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1201 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  G3farms
It never ceases to amaze me that with 90% of photgraphs I have seen regarding American beekeepers they don't wear protective clothing over the head or hands.

I can understand not using gloves but not to protect your face is to me anyway, absolutly stupid.

Your bees must bee extreamly docile for the beekeeper to handle them without protective gear. Are they?

I fully understand the genetic elements for breeding calm bees but every once in a while there is throwbacks. I believe the problem we have in the UK is the genetic heredity has become a real mix match of exotic queens from all over Europe, now a day its almost impossible to find a 'pure breed bee ' of any configuration.

I have come off topic so to get back on track here in the UK I could wager a bet that if anyone did not wear head protection then they would be stung in that area.

Just as a matter of intrest the doctor who attend me in Casuality gave up counting the removed bee stings from my anckles and lower legs after 200.

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>>>>Just as a matter of interest the doctor who attends me in Casualty gave up counting the removed bee stings from my ankles and lower legs after 200.<<<<

I have gotten that many from my waist up within a matter of minutes, so where's your problem? :eek: :mrgreen:

With careful choosing of the weather and careful handling, most bees can be worked without protective gear, but like you said, there will always be exceptions. I tell everyone to wear what they feel is comfortable. Some wear a lot, others wear very little.

I worked 7 hives with no gear this morning. No stings. I will go back later today and try again. I get stings regularly for my arthritis. If I don't get stung this afternoon, I will pick up a couple of the ladies and press them to my wrists.
Many things impact whether bees are a bit more defensive or not. They include weather, seasonality impacts, pests and disturbances, and even the number of bees one keeps in the yards.

Take for instance, number of hives. In nature, there may be vast space between one feral colony and the next. Being challenged at the entrance is something that happens on a low level, and except for the occasional scout bee checking out a newly found sister colony, little daily irritation can be seen at the colony entrance.

Now take 10 hives and put them not just all in the same yard, but next to each other. The amount of challenges, the times a new scout bee (Up tp 5% of all feild bees daily are new fliers and scouts) needs to check out the colony next door in learning the neighborhood, and the lost "drifters" ending up on the wrong entrance all increases tension and challenges at the entrance. Not all drifters are laiden down with pollen and nectar as sometimes suggested, and given a free pass into the hive. Some of those drifters are bees taking a cleansing flight, house bees cleaning out dirt from the hive, etc. So these bees are not the forages loaded with pollen that are easily given a free pass at the door by the guards.

I have heard many people suggest that the TBH or other "special" hive shows a great lack of aggression. They attribute this to some natural comb, or some mystical reasons of the hive itself. They say in the same yard as other standatrd hives, this TBH or other hive always seems to be calmer. I have a TBH and a Warre hive, as well as every other kind of hive at the farm. It does seem they are easier to work. But I think it has to do with the hives being so different, the bees do not get confused. You can't miss the fact your looking for a TBH instead of the "third identical white box from the left". And for all their amazement and special abilities that we credit to the bees, they have problems sometimes in getting lost. We just apply a term called "drifting" so we don't upset them by calling them stupid bees.

Lees confusion, less challenges at the door, less guard bees, less aggression, calmer bees to work.

But watch in the Walmart parking lot this Saturday morning how many people will be walking around lost due to the fact there is more than one blue corollas in the parking lot, even though visual cues such as a big "#3" is posted on the nearest light pole as they drove into the parking lot. We call them stupid. But we expect bees to get it right everytime.
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well said Bjorn, in fact I had a hive at one time that was alway aggitated, they were sitting close to a big sweet gum tree, then on day while working the hive I felt it move and wondered what was going on. One of the cinder blocks was sitting on a root that was loose and when the tree would move in the breeze it would shake the whole hive. Moved them off of the root and they were gentle bees from then on out.

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