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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
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    965

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

    I often worked the first hive I got with no veil, shorts, t shirt, and sandals.

    It was several miles from my home, and I was lucky to get the opportunity to work it once a week.
    I thought that as long I moved fluidly, didn't bang around and used common sense, I'd be fine.

    The second year I kept bee I did quite a bit of splitting, and encountered bees when they are queenless -- and discovered even bees from "gentle" stock can be pretty cranky when queenless, as I got stung up pretty good that day.

    As long as the weather is clear and sunny, you get in the hive at mid day when most of the foragers are out, there is no thunderstorm coming, the bees are genetically disposed to gentleness, you don't drop anything and startle them, don't accidentally crush a bee and release alarm pheromone, don't use too little smoke, don't use too much smoke, don't use the wrong kind of smoke, don't still have habanero oil on your fingers from slicing peppers even after washing, don't smell bad to bees, don't use scented toiletries, didn't just kiss someone wearing cologne or perfume, and don't any-one-of-a-hundred-other-things, you can often work bees without a veil.

    My bees are nearly always gentle.

    But today I opened a hive whose queen quit laying a couple weeks ago.

    It's a very crowded hive, well populated for the flow, and is supered.

    I had placed a new, caged queen in the hive previously after looking (unsuccessfully) for the queen.

    After four days, I'd checked on the caged queen and there were a lot of bees biting on the cage, so I knew the original queen was probably still present.

    I was out of time, so I left the new queen cage (corks had not been removed) in for the night.
    If I'd had queen excluders with me, I'd've put them btw the three brood boxes, but I hadn't any with me.

    Thunderstorms prevented me returning yesterday.

    With thunderstorms forecast for this afternoon, and all day the next few days, I wen back up to pinch the original queen today.

    Unfortunately, the bees had had enough time to chew through the cork in the queen cage, and the new queen had been loosed. Hopefully the new queen survives, but it is not likely based on the behavior of the bees when I was in the hive last time.

    But here's the point of all this:

    These normally very gentle bees had
    a) been in a hive that was entered a lot more frequently than normal lately,
    b) been queenless long enough to have no open brood,
    c) were opened when a thunderstorm was imminent and the barometer was dropping like a rock.

    These normally gentle bees (descended from the gentle queen in my original hive mentioned above) were very aggressive, head butting, veil-obscuring, stinging my gloves, and when I was through, pursued me for 75 yards after I had finished.

    That's totally out of character for that hive.

    If I'd relied on their behavior up til today, and if I didn't know from experience that the conditions present were likely to result in an unpleasant hive, I might have worked them in shorts, or just a veil.

    And I'd be in bad shape right now.

    Until you are experienced enough to be able to watch the hive entrance for a moment and have an idea of what's going on inside, and are able to recognize when bees are likely to behave more aggressively than normal based on condition, you're not wise to work bees without your skin well covered and a veil on.

    You may never have an issue.
    But if you do, it's not likely to be just one or two little stings.

    Be safe.

    Have fun
    Enjoy your bees

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    26,154

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Nabber86 View Post
    Part of it may be that some people have little to no reaction to bee stings, even multiple stings.

    I wish my body worked like that. Yeah I know, take more stings, build immunity yada, yada, yada. That approach simply dont work for me.
    Mind over matter Nabber. Get stung, scrape it off, keep on working. What kind of reaction do you exhibit? Jump around like you dropped an anvil on your toe?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    26,154

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

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    Smelling fear is an interesting term...... your body gives off a very different odor when alarmed..... Its how police dogs can track a bad guy thru a bunch of not bad guys....

    I don't know if bees pick that up, but its there......

    As for setting a bad example by going suitless or veiless. videos done in full gear tend to be poor audio quality. so its real hard to make a good video with full gear......

