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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I generally wear protective gear when working inside the hive, but I don't when feeding. Some bees inevitably fly on my arms or even face.

If I want to reduce stings, is it better to ignore the bee and let it stay on my arm or brush it off?

When wearing long sleeves I usually just ignore them.
 

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All is where at lease a vail. It’s not worth getting stung in the face.
 

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I get that you don’t always want to suit up to do the most simple task. There are closed feeding systems that allow you to open it up but there is protection between you and the bees. I use rapid feeders (ebay). Others use Ceracel hive top feeders. The Vivaldi boards have a screen with #8 hardware cloth that you can pour sugar in and spritz with water for a sugar slurry. Very handy in winter. Just some ideas to make this task more enjoyable.
 

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if the bees on your arm are not bumping you or trying to sting you, you can usually gently blow them off (as you would to get them to move aside when inspecting frames) or use a little smoke to get them to move off.

I always;
wear a veil, no matter the chore. Stings to the eyeball are no joke.

Keep a lit smoker handy even if I don't use it, no matter the chore.

Gauge the use of protective gear to the behavior of my bees and the chore to be done.
always a veil, sometimes bare arms and bare hands, like when feeding, or sometimes jacket and nitrile gloves when going deep. rarely leather gloves except with very hot hives. I like to feel the bees so I don't crush them, which reduces the likelihood of getting stung.

How to reduce stings; just wear more protective gear and use smoke judiciously. Handle. them gently.
How to ignore them; just get stung more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I get that you don’t always want to suit up to do the most simple task. There are closed feeding systems that allow you to open it up but there is protection between you and the bees. I use rapid feeders (ebay). Others use Ceracel hive top feeders. The Vivaldi boards have a screen with #8 hardware cloth that you can pour sugar in and spritz with water for a sugar slurry. Very handy in winter. Just some ideas to make this task more enjoyable.
Thanks for the recommendation. I have the rapid feeder, which I really like except for two things: I wish it were a little larger and, my main problem with it, bees can squeeze out under the plastic cup when the feeder is empty.

I don't like feeders without lids because I get ants other wise. So, I don't know the other feeders would work for me.

I really want a feeder exactly like the rapid feeder but where bees cannot get out through the feeder when empty AND it has a lid on it.
 

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Thanks for the recommendation. I have the rapid feeder, which I really like except for two things: I wish it were a little larger and, my main problem with it, bees can squeeze out under the plastic cup when the feeder is empty.

I don't like feeders without lids because I get ants other wise. So, I don't know the other feeders would work for me.

I really want a feeder exactly like the rapid feeder but where bees cannot get out through the feeder when empty AND it has a lid on it.
They shouldn't be able to fit through the gap between the cup and the bottom of the feeder. The gap is less than 3mm (1/8") in most designs. Maybe the cup is not pushed all the way? I had one similar where the cup required some extra force to "click" in place and if not done correctly the feeder would be full of bees...
 

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I generally wear protective gear when working inside the hive, but I don't when feeding. Some bees inevitably fly on my arms or even face.

If I want to reduce stings, is it better to ignore the bee and let it stay on my arm or brush it off?

When wearing long sleeves I usually just ignore them.
If a bee is crawling up my arm going for my sleeve, I will usually just gently blow on her to get her to fly. Being gentle is key. It seems like bees that manage to crawl up a shirt sleeve always seem to sting. On the other hand, if I have a frame in my hand and they start crawling on my fingers and hands only (but aren’t going for the sleeve), then I usually let them be.

I've also found that when I hold a frame of bees up to look for eggs, I either hold my breath, or hold them on my upwind side. A shot of exhaled CO2 is a really good way to make a frame full of calm bees suddenly uncalm.

Ryan
 

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I have the rapid feeder, which I really like except for two things: I wish it were a little larger and, my main problem with it, bees can squeeze out under the plastic cup when the feeder is empty.
I think that was true of the old rapid feeders, but some of the online reviews seem to indicated the design has changed. There is someone out there who suggested cutting the top off a sock and putting the sock "sleeve" over the chimney on the older rapid feeders. The bees can get syrup from the sock and it keeps them inside the plastic cover. I also wish they held more.
 

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I smoke my face before I work the bees. They don't seem to land on my face. I only wear a veil if the bees let me know they're a bit disturbed by head butting, etc.
 

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Applying smoke to hands and face helps reduce the possibility of a sting, but doesn't completely eliminate the chances.
A head butt can change to a sting with a simple twist of the wings and is faster than one can blink. I trust my veil more than I trust the smoke.
 

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The best way to reduce stings is to handle the hive in a way that doesn’t trigger the bees to sting you in the first place. I’ve read that even moving your hand over a frame too fast can be seen as an aggressive move. I’ve also heard that you should smoke the bees when they are looking at you from between the frames, since these bees are supposed to be the guard bees. Luckily, my hives have been pretty docile, so I’ve never been stung (at least not on my skin. I’ve seen one or two stingers on my gloves before, but that was when I was doing something to them where I knew I would get stung. I’ve only worn my gloves when I know there’s a good chance I will get stung).
 

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I've found how you move, the temperament of your hive and, yes, how well they know you determine whether and how much you get stung.
ALWAYS USE SMOKE WHEN YOU GO INTO THE HIVE. I rarely suit out when tending our two backyard hives, but then they are like our pets. I suppose big bee yards are a very different matter.
 
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