weebly.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,106

    Default Re: How do some guys go without any kind of protective gear what so ever?

    Be prepared. Being a beekeeper means having the tools and knowing how and when to use them. Like a carpenter w/ a tool belt, saw, level, and square.

    You also need to know and understand what the bees are telling you. "Don't like what you are doing. Better suit up if you are going to continue invading our space."
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Duval, Florida
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: How do some guys go without any kind of protective gear what so ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt903 View Post
    I have been watch fat man bee videos on you tube for the past few weeks, and am left wondering: how does he do it? How does he go without even wearing a veil, and not get the first sting? And he is not the only one, video after video of people going through hives wearing no gear
    .
    I don't agree with Fat Bee Man in this case. He and others give a false sense of security to new beeks in their Youtube learning videos when they don't wear protection (Veil etc...)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,890

    Default Re: How do some guys go without any kind of protective gear what so ever?

    I agree with that. A good shop teacher sets a good example to his students by using eye and hearing protection. What you do in the privacy of your own garage or bee yard is your business, but as the old saying goes it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,106

    Default Re: How do some guys go without any kind of protective gear what so ever?

    As per FBM's videos, I see your point. But, to answer the question posed in this Thread's Title, answers have been given. Working w/out veils and/or gloves can be done and is quite enjoyable at the right time under the right conditions.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    East Hampton, CT, USA
    Posts
    122

    Default Re: How do some guys go without any kind of protective gear what so ever?

    I wear a bee jacket most of the time. A long-time beekeeper friend usually wears a veil, but says "if you ever see me wearing the full bee suit, just keep on driving".

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,242

    Default Re: How do some guys go without any kind of protective gear what so ever?

    as sqkcrk said tie right time and conditions are the key. I'd like to see fat bee man shake packages without his suit.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Whitmell, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: How do some guys go without any kind of protective gear what so ever?

    Based on what I've seen and experienced. It's 100% genetic/pheromone influenced trait. I keep mine in the front yard. I can't allow anything other than gentle.

    Size of the hive only makes a difference if they are mean to begin with. three frames of bees with the same queen mother will act just like 30 frames of bees with the same queen being the mother. Sometimes even with workers that are not her offspring. If I have to use smoke and a veil. I kill the queen. If I have to use smoke. I'll kill them this fall and combine with the nicer ones.

    No tellin how long this selection process will take. I've got about 30ish queens mated out here this year and only three of them can be worked without smoke. I have one stacked three mediums high and one four. The four high one is well packed with bees. Not an issue. I can tear the whole hive down and spend as much time as I want in there. I shook about two pounds of bees out of it to help out other hives newly mated the other day. Cracked the box open 24 hours later. Still nice.

    Test the bees at the entrance first. Wave your hand slightly in front. If they ignore you. Crack the lid. If a few run out and bump your hand or bounce off of you then you may want a veil. Or reaching for the frames if you notice them come out and bounce on you hands you might want gloves unless you can tolerate getting stung. The ones of mine that hit my hands when reaching for frames. The use of smoke usually stops that behavior enough to work them without protection of any kind. If not I kill the queen and shake them out forcing them to beg into a nicer hive.
    Don't laugh it's paid for. -- Manure draws more flies than honey.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Waterville, NY
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: How do some guys go without any kind of protective gear what so ever?

    I have worked without protective gear in the past, but not anymore. However, I use to smoke myself thoroughly before opening the hives. Puffed smoke on my hands, arms, entire body, hair, even feet. I smelled like I had just come out of a smoking bar.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Benton, Ky
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: How do some guys go without any kind of protective gear what so ever?

    I worked a hive of Italians yesterday with no veil, shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops. Went through every top bar and they didn't even look at me cross eyed. 3 weeks ago,the same hive after 2 straight days of rain, lit me up 3 times as soon as i took off the lid off..... timing is everything

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: How do some guys go without any kind of protective gear what so ever?

    There is a video of fbm shaking down a package without PPE (personal protective equipment) on youtube.. We are first year beeks and we wear our veils... Probably always will.. Aside from that i just tuck whatever shirt im wearing into whatever shorts im wearing and depending on the weather decide sandels or shoes... Opened a top the other day to check food level on a newer package and a bee rammed the little women.. Now she claims she is scared of bees all over again because "i didnt do anything to it and it came at me anyway, thats not defensive aggression thats offensive" ... In her defense the next day she threw on her veil and pulled frames in a tshirt for an inspection because "had work to do" ... The point is, how much PPE you wear is how comfortable you are.. There are no tricks, there are no secrets... Pay attention to the weather, temperature, and such.. Gather as much info as you can and wear what you need to feel comfortable and calm.. Ive only been stung 3 times in my young beekeeping career, once on the ass, once in front of my ear, and once behind said ear... Ive decided its not the end of the world so i just protect my face and head

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