Beekeeper Smell
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Thread: Beekeeper Smell

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Boulder, CO
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    Smile Beekeeper Smell

    Hi all,

    Given the great sense of humor of this forum, I'm readying myself for some interesting answers but this is a serious question from a newbie .

    Do you pay attention to how you smell when you inspect your hives? I mean: Are there any smells that bees dislike such as deodorants, perfumes etc.?

    Thank you.
    “The bee's life is like a magic well: the more you draw from it, the more it fills with water” ― Karl Von Frisch

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA, USA
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    Default Re: Beekeeper Smell

    The bees will be your guide. They have a precise feedback system.
    For starters, do not smell like a bear, skunk, raccoon, mouse, flower, or gas can. When they sting gloves or your suit they mark it with alarm pheromone. Smoke the area and later wash it.
    8 years, 8 hives

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
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    5,604

    Default Re: Beekeeper Smell

    Alarm pheromone smells a lot like bananas. It might not be a real good idea to eat a Banana Split right before inspecting your colonies.
    To everything there is a season....

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lamar Co. Alabama, USA
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    4,128

    Default Re: Beekeeper Smell

    They don't like sweaty bee suits that got that way from to many 90+ days in the summer between washings. Wash you jacket or suit after every couple of uses in the summer or if you get a lot of stings.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Milledgeville, Georgia
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    48

    Default Re: Beekeeper Smell

    My Bees hate gas oil smell
    Fill any GAS Bee blowers or syrup pump motors before leaving shop and clean up good.
    John Pluta http://GeorgiaBees.blogspot.com Common Sense KISS Beekeeping Treated Boxes Bees Full Frames Foundation

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Mt Juliet TN USA
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    319

    Default Re: Beekeeper Smell

    Don't hug up on your dog right before inspecting hives.

  8. #7
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    Oct 2013
    Location
    Caledonia,michigan
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    208

    Default Re: Beekeeper Smell

    I was told fabric softeners are bad also.
    I picked up a lightly used bee jacket from a friend and the girls attacked,found out his wife loves using fabric softener.
    Washed it and all is good

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
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    1,530

    Default Re: Beekeeper Smell

    Certain meds also change your body odor. I now have psoriasis and the meds must smell like bananas or something to the bees. After 20 years of never needing protective gloves, now I don't DARE even take a peek inside or add feed without gloves on or they will mass-attack my hands.



    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper and Rusty's Bees.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Caledonia,michigan
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    Default Re: Beekeeper Smell

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Hills Farm View Post
    Certain meds also change your body odor. I now have psoriasis and the meds must smell like bananas or something to the bees. After 20 years of never needing protective gloves, now I don't DARE even take a peek inside or add feed without gloves on or they will mass-attack my hands.



    Rusty
    I never thought of that,but that might be part of the reason I can not be bare handed, They hit me fast but if I wear gloves (even disposable), no problem.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
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    2,868

    Default Re: Beekeeper Smell

    They love that new beekeeper smell.
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -H.S. Thompson

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Shickshinny, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Beekeeper Smell

    New beekeeper smell !!!! now thats funny

  13. #12
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    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
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    Default Re: Beekeeper Smell

    You will find out rather quickly if they don't like how you smell. The hard part is finding out exactly what smell they don't like.
    I helped out a beekeeper last summer that had a hard time even getting close to his hives to inspect. He never had a problem before, so it was perplexing.
    I walked right up to his hives and they hardly noticed me. He got within 30' and they lit him up.
    Come to find out he switched shampoos. The bees hated it evidently. It tooks days to determine what he did "different". He switched back to his regular shampoo as was fine.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Beekeeper Smell

    >Do you pay attention to how you smell when you inspect your hives?

    Yes.

    > I mean: Are there any smells that bees dislike such as deodorants, perfumes etc.?

    Yes.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Frankfort, Ohio
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    904

    Default Re: Beekeeper Smell

    Quote Originally Posted by cg3 View Post
    They love that new beekeeper smell.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Frankfort, Ohio
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    904

    Default Re: Beekeeper Smell

    I avoid any smells I possibly can. No cologne, gas, or oil. For the sake of those around me I do wear BO block though! My bee suit I typically wash with a scent free detergent or just wash down with the garden hose and hang it on the line to air dry.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Hopkins, South Carolina
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    639

    Default Re: Beekeeper Smell

    Aftershave always brings the girls closer, smell sweat, the girls will come..

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
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    5,218

    Default Re: Beekeeper Smell

    Quote Originally Posted by cg3 View Post
    They love that new beekeeper smell.
    Awesome response!
    http://OxaVap.com Your source for the ProVap 110
    OA Vaporizer. The fastest vaporizer on the market!

  19. #18
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    Jan 2015
    Location
    Penobscot County, ME, USA
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    Default Re: Beekeeper Smell

    Quote Originally Posted by GaryG74 View Post
    They don't like sweaty bee suits that got that way from to many 90+ days in the summer between washings. Wash you jacket or suit after every couple of uses in the summer or if you get a lot of stings.
    After observing the condition of suits/jackets worn by workers at a commercial operation that I have spent considerable time at, I don't worry much about washing them. That might be different if I lived in a warmer climate, though it can get pretty warm here in July and August.

    My suit and jacket and gloves are stained with the various bits of stuff from inside the hives, I think that the bees find it familiar and comfortable, as I often pick up "hitchhikers" when walking around and gathering up stuff before I go to the hives (which are hundreds of yards away from the house). My wife says that they "know" me and recognize me, but I sort of laugh at that idea. I think it's more likely that they key on the suit. Although...I do sometimes pick up hitchhikers when I'm not wearing it...nah, that's just silly.

    On the rare occasion that I observe a bee stinging my suit or gloves, I don't worry about that either. It dissipates fairly quickly. Once in a while I might smoke the area a little bit, if I happen to have the smoker handy, but I'm not about to go throw the stuff in the washer as soon as I get back to the house just because there were a few stings.

    Sometimes I don't find all of the hitchhikers before getting back in the house, and after I hang the suit up there will be some bees crawling out of the pockets or other places that I didn't notice they were, or I'll see them flying around, attracted either to the windows if it's still daylight outside or the lightbulbs at night.

    There was one evening last Fall, when I had gotten a little nip of whiskey before getting out of the suit. As I was walking around I felt a little tickle between my shoulderblades- a couple of hitchhikers had crawled down inside my shirt. I think they liked it there, nice and warm and dark...but I wasn't real comfortable with leaving them there. I managed to get them out without crushing them.

    When I was first learning, before I actually spent any time around bees, I asked the same sort of question about the use of personal care products. I don't know if they "like" what I use...but they don't seem to mind it either.
    If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
    Zone 4a/b

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,922

    Default Re: Beekeeper Smell

    I wash my jacket once every two years whether it needs it or not.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Enfield, Ct.
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    74

    Default Re: Beekeeper Smell

    Quote Originally Posted by laketrout View Post
    New beekeeper smell !!!! now thats funny
    Being a noob and having a all new setup, coat, gloves etc, my wife and I went out to install our 3 pkgs of bees. We had read all the usual about smells and so on. We started noticing bees hanging around on our new coats we just figured it was cooler and the sun was warm so they were attracted to the brightness. We never got stung and had a good laugh while getting the last of them off before going in. Our nice white. Coats were all coated with little tiny brown spots. Guess they didn't care for the "new beekeeper smell" and figured they would add their own smells lol.

    Walt

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