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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have a tip for removing attack pheromones? I did two cutouts this week with especially large numbers of bees. My jacket and gloves have hundreds of stings, and after several washings they still elicit much curiosity.

The part that bothers me however is that I've had four showers and attract strange bees all over town. I don't wear any protection with my own bees and normally don't do cutouts, so maybe I'm spoiled... any advice for getting the bee funk off?
 

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Perhaps use what hunters use to remove their smell from clothing? Just a thought. Oxiclean might work also.
 

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For hunting I'll shower using a box worth of baking soda as the soap to make sure to minimize any smells. It may be all in my head but there are definately no soap perfumes left on me. It might work for removing bee funk but I've never tried it for that.
 

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Have you worn the clothes out that you had on under the suit? This might be what is attracting them. Bees are attracted to honey, wax and hive smells, might be attracted to anything you had on when you did the extractions.

I always wear protective clothing when working with my bees and have been stung a lot before when working a hive. I washed my suit several times but the bees in the yard still smelled the pheromones, they crawled all over me, it took awhile before things returned to normal. Another thought, try bleach when washing your suit or ask someone more experienced, those who do cut-outs may have better ideas on how to remove excessive pheromones from clothing.
 

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Wash all that you were wearing, not just your outer clothing with a hearty shot of PineOClean. It leaves a lingering scent that will help.

Cutouts should not usually cause a frenzy that results in hundreds of stings.

Unless there is no alternative, avoid the entrance as the place to start. Guard bees are testy, and they are the one which generate attack pheromones to defend the hive. Whenever possible, start at the rear and bottom of the nest. Do not use smoke when you are inside a house: it leaves a stench of smoke the owners have to deal with for months, and it is not necessary.

If the bees are in a wall, cut through the sheetrock on the inside of the stud until comb attachments to the stud end. Start removing panels of sheetrock from the bottom up. You are dealing with house bees, and after a flurry of indignation at being exposed their focus is on repairing the damage to the comb where honey has been exposed.

If you vacuum the visible bees before removing a comb the population is much reduced by the time you reach the top. On a nest where the entrance is high you can get to the top without needing to wear any protective clothing (it is always wise to wear a veil). The most likely time to get stung is when the panel and comb that are behind the entrance hole are removed, because that alerts the guard bees.

If you don't use a bee vacuum you may want to build one. The fewer bees around when you are cutting comb the less excited the colony becomes. A good beevac does not kill bees, and you can find several good ideas with Search.
 

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Put some slumgum in your smoker before smoking yourself with it. It may not be pheromones... but the speed at which you are working them. Slow movements as you already know are required so that they can "predict" what is happening maybe. When first starting out many years ago, my bees used to be very vicious. Couldn't understand why, had a more experienced beekeeper watch me, he concluded that it was my speed of movement. Slowed down dramatically and it made all the difference and a much more enjoyable experience. Could they be africanized?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
They were actually very gentle to start..
Unfortunately, They were located in a stone encased pillar supporting the vaulted ceiling of a porch. I had to take off the plywood (porch ceiling) above them, which had some attached comb. I then had to reach down into the pillar and behind a beam to cut the comb loose. This was a very large hive (the house was vacant for 3 years) and I had many hundreds of angry bees in the air. I now have full confidence in my bee jacket! I had to vacuum bees from my (veiled) face just to see...
 
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