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When I go weeks without getting stung, I get way too comfortable around the girls. I suit up fully when I do inspections but when I’m just hanging out in the apiary, which I do every day after work, I usually only have on shorts and flip flops. When I first started out (April 1), I kept a respectable distance. But now I put my face literally inches from the entrance on a daily basis. Mostly because I’m obsessed with looking for varroa mites. So I look closely from thorax to thorax of all the bees on the landing board. Even during inspections, after determining that my queen is laying and all is fine, I look carefully at the bees backside for mites (and deformed wings). I've still never seen a mite in person! Beekeepers that I look up to assure me they’re there and I guess I’ll take their word.

But I get ****y when I get that close day after day and they pay me no mind. I have that mentality that they won’t harm me if I don’t harm them. Which is silly because they are wild animals. I wouldn't harm a bear either but I’d be a fool to get in a cage with one. I once read that bees can remember people’s faces so I thought that maybe they would recognize me and remember that I’m not a nuisance (or maybe I am because I dismantle their house every 14 days). I also rescue drowning bees every day in the water sources I have for them and I’m pretty sure I heard a bee whisper “Thank You” one time. Plus I provide lots of great flowers for them to forage on and surely they wouldn't sting the hand that feeds them? But yesterday I was brought back to reality when for no reason, a bee flew up from the landing board and stung me on the lip. I usually learn from my mistakes but I have a feeling that my face will be right back near hive again this evening. I guess I’m not very bright.
 

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Complacency led to my 1st sting a few days ago.
Perhaps it's true that bees remember faces but, I need to remember that there is a turnover of several hundred, if not thousands, of new bees each day. Maybe the old field bees remember me from their house days, but those new guard bees don't know me from Adam.
 
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