Over-confidence, or over-stupid? (smoking bees)
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  1. #1
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    Default Over-confidence, or over-stupid? (smoking bees)

    With a nice dandelion bloom going, I thought it'd be safe to open the top cover to check on syrup levels in the feeder without smoking them.
    Apparently a mistake: I had barely lifted the outer cover (slowly) and two bees started to bump my face. One got me in the neck, the other one buried herself in my hair, and was eventually 'dealt with'.

    Nice, sunny day, no wind here. High 60s, dandelion bloom started almost a week ago, and many other plants blooming. Are these conditions not enough to keep the girls gentle and calm? Is smoking ALWAYS necessary?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Over-confidence, or over-stupid? (smoking bees)

    Temperments vary between colonies. Always best to wear a veil or be ready to retreat. With a veil, I would imagine your checking the feeder would have been uneventful on the day you describe. Too late or too early in the day makes a difference. A rain squall coming in can have the bees on alert. But with some hives I have owned, you might still be running:<}

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Over-confidence, or over-stupid? (smoking bees)

    well you tell us - did you not learn the lesson the bees just taught you or do you need a 2nd lesson. Wonderful thing about bees - they tell you when you mess up - just 2 stings - lucky it wasn't 100 - Not going to say stupid but saying not smart.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Over-confidence, or over-stupid? (smoking bees)

    minimum equipment checking bees in the best of times is a smoker and a veil.
    they aren't pets and they are not your friend, nor do they 'know' you.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Over-confidence, or over-stupid? (smoking bees)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightswitch View Post
    Nice, sunny day, no wind here. High 60s, dandelion bloom started almost a week ago, and many other plants blooming. Are these conditions not enough to keep the girls gentle and calm? Is smoking ALWAYS necessary?
    I only smoke aggressive hives - which have been rare of late. "To smoke, or not" is a bit of a hot topic. Many swear by it. I worked 10 hives last week (no smoke), in similar conditions that you describe. It was mid day, and they were busy & oblivious. I removed feeder shims & scraped a little burr comb from frame tops. It turns out I COULD have done it without my CV jacket, but I'd rather be safe than foolish - 'just me. I ALWAYS slip on my veil jacket when working the bees - you just NEVER know when they are going to go from meek to monster.

    If you want to work your bees without protection, some smoke will reduce the risk. If you want to work your bees without smoke, some protection will reduce the risk. I'd recommend one or the other in most cases.
    Last edited by Colobee; 04-19-2016 at 05:53 PM.
    After 40 years of beekeeping, I've come to realize that the bees can fix most of my mistakes.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Over-confidence, or over-stupid? (smoking bees)

    Well down here - a little gentle hive this week could be a African next week - I used to check nucs with cutoffs & t shirts - no way now

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Over-confidence, or over-stupid? (smoking bees)

    Not to mention your next sting could be your last.....why risk it?
    zone 5b
    Back in 2019!

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Over-confidence, or over-stupid? (smoking bees)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightswitch View Post
    Is smoking ALWAYS necessary?
    I've come to believe that the less you use smoke the more your bees will become aggressive towards you. They will come to recognize your pheromones as coming from the one who always bothers them. Also once a bee converts to a guard bee she won't go back to being just a worker, so if you're going in without smoke you will be creating more guard bees and hence more aggressive bees.
    But every sunday afternoon he is a dirt track demon
    In a '57 chevrolet- Jim Croce

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Over-confidence, or over-stupid? (smoking bees)

    Only in deep winter when I expect the bees to be safely inside their hives do I visit them without at least a veil, even for just a quick trip to retrieve something such as a left-behind flashlight.

    The veil is as much for their protection as for mine. I am protecting my eyes from their stings, and it is protecting them from getting entangled in my long hair from which they cannot be extracted alive.

    My veil is attached to my hive jacket and I find it convenient to just put that on, which I do so frequently that I forget I'm wearing it.

    Enj.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Over-confidence, or over-stupid? (smoking bees)

    Experiment with a little puff of smoke at the entrance and then a little puff when you lift the cover. I end up killing way less bees per hour when using a little smoke. I don't use it to stop getting stung, I use it so that I will squash fewer bees.

    Also, - I always wear a veil. The only spot you really, really, really do not want to get stung is on the eyeball. There is very poor circulation to the eyeball itself, and apparently people have gone blind from direct stings to the eyes.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Over-confidence, or over-stupid? (smoking bees)

    I always protect my eyes.
    I don't mind a sting or two but I only have two eyes.
    Wear a veil, always.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Over-confidence, or over-stupid? (smoking bees)

    I have received several stings this week and many could have been prevented if I had used smoke. I was feed/checking nucs and a few decided I should be kamikazed. I was in a hurry and didn't use smoke. You get use to them....
    Splitting a first year hive successfully https://youtu.be/ZfRTreQ-S9c

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Over-confidence, or over-stupid? (smoking bees)

    Thanks for all the replies! The conclusion is: OVER-STUPID!

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Over-confidence, or over-stupid? (smoking bees)

    First year "bee haver" here (haven't graduated to actually "keeping" them yet). I have been "stupid" myself, checking feeders without protection. They haven't taught me a lesson yet, but I think I'll learn from yours! I have 2 hives within 6 feet of each other, and already after 1 week, one hive doesn't even seem to notice I'm there, and the other definitely has more attitude.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Over-confidence, or over-stupid? (smoking bees)

    Always wear a veil. End of lesson one. Always have a lit smoker and give the entrance a puff or two. End of lesson two. Don't get over confident. End of lesson three.
    Cheers
    Rob

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Over-confidence, or over-stupid? (smoking bees)

    I don't wear a veil but I keep it in the truck. I wear glasses and a ball cap and I always smoke 'em. the few times I haven't used smoke they got me hard and got me fast but with a little smoke they're good. I actually like to get a few stings a week but not on my head.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Over-confidence, or over-stupid? (smoking bees)

    again - the bees will teach you if you listen - and this time they were shouting - are you hard of hearing?

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Over-confidence, or over-stupid? (smoking bees)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightswitch View Post
    The conclusion is: OVER-STUPID!
    I think I'd go with "Still learning", same as me.
    After 40 years of beekeeping, I've come to realize that the bees can fix most of my mistakes.

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