I have managed to