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I do not know what people have been told, but expect there must be some very interesting tales that have come down through the years. Some may be true, some not, but all interesting. What have you heard about bees?

Here is mine:

My father told me early on that a bee cannot sting you if you hold your breath. His explanation was that holding your breath caused the tension in your skin to increase to the point that a stinger could not penetrate. On more than one occasion he demonstrated by holding a honey bee (there may have been a yellow jacket also, but I do not remember) with the stinger to his skin without being stung. May have been that she did not try, I do not know. But to this day I involuntarily hold my breath when I think I may be stung!
 

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just last weekend i went to my brothers home to check his hive for a possible split
he has this one hive and pulls off a 5 gallon bucket spring and fall. the hive is going on 4 years
this spring. i warned him of swarm possibility in the past and his queen was getting kinda old.
well we went to a bee master , and convinced my brother to check for swarm cells or splitting.
as i arrived at his home a loud noise started. WOW. A swarm. i was so excited i threw on a veil
and ran to the hive entrance [ or exit as it now was. ] it was fantastic ! A tornado of bees and I'm
in the middle. my brother is yelling at me cause their all over me, The construction workers next door
packed up their tools and took off. this was truly a chance of a life time for me. not a sting, as i knew
the bees bellies were full of honey. they landed about 60ft overhead in a tree. i left and returned with
swarm traps. they hung out till the middle of the next day and took off.
we checked the hive and it has swarm cells and hope they can build back up with a new queen they produce. Certainly a most exciting day.
 

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Is it the tale that is old, or the wives? Old Wive's Tales or Old Wives Tales? Here's one. A bee line, as if the bee flies straight as an arrow back to the hive, when it doesn't really.
 

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Twice I've heard a story about how the "old timers" would stand underneath a swarm in a tree and beat a pot with a spoon to attract the swarm. I really don't understand how that works.
 

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Twice I've heard a story about how the "old timers" would stand underneath a swarm in a tree and beat a pot with a spoon to attract the swarm. I really don't understand how that works.
Not while it hung in a tree, but while it was in flight, to get it to come down.
 

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My father told me early on that a bee cannot sting you if you hold your breath.
I should have held my breath...
I have a hive that is very active and one that is not so active. So I gave a look. The active hive could use a super and I have there sitting out in the yard from a dead hive three supers so throw one on. I spent some time cleaning up the frames because the chickens made a mess of them cleaning up a wax moth problem. Anyways I was too lazy to get any protection and light the smoker so just do it. Got the cover off and the inner cover transferred to the empty super and put that box on just fine. Now all I got to do is put on the outer cover. Then I notice a bee on my sock and of course I think she is out to get me. So dummy me I flick her off with the hive tool and she came right back at my shin just above the sock and said take that. Ouch.

Ok dummy just put the cover on and stop pestering the bees, End of story.
 

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Not so much an old wive's tale, but the saying a swarm in May, a bale of hay, a swarm in June, a silver spoon, a swarm in July, not worth a fly. That saying was before modern hives and cane sugar, and bees really were not overwintered the way we do it now.
 

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A swarm in May is worth a load of hay;
a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon;
but a swarm in July is not worth a fly.

This is a proverb from the 17th century. So there was no baled hay, but there was refined sugar. Sugar cane has been cultivated and refined since the 9th century. And yes, bees were not overwintered the way we do it now, but they were overwintered. There is no es-skeping that.

And if that isn't the truth I'll eat my hat.
 

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Straight as a Bee-Line...
When bees get water, they fly in a straight line back to the hive. My great Grandad knew every wild hive in the area. He would look for wild bees getting water on a hot day, and watch them fly back to their tree hives. Looking up as he walked the beeline, watching above for the bee traffic, he'd find their hives. So, yes, in that situation, bees fly back to the hive in a straight line.
 

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I think the difference in sugar in the 17th century was that it would have been too expensive to feed to bees.
Well sure. I just didn't want people to think that it didn't exist and wasn't commonly used. You can't find any 17th and 18th Century Cookbooks, what few cookbooks there were then, that used honey as a sweetener. But sugar is.

And I think I would be safe in saying that most people would assume that bees were kept for their honey, but they would be partially wrong about that. The major value of keeping bees during the time we are talking about was the wax. In your own State of Virginia, then the Colony of Virginia, in the early 1700 the Colonial Governor of Virginia reporting on the Gross Colonial Product noted amongst half a dozen major products of the colony "beeswax". Bound for Madiera. Beeswax being a major source of candles, just about the only light source of those times.
 

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When I was ten We had a swarm come flying by the back yard. I had heard the beating on a pan theory so I grabbed a galvanized tub and a metal spoon and started beating on it. I bet I chased those bees a half a mile before I tired out. I don't know what I would have done if had worked.
 

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"Tossing whatever you have on hand through the swarm will bring them down". I have had old farmers tell me that even when they were in an open field they could throw dirt clods through swarms to bring them down....... I have had this method work for me only half the time, the other half you can only wave goodby. :)
 

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Not sure about this one, as I've always run Buckfast -

"Stock your hives with Italian Bees, and requeen with Italians. Caucasians gather too much propolis, and Carniolans swarm excessively."

Some of mine, some years, have swarmed excessively, and some occasionally propolize rather heavily - (although they may have been mutts :) ).

I have no other basis of comparison.
 
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