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This is my third year keeping bees, but my knowledge and skill level are probably that of someone who has been keeping bees for about an hour. :rolleyes:

The truth is I am mostly afraid of my bees, especially if they are grumpy. My family and I live on a small farm (we're new farmers) and each time we get critters, I fret like a new mom. This has been true with my bees. The thing is that bees sting and it hurts!

Last spring I started two brand new hives (the year before I had one that died in the winter). I didn't visit my bees much because it was so awful hot and dry. The times I did "drop in" on them, they were really agitated and I didn't want to get stung (but I did anyway). In the beginning I only wore a safari hat with a veil. After a few stings on my arms and hands, I started wearing my leather gloves - which helped.

During this past winter, I lost another hive, but the grumpy one lived because it was stronger. Once it looked like winter was finally over, I thought I should probably feed the bees. Since I only planned on putting a jar of sugar water on top of the hive and enclose it in an empty super, I decided it wasn't necessary to use smoke or get all geared up with my helmet and veil. I am not a stupid woman, but this was a stupid move. I opened the inner cover, the bees were mad and one flew in my face, landed on my right nostril and stung me. I'm thinking maybe childbirth is the only thing I've experienced that was more painful than that! :)

The next time I approached the hive, I put on my helmet and veil, wore long sleeves and long pants, used smoke, wore my gloves - all the things I knew to do to be safe. I opened the hive, the bees were grumpy and buzzing all around my head and face. While I was working, a bee made its way into my veil, so I walked away from the hive (a few yards) and carefully took my head gear off. While I was doing that, another bee flew into my face, landed on my left nostril and stung me!

Since that time, I bought a new bee jacket that has a zip on hood, lots of velcro and elastic on the waist and cuffs. This has really helped my confidence. I'm sure a bee could still make its way into my veil, but it would be harder than the helmet/veil combo. The last time I visited the hives, the bees seemed calmer and even though I got stung, it was on my jeans covered leg, so it didn't hurt as much. I'm having some challenges with my hives (I have a total of 3 now) and I need to go in to look at them to see what I can do to help. With the right equipment, I have a better chance of not being afraid of my bees and therefore not avoiding checking on them.

So if you are a new beekeeper and you are afraid to approach your hive(s), try getting a good bee suit to help keep you safe.

I really want to be a good beekeeper. I appreciate all the time and effort the experts on this forum put in to help us. Thank you!
 

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My thinking is that a grumpy colony will make more edgy bees when they grow more.
At the same time this genetic will be pass on to the next generation of queens if you
open mate them. It is better to requeen with more gentle queens so that the good
genetic will be in your yard. You don't need to tolerate grumpy bees if you don't have
to. This is what I learn so far in beekeeping. Yes, there are gentle queen bees out there that
you just have to find them.
 
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