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Yesterday my new bee suit from Betterbee arrived. It is a cotton/poly blend and along with it I purchased a pair of cowhide gloves. I have never owned a suit or used gloves prior to this in my 7 cumulative years of beekeeping.
I wore the suit (without washing it first) yesterday as sort of a test to see how it would perform when I really needed to have it. The suit and gloves were both fairly comfortable and easy to work in on the 90 degree, sunny day.
But what struck me was that the bees were noticeably more aggressive than usual. Now, our nectar flow is at a standstill and maybe the bees are just not in the best of moods anyway, but I have never seen bees this upset. Several stung my gloves and at times there were so many head-butting my veil and helmet that it sounded like a light rain falling. It should be noted that my calmest hive did not threaten to sting but the bees did run around on the comb much more than usual. The hive that is noted for normally being more easily upset was the one that really tried to let me have it. An hour or two later, after I had finished, the bees seemed to be back to business as usual.
Why do you think they reacted the way they did? Was it because the suit had that new-clothes smell (which I could smell) or is it the fabric itself or the cowhide gloves? I suppose I need to give it a good washing and see. Does anyone have suggestions for cleaning the soft cowhide gloves?
Thanks for your suggestions,

Jeffrey
 

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>Why do you think they reacted the way they did?

Some people seem to think it's the gloves, but I don't have that problem and I almost always wear gloves.

>Was it because the suit had that new-clothes smell (which I could smell) or is it the fabric

Maybe.

>itself or the cowhide gloves?

Maybe.

>Does anyone have suggestions for cleaning the soft cowhide gloves?

FGMO works well.
 

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why did you go to wearing a suit after so many years of not wearing one? could it be that agressive hive? sounds like the hive would have been out for blood whether you had a suit on or not.
 

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I think they were all jeolous. Do you know what a bee has to do to get a new suit?

[ May 23, 2006, 02:29 PM: Message edited by: brent.roberts ]
 

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It could be the new clothing smell, try washing it before you use it again. An old trick I picked up about the gloves is blow a little smoke over them first. It seems to slow down the amount of stings I take on the hands when I work the bees bare handed.
 
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