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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings!

I'm curious if anyone out there might have insight as to my current situation with bees. I've not had issues in the past, have never had to worry about bees, we always coexisted happily.....but in the last year or so, they are very attracted to me (I do have a theory). Solitary bees (I'm assuming guard bees?) buzz my head angrily all the time, out of the blue. I can no longer go outside without worrying about being buzzed/stung, which is a problem for me being as I'm a landscape designer and also have sensitivities to bee stings (more on that later). Last year I was attacked and stung by a very angry bee at a nature park. The park actually had hives right next to a main walking path towards the back section of the park, and this path also featured a bench, which I sat upon, not knowing about the hives nearby, oh my gosh! Unfortunately I was wearing a black top, and was using a large black and gold sun umbrella that day, so I was likely seen as a predator....in addition to scent possibly being a part of the equation. I had a straw hat on as well. The bee went for the back of my head, got tangled in my hair, and stayed with me intent to sting me, despite the fact that I removed my black shirt, ditched the umbrella, and ultimately ran, once I spotted the hives nearby. I was stung on the back of my head, towards the bottom. Ever since this event I seem to be singled out by solo bees.

I experienced a pretty normal reaction at first from the above mentioned sting, just some minor swelling and pain, but later my lymph nodes became very swollen in my neck, and I had weird tingly sensations throughout my body over the next couple of weeks and just generally didn't feel very well. No major swelling or difficulty breathing, or hives or anything like that. I have endocrine issues, so I am pretty concerned about being stung again. Does the reaction I had seem serious?

Anyway....due to my endocrine issues, I have to supplement with a lot of potassium, and I'm not able to tolerate RX or OTC potassium supplements, so I do most of my supplementation via coconut water and I eat a couple of bananas a day. I'm guessing that I may be exuding a banana scent through my pores, and also the scent of coconut water....does anyone know if bees are attracted to the latter? I know that bananas trigger an alarm response, but I could not find any information on coconut water. Although I'm guessing they would be attracted!

That said, if my theory is correct, what can I do? My life literally depends on consumption of coconut water, as well as supplementing with bananas (and other high potassium foods -bananas are most convenient in many situations). Is there an effective means of masking these scents with other scents? Essential oil of some type? I have purchased a beekeepers jacket/hat combo and also a hat that I can wear alone when I'm working on landscape jobs, however It's very inconvenient to have to wear these things anytime I step outside, including going out to the garage, out on errands etc. That just doesn't work, LOL. Any ideas? I'm literally afraid to go outside now. And I'm a nature lover and landscape designer so it's a big problem. Today I went to get something out of my truck which was parked in front of my house. Got buzzed. On my way back to the front door, got buzzed again . :(

BTW I don't wear perfumes/oils anymore, and I use unscented laundry soap, body soap, lotion etc. I could try changing shampoo too. I don't really wash my hair very often though as it's dry. Could that be a cause?

Thank you in advance for any ideas and insights anyone may have. Much appreciated! :)

~Pam
 

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Supposedly almond oil is a bee repellent, maybe almond scented shampoo? I know one year I had a hive that had obnoxious guard bees and tried peppermint oil spray, spritzed it on myself and the bee, seemed to help a little.
I think Mann Lake has a semi attractive sun hat with a veil that rolls into the rim of the hat, that'd solve them getting into your hair if you know your going into a area that has hives.
 

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I think bees can detect skin smell so they prefer to go for exposed skin and lightly covered skin. Once I was geared up with jeans, long sleeve t-shirt, gloves and veil while mowing around my hives on a tractor. A bee stung me on my ankle through layer of light socks I was wearing. I mean what are the odds of finding the only vulnerable part of my body to sting me! Bees are one smart animals.
 

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first guess is something else is at play here. you're saying no matter where you go you always have a honey bee diving on you? or are they just investigating till you swat them and then they start buzzing?
 

