Do Bees Know there Keeper?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by brooksbeefarm, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    I know they claim that with the short life span of bees, that they wouldn't have time to make that reconition? Most anytime when the bees are flying, that i walk out the door, a bee or two will buzz in front of my face or light on my shirt like they are welcoming me. (No, i take a shower every night and put on clean clohes every day:grin:). I'm use to them lighting on my arms or face licking sweat while working outside in the summertime, but this is different, they act like there glad to see me:shock:. I think there is something else going on here? I'm betting some of you see the same thing? Jack
     
  2. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Personally, I think bees are attracted to some of the perfumes present in all shower soaps, laundry detergent or fabric softeners, deodorants, shampoo, etc. We don't have to be wearing perfume or cologne to be exuding fragrances the bees find intriguing. Even 'unscented' products seem to have pleasing aromas. They may also be attracted to colorful clothes, the minerals on our skin, our warmth, breath...
    That said, when my bees buzz in front of my face they are usually slightly annoyed.

    My belief is that the bees don't 'know' their keeper- they do know when an 'intruder' is behaving aggressively (as a nervous person, someone on a mower, or a barking dog might behave), or when an 'intruder' is non-threatening (as a gentle beekeeper might be)....and they react accordingly.
     

  3. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    When we get the feeling that our bees "know us" and therefore behave docile-like in our presence, I think it's because we have learned how to behave with bees and not upset them. An experienced beekeeper doesn't jump around and make erratic motions in the presence of bees. He/She also doesn't break out in a nervous sweat that can have a pheromone-like effect on the bees setting them off on an attack. Remember, a hot weather sweat and a nervous sweat are composed of different chemical substances. The bees can be very sensitive to the difference and behave differently in reaction to each.
     
  4. Ray

    Ray Member

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    My two hives have a no loitering policy. Within a few minutes of me standing around (about 10 feet) watching, one of the girls decides it time for me to move along. I thinks it's just that female thing about being stared at.:grin:
     
  5. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Bees do know their owner or visitor! Bees comunicate thru pheromones they are highly in tune with the pharmons in their hive, that the queens produce and shares with their sisters in the hive. People give off pheromones also Fear pheromones bees can sence when people are up tight and can be aggressive toward them
     
  6. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    I think efmisch and Omie are both correct. How unusual is that? When I literally dumped my first three packages in 10 frame deep boxes, and for a few months afterward, it looked like a swarm when I inspected my hives. Since then, I have learned to slow the whole process, smoke and wait as I say, and the bees are much more docile. One of six hives are the bitches from hell and slow and deliberate makes them more docile, but they are still a hand full. But, they are good bees.

    No, I don't think they recognize you, but I think they recognize fear and impromptu actions.
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Rather than pheromones I would have used the word smell although I myself think the basic idea is one and the same. So I guess if you think people smell differently then it would make sense that yes bees can distinguish one person from another person. However this is not to suggest they remember thing in the same way humans or say even dogs remember things.
     
  8. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    I like to believe that bees also feel good vibes, positive energy, coming from their keeper.
     
  9. Adam Foster Collins

    Adam Foster Collins New Member

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    I think it makes sense that a creature which is so very much in tune with chemical communication would be able to recognize a specific animal (human or otherwise). I believe it has already been proven that they can recognize faces.

    But once we get to anthropomorphizing, or suggesting that they 'like' us, or have affection for us - then I am out. Even the most skillful beekeeper is still going to be an annoyance to bees.

    Bees are a miracle for what they are. I don't believe they have any affinity for people, and they don't have to have human-like feelings. They are perfect in their 'otherness', and fill us with wonder because they are so different from us.

    I think our great affection for them causes us to project a returned affection. And I understand that.

    Adam
     
  10. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    @Adam:

    I've got one hive that does not like you or me or anyone else. They will project an affliction to you.
     
  11. Fuzzybeekeeper

    Fuzzybeekeeper New Member

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    I have heard that beekeepers in southern Mexico will wear their underwear for a week and then put the dirty underwear in the hive so the bees recognize their scent.

    I personally do not believe that bees can recognize and distinguish between their owner and another beekeeper that might act the same. I have nothing to base this on except my own opinion.

    I do believe, like has been mentioned above, that your calmness or "scaredness" can cause the bees to act differently to both you and your visitors.

    Fuzzybeekeeper
     
  12. Adam Foster Collins

    Adam Foster Collins New Member

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    That, I believe.
     
  13. jim314

    jim314 New Member

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    I'd sting you for no other reason than that :)
     
  14. Ray

    Ray Member

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    Here is some fish-o-promorphism: I read (somewhere) about the sweat on some humans hands being chemicals similar to sea lion stink, and that spitting on the fishing lure imparted a different smell that was a fish attractant.
    Maybe some of us smell like a hungry bear and some of us smell like a harmless fellow woodland creature?

    Fuzzybeekeeper:
    Does throwing you filthy underwear in a hive change the flavor of the honey?:lol:
     
  15. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    I had 35 hives here at home this summer, one beeyard is appox. 400 ft. from the house the other about 600 ft., and i only got two hits all summer from these hives and it was my fault. (i was careless and mashed them) The outyards (6 of them) 35 to 60 miles from home are a little more testy and don't greet me in a friendly way when i get out of the truck.:roll:I'm not around these hives like the ones at home, i can ride the 4 wheeler 3 feet from there entrance and set and watch them come and go (i try not to get in there flight path) without any problems of attack, and that's with the motor runnig? It may be a pheromone thing? but there is something strange going on, they come to the Farmers Market(2 miles from home) where i sell produce and honey and light on me (not on the honey jars) it's funny to watch people jump back and yell, there's a bee on you:eek:. Jack
     
  16. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    I also heard about dirty underwear use in the beekeeping, as a way to repel skunk from your bee yard.:lol:
     
  17. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    If i wore my underwear for a week,my queen bee wouldn't let me or my underwear in the house.:lol: Jack
     
  18. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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  19. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    I read some info a while back about a bees ability to smell in comparison to their ability to taste. They would put a blood hound to shame but have a very pour since of taste.

    It was very obvious to me that my bees at least got used to me. I was in the hive a lot last summer. I have no question that my bees know the difference when it was me near or in the hive and when it was someone or something else. I just assumed they could smell me and my scent was more familiar. If I got into the hive to frequently they would begin to react more strongly at my presence.

    No question in my mind they did have some memory of something about me. Bringing them sugar water got mixed reactions over time. just setting near the hive caused the calmest reaction in the bees. Breaking into the brood nest might result in a bee or two that would challenge me every time I came near the hive for two or three days.
     
  20. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    Were I to wear underwear a week and then place them in the hive, my greatest concern would be a double swarm. These underwear things have been around a long time. When I was a boy, our rancher neighbor would tie his soiled underwear on spooky horses and said it made them much more agreeable to be around. I most like the poster that questioned, would this change the taste of the honey?