    As for the bees... depends LOT on flow and weather.....as already mentioned many times
    Just like when bees from one hive enter another hive laden w/ honey or pollen and acting like they belong there. No problems. Just like yesterday when I drove up to an Immigration Check Point in my Bee Truck. I knew I wasn't doing anything illegal and that the people at the check point could tell that by looking at my truck, so I was cool and they were too. Had I driven up in a van w/ tinted windows and a load of undocumented persons I'm sure my demeanor would have been noticablly different and things would have progressed differently. Bees are sensitive observers too.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    East S.F. Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    111

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamon Reynolds View Post
    I keep my 100 plus hives with just a veil, t-shirt and crocs 99% of the time....
    So, the other 1% of the time you're using pants too?

    Made me think of an old line my friend's father used to say:
    "I got up this morning and it looked so good out, I decided to leave it out."

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Wellston, OK USA
    Posts
    54

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

    Quote Originally Posted by bison View Post
    I don't know - I live in the SF Bay Area, so not an area that I believe has Africanized bees. There are rumors of some bad bees that came up a few years ago. The queen was one I'd raised from a calm hive, must have mated with a bad bee.

    It appeared you had just moved these bees? I've never had a box of bees ride around in a vehicle for a while and be happy about it.

    I broke my toe one time by kicking a rooster in the breast for flogging my son, the rooster is still laughing.
    You can open any hive at any time and get results like that, just stand there in only a veil.
    I opened a hive five boxes deep the other day and nary a head butt would I go back with just a T-shirt
    cats have claws
    dogs have teeth
    snakes have fangs
    I don't care if bees can smell or not
    that rooster is still laughing

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Greenbrae, CA, USA
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    325

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

    [QUOTE=oklabizznessman;963209]It appeared you had just moved these bees? I've never had a box of bees ride around in a vehicle for a while and be happy about it.

    Yes I'd just moved them and no doubt this contributed to their anger. However, the reason I'd moved them is that they'd been behaving the same way in my back yard, with dozens of them attacking me when I'd open the hive. They made my yard uninhabitable as individual bees would sting us whenever we went outside, even nowhere near the hive. Imagine your rooster hunting you down and pecking you!

    I requeened after moving them. First check two weeks later met the same result as in the video. Three weeks later and only a few angry bees, another week or two and they'll be nice and gentle again... but I'll still wear a veil!

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,711

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt903 View Post
    Are some people really just born with a gift for handling bees?
    No, it's learned. What we do naturally, is exactly what aggravates the bees.

    I started out as a hobbyist & despite full suit used to get stung sometimes badly, every time I went in the hives. Then I got a job working bees full time, and the boss refused to allow me to wear protective equipment when he didn't think I should, no veil, nothing. So at first I copped 30 or 40 stings every day. But after a few months I'd figured out exactly what makes bees sting. The way I move, smoked, not smoked, etc.

    Going by how long it took me while working hives full time, I think most hobbyists will just never be in an arena hot and heavy and long enough to really figure it out, although I have seen some hobbyists who are pretty good.

    One thing gives me a kick, I work with a lot of hobbyists, and I'll sometimes go to open their hive and they'll say "whatchout better put a veil on those bees are real angry ones". I never bother, and as long as the hobbyist doesn't make any screw ups, rarely get stung.

    Then they say "oh yeah, but you were just lucky it must be a good day".

    LOL
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Stilwell, KS
    Posts
    1,716

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

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Mind over matter Nabber. Get stung, scrape it off, keep on working. What kind of reaction do you exhibit? Jump around like you dropped an anvil on your toe?
    The sting itself is no big deal. Feels like a pin prick, well maybe more like a tack. I stay focused and try not do anything stupid like drop a frame loaded with bees.

    8 to 12 hours later it starts swelling. Sometimes the swelling is minor and lasts through the next day. Other times it keeps swelling and blows up like a balloon. And stays that way for the better part of a week. Seems to be no rhyme or reason to the reaction that I can tell.

    Benadryl, ibuprofen, and lots of ice does wonders.
    Honey Badger Don't Care ಠ_ಠ ~=[,,_,,]:3

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Spokane, Washington USA
    Posts
    21

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

    I wouldn't do it. The guys that do must have much gentler bees than mine though, lol. I also think it's a matter of ego. I've been keeping bees for 14 years, my grandfather had kept them for over 50, we always suited up.

