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Introducing bees to a family

2144 Views 12 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Michael Bush
I've got a couple families that have expressed interest in bringing their family over to watch while I mess around with the bees. One has children under 10 and the other has children from 2 to 16. They don't think any of them are allergic, but if I'm not mistaken, you don't know if your allergic until the second sting, so who knows.

Anyways, I've got three extra veils. I know both families quite well and a parent will be there with any children. I plan to buy two Nucs in a few weeks, and I was thinking about letting them come over and watch me transfer the bees. It went pretty smooth last year, and I would have a pretty good chance to see the queen while doing it. Both families are also interested in keeping bees, so it might be a chance for them to see if they still like it.

So, does anyone have any suggestions? I'd rather show them a swarm, but that's not quite as easy to plan and organize unless it happens on their land. And I wouldn't normally worry about it, but what would be the best way to calm the bees the most? Would it be better to just pick the Nucs up and transfer the same day, or get them a week early and let them reorient to where the hive is going to be and start collecting before I do it? Should I mist them with some sugar water when I first open? I know you usually do it with a package, but I never felt the need to with a Nuc, but would it keep the flying bees down a little? And I assume it would be best during the middle of the day, or would doing it early and misting them do better?

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Light clothing, gloves and duct tape to seal holes. A big mans shirt on kids goes all the way to the ground. Bees in a package or nuc are pretty shaken up and disorganized and not very defensive. Just go slow and be cautious. Be mindful of bees crawling in the grass getting walked over. That is how my newbie guest get in trouble, walking on bees.
I think you say, sure you can come watch. I can't guarantee you won't get stung, but I would wear long sleeves, and encourage the kids to move slow and not swat at things. Light a smoker and let them use it their area at a safe distance, that may help shoo off curious flyers.

But I think if you know them and you give them fair warning. It's up to them to take precautions as needed. (ie keeping the littlest one inside since they have no idea what is going on at 2 yrs old anyway)

just my opinion.
What I always do is to give them the safe exit instructions. For example instruct the kids that if they get stung or scared or bored, they can walk to X spot (behind a building or the car if the car is in a safe distance). Then and ONLY then they can take off the gear. They have to stay there unless they put the gear back on (or they can get back to the house if it is a backyard apiary). I also make sure they know that I will come to assist as soon as possible - right after closing up the hive.

Once this is cleared up, they get more confident. Have fun!
Yeah, I don't think they plan to take the 2 year old out there, lol. And I'm not too worried about if they get stung, I teach their youth at church and we've hurt each other worse than a bee sting. And it's on a concrete pad, so I figure they'll be able to watch for crawling bees themselves.

I just want it to be a fairly safe, informative and fun thing for them. I figure trying to show them the queen, a brood frame with some honey and pollen hopefully, and an empty frame will be on the list of things to do. If the bees start fanning at the entrance that would something fun to show. I do need to remember to tell them to wear long sleeves, and offer duct tape.

So Vance, you're saying just to pick the Nuc up, drive it home, and transfer right away with them there would probably be the "best" time when the bees "should" be on their best behavior?
For the smaller set, you can also set up one of those netted canopies/tents/gazebos. You can be inside with the bees and everybody can look from the outside - no extra gear required and the 2yo can also see. I saw one of those setups in a recent ABJ.

I found some examples online:
I just have bees not marauding pit bulls. Very little to worry about unless your friends are sue happy morons.
What I always do is to give them the safe exit instructions.
I hadn't thought about this, especially them getting scared. Good directions not to take the suit off until we get away from the bees.

I just have bees not marauding pit bulls. Very little to worry about unless your friends are sue happy morons.
Lol, they are definitely not, or I would have already been in trouble. We tend to get a little rough when all the youth guys get together and I'm leading.

So, any thing I need to do to make it more interesting? I doubt bees need anything to get more interesting, but I don't want to miss something that could really get them interested.
I have shown my bees to the preschooler set - what is obvious to us, adults, is not always obvious for kids. Most preschoolers are not the forward thinking type, especially when a bee is crawling on their veil :).

Have fun and let us know how it went - oh, and be prepared to take 3 times as long due to the enthusiastic "helping" :D. For example, every single bee needs to be gently scooped up and put with its friends, so it does not get lost. Also, kids love to hold bees - drones work really good for that.
This response will be absolutely no help to Senilking but it is an opportunity for me to brag about our Bee Observation Room at the Warner Nature Center in Marine on the St. Croix, MN. Two years ago we added an observation hive to our Trailside Museum. One thing has led to another and we now have a apiary (electric fence for the bears) with two production hives and two nucs. Adjacent to the apiary is our Bee Observation Room which allows visiting school groups and the general public to observe the apiary and observe our beekeepers working with the bees. We are now in the process of developing interpretive displays for the Bee Observation Room that explain the importance of the honey bee, types of bees, hive basics, etc.

Property Shed Building Room House
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Yeah, I'm not so excited about the saving every single bee, but they are a bunch of boys - I might have to more worry about them stomping them than me saving them.

Pliedl, that is pretty awesome. And even though I had forgotten, I am planning to build an observation hive. Thanks for the reminder. Just going to take out the center of one the walls of my hive and putting a piece of plexiglass in, with something to cover it when not in use. Maybe I should get that worked out before the demonstration, even I would like to see what they do after I close the hive. Even thought about doing it to two of them so I could do a view with the comb and against the comb.
I just make sure everyone knows they might get stung and they have a veil.
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