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Why do bees sting some people and not others. I am a mechanic by trade and I have 2 hives. I have opened them up and so far I have not been stung. Now I had a couple of beekeepers helping me look for a queen. I have not used smoke on this hive and did not this time. The interesting part we all had vales on and no other protection. I did not receive a sting, Joe got stung once and Denise got stung 3 times and had bees buzzing him the whole time. He had to put on all his protection gear on to keep from getting more stings. So I guess my question is why would on person trigger the bees sting and others don't?
 

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Thank you for asking one of the greatest question of all time. Personally, I believe it has to do with smells. Could it possibly adrenaline levels? I don't know but believe that it does have to do with smells.

Can bees smell fear?

I've read many posts where people say they force themselves to calm down from a hectic day and that working in the bee yard helps them to calm down.

I've also read posts sharing that smoke helps the bees to remain calm and most eveyone agrees that smoke help to block the bees ability to interpret smells.
 

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Keep in mind once the first bee stings she leaves pheromones that draw other, defensive bees. It's not uncommon to go most of the day in the beeyards without a sting, then get one and bingo....the remainder of the day it's one sting after another. Also, if you wear gloves and those get stung then you carry those pheromones into every hive afterward...it's the first thing they smell when you open the hive.
 

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I brought a class out to a couple colonies a few weeks ago. While I and several students crouched right over the landing boards examining pollen baskets (these have always been very gentle colonies for me), a few students at the back of the group started getting tagged all of a sudden. The students had all been camping for a week on-site for this permaculture certification, and I wondered if it had to do with odor. But no way to tell... the odd part was it was the people FARTHEST from the colonies that got hit. :scratch:.
 

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...
I've also read posts sharing that smoke helps the bees to remain calm and most eveyone agrees that smoke help to block the bees ability to interpret smells.
Smoke intereferes with smells? Not sure on that one. It is said that bees have an even better sense of smell than dogs. They have it down to the very molecules of scent. So perhaps smoke clouds this a bit... but not much. Same way a dog can smell a treat in the midst of a million other odors going on at the same time.

The thing that smoke realy does and why it calms the bees so well is because they think the hive is in danger of fire. So they do what any sentient being would do in the face of fire. They get their valuables and prepare to leave. To the bees that means honey. They go straight to the honey and gorge themselves. Once they are full to the gills with honey they are calm as anyone after a big meal. So they are less prone to sting.
 

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It may have something to do with bee memory. Every human being has a different scent (perhaps based on pheromones)than anyone else, sort of like finger prints. In my experience with bees (50+ years), they have a memory for hive positions which seems to last about 2 weeks. Consequently, they may have memory for their beekeeper's human scent, somewhat like dogs and that of their masters. OMTCW
 

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Smoke intereferes with smells? Not sure on that one. The thing that smoke realy does and why it calms the bees so well is because they think the hive is in danger of fire.
I agree with the first and not the second. If the bees are loading up to abandon the hive, how come even when you smoke the heck out of them, they don't leave the hive?

I think most beekeepers would agree that smoke really stupefies the bees, clouds their senses, and interferes with the odor system in the hive, by which internal hive activities are regulated.

In my article in the American Bee Journal I describe the many layers of scent communication via pheromones that goes on inside a normal hive.

However, I have been a beekeeper for more than 30 years and I have never believed that old story about bees "thinking" the hive is on fire. Impossible to prove, anyway.

I believe they are intoxicated by smoke. They lose their "senses" and just start eating as much honey as they can hold, which makes them even more stupefied. Pretty much, smoked bees act like they are "stoned".

By the way, it is a mistake to open hives without smoke. It is far more disturbing to them than if they are smoked. I wouldn't want to have surgery done on me while I was awake, and opening up a hive is like that: it's hard on the colony. Better that they should be knocked out a bit, and wake up after it's over.

Finally, I am sure bees respond to the scent of fear. They also seem to react badly to certain perfumes. And of course, the smell of venom and the alarm odor just gets them riled up even more.
 

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I am sure bees respond to the scent of fear. They also seem to react badly to certain perfumes. And of course, the smell of venom and the alarm odor just gets them riled up even more.
I think the alarm pheromone is the main thing. I have had them go after a spot on my glove where another bee has already left a stinger. The guard bees smell that and immediately go into alert mode. The first time I'm bumped and see the guard bees acting aggressive I put on all my gear. Bees also tend to go after dark colors. What where the other guys wearing? Our neighbors black lab was my bees favorite target. He come over and when I was checking the hive and almost always get them stirred up just walking around the hive where I was working. I have noticed they go after the people that are fearful and make quick motions when the bees buzz them. People duck, jerk and swing at them. This greatly increases their chance of getting stung. Bees definitely go after some people more than others for reasons unknown.
 

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Ben Brewcat, Don't crowd the entrance of a hive always have people stand on side. helps advoid what happend to your class. And not even bees like people in the back row:lpf:
 
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