  10. #50
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,334

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

    Oldtimer,

    I'm not sure most hobbyist would be willing to take 30 to 40 stings every day for a few months to reach this "No protection utopia" you've seemed to have attained.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  11. #51
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,379

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

    I'll tell you the truth, no ego here.........I hate getting stung, period!! I always wear gloves and my ventilated jacket/veil combo. I also always wear jeans as well except for once when I wore thin work out pants and took a sting to the leg, that didn't bother me, but it was the thought of getting stung somewhere else that bothered me! I do wear tennis shoes now though instead of my work boots!!

    I do have to wear gloves though because the times I did get stung on them they swell up and look like Mickey Mouse hands! Only place on my whole body that reacts bad to stings............that I know of so far.

    So, call me a wuss..........but atleast I am confident when working the hives!!LOL
    Coyote Creek Bees

  12. #52
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,711

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie B View Post
    Oldtimer,

    I'm not sure most hobbyist would be willing to take 30 to 40 stings every day for a few months to reach this "No protection utopia" you've seemed to have attained.
    No of course they wouldn't, and that's my point. I would not encourage anyone to get 30 or 40 stings a day.

    For me, It was a long time ago, I was a teenage kid with a hard boss. Ego had no part in it, he had his theories and I did what I was told.

    Now, I'm glad of what I have learned. At the time, it was hard work.

    I rarely wear any protection, because I have very gentle bees, which is important to me, and I'm more comfortable without gloves, veil, etc.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,154

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Nabber86 View Post
    The sting itself is no big deal. Feels like a pin prick, well maybe more like a tack. I stay focused and try not do anything stupid like drop a frame loaded with bees.

    8 to 12 hours later it starts swelling. Sometimes the swelling is minor and lasts through the next day. Other times it keeps swelling and blows up like a balloon. And stays that way for the better part of a week. Seems to be no rhyme or reason to the reaction that I can tell.

    Benadryl, ibuprofen, and lots of ice does wonders.
    Generally my reply would be you need to get stung more and more often. But i don't want to encure any liability, so I won't.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  14. #54
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    54

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

    I'm with you, BeeGhost - I just don't care to get stung. Sure, I can shrug them off and keep working, but why go unprotected? Stings to the hands and face are the worst.

  15. #55
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,154

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

    Bap perhaps, but, believe me, not the worst.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  16. #56
    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 find that in springtime my resistance to stings is down and i swell up and itch more. After the first month of working my hives again and after 10 or 12 stings my resistance is back up and its nothing more than a very minor irritation. Of course if i get stung more than a few times early in a inspection i suit up... I'm not brave(stupid) enough to let them wear me out...lol And i normally don't use smoke in my KTBH's.

  17. #57
    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?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    How many queens have you killed so far w/ your no smoke/no veil criteria?
    I have no clue. I got a half a glass baby bottle full of last years. Several of this years in it. I'm trying to put up with the ones I'd rather see dead until fall cause they are making workers for me to use in splits.

    I'll know more about that number about say September.
    Don't laugh it's paid for. -- Manure draws more flies than honey.

  18. #58
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,154

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

    I don't understand. Are you trying to find bees that can be worked w/out a veil and gloves? And doing that search by killing queens that head hives that sting you when you open a hive w/out a veil or gloves? Is that correct?

    Do you search out gentle bees from other beekeepers? Where do queens come from when you want to requeen? Replace the queen you have killed.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  19. #59
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,995

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    I never bother, and as long as the hobbyist doesn't make any screw ups, rarely get stung.
    It might be helpful to hobbyist if you would list all these screw ups to avoid. What are they? What assures a beekeeper that he won't get stung?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  20. #60
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    5,711

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    What assures a beekeeper that he won't get stung?
    I don't know. If you find out, please tell me.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 06-27-2013 at 06:39 AM.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

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