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Hello all,

Black flies will come right through my bee veil and I was wondering what the opinions were amongst beekeepers about using bug repellant while working with the bees. Having black flies trapped in your veil with no way to stop them from biting you is no fun, but I don't want to upset/endanger/enrage/disappoint the bees by wearing anything.
Suggestions?
 

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i dont spray my veil but wear "off" or similar on ankles and arms. TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE tick infestation this year. havent noticed any problems yet, but wait 'till the dearth when they seem to look for something to get mad over-breathed on 'em, moved too fast, bumped 'em. right now they are busy and tolerate just about anything without problems. good luck,mike
 

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Off, Cutter, etc. are all fine on veils, ankles, socks, etc. Bees don't like it either, and I use it on places where I have done a cut out to help keep them from coming back and re-establishing a colony. (Like the inside of the mailbox of the 90 year old lady I cut out this week.)

Don't spray the bees directly, it is a DEET (insecticide) solution in a petroleum distillate base, and it will kill them if sprayed on them. But yes, it works fine on your person.

Summer
 

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Black flies will come right through my bee veil and I was wondering what the opinions were amongst beekeepers....
:D I'm in maine too.. actually your about 1hr 40min north of us. Moved up about 5 years ago from PA. I didn't see if your native to ME or moved here.

I will impart what I have learned.
1) You can't beat the bugs. You must just get by.
2) No this is not an unusual season - this is the way it is.

Ok. now -
We made some veils using no-see-um netting. They work ok but it is extremely hard to see through. I suggest dyeing it black to aid in this.

Another option is use a product called Eco Blend "Bug-Off!" it is oil based and uses essential oils. We also mix up our own using canola oil and a few drops of lemon grass and peppermint. The oil is the main thing. If the bugs land on it they will die. The lemon grass seems to keep them from wanting to land on the oil. I wouldn't use more than 3% of essential oils or you may get a skin rash from it.

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Your the closest keeper I think to me. I had contacted the state apiarist to see who was near and they didn't have anyone listed.
What type of bees are you using (we have Italian, but hope to bring in some carnolian and buckfast this year). Seems to be a good year to start - eaverything is early.

Mike
 

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i'll bet their are a lot of beekeeps closer than "about 1hr 40min north " find your local club and ask them. many beekeeps are anti registering, anti joining so they may need a little looking. as you get more into beekeeping, you'll look for bees on every flower you see, and hives everywhere you go. stop at the hives and talk bees. i've been around (including maine) and have NEVER had a beekeeper tell me to beat it. good luck,mike
 

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i'll bet their are a lot of beekeeps closer than "about 1hr 40min north "......
:) This isn't very populated country out here.
Also state law requires registration, its not optional.

Only place close that we suspect has a keeper would be houlton (40 minutes north). Thought honey bees were seen while there one day. State Ap didn't have anyone listed so I gues there isn't or their not registered.

Mike
 

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I used my Thermacell, today, while I was inspecting and not only did it take care of the nasty little bugs, it also seemed to keep the bees at bay. They'd come around, head butt, then back off. I didn't use smoke, because I wanted to see how the bees would react to the Thermacell. I may go smokeless on my next several outings to see if this one time was just a fluke.
 

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Wow - thanks everyone! I have never heard of Thermacell, I may have to look that one up. The Bug-off sounds perfect since it is natural. I've made my own oil combinations too but I've been leery of using them around the bees because I didn't want the smell to irritate them.
MikeJ - sage words regarding the bugs. Every year when they rise I have to re-adjust my attitude, so thanks. Last year was my first hive and I got Carniolians from Bob Egan in Skowhegan. Nice people and nice bees. I never travel off the land here, but if you're ever in the neighborhood, stop on by! I'm a southern California transplant; been here eight years and I'm not going anywhere.
Thanks again to everybody! You're the best-
 

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I've made my own oil combinations too but I've been leery of using them around the bees because I didn't want the smell to irritate them.
I tested a paper towel with lemon grass at the hive and the bees ignored it (also put it in the viel with me). That doesn't prove anything but you can test it and make a decision.
 

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I am HIGHLY allergic to black flies & gnats (we're talking one bite & it's a shot of Benedryl), and I found out a long time ago that smoke will keep them away. A lot of the old time gardeners in this area light a cigarette & keep it in their hatband, but that's not exactly practical for beeks. I generally wear a complete suit & veil, so I just smoke me instead. Keeps both the bugs & the bees away.
 
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