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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Doing an old retired neighbor a favor and tried to remove a hive of bees from his old house, way, way out in the country.

Bees went terminator on me and stung me 23 times through my suit. The worse hive of bees I've ever encountered.

I think the only way to get close to these bees is with two sweatshirts on and at least a heavy denim pair of jeans.

Any other ideas? Trust me, I'm all ears.

I was by myself at least 20 miles out in the country and tonight, the encounter with the bees from Hades really scared me. Ran to get back into my truck to just bail out and there were bees clustered up inside the truck on the windows. Remineded me of the old Alfred Hitchcock film "The Birds" except this time it was bees.

Anyone have any ideas on how to not get stung. Please, no smart remarks.
 

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I won't be able to stand near the hive. I had my sprayer of soapy water ready to go. I even began to just soap myself down with the sprayer trying to kill all the bees that were on me. They stung the daylights out of me and fried my wits. That far out in the country with that many bees on my suit and 23 of them stinging through my suit. I honestly thought for a long minute or two that I might end up on the evening news.

Do you think the double sweatshirts, etc. will protect me? I wouldn't think that the stingers would be long enough to reach through the suit, and two sweatshirts.
 

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I agree with nd beek soap em. But be very careful getting close too them. Like you said you don't want to end up a statistic. I don't have any experience with anything like this so all I can tell you is I would try to slip upon them after dark. Have at least a couple sprayers of something to kill them, one in each hand. Show no mercy as you already know they won't!! I would take some one with me and leave them in the vehicle. Just in case. I would make sure that my insurance was in effect. Good luck!!!
 

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This is a terrible time of the year to bust into a colony even if you are just making an inspection. That being said trying to remove a colony from a wall during a dearth would be a pretty good reason for the bees to attack like that and not be an africanized hybrid.

They may or may not be africanized but getting only 23 stings through a bee suit (which sounds like it also might have been wet and soapy; sticking to you) wouldn't make be feel like it was africanized. You probably opened up a european honeybee colony and they weren't happy about it. It easily could have been a hive of the little black honeybee (the german variety); they are easily that nasty.

Sneak up on them and spray the stuffing out of them. Yes multiple layers of clothing would work as bees can't sting through more than a 1/4 of an inch of fabric. Proper attire is the best thing you do at this point; don't get heatstroke.
 

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Get a real heavy cool smoke bellowing out of your smoker and smoke the heck out of them as you are walking up to them.

Also, why was it night time when you are trying this?

Do it in the middle of the day when it is sunny if you want to save them.
 

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23 stings through the suit and you didn't even open them up? If that's right... go get some of that wasp/hornet killer that you can spray from 20' away and soak 'em with it... let that sit for a day or two and then see if you can approach to soap the rest of them.

Or just take Iddee with you... he'll be out there cutting them out without smoke, or even a shirt!!!
 

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Anyone have any ideas on how to not get stung. Please, no smart remarks.
How much experience do you have working bees?

Smart remarks? Do you mean like suggesting that you use a smoker next time?

If you are using a smoker properly and they are still acting the way you described, maybe extermination is in order. But I would expect more than 23 stings from an AHB colony. So, I wouldn't jump to that conclusion, necassarily.

No good turn goes unpunished.
 

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Some good advice has already been given.

wait until the night before or very early still dark hours before you intend to move them and screen the entrance so the bees are stuck inside the hive.

strap down the whole hive, lid, etc, so they cannot escape through crevices in the boxes, between lid and box or floor and box, etc...

once the hive is in new location, smoke the entrance as needed and carefully remove the straps first (some leave straps on regular) then carefully remove screen from entrance.

Just a suggestion.

Big Bear
 

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Heck, if I really wanted to do a cut-out on these gals, I'd get my smoker going good, then as I approached the colony, I'd drop a teaspoon of Ammonium nitrate into the smoker and smoke the bees with the resulting fumes - it knocks them right out, but doesn't kill them, just knocks them out for between ten and twenty minutes. If you overdosed them with too much it will likely kill them, but it should be much easier to work the cut-out, the honey and brood won't be destroyed as they would with insecticide or even soapy water. If you wanted to salvage the bees, you could probably do it, if you use a bee-vac or carefully scoop up the anesthetized bees and put them in a screened box so they don't suffocate while anesthetized.

Anyway, there would be many more options if you were using Ammonium nitrate to anesthetize the bees while you cut them out.

If it's too rural for electricity, you can always use a cheap inverter and get 120VAC out of your cars battery or cigarette lighter to run the bee-vac with.
 

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Of the 50+ baithives I caught this year, I just worked one in a redwood forest that was like this one. I have 40 years experience and am not in AHB territory, but in range of migratory beekeepers.

Angry buzz upon smoking and cracking cover.
Put on bee jacket.
Immediate stinging upon lifting frames. Got gloves.
Numerous stings upon more lifting frames.
Duct taped up pants at ankles above shoes.
Had to transfer 20 frames into other boxes and add super. Operation only took a few minutes.
Several leg stings from bees up my pants. Numerous thigh stings though my pants. Twenty-one stingers left in gloves upon completion.
These bees had not bothered me just sitting and watching them several times. Probably time for a new XXL bee suit.:eek:
 

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If there is no hurry, what about waiting for the fall flow to start in your area? Then remove them one afternoon during the flow, might make them a tad more manageable...then again, they may not like the idea of being moved. :eek:
Good luck, and keep us posted please!
Steven
 

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You have been raising calm bees too long. Less than two dozen is not bad when the conditions are against you. It sounds like you do not have a full suit designed for commercial and cut-out work, that said you probably do not have a large smoker that you saturated the area with smoke and reloaded before getting started. I have taken circular saws, chain saws and hand saws to cut-outs. I even busted one out with a hammer. Experience is the only teacher in these circumstances. I have been stung by a couple hundred a day when we had 50 hives and they were extremely gentle back in the 70s. Feral removal is not for the faint-of-heart. Swarms are a different story. If there is no comb to guard - there is no defensive behavior. If you are planning to continue working feral colonies, I suggest you ask your doctor for an epi-pen and learn how and when to use it.
 
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