No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.
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  1. #1
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    Default No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.

    I just attended the MN state fair and saw a beekeeper giving a demo in short sleeves and jeans. He had no veil or gloves and was making a point to let bees crawl all over his hand. Iím sure the intent is to show just how gentle honeybees can be.

    However, I believe demos such as these may be contributing to the decline of beekeepers.

    Sure, this demo pulled in lots of people, provided lots of interesting information, and answered questions but I donít think the audience could get past the thought ďIsnít this guy getting stung?! He must be a masochist!Ē

    Beekeepers wear veils (with some minor exceptions). Why are demos not accurately depicting this hobby/profession? Instead they make it look like a club for crazies. I understand things like bee bearding and other death defying stunts get in the news but when we have an opportunity like a state/county fair lets make beekeeping look like something the average person can do.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.

    I think a veil should always be used,, if one gets stung in the eye - sight could be lost.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.

    Wearing PPE is a personal choice, there's no laws against not wearing anything. After taking a sting to the nose just observing... well mainly observing.... guess what, I wear a veil now all the time. Now I don't worry about getting stung or buzzed and can be that much more relaxed when I'm out there. I don't think not wearing anything empowers anyone, once you get a hive and think about opening it up most sane people start looking up bee suits and veils....

  5. #4
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    Default Re: No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.

    I'm sure there are lots of stories out there about getting stung in the face, I've got a couple myself. The veil is a necessary part of beekeeping, I don't think anyone would argue against that. At some point every beekeeper encounters a defensive hive.

    When and what protective clothing you wear is entirely up to you, however when you are demonstrating beekeeping to the public please portray a hobby/profession that might appeal to others so that beekeeping doesn't continue to be a dying art.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.

    I personally always wear a veil and gloves, even if otherwise I'm wearing shorts and a T-shirt, because there are two places that I do not wish to be stung: my head, and my hands.

    I know that under ordinary circumstances bees aren't that likely to sting, if you move slowly and deliberately. For that reason, while I always have a suit at my disposal, I often elect to dispense with it. (Summers around here are a sauna-bath enough as it is...) But I'm not, per se, trying to make any sort of a "statement." Honeybees are stinging insects; therefore, they might sting you anywhere (that you allow them to), at any time. No harm, no foul ... it's simply what they do. "Plan accordingly."

    Sure, I don't mind showing people that bees can crawl all over you without stinging you. I spend a lot of time with my bees and I don't fear them. Hence, I'm going to do what I normally do. But, I'm always going to recognize that they are ... (a) "stinging" ... and (b) for pete's sake, they're just "insects!" Therefore, my hands are going to be covered (aside from the obvious fact that beehives are also sticky!). And my face and neck are going to be covered. Always. Gloves are no hindrance to me. Neither is a veil. "Be friendly or be PO'd as the case may be, but these two parts of my anatomy are off limits!"

    P.S.: Sometimes, a hive is "Hot!!" At that time you must quickly(!) withdraw, suit up, and go back to see what's going on ... because uncharacteristically defensive behavior, which is always a non-zero possibility, is also a strong symptom that demands immediate investigation ... investigation which must not be further delayed by what the bees are doing.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.

    Sorry, I don't understand this attitude.

    I dont wear a veil but I view that as my personal choice. I don't find being stung in the face or otherwise to be a big deal, nor am I stung often. I've taken twelve stings so far this year, four of them in the face. None of them where painful enough to make me wish I had a veil.

    But, just because I don't use a veil doesn't mean that I go around telling people not use one. I tell them that its a choice, not an absolute. Just because I don't use one now doesn't even mean that I won't in the future. It all depends on what kind of person you are and your style of beekeeping, and the temperament of your bees.

    But it seems like the people who do always use a veil are very defensive about it. Its like you feel like you have something to prove and have some kind of mild hostility/ distain for people who don't use veils. You hint that we are somehow crazy or foolish, now this, the idea that we are somehow actually hurting beekeeping....I just don't get it.

    Its not like not wearing your seatbelt or motorcycle hemet, unless you are allergic beestings are not a deadly threat, heck, even if you are allergic there is a fast acting, highly effective easily used treatment. We are just talking about pain here. If you don't like it, fine, I won't call you a chicken, just don't call me crazy.

    I think a veil should always be used, if one gets stung in the eye - sight could be lost.
    Prove it. I did a search on beestings and blindness and could find almost nothing on the subject.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.

    I entered into this hobby with a great fear of bees. I don't like getting stung and really it was the thought not the pain that I was afraid of. I think now it is better to portray the honeybee as a docile insect rather than one that is out to get you. Because of the experience with my bees I have opened up hives with no protection showing other people that are deathly afraid of bees that they are not the evil insects that they have been portrayed as. I tell each and every person that we should not do this but I can assure you that their fear is diminished by what they experience. So am I crazy? Maybe, but I don't feel that a beekeeper who feels comfortable with his bees is crazy if they don't suit up for every visit. Maybe in the future my views will change with a bad experience but for now...
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  9. #8
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    Default Re: No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.

