Bees in my hair: Help! ( European bees attacking, Wild bees nesting )
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  1. #1
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    Jun 2016
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    Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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    Default Bees in my hair: Help! ( European bees attacking, Wild bees nesting )

    So my neighbours are all bee keepers and our orchard is swarming with bees. There are the Stingless bees, the Black and White Carpenter Bees and then there are the dark European honey bees. The latter have lately become quite aggressive towards me and I'm looking for factors that provoke them.
    I'm dealing with house cleaning 50% of the time and I'm constantly using various types of detergents but being a green cleaning supporter, I only use lemon, baking soda, vinegar and such. I've heard bees tend to get annoyed by sweet odours so I avoid that as much as possible but they keep getting tangled in my hair.
    One even chased me on a 300-meter speed run around the garden. It finally got distracted by a nearby hung jacket so I was able to escape. When I finally got out of my hiding place it quickly sensed me and tried to attack again.

    I avoid messing around with the flowers while there are bees around and usually keep my hair on a tight bun so I'm sure the fellows don't get stuck in my hair by accident.

    I wonder what's the reason behind their random attacks?

    Wild bees:
    There's also a wild bumble bee hive ( currently around 5 bees constantly buzzing around the spot ) trying to nest under our staircase right next to our outdoor dining area but they never attacked us even when they got provoked. How can we make sure the hive doesn't nest under our staircase, they manage to get in the hole no matter how well we seal it and they are circling around it all day even if it's well sealed. Is there any smell or chemical that can make up their mind about leaving the place?
    Last edited by ariellapolter; 06-13-2016 at 04:56 AM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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    Default Re: Bees in my hair: Help! ( European bees attacking, Wild bees nesting )

    P.S.: Is there any natural home cleaning product or method that would keep the wild bees ( and European bees ) off our house and prevent attacks?

    I would really appreciate a quick advice as I'm becoming quite anxious about our little buzzing guests.

    Regards,
    Ary
    Nature conservation supporter and domestic cleaning whiz from Sydney

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Oyster Bay, NY, USA
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    476

    Default Re: Bees in my hair: Help! ( European bees attacking, Wild bees nesting )

    Do you have dark hair? The bees may perceive you as an "animal" (bear, etc) and instinctively try to chase you away. I have dark hair and aways cover it when I'm near a hive. If I don't cover it, I've had bees come at me and either get tangled in my hair or try to sting me.

  5. #4
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    Jun 2016
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    Default Re: Bees in my hair: Help! ( European bees attacking, Wild bees nesting )

    Yes, my hair is dark brown but I didn't think it would bother the hive when it's styled in a thigh bun. I will cover it completely next time I'm in the garden. Are there any colours that usually annoy bees more than others? Should I avoid bright, electric colours or it doesn't matter as long as it's not something dark?
    Last edited by ariellapolter; 06-13-2016 at 05:05 AM.
    Nature conservation supporter and domestic cleaning whiz from Sydney

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Bees in my hair: Help! ( European bees attacking, Wild bees nesting )

    Bees are attracted by some essential oils, specifically lemon grass oil.

    A hat would probably keep them out of your hair. I am a woman beekeeper with very long hair, and even when I'm not not working my bees in my bee gear, I try to keep a hat on in my garden and yard (better for sun protection, too.). Even if the bee just intended to alight on one and check out an intriguing smell - for instance something that smelled like lemon grass oil - they would get tangled in my hair.

    European honey bees are typically only defensive in the area near their hives, sometimes not until you are quite close. They do not pursue people they encounter while they are out foraging (visiting flowers to collect nectar and pollen.)

    I don't believe you have any Africanized honey bees on your continent. AHB are more assertive and persistent, but as I said they aren't any where near you.

    I can't suggest any remedies for local flying creatures, but if you stay away from the hives (unless in bee veil and jacket), avoid attractive smells and wear a hat, you should be fine as far as honey bee are concerned. And if a honey bee does get in your hair I've found that the only practical solution is to give it a sharp smack to kill it in place. One can only rarely get it out without stinging, and since that kills them slowly afterward anyway, it seems kinder simply get it over with. And certainly less distressing all around.

    I wear all colors, light and dark and see no difference. I wear all types of fabrics, including woolly ones in winter and no difference there. I don't really subscribe to the "they think you are a bear theory." Beekeepers traditionally wear light colors, but that may be as much to keep them cool as anything else. I use a white jacket, but I am otherwise wearing dark blue, brown or green pants.

    Finally the situation will change soon as the flowers that attract them will fade and the bees will move on to something else, hopefully not as near to you.

    You might begin to feel more comfortable around honey bees if you ask a beekeeper to give you a close-in tour of their hives (wearing proper bee gear, of course.) If nothing else it will familiarize you with the sound of honey bees flying about during their normal activities, helping you to distinguish them from other sorts of flying bugs. I've noticed that non-beekeepers often mistakenly assume that all flying insects are honey bees, whereas beekeepers recognize the pitch and tone of honey bee flight more easily.

    Enjambres

  7. #6
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    Jun 2016
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    Default Re: Bees in my hair: Help! ( European bees attacking, Wild bees nesting )

    Thanks, Enjambres that's an amazing answer. The bees I have trouble with are dark, they have little or no hair, dark brown body and sharp dark-colored transparent wings. I thought they may be wasps but their body structure resembles the one of a bee. I haven't shown them to my neighbours but since I know they have European honeybees I thought they were from their hives. Where can Africanised bees be found? I've read about their breed but didn't quite understand - are they in Africa or Europe?

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Bees in my hair: Help! ( European bees attacking, Wild bees nesting )

    "Africanized honey bees", aka Killer Bees are problem in South, Central and NOrth America in the lower sections of US (Arizona, California, Louisiana, Florida, Oklahoma, New Mexico and very occasionally north of there. They are aggressive towards humans, sometimes unprovoked. But they are not found in Oz, so don't worry about them.

    What you are describing as bothersome does NOT sound like European honeybees at all. (Not to say they aren't bothersome, just you're thinking of the wrong culprit.) Many people who are not bekeepers mistakenly poiint to honeybees because the bugs in question look like pictures fo honeybees. Those of us who manage honeybees are frequently consulted about "honeybee" problems that turn out to other insects altogether. We don't mind, though, because it gives us a chance to talk about our favorite topic and also because we like opportunities to share factual info about honeybees.

    I suggest you go to the most sympathetic-seeming nearby beekeeper and ask these questions. I'd bet they will be happy to help you figure what to do about the issue, and they'd likely be delighted to suit you up and give you a tour of their apiary. I do that about once a week, often to total strangers. I have never had a visitor yet who wasn't intrigued by my amazing bugs. And we all have a vested interest, because honeybees are essential to our food supply chain. And who doesn't like to eat?

    You may also have local resources in your Provincial Department of Natural Resources (or whatever name it goes by in your neck of the woods.) They likely have experts to help identify the specific creature that is bothering you, and good advice on what to do about it.

    Enj

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Bees in my hair: Help! ( European bees attacking, Wild bees nesting )

    Thanks, Enj!
    Your replies really made my day. I feel more confident now, knowing honeybees don't attack without reason and I'm happy I'm not having issues with my neighbouring honeybees. I will talk to my neighbours and probably consult with a specialist. I've always loved bees and it's time I get to know them a little bit better.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Landing, NJ, USA
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    Default Re: Bees in my hair: Help! ( European bees attacking, Wild bees nesting )

    There are folks on here who seem to be able to identify any bug, plant or mineral found on the face of the earth. Post a picture of the bug in question.
    Bill

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