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I ate a banana this morning at 6:30. Then spent time cleaning up the backyard and around the beehives even ran the leaf blower with no problems. At 10:30 I decided to take a video of the bees washboarding around the hive entrance (something I've done many times before without consequence). As soon as the camera got close to the hive entrance bees started attacking it and me. Could that have been because the banana smell was still on me? The hive looks healthy and has never been aggressive up to this point.
 

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Is the camera black? Bees often see something black approaching their entrance as a threat. (Black bears and skunks are natural predators of bees.)
 

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The camera is black but I've used it many times before with no problems. They've flown up and landed on it in the past while I was using it. That's why I was caught offguard today. They've never been agitated at me taking pictures with it before. I did have on a big floppy black hat that I don't usually wear
 

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When I did the banana test I crushed a banana in one hand and made sure the other did not touch any part of it, then placed both hands at the entrance of a strong colony. The bees ignored the hand that had not touched the banana, but when they smelled the one with the crushed banana on it they immediately rushed the hand, covered it... and began to lick the banana juice from it. No stings, just interest in a new food source.

I think the story about bananas causing bee aggression is one of those stories that have been around forever, and probably will never go away.
 

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When I did the banana test I crushed a banana in one hand and made sure the other did not touch any part of it, then placed both hands at the entrance of a strong colony. The bees ignored the hand that had not touched the banana, but when they smelled the one with the crushed banana on it they immediately rushed the hand, covered it... and began to lick the banana juice from it. No stings, just interest in a new food source.
Haha! That's a bold experiment! Mark Winston's great biology book does say the alarm pheromone is the same chemical as artificial banana ester (used to make starbursts and skittles) and I've often wondered if the real bananas actually have that exact same chemical as the skittles or a slightly different chemical. Maybe they are close cousins but not exact. I've heard a similar thing (without the bold "I put my hand at the entrance" nuance). I've heard of people putting banana peels in the entrance or on the floor of the hive, and the bees just crawling over it checking it out, licking. No anger or attack response. I, however, am wimpy. I have not fed my bees banana yet. :D
 

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ARBeekeeper In the interest of myth/science could you repeat that test with a sliced onion? The two quickest multiple sting episodes I have experienced occurred during barehanded replacement of a feeder jar in medium box atop a hive after handling raw onion.
 
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