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Today I sat watching my 2 hives for a few hours - that is before getting run off in the last few minutes I was there. lol They sure were busy.

Mainly I wanted to give them enough suagr water (about a tablespoon full) to mark one gorged bee with a colored dot and time how long it would take for that filled up bee to unload inside the hive and leave to fill up again. They weren't finding the sugar water (which didn't surprise me) so I opened up a jar with some goldenrod scent I made near last Summer's end. After waiting an hour for them to find that - and they didn't - I thought to try another scent. My wife had just made some cookies and left the vanila extract where I could see it and I thought, "Well, why not?" lol In the process of getting a drop of the stuff in a piece of wood I got some on my finger. 20 minutes later I got stung. Not thinking much about it I stayed about the same 8 feet from the hive just sitting and watching and 10 minutes later - POW ! ! I got another sting. I should have taken the hint, but not me. Less than 5 minutes later another sting. I didn't want to make my hive Africanized if I hadn't already (lol) so I gathered up my stuff and went away.

Shucks - I knew the scent of a bananna would set them off, but I either didn't ever hear about the vanilla extract making them angry or I forgot. I bet I'll remember it now. Anyway, I decided to get away while I still had some guard bees alive and well.

What surprised me was that I saw several bees taking in pollen. Although it was a pleasant surprise, beng January 20 te pollen surprised me. A few weeks ago I saw a goldenrod plant about 6" high and another one about 12" tall. I'm sure Winter isn't over because generally February is the coldest month on the 33rd parallel, so I'm not nearly ready to take their insulation down. But, It is a reminder to me to make final preparations for Spring. I have two bee trees I'll try my first trapouts on and its time to get lure box locations all mapped out and pig trail roads near another bee tree clearred for traffic.

While I have the floor are there any other scents (other than colognes and perfumes and other toiletries) I should aviod having on me while I - um - bee?

Thanks
bnt
 

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heavy pollen here in Alabama today too.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Pollen coming in here, too. Unusual for this time of year.



Thanks for the nice pictures. I'm on the verge of ordering my first dslr. My camcorder won't give me bee pictures that size. At least not without my little pseudo macro lens. I have a cheap little close up lens I wanted to experiment with, but I got my bees angry from the vanilla scent when I had nice enough weather that they were getting out enough to take macro pics and after that was afraid to get close enough to shoot them.

The next few days here is forecast to get into the 20s, and then it will warm up again.
 

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Fusion power,
Thanks for the reply. I'm about the 33rd parallel, so I'm looking forward to the bees getting heavily into it, too.

johng,
I looked at the buds breaking on a tree where I heard the bees roar. The buds are deep red - nearly purple - but I know very little about plant identification. Maybe I should join a plant forum or just Google "pictures of whatever I want to identify." (-:
 

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I had pollen yesterday going in both my hives! This being my first winter I was shocked! It seems way too early to me. Fusion power this is early right? Hoss
 

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If you like the pictures - I have some more colourful pollen photos, but from summer. Of course. This time of year that is a bit unusual where I live.

























 

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Fantastic photos.... I've yet to see what pollen ours bring in here however some of the Eucalypts do bloom in winter here.
 

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Shucks - I knew the scent of a bananna would set them off, but I either didn't ever hear about the vanilla extract making them angry or I forgot.

My son did a science fair experiment several years ago to see what scents got what type of reactions from bees as measured by counting stingers in a cloth patch with the scent waved over the bees. While ticked off bees do give off a banana scent, actual bananas or natural banana flavor won't get a reaction. However, the cheap artificial banana flavor will set them off like nothing else. One of the ingredients is isopentyl acetate which is one of the chemicals in alarm pheromone. I would bet your vanilla has the same ingredient aka "artificial flavoring". I always thought that substance could be used in some sort of booby trap to deter bears, thieves, etc.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I had pollen yesterday going in both my hives! This being my first winter I was shocked! It seems way too early to me. Fusion power this is early right? Hoss
Hi Hoss,
Its my first Winter too. I'd never before watched bee hives in Winter, so I didn't know if my surprise at the pollen was misplaced or not. Some are saying it is ususual.

Bernhard,
I agree with Comper100 on his compliment on your pictures. I hope to make some that turn out that good. Say, aren't there 2 pictures of bees with pollen on their middle legs? I'd never seen that before these shots.

Comper100,
Hang in there. You'll eventually get the pollen. We're just in an unusual weather pattern or something.

GaSteve,
Thanks for the details on the chemicals etc. That just goes to show- even smart people find bees very interesting. :)
I looked at the vanilla flavor bottle and you're right (they didn't give the chemical breakdown on the bottle) but, it is artificial flavoring.
You have a humorous sense of justice. Beehive burglar booby trap. That's a novel idea. LOL
 
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