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Before I got into beekeeping last year, I would stop at the bee club stands at 4h club fairs, and county fairs. A lot of the people I spoke to have made claims that they never get stung. Has anyone ever heard a line similar to..... "I have been working bees for 45 years, in shorts, a tank top, and sandals and I have never been stung!" Let me tell you Mr. or Mrs. " I am awesome and never get stung even when I wear nothing but a loin cloth and no shoes." I have only been working bees for half of last year and the start of this year. I am far from impervious to a bee sting. They even get me through my gloves. At first, I thought I was doing something wrong, and I almost felt ashamed when I got stung. Then, I let the logical thought process take over. If you work with bees, of course you are going to get stung. It is part of beekeeping. You play with stinging insects that sometimes are ornery, or conditions may not be ideal.... the occasional bee sting would be expected. So to the manly beekeepers who claim to never get stung, I call bs. And to anyone that reads this that may be thinking about getting into beekeeping. YOU ARE GOING TO GET STUNG! But I will tell you this, the discomfort you feel is more conceptual than physical pain. I am just now starting to get used to the stings, and not feeling ashamed when I get stung. My advice is, just embrace it. There are even claims of health benefits to the stings. So go out there and inspect those hives and watch in amazement how those bees can get that tiny stinger right through your glove and into your finger, and every time it starts to itch for the next 2 days, let that be a reminder that you are..........A beekeeper!
 

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my mentor only wears a veil, and there have been several times where we were working a hive together, and I got stung and he never did. I think they smell fear LOL


Oh and when I quit wearing gloves I got stung a whole heck of a lot less
 

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There is nothing manly about not getting stung while wearing shorts. Any fool can do the work while NOT getting stung.

What is manly, is to complete an inspection while wear nothing but a thong and gettting stung hundreds of times.
 

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If you work with bees, of course you are going to get stung. It is part of beekeeping. You play with stinging insects that sometimes are ornery, or conditions may not be ideal.... the occasional bee sting would be expected.
I get stung occaisionally, but it's usually not aggressiveness but my carelessness. If you crush a bee you deserve to get stung! Below is a video of a cut out my wife and I did May 13th. I got stung 3 times, once when I got one between my fingers, once when I grabbed my knife handle and once when I leaned back on my calves trapping a bee. None of it was aggressive. The video is a bit rough and too long but you'll get the idea.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/mzt377momcug69l/First%20cut%20out%20May%2013%202014.wmv

Harley:
An old commercial guy assured me that bees can smell fear, or at least sense it somehow.
Colino
 

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I get stung occaisionally, but it's usually not aggressiveness but my carelessness. If you crush a bee you deserve to get stung! Below is a video of a cut out my wife and I did May 13th. I got stung 3 times, once when I got one between my fingers, once when I grabbed my knife handle and once when I leaned back on my calves trapping a bee. None of it was aggressive. The video is a bit rough and too long but you'll get the idea.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/mzt377momcug69l/First%20cut%20out%20May%2013%202014.wmv

Harley:
An old commercial guy assured me that bees can smell fear, or at least sense it somehow.
Colino

LOL I believe it, last yr was my first yr and I was a little nervous around them and got stung all the time, as the season progressed so did my confidence and I got fewer and fewer stings, once I went gloveless I slowed down and barely got any stings.
 

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>"I have been working bees for 45 years, in shorts, a tank top, and sandals and I have never been stung!"

I have never heard that from anyone and I would not take it seriously if I did... one of the most common questions I get is "have you ever been stung" and I've adopted Bullseye Bill's answer: "you mean today?"
 

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I've been keeping bees for 10 years.
I wear a nylon jacket w/hood and gloves.
I haven't been stung (yet).
Don't care if I do, don't care if I don't.
It's not a claim.
It's a fact.
It's just luck.
No one is required to believe this.
It's not some kind of badge I wear.
It's just how it is.
 

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Got stung for the first time as a beekeeper last week. Was hoping to go a little longer before they drew first blood, but three weeks isn't bad. I like to think most beginners get stung before making it to week three.
 

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I've been keeping bees for 10 years.
I wear a nylon jacket w/hood and gloves.
I haven't been stung (yet).
Don't care if I do, don't care if I don't.
It's not a claim.
It's a fact.
It's just luck.
No one is required to believe this.
It's not some kind of badge I wear.
It's just how it is.

Had hives off and on since 2008 and worked a lot with them. Always suited, and always thick leather gloves. I have learned to be careful and a lot less graceless with the gloves than I was! But ...stung twice, only, within a month of each other, in the first year.

On the thigh, where they had crawled in a open 'pocket' hole.

Never any other time, I don't live in terror of it, I go around them a lot w/o a suit to do outside things with them.

But -- it IS possible to keep stinging down to a very rare event.
 

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Mine are so nice I keep forgetting they are bees. I get scared when I go in now because I'm afraid I'm going to screw something up, not because I might get stung. I know they are just waiting for me to let down my guard and then they'll go all AHB on me. I'm going to get hammered in the eyeball or something, I just know it.

I was stung by a bumble bee when I was 5 but I stepped on it barefoot and it got me between the toes. I haven't been stung by anything since. Almost everyone else in my family is terrified of my bees. They all thought I'd get stung the first day and change my mind about them. I've now had them almost 9 weeks and they haven't stung anyone.

I met a woman at the local beekeeper meeting last week who got hers the same time I did and her husband was stung 30 feet away from the hive. I'm glad I didn't get THOSE bees.

I'll miss my sweet girls if they start getting cranky on me later in the summer.
 

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I've always felt that you:

(a) you should simply wear "appropriate clothing," whatever-the-heck that means to you ...

