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So I put feeders on two of my warren hives about a month ago. I went to day and saw they were empty so decided to take them off and do a quick hive inspection. I did not smoke since my bees are hardly ever aggressive. As soon as I pulled the first frame, the hive erupted and I was swarmed. I got out with about 30 stings through my suit and jeans and some bruised pride.:pinch:

My question is what happened and how do I prevent it in the future?

I tried to go back in the bee yard and put the top back on but as soon as I got close, the attack resumed... Got the top,back on though. I didn't even try to check my second hive because the first one went so bad. I plan on just leaving them alone and filling their feeder rather than risk another attack. Thanks for the help.

-UGT
 

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urban_greenthumb; My question is what happened and how do I prevent it in the future? -UGT[/QUOTE said:
What happened is you didn 't use smoke. Past behavior does not predict future behavior. Make sure your smoker is always lit and use a few puffs before you open your hives. I often smoke but do not wear protective gear. Much preferable to wearing gear but not using smoke.

Ramona
 

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Do you have marked queens? If so I would check and make sure they were not kicked out, died, superceeded, etc. If they were you may want to replace them or if they are being replaced they may calm down once that is finished and a queen is laying.
 

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What happened is you didn 't use smoke........... Make sure your smoker is always lit and use a few puffs before you open your hives. I often smoke but do not wear protective gear. Much preferable to wearing gear but not using smoke.

Ramona
Absolutely agree. Trying to work a hive with no smoker is always a risk, if something does go wrong, you have no means of putting it right. All "smokeless" beekeepers learn this the hard way eventually if they keep going long enough.

As per Rtoney it is also possible they have changed queen & have new genetics but pretty much even the most normally docile hive can have bad days with no flow etc and combining that with no smoke you have a problem.

By the way, when a hive is opened, some of the bees release alarm pheromones. You see the effect as some of the bees take defensive positions. If the hive goes into attack mode, the whole hive is filled with alarm pheromones. What smoke does, is overpower the alarm pheromones, thus calming the hive. So it is better to use smoke, the bees come through the experience of having their hive opened better if they are kept calm throughout by the proper use of smoke. Letting them get riled up you'll kill more bees, not have as much focus on the job you are doing, and it's bad for the hive generally.
 

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I had a similar event happen to me in August, I had smoke going though.
The hive was queen-less and had been for more then a week, plus there was no flow on.
I put a new queen in and that settled them down a lot. But the foragers and guards were still mean to me for a month. Right now they couldn't care less about me and totally ignore me, because they are busy bringing in Goldenrod right now. But that could change again at any time.
I always suit up and have my smoker going now. Was also told it can take a life cycle of the bees before they treat you nice. All the older bees that remember you need to die off, or so I was told.

Glen
 

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Thanks for all the advice. My thinking was "lighting my smoker is a pain, and I've read a lot of people advocating no smoke..."

This was definitely a good lesson regarding smoke. Not sure about the queen. I know I had a marked queen before but to be honest after coming under attack I panicked and didn't take the time to look for her.

I think I'm just going to throw the top feeder back on, fill her up, and wait for a while, maybe even after winter before doing another hive inspection. Any advice on this? Thanks for chiming in gang. I'm new and still trying to learn
 

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All good advice, a little smoke is better than a lot of smoke. Just enough to disrupt their sense of smell, so they can't communicate.
 

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I suit up, gloves on, have an electric smoker, and a spray bottle or two.

While stings don't really bother me, I just want to go in and do whatever it is I need to do.

I got tired of having to 'back off'.

It just takes less time to be prepared, and you can work very quickly without worrying.

Vented suits are really a pleasure to work in.

I've used one with nothing on underneath on a brutally hot day, and I enjoyed the breeze. Of course, you need a place to change in (I use a shed).
 

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OT:

I usually have to take the hive apart an start shaking and scraping when I visit.

I can't see doing that any other way.

When the roof temperature breaks 120 degrees F, you now what I'm wearing underneath.

I just don't get it when people get surprised when they have to do any real work, and they're not properly attired.

PS-I've done the soaked under the suit bit. Never again. Besides, I paid good money for the 'Breeze'. ;)
 

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I had a hive that got increasingly aggressive and constantly stinging me through my suit. I started wearing my mesh motocycle jacket under my bee suit. Sweatshirts work too in cold weather. It makes enough space between you and the suit so the stingers never get you. Makes requeening an africanized or working a aggressive hive alot less painful
 

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I have screened inner covers and use smoke. On opening my smoked hive there are a dozen or so agitated bees crawling and buzzing on the screen, I smoke them a small puff and wait a bit. They soon move down and start taking honey. All four of my hives are "hot" compared to what I read about bees on this forum, I learned to smoke the hard way early on when starting my beekeeping 18 months ago.

I also think humans give off alarm pheromones, get excited, and the bees will too, or so it seems to me.
 

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I've never been stung through my suit, but many times through my socks. That's where they get me. Keep in mind also that the children of the same queen can change in temperment, even with the same queen. If a queen mates with 15 drones, then you could have some hot drones and same gentle drones in that mix.
 

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Same here Hilltop they have never gotten me through my suit. I have a good loose fitting one. But yup through my socks when wearing runners, now I just ware my high top work boots and make sure my suit is pulled down over them. I have also been stung through my gloves about three times. A guy came over to look at my nasty hive last month and got stung 8-10 time on his head, because he wore a tight suite, I got none.

Glen
 

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Thanks for all the advice. My thinking was "lighting my smoker is a pain
How is it a pain? I just throw in some pinestraw, get a good bit of fire, close the lid and I'm all good....when I don't do that, yeah they always seem to get me right where my veil touches the scalp of my head.
 

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You likely still got attacked because you smelled of attack pheromone. What time did you try doing this action? Night is always the worst as the bees are instinctively waiting for skunks and other night predators to rob them.
 

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..... and I've read a lot of people advocating no smoke..."
There is so much Bad and Harmful information on the inter-tubes. The oh-so-truism is that "on the i'net, no one knows you are a dog".
The greater pathology: these dogs want to establish their individuality and stroke their ego by promoting whatever hair-brained idea that is counter to established practice. If someone is using the inter-tubes for relentless promotion of some half-****ed, new-wave idea in bee-keeping, run the other direction.
 

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Thanks for all the advice. My thinking was "lighting my smoker is a pain, and I've read a lot of people advocating no smoke..."
Those are fools with little experience.....

I work my bees without a suit or veil.... Usually... its always in the truck... and quite often I have my mind changed for me....
 
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