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bees love sweat, If you are eating that much potassium I'd imagine you are sweating it out they can smell it in your sweat. when they are buzzing you I imagine they are just trying to figure you out, try staying calm and see if they land on you and drink your sweat. If that is the case, a scented antiperspirant may help. as far as stinging you in the back of the head, I'd chalk that one up as a fluke, bees loaded down can't always turn on a dime and if they hit hair they get caught up in it because it's hard to back out due to the shape of their wings, once they get stuck they then see you as a threat. had it bumped into your shirt it would have just bounced off and went about its day. As far as you lymph nodes swelling, I'd say it had to do with the location of the sting. when bees get caught in my hair and I get stung on the back of the head/neck area my lymph nodes swell too. It's a pretty common reaction to a sting in that area unless you get a tolerance built up. I know it sounds like Im making excuses for the bees, but bees don't attack random people who are not threatening the colony they will however check you out because you smell like something they like and will escalate it only if you do.
 

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Since the sting that you mentioned you have probably developed a 'defensive' posture when bees come your direction. I would presume that now you automatically get tense, even fearful, and so exude your own fear pheromones. As kaizen mentioned, you may be swatting.

A few suggestions;
-eat your bananas after working hours to give the scent time to fade. I have never heard of any coconut/honey bee relationship.
-try to develop a calm attitude when bees are around. Bees can be curious, but don't tend to see still objects as a threat. Go Zen.
-consider bringing a mosquito head net or jacket with you. Light weight, breathable and very inexpensive, they can prevent stings by all but the most determined bee. You can tuck a head net into your pants pocket. I usually use a mosquito jacket when inspecting my hives instead of the heavy beekeeper's jacket. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Coghlans-8941-Mosquito-Head-Net/26958651
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Supposedly almond oil is a bee repellent, maybe almond scented shampoo? I know one year I had a hive that had obnoxious guard bees and tried peppermint oil spray, spritzed it on myself and the bee, seemed to help a little.
I think Mann Lake has a semi attractive sun hat with a veil that rolls into the rim of the hat, that'd solve them getting into your hair if you know your going into a area that has hives.
Thank you for the tips! I'll check out the hat you mentioned, would be good to have for times when I full hat is not needed. Will also try the peppermint oil. I think I may have some already....

Pam
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for sharing! I keep myself covered up at this point. I'm sure the neighbors think I'm very strange LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think it's a combo of: I smell like bananas, I have long medium-brown unruly hair, I used to wear black clothing (not anymore!), and this one I just thought of....I often go outside to take a quick work break and stretch, and as part of my stretching, I do swing my arms. D'oh! I guess I should wait until sundown for that move, LOL. I made myself into a bee magnet. I'm trying to reverse that now.

To answer your question, the bees usually are aggressive when they "investigate"...but I can see why considering what I wrote above.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
bees love sweat, If you are eating that much potassium I'd imagine you are sweating it out they can smell it in your sweat. when they are buzzing you I imagine they are just trying to figure you out, try staying calm and see if they land on you and drink your sweat. If that is the case, a scented antiperspirant may help.
Hi Harley Craig!

Thank you for your response. Yes, it's all starting to make more sense now. The potassium thing is an interesting part of the equation. I'm wondering what type of scented deodorant I should wear, so as to cover up that smell, but not attract them with a smell they like that's in the deodorant?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts regarding the attack being a fluke. That helps to calm my nerves. I will try and get back to my calm self of yore when around bees. I think the bee was agitated when it initially approached me, as the buzz was VERY loud, but I guess it could have been a warning and maybe it was just checking me out at that point. Like I said, I had black on, and big black and yellow umbrella, definitely had banana smell on me, long hair, etc. Bee magnet!

Also thank you for your input regarding my sting experience.

I'm very much enjoying learning more about bees!

Thanks again.

Pam
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi Hops!

Thank you for your response. Yes, I think I've become defensive and fearful. That experience freaked me out, mostly because of my health issues and the fact that I was chased...and then felt crummy for two weeks (although I did not have allergic type reactions - I think it just challenged my compromised endocrine system). I think the first thing I do is duck, and then put my hands up to my head...being as they always buzz my head. I'm working on returning to calm and reversing the habits that seem to lead to attracting the attention of bees.

Thank you for the suggestions you made. Much appreciated! :)

Pam
 
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