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What is your opinion about bee stings?

I try to avoid ALL bee stings
11 (27.5%)
I sometimes purposely allow myself to be stung
2 (5%)
I believe stings build resistance
7 (17.5%)
I do NOT believe stings build resistance
3 (7.5%)
I alway wear gloves
5 (12.5%)
I sometimes wear gloves
6 (15%)
I rarely or never wear gloves
6 (15%)

Total Members Voted: 17

Voting closed: June 15, 2020, 12:22:42 am

Author Topic: Bee stings  (Read 841 times)

Online Bob Wilson

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Bee stings
« on: June 08, 2020, 12:22:42 am »
I am curious about the different opinions beeks have about being stung. It seems some people purposely seek it, while others fear it. This poll is not meant to address the serious issue of life threatening reactions to a bee sting, merely the general opinion of how people deal with it.

Offline .30WCF

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2020, 12:33:12 am »
I think I only fear getting stung at the wrong moment and dropping a frame to the ensueing sting fest. The last few stings I have had, have been mostly uneventful. I have been stung once by my bees. I was checking them in shorts, third time though the frames to find the queen to mark, one reached out to my knee cap. I cringed, but maintained, removed the stinger, applied smoke, and kept on frame in hand.


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Online iddee

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2020, 06:52:05 am »
I use Apitherpy.
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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Offline Acebird

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2020, 08:27:50 am »
I still run from bees like a baby and I don't know why.  It doesn't hurt much and I get little reaction.  All I can say is I am waaaay better then I was when I first started.
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Offline Hops Brewster

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2020, 11:07:24 am »
I certainly don't like getting stung and I try to avoid it.  I wear nitrile glove when I have to go deep into a hive for inspection.  What I really hate is the multiple stings I get from a hot hive, and a hot hive gets dealt with asap.   I've recently been seen running around to the other side of the house swatting at several bees that were chasing me.  I got tagged a dozen times that afternoon.  Welcome new splits!

But I do understand that bees are stinging critters and to intentionally work with them for the "pleasure" of it is to invite stings.  I don't use a full bee suit anymore (it is gathering dust in a closet, only comes out for guests to use) and leather gloves are only used for as long as it takes to break up a hot hive.  I will do basic work on calm hives with just a veil, usually barehanded.  Sometimes I'll get 1 or 2 stings, sometimes no sting at all.  I've actually come to enjoy the feel of the bees roaming over my bare hands.  At these times, it is my own fault when I get stung.

I also enjoy the apparent reduction in arthritic inflammation and pain after a sting.  But no, I don't seek to get stung intentionally.

So to sum up, my full suit of "armour" and leather gloves are in the closet.  I use a jacket and nitrile gloves for inspection and when taking honey, and I use a veil and bare hands, sometimes nitrile gloves, for cursory inspections and feeding.  I don't like getting stung, but I accept the reality that it is part of the job.
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Offline CoolBees

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2020, 04:06:36 pm »
My answer is the same as Hops. I try not to get stung, but not too hard. I always manage 1 or more stings anyways. My reactions have gone down to near zero mostly - except around the edge of fingernails (those hurt!). I mostly wear shorts. Got stung yesterday in the leg (common for me). Couldn't find the sting sight 1 hour later.

Bee venom allergy runs in my family. My dad had to give up beekeeping because of it. So, I was a little worried the first couple yrs, as my reactions were not good. They got better over time. I don't worry any more. I rarely wear gloves, unless going deep into a hive - moving all brood frames, etc.

If I go 2 months without getting stung, the swelling can last a day or more. Generally I get stung every week or so.
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Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2020, 07:06:02 pm »
I am the same as Coolbees except swap the shorts for jeans. I find bare hands is more hygienic as I tend to wash my hands regularly in a little 3liter bucket that I cart around. My partner wears gloves and her hive tool is always sticky. I have a stainless steel pot scourer in the bucket and the hive tool is cleaned as well.