... and (b) if you observe that the bees are exhibiting 'uncommonly aggressive behavior,' you should "promptly back-off!" (hey, are you an intelligent species, or not?) and make a mental note to come back (soon ...) and try to figure out why.

In my first year (out of three) of beekeeping, I tended to simply put on a beekeeping-hat and a pair of beekeping-gloves, based on the very-simple rationale that there are t-w-o places upon your body that you absolutely do not want to get stung. Beyond that, I wore shorts and a T-shirt. It just worked out that way, and I (well, almost ...) never got stung. I wasn't out to prove anything, honest. (I was cheap.) However, I did notice that I was routinely "running out of pockets," and that virtually everything in a beehive is sticky. :shhhh:

So ... thereafter and ever-since, my outfit evolved to include a basic bee-suit ... basically a lightweight painter's set of overalls, bought at somewhat-elevated expense :rolleyes: as the least-expensive option in a local beekeeping store. With the same mesh hat and the same gloves. (Inside the suit, I also wear a long-sleeve shirt and blue jeans.) Lots of pockets ... big 'uns ... very handy.

The bottom line, for me, is real simple:

(a) "Yeah, you might get stung." That's what bees do. (However, if you find yourself getting stung a lot(!), warning bells should be going off, because something is extremely out of the ordinary. There's probably something wrong here, and you don't yet know what it is. So, Back off, wait a day or so for things to cool-off, and investigate.)

(b) "Bottom line is, you very-pragmatically need to be able to work with your bees, which basically means that you do not have to be worrying about the (routine ...) possibility of actually getting stung." Therefore, "dress appropriately." Whatever-the-heck "appropriately" means for your personal comfort-zone. In ordinary practice, you should expect few, if any, stings.

These are the bees that have consented to allow you to be their guardians, so you need to be functional – that is to say, comfortable – in their presence. If a bulletproof suit-of-armor fits your bill, buy that. If "shorts and a T-shirt" fits your bill, cool. This is not an ego-statement. Rather, it it's an entirely-personal reflection of whatever works for you. You've got a job to do, and the bees frankly don't care either way. So, what's it gonna take to make you entirely-comfortable doing it? Buy that, wear that, "be happy," and (thusly armed ... or not ...) be about your business.
 

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Here in Spain the bees (Apis Mellifera Iberica) are supposed to be aggressive, but I find that if I am very careful and gentle, AND it is perfect weather and they are queenright they generally won't sting me. I sometimes go in shorts and t-shirt, sometimes full suit, just depends....

That said, I get stung pretty regularly, I often fill feeders in cloudy weather, if they need it, and I don't bother with any protection for just that, and they often get me a few times. Fortunately, my only reaction is a bit of itching the next day, like a mosquito bite.
 

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I get stung bc of my own stupidity or laziness, usually bees getting pinched in between my skin and clothing. Whereing shorts, letting them crawl up my selves. Like last night I was sitting on a box with shorts, just a net veil over my face, checking the laying pattern in a nuc, well a bee crawled up my crack and got pinched, boom stung in the butt. LOL. There were 2 guys with me over the nuc looking without any protection, granted, it was a nuc.

During the flow bees are very gentle.
 

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I've worked all of my 8 hives down to the last frame, on many occasions, and not been stung. On other occasions, I've been attacked as many as 15 times without hardly popping a lid (attacked 15 times, not stung. I won 14 of the 15 battles that day! When they go for my hair, I just slap-em, and they fall harmlessly to the ground. The one bee that succeeded, was a hit and run - so fast I couldn't even react). Depends on weather, queen-right, how fast you work them, etc. I take stings on purpose for therapy for arthritis. Lately, I've been averaging around 2 to 3 per week, but I've been raising queens and had to check on them frequently. So queenless nuc's, anywhere from... open once in 5 days, to twice a day. Currently averaging 3 stings per week, but all I wear is some work gloves. So most of my 3 stings per week could be avoided with protective gear on. But I find it to be more of a nuisance than a help... However I've had hives in the past that were mean enough that I would suit up just to change the bottle feeder. Most stings last only 1 or 2 minutes, then nothing but a red dot with no further itch or fuss. However I took one in the eyelid the other day, and my eye swelled shut for that evening. Mostly gone the next morning, and zero residual itch or issue after that.
 

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Had to use a box reaching for a big swarm just almost out of reach a couple of weeks ago. Standing on my tip toes when I shook them I kind of lost my grip on the box and took a step backwards and tripped over the edge of a kids sand box, dumping the whole swarm on my head and chest. And, being just a swarm I hade my jacket on and the vale down but nothing zippered. They were nice bees but I still got several hundred in my bonnet and took about 30 stings to my face, neck, and head. My wife laughed her ass off. I do a lot of removals and probably get stung a couple hundred times a year.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I understand that certain situations make them a little more aggressive. I've gotten stung through my glove last weekend and once this weekend. I have a few packages that were installed and have queen issues. That is probably why the stings. My point though is doesnt everyo e at some point have to work a hive or hives that are not perfect? I have a hard time believing that it is possible to keep bees without making a mistake and prompting a bee sting. Unless of course all of my hives are unusually aggressive and I am an unusually bad novice beekeeper. Either way I still love it and not quitting.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Got stung for the first time as a beekeeper last week. Was hoping to go a little longer before they drew first blood, but three weeks isn't bad. I like to think most beginners get stung before making it to week three.
actually, I got stung before I started. I was at an apiary where I bought my first nuc and I brought my wife with me to show her how docile bees are. I was just standing there picking the keepers brain for knowledge and Wham! right between my eyes. My wife started cracking up and said, "That's called I-R-O-N-Y!!!" I bowed my head and said, "yes, yes it is."
 
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