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I just incurred my first bee sting ever. I brought this on myself by dropping some frames when I first oppened the hive. There were a lot of bees behind the follower board that I wasn't expecting to be there. After making a bunch of racket, I proceeded to open the hive anyway. No sooner than when I moved the follower board back, I got popped in the bicep. The weather didn't seem too bad. I still don't know if the bearding had anything to do with the inspection gone awry. I still finished the inspection and straightened out some bad comb after getting my smoker insufficiently lit and putting on a hat and veil. I'll have to remember not to rush into an inspection without being prepared.

Lucky I didn't react too bad to the sting. Here's a picture four hours after the incident.
20140708_202313-1-1.jpg
 

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as thomkat says. also pick a nice sunny day if possible. bees can be un predictable, wear a veil always, a sting to the eye area is something you do not really want to experience. go slow and easy, if things do ever get totally out of control retreat without a lot of flailing around. do not be afraid to smoke yourself a bit I needed.
 

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I've inspected when bearding. The problem for me is they beard on the end of the bars, so you have to move them to lift the bars very carefully or you will crush them and they will let you know.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the warning about the end of the bars. Maybe, that won't be my next mistake.
 

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Murphy's law is always around, and just when you least expect it, your usually calm, laid back bees will surprise you, especially if you are not wearing a veil, smoker left in the truck, and if you think a sting on the bicep is bad, wait until one gets in your ear or nose or on some other parts of proud flesh. That is when you really appreciate a veil and smoker. After 50 years of beekeeping, I still have not learned my lesson, still sometimes go out with just my hive tool, so if I get stung, I just blame it on myself and promise myself I will always wear the veil. But when it is 85 or 90 degrees, a veil or worse a full bee suit is not someing fun to wear. So I always try to work the bees early in the morning when it is cooler and a veil or jacket is not so bad. Besides, all us beekeepers need a sting once in a while just to keep us humble...:)
 

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So it sounds like it's okay to inspect when they are bearding? It looks rather intimidating! We're having a bunch of hot/humid weather right now and my three hives are bearding. I thought I'd check that everyone had enough space and increase the entrance on the one with an excluder. Also put insulation in the tops. Thought I'd do it tomorrow morning when it's cooler instead of right now at the heat's peak. Any insights as to timing would be appreciated.
 

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ignore the bearding and do your work. bearding is in no way hostile. it is too early, let the insulation plans be on hold for 2 or 3 months. do check your mite levels and react imediatly if they are at all high.
 

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The top of my TBH flips over toward the side of the hive that the bees are bearding on and hangs there while I work. If there's a lot of bees hanging out there you stand the chance of squashing some of them when the top flips over.
 

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give them a shake or brush stroke and dump them in the hive. a few seconds before closing a gentle puff or two of smoke will push them down in the hive, no squished bees. in the long run get rid of the hinges.
 

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Get stung more often if you can
but not on the face is the plan
If you skip wearing your veil
you're probably going to fail

&

get stung on face


Ear tip stings suck bad.
 

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I believe if you wait until the bees are mad to smoke them it is too late. I puff some cool smoke across the entrance, then I tilt the cover up and give them three or four more puffs and set the lid back down. Give the smoke time to work. Before I close the hive I am working, I do this routine to the next hive, giving the smoke time to work. And wear a veil, anyway.

Alex
 
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