Offline Honeyeater

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2020, 08:59:52 am »
I'm in the "run like a baby" camp. My hives are down a steep slope and I usually avoid the sting but get cramps in my calf after a sudden jolt running up the slope. It hurts more than the sting.

Yesterday I got both a calf injury, and a sting in the inside elbow so there you go.

Having said that I never ever get stung during inspections. I have a three layer ventilated suit, wear leather gloves, and they can sting as much as they like because I wont feel a thing. It gives me a lot of confidence that suit.

Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2020, 07:46:53 pm »
Bob
I think the survey shows that there is a lot of variation in bee keeping and attitudes.
We had to add some honey to wintering hives yesterday and it wasn't really warm enough and they were not happy, even I went for the gloves. Got stings through my shirt, my partner got stung through her jeans. Can't blame the bees but we thought it was the best day when looking forward at the weather.

Online Bob Wilson

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2020, 07:36:41 am »
Beavo. You are right.
Also, I think I have some learning to do about crafting a a good Barna survey. But it is interesting g (as of this moment) to see what issue people find the most compelling.
Only 12 of 16 decided about avoiding stings.
Only 10 of 16 were confident about their opinion about symptom resistance.
But all voters weighed in on how they felt about gloves.

Offline MarnBeek

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2020, 02:30:41 pm »
I have had a terrible last two weeks as far as stings. I've had to be in my hive more than I prefer this year. All typical bee related things but all happening close together. Regardless, I was stung on the tip of my index finger in early June. Barely felt it, took a moment to say "Oh bee why'd you do that?" amd moved on with the rest of my work. No more swelling than a bad horsefly bite.  Last week (Saturday) I was in the hive and my shirt just happned to be resting against my skin in just the wrong spot. I was stung again on the boney part of my arm on the thumb side just above my wrist. I've never felt a sting so bad! I had a bee sting me right in the face once while holding a deep and I turned to my husband calmly and said, "Umm, there's a bee stinging my face. Can you get it?" ( I had forgotten to put my veil back down  :oops:) But this time it hurt like nobodies business and I had to step away from the hive for a moment to compose myself. So strange to me. The next day my arm swelled up from thumb to elbow. The skin was stretched tight. Took two Benadryl but that was no help other than to mess me up. I just dealt with the swelling for a couple of days but by Monday I felt feverish, cold and shivery but I didn't have a fever. I was stung again yesterday when making a casual observation of the hive from the side. I was litarally standing up to walk away. A bee landed on my eyelid and I think just the squeezing of my eye shut caused it to sting. Again it hurt like crazy! And now I look like Vincent from Beauty and the Beast. I know this is already a long post already but I am going to mention some things I've thought since these last two stings happened. I drive standard and had to drive about 3 hours after I was stung on the wrist. I thought maybe that had caused some of the swelling to be worse than it would have been. I also couldn't remove the stinger right away as I had the hive all apart. But when I was stung yesterday I removed the stinger immeadiately, took two Benadryls, grabbed a bag of ice and laydown kind of upright to keep my head higher than the rest of my body and I can't say that it made any difference in the amount of swelling. In both cases it got worse overnight. Another thing is that I generally avoid foods that are inflammatory. Apparently that makes no difference when it comes to bee stings. :grin: Also, I couldn't believe the size of the last two stingers I pulled out. Anyway, to me all the scientific studies in the world don't stack up against personal experience and I find it incredably interesting the differences between each sting and each person who is stung even though there are so many variables. So I WOULD have said getting stung as a beekeeper is not a bad thing but now I wonder if I got stung again next week if my reaction would be worse or better? As I read about sting experiences with other keepers though I can't help but wonder, is this a change that's happening with bee stings? Have people always reacted differently from sting to sting? Is it something different about the bees? Could it be the changes in farming? Changes in our food? My husband is pushing for an Epipen which doesn't hurt to have one for me or anyone else who may go into anaphylactic shock while at my place. It's all so interesting!!

Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2020, 05:05:07 pm »
For or over half a century I have been stung or bitten by most flying, swimming or crawling critters in the USA.  Most painful was jellyfish and two particular Honey bee stings.  One bee sting on my stomach as a kid was insane painful, another time, 3 years ago, my ankle was swollen and painful for 12 hours.  Sometimes I react, most times stings are unremarkable.  I never know, nor do I worry.  I have a full bee suit that I have never worn like Hops texted above.  I usually wear gloves and face protection, but the when little rascals decide to sting, I am going to get stung.  I do have Benadryl and prednisone if needed.

Getting stung is part of beekeeping.  If you mess with bees, eventually your going to get stung.  My reactions very which is opposed to what I studied in immunology???

I have practiced apitherapy, bee stings, to my arthritic fingers/hand.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2020, 08:10:42 pm by van from Arkansas »
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline amymcg

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2020, 08:25:46 am »
I rarely get stung anymore. I did get a good one this year and it was totally my fault. I tried to put on a hive top feeder without smoking and one Got me solidly in the joint of my thumb. I couldn?t get the stinger out right away as I was holding stuff. I actually still have some numbness there six weeks later. I think it must have gotten right in a nerve. My whole lower arm was swollen.

Usually I get very little reaction to a sting. Just a small bump.

I always wear a veil. I?m a saxophonist and I need to be able to play, so getting stung in the face is off the table. I rarely wear any gloves at all. I do wear jeans and rubber wellie boots.


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Offline Acebird

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2020, 08:52:29 am »
I just got stung under the eye yesterday and thinking about throwing in the towel.  This hive is so unpredictable.  One minute it is gentle as a lamb and next they are killer bees.  If this is the norm for southern FL I have to give it up.
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Online seanconnery

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2020, 12:24:28 pm »

Offline yes2matt

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2020, 12:57:31 pm »
I was just going to start a thread and title it "BVT for attitude adjustment "

I've been cranky and short tempered for a couple weeks. Yelling at the dog, banging stuff around, cursing at other drivers in traffic. And I went out this morning and did some inspection/maintenance. Some of the bees were a little pissy, the heat and the weather and not s lot of nectar coming in. So I took several stings on the fingers and a few on the knee and calf.

And about fifteen minutes later I was working thru this box and couldn't find the queen and noticed that I was not grumpy or even impatient about it, even tho my glasses kept sliding off in the sweat stream. And I'm sure it's in response to the stings.

So I always take measures to avoid getting stung. But when it happens it's no big deal, in fact the aftereffects are rather pleasant.

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Online JurassicApiary

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2020, 02:02:05 pm »
I believe that stings come with the territory.  I expect to get stung working with bees.  That said, however, I do take precautions to try to minimize the frequency.  I don't like getting stung, but I tolerate it as a risk associated with the reward of beekeeping.  While I have worked hives barehanded, I prefer 8 mil nitrile glove;  They're thin enough to feel everything yet thick enough that a bee that buzzes my hand it won't distract me. 

I'm Up to 13 stings for 2020 so far.  I do believe that receiving stings regularly has desensitized my body's response quite a bit. 

Online jtcmedic

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2020, 06:18:47 pm »
I just got stung under the eye yesterday and thinking about throwing in the towel.  This hive is so unpredictable.  One minute it is gentle as a lamb and next they are killer bees.  If this is the norm for southern FL I have to give it up.
Ace
Some of my hive are gentle but yes some of my hives are cranky, it does for me tend to be because of weather but I have to work my hives due to my schedule.  Also my girls sometimes don?t like my wife to work them, she has a hive she won?t work because she say they don?t like her. I work them and not a problem.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2020, 07:45:32 pm »
I just got stung under the eye yesterday and thinking about throwing in the towel.  This hive is so unpredictable.  One minute it is gentle as a lamb and next they are killer bees.  If this is the norm for southern FL I have to give it up.

