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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know you guys always say – oh they are so sweet, you can put your bare hands in the middle of the cluster, and feel the excitement,.


Anyway – I’m not weird about stings, but I'm still am such a newbie I avoide them. Running 7 hives now and on my 2nd year and not been stung by my own bees yet. I take stings from local wasps, hornets all the time – but when working bees with the right gear have yet to take stings.

I have however been chewed apart during swarm collections. I think it is everybody telling me how docile they are the leads me into a false security

Last year took a bunch of hits during a collection, but that swarm was starting to get establish and build comb, so I understand. Today not sure as the swarm was only 1 hour old, and came from a nearby tree.
Anyway they were hanging on a low branch and I just walked up and tried to easy coax them into my box.


The branch was really thick trunk so there was no shaking it or cutting it. Well as soon as I started to brush them off the tree with my bee brush – a few of the girls thought it would be good to attack. Here I am standing there in shorts and t-shirt, playing the role of the expert beekeeper, no veil no gloves. Got the locals watching, and all - after a few stings to the head and legs– I had to scoot. Then I had a mess – bees all over the place – a flying swarm, some in the box, some still on the tree, many in the air.
Not to mention I wonder what the locals thought:

"There goes that beekeeper run off by the bees"

My pride was hurt worse than the stings. I’m glad I included my bee suit in the truck. After I put my full suite body armor, had no trouble mopping up, pretty sure I got the queen, but it was so windy i lot a lot of the flyers


Just my story, at least the swarm is now resting in my 10 frame brood box down in the bee yard.


http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/FFj6jkXOcPXGqsyCZFIXXQ?feat=directlink
 

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This is a little swarm and like you said, with shorts and t shirt you should have been OK if you
do this...

Water spray at first, I don't know but...who ever invented a bee brush should have been...
Throw that bee brush away, if anything, use a feather.
This is a nice set up using a plastic garbage bag put over and give a good knock on the branch or
gentle sweep them down with a feather.

Konrad
 

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"...I’m not weird about stings, but I'm still am such a newbie I avoide them..." i've been messin with bees scince the 60's, and i sure as heck avoid 'em too. i suit up EVERY TIME i mess with any bees. i dont need to show off, or prove anything, nor do i have any desire to develop a tolerance. ask someone who took one near the eye how much fun that is. have fun,be safe and good luck,mike
 

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Are swarms docile? Yes, for the most part. I have been told that if they are a "Dry swarm" (one that has been hanging in the bivouac stage for some time and are running out of honey stored inside them), they can be rather disagreeable. Spraying them down with a mist of 1:1 sugar water is supposed to help this considerably. Your story seems to be the exception. I wonder if they don't like the smell of your soap/detergent/aftershave/something?

Here are some photos (and a Link to a thread) of a swarm that issued from one of our hives this spring. You will see her hand covered with bees. She was not stung at all.

Link to photos

RKR
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I'm with you Mike, I'll put on a veil everytime from here on out. No need to show off, or risk face stings

I also like the garbage bag idea, there was no way to 'shake' them off this limb as it was a trunk, but I could have gotten a bag allthe way around them and then worked them off.



I was thinking - and I did spray them a bit with some light sugar water that had lemongrass oil. The thing is the water in my sprayer has been there a while, it smelled okay but now that I think about it I bet it's months old. Perhaps that had something to do with it - or the bee brush ticked off a few.
Oh well We learn from experiance. IN the end everythign worked out okay:)
 

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I hate...let me say this again...HATE those stupid bee brushes and so do all 9 of my hives....and no, i am not killing them with it...i literally cannot get any softer using it. Everytime it comes around them without even touching them, they come out to greet...so, it stays in the garage and i use it to dust off my motorcycle...
 

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I had to scoop a swarm off of a fence this year. I'm glad I was wearing a glove, because it looked like a little porcupine after I was done trying to gently guide the girls into a box.

"Bees don't read the books" rings true more than I'd like to admit.
 

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most swarms are docile, but there are factors that may lead them to being angry such as length of time outside (without a new home), inclement weather (they sat out in the rain overnight, AHB genes, etc. I always test the waters before I play with them, if I get close and they start headbutting me I throw on the veil. Sugar water spray does help a lot.
 
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