    Bit of a storm in a tea cup here. If you don't wear a veil for any reason then its up to you. I choose to wear one but, unless the hive is really savage I don't worry about the spacesuit and gloves.

    Horses for courses.
    Cheers
    Rob

  10. #9
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    Default Re: No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.

    I hear what Aerindel is saying, and I respect that. But the more I learn about bee allergies, and people who have been keeping bees for years who suddenly get a dangerous reaction, the more inclined I am to agree with the OP.

    The fact is that bees can kill you. Sure, it's not that common, but they can certainly do you some damage. If you understand that, and get to 'know' your bees well enough, you can certainly get to a point where you can pretty safely manage them without protective gear.

    But I don't think it's wise to do demos for people who know nothing about them without making all that clear. Seems wiser to set an example of safety first. You would with power tools.

    Remember Timothy Treadwell, who used to hang out with wild bears? He was a great activist. He used to talk about how misunderstood they were, and how people shouldn't fear them - but in the end, the bears killed him and his girlfriend. His heart was in the right place, but getting killed by the bears really hurt his case for the bears.

    The same could be said for our case - as beekeepers. If you go around telling everyone how harmless the bees are, people are going to take it pretty hard when their kid or their dog gets stung so bad they end up in the hospital.

    I think there's a happy medium of respect that should be taught first. Bees are not "harmless".

    Adam

  11. #10
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    Default Re: No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aerindel View Post
    even if you are allergic there is a fast acting, highly effective easily used treatment.
    I am allergic to bee stings. The pain of the sting is nothing. The treatment is short lived and still requires a visit to the hospital. On Epi-Pens they say to call 911 immediately after administering it. Once the epinephrin is used up the allergic symptoms return. After a few trips to the emergency room and feeling like I can't breath, swelling throat and face, itching all over, passing out and having all sorts of other unpleasant reactions, I would rather just wear a good veil. The Epi-Pens are expensive, and so are the lab tests, the IVs, the steroid shots, the benidryl and the steroid pills you have to take for three days afterward. My insurance was billed for over $5000.00 for one ER visit. Being really allergic is no picnic, and is extremely unpleasant, physically and financially, not to speak of life threatening. I also react negatively to Epinephrin, so that isn't so wonderful either. An allergic reaction can start at any time for anyone.

    I recommend always wearing a veil.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.

    When I am by myself I wear shorts and a t-shirt. When I am teaching or working for the State I wear short sleves and a veil. I have been in some really defensive hives in the Islands and I do not wear gloves. I could give better examples but there are cases pending.
    Bee bearding is not quite as simple as you might imagine. First the only audience should be beekeepers that are not waiting for a disaster. Most importantly. You need to take about 12 of your strongest hives. Move them about a mile every day at the peak flying time for a week before the event. This will eliminate most of the old forager bees and bees that are likely to sting, leaving nurse bees that only want to be near the queen hanging on your chin.
    americasbeekeeper.com
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  13. #12
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    Default Re: No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joes_bees View Post
    When and what protective clothing you wear is entirely up to you, however when you are demonstrating beekeeping to the public please portray a hobby/profession that might appeal to others so that beekeeping doesn't continue to be a dying art.
    Beekeeping is a dying art? What makes you think so?

    What was the set up? Was this demo out in the open or in a screened cage?
    Mark Berninghausen

  14. #13

    Default Re: No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.

    for me I can't see thru a veil and when its 95 plus wearing a bee suit is a heart attack ready to happen. there is no place on my body I haven't been stung. and even in the eye ball 2 yrs ago a first for me. not blind yet. I don't own a bee suit or veil. if one needs one use it. the bees can smell your fear on you and will sting you. I don't think not wearing one proves any thing to any one its just a matter of choice. I teach new beekeepers and tell them if you fell uncomfortable without one wear it.
    Don

  15. #14
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    Default Re: No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.

    I always wear a veil and most likely will always wear a veil. I also wear gloves. I also alway wear eye protection when working most power tools. At times I attempt to go without the gloves but always appear to take a few stings. I am not into pain for the joy of pain, so I end up going back to wearing gloves. I also use smoke when not specificly looking for the queen.

    Bees are not pets. Beekkeeping should also not be an excuse to experience pain. If I can use smoke, veil, and gloves to get into a good relationship with my bees I think I have been sucessful as a beekeeper.
    Bee all you can Bee!
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  16. #15
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    Default Re: No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.

    I am allergic to bee stings. The pain of the sting is nothing. The treatment is short lived and still requires a visit to the hospital. On Epi-Pens they say to call 911 immediately after administering it.
    Oh I know its no joke. I am an EMT and work on an ambulance. When people use epi I am the one the shows up with the second (and third) dose. I didn't mean to imply that its not something to be avoided and if you know you are allergic by all means wear a spacesuit. Heck, wear a spacesuit even if you aren't allergic if you want to, I don't care. What I mean is that unlike the consequences of not wearing other protective gear like seatbelts, helmets, life jackets, SCBA's etc there actually is something you can do to alleviate the the effects. There are no epipens that put your skull back together when you get ejected from a car and yet tens of thousands of people die every year from not wearing a seatbelt, those are the people that I call crazy. Not wearing a veil is nothing compared to not wearing a seatbelt.

    Bees are not pets
    They are if thats how you treat them. Just like some people have dogs that are not pets and spiders that are, it all how you view them. It doesn't change the animal at all but your relationship with them will dictate your actions.

    If I can use smoke, veil, and gloves to get into a good relationship with my bees I think I have been sucessful as a beekeeper.
    So you are, and if I can not use smoke, a veil or gloves and still be in a good relationship with my bees I think that should also be viewed as success. There is more than one way to do just about anything. When someone starts saying there is only one way to do anything, not just for them but for everybody I start getting nervous.

    Just imagine if I made a post saying that no one should wear veils during demo's because it makes people think that bees are dangerous and that you can't be a bee keeper without loads of equipment. It would be just as false as saying that not wearing a veil means you have to be crazy to keep bees.

    If you really want to put on a good bee demo make it clear that there are many different ways to keep bees and many different types of hives and equipment and go on to explain the way that you do it while letting the audience know that its not the only way it can be done. Presenting a living hobby with ability to pick and choose your management style will be more appealing than presenting any one method as gospel.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.

    I live, work, and keep honey bees, here in Tucson, Arizona. Like fat/beeman I usually wear shorts and a T-shirt, with tennis shoes. It is usually extremely hot here, most days near or over 100F. I have a veil standing by, I do not often put one on - at least, not since I switched out all my hives from AHB to EHB, almost a decade ago. I am a bit older, now, than I was when I first started keeping bees 55 vs 10. I now raise many queens, sometimes year-'round. It would be extremely more difficult, if not impossible, for me to do what I need to do to raise queens if I had to wear a veil. With a veil I cannot see eggs or young larvae in cells. A veil makes it very difficult to locate a queen, even if she is marked. How would I ever locate a virgin?

    Like I said, I keep a veil handy. There may be an occasion when I might need one - fortunately those times have been rare in the past decade. I regularly get stung in and around my nose and ears. It hurts, I don't like it, but I usually need to see eggs and young larvae, to quickly locate virgins and laying queens - in order to mark them. If I were wearing a veil, I wouldn't be able to do those tasks.

    Besides keeping bees, riding motorcycles, driving cars, mountain climbing, etc. - there is one thing we humans do that most certainly leads to death, more certainly than any other thing we do - we live. It is almost certainly fatal.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 09-05-2012 at 09:17 AM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  18. #17
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    Default Re: No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.

    Joesph, you're right!
    The most dangerous thing a person can do is be born.
    Nearly 100% of those who are born later die.

    I'd say all of them do but I am sure there are some on the forum who would contest this, as I know scientific study proving it is so and can refer them to no research paper.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.

    PPE is PPE. Safety is NOT A CHOICE. I am a firefighter and don't fight fire in a T-shirt - why would I work bees with no PPE? Same difference.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul McCarty View Post
    PPE is PPE. Safety is NOT A CHOICE. I am a firefighter and don't fight fire in a T-shirt - why would I work bees with no PPE? Same difference.
    You're absolutely right.
    If I don't wear a veil, I endanger my station mates...people will die if I get stung...
    And if firefighters respond to a fire in t-shirts, there's a 3% chance they'll have an allergic reaction, and an even smaller chance of it causing actual harm.
    With prompt treatment it almost never will result in permanent damage.

    You're right...it's exactly the same difference.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: No Veil Demos are Bad for Recruiting.

    Safety may not be a "choice". Especially when fighting fires, likely because the characteristics of fire (a chemical reaction) is "always" the same.

    The interaction between beekeeper and honey bees is NOT "always" the same. Choices of PPE can, in beekeeping, more easily be varied due to the varying nature of the threat.

    Of course I wouldn't fight fire in a T-shirt . Fire's danger is usually, if not always, the same.

    Honey bees are not, at all, like fire. They are living creatures and extremely diverse in how they interact with their environment. Fire, is not a living creature (though it sometimes seem like it might be), it always interacts with its environment in exactly the same way. Give it ample fuel, heat, and oxygen and it will do the same thing every time. If that were true of honey bees, and they were all like the AHB colonies I kept for about a decade -- I might even consider leaving beekeeping. Fortunately not all honey bees are the same 'threat level' as fire, is. I do, however, keep various beekeeping PPE available, and use them when it seems appropriate. I do not completely shun beekeeping PPE. Some beekeeping PPE can be essential, when the situation warrants it. Some, used excessively, can cause other issues like dehydration and heat illnesses.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

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