Ace I would hate to see you give it up. Maybe replace the queen with a queen from a known gentle stock bee breeder?
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline amymcg

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2020, 08:46:10 pm »
I just got stung under the eye yesterday and thinking about throwing in the towel.  This hive is so unpredictable.  One minute it is gentle as a lamb and next they are killer bees.  If this is the norm for southern FL I have to give it up.

Are you wearing a veil?

Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2020, 09:16:41 pm »
I just got stung under the eye yesterday and thinking about throwing in the towel.  This hive is so unpredictable.  One minute it is gentle as a lamb and next they are killer bees.  If this is the norm for southern FL I have to give it up.

Give up the bees????  Ace, you gonna join the NRA too, then vote for that guy with the Red...  Trying to make a point, with humor intended.

I remember when you caught the swarm, last Spring that moved into your equipment.  Mr. Ace, you were excited, thrilled you were...

Van
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2020, 09:28:42 am »
Are you wearing a veil?
Not mowing the lawn.  I pretty much wasn't wearing anything but a pair of shorts.
Van, I was excited.  Still would be if I could count on local genetics.  I don't think I can.
Buying a queen would be a solution up north.  Down here I'm not to sure.  There is a problem of acceptance and the fact that the queen might be replaced in a short time.  BTW my eye is perfectly fine now.  My wife would not fare as well.
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Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2020, 09:16:04 pm »
Glad you eye is better.  Ace, are you saying there is a difference in the northern bee you raised compared to these southern bees, relative to queen acceptance/supersedure?  Do to different climates, flow etc?  I believe you were in New York area and now Florida, talk about environmental change, well,  you have experience it.  From snow man to sand man, from winter cluster to year round foragers.

Elaborate for me, Ace, this is very interesting regarding the bees with aggression/calm behavior!!!!

I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2020, 09:54:47 am »
Don't get me wrong, we have testy bees in the north but very little africanized genetics.  They only get there by packages and because of their behavior don't winter well.  There is also a desire to exterminate them.
BTW I mowed the lawn near the hive with a hand mower yesterday.  Then I ran the tractor over that area to get past the hive.  No problem what so ever.  The only thing I can imagine is that the dang coco nuts float out of the ground because of all the rain and the shrapnel took out some bees and that set them off.  So for the moment I am keeping the hive.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2020, 10:10:34 am »
Ace, are you saying there is a difference in the northern bee you raised compared to these southern bees, relative to queen acceptance/supersedure?
Not really but...
If you are buying a queen then there is usually a problem with the hive.  The queen gets blamed for problems in the hive so it is not uncommon for the queen to be replaced after she initially gets accepted.  I remember a time back that there were complaints of queens being superseded shortly after being introduced.  I also think if the hive is truly africanized it will be harder to get the queen accepted that she won't be replaced.  That might be the only difference between the two areas.
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Offline Bushman

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2020, 03:46:50 pm »
I was doing a quick check before vacation to see if the bees were working the new super I had added and so I popped the outer cover, saw a few bees, no big deal and no high pitched buzzing.

I popped the inner cover and there were a lot of bees on the new undrawn frames and within 2 seconds the buzz pitch went up and they came out.

I got nailed twice on the forearm and once on the shin.  I was not wearing any protection.

I quickly ran back to the garage and suite up and put the covers back on but boy oh boy did my arm and leg swell.  Painful to the touch for a couple days.

I came back from vacation, suited up and tried to do a full hive inspection but once I got past the 2 supers and into the upper brood box I heard the high pitched buzz and they came out in force again.  One got me right on the knuckle through my gloves.

I smoked the glove and walked away for a minute and then came back and put the hive back together.

Up until now they have been very peaceful.

I'm wondering if they will sting through my bee-suit if i persist on the inspection.  I need to check for mites too.

Offline yes2matt

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #26 on: August 12, 2020, 03:51:03 pm »
I was doing a quick check before vacation to see if the bees were working the new super I had added and so I popped the outer cover, saw a few bees, no big deal and no high pitched buzzing.

I popped the inner cover and there were a lot of bees on the new undrawn frames and within 2 seconds the buzz pitch went up and they came out.

I got nailed twice on the forearm and once on the shin.  I was not wearing any protection.

I quickly ran back to the garage and suite up and put the covers back on but boy oh boy did my arm and leg swell.  Painful to the touch for a couple days.

I came back from vacation, suited up and tried to do a full hive inspection but once I got past the 2 supers and into the upper brood box I heard the high pitched buzz and they came out in force again.  One got me right on the knuckle through my gloves.

I smoked the glove and walked away for a minute and then came back and put the hive back together.

Up until now they have been very peaceful.

I'm wondering if they will sting through my bee-suit if i persist on the inspection.  I need to check for mites too.
Are you smoking the hive (like in thru the entrance) before you start opening it up or are you waiting til they're wound up already?

How is your nectar flow? Bees are much more testy in a dearth.

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Offline .30WCF

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #27 on: August 12, 2020, 08:05:05 pm »
Happy August.


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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2020, 09:04:31 pm »
"I popped the inner cover and there were a lot of bees on the new undrawn frames and within 2 seconds the buzz pitch went up and they came out."

You did not mention using a smoker. Did you smoke them?

"I got nailed twice on the forearm and once on the shin.  I was not wearing any protection. I'm wondering if they will sting through my bee-suit if i persist on the inspection. I need to check for mites too."

Doubtful they will sting through if it is the three layer ventilated type.
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline Bushman

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2020, 09:10:12 am »
I was doing a quick check before vacation to see if the bees were working the new super I had added and so I popped the outer cover, saw a few bees, no big deal and no high pitched buzzing.

I popped the inner cover and there were a lot of bees on the new undrawn frames and within 2 seconds the buzz pitch went up and they came out.

I got nailed twice on the forearm and once on the shin.  I was not wearing any protection.

I quickly ran back to the garage and suite up and put the covers back on but boy oh boy did my arm and leg swell.  Painful to the touch for a couple days.

I came back from vacation, suited up and tried to do a full hive inspection but once I got past the 2 supers and into the upper brood box I heard the high pitched buzz and they came out in force again.  One got me right on the knuckle through my gloves.

I smoked the glove and walked away for a minute and then came back and put the hive back together.

Up until now they have been very peaceful.

I'm wondering if they will sting through my bee-suit if i persist on the inspection.  I need to check for mites too.
Are you smoking the hive (like in thru the entrance) before you start opening it up or are you waiting til they're wound up already?

How is your nectar flow? Bees are much more testy in a dearth.

I smoke as I lift the outer cover and the inner.  I smoke before I begin to pull frames and as often as needed when they start to get a little more active.  I have not smoked the entrance at all.

Yesterday i was watching the bees coming in and going out and there was a lot of activity.  They were flying north across the hay field as far as I could see and also flying west into the woods.  I have no idea what is flowing right now.  I figured it wouldn't be much until the goldenrod comes in.  maybe alfalfa or wild flowers?  We have a lot of alfalfa fields around but they are all getting 2nd cuttings right now.

I'm south central Michigan just 20 minutes south and south west of lansing.

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Offline Bushman

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Re: Bee stings
« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2020, 09:12:06 am »
"I popped the inner cover and there were a lot of bees on the new undrawn frames and within 2 seconds the buzz pitch went up and they came out."

You did not mention using a smoker. Did you smoke them?

"I got nailed twice on the forearm and once on the shin.  I was not wearing any protection. I'm wondering if they will sting through my bee-suit if i persist on the inspection. I need to check for mites too."

Doubtful they will sting through if it is the three layer ventilated type.

It is a standard white one piece non vented.  Haven't been stung thru it yet but I also quit the inspection when they get aggravated. 
Being a new beek can be frustrating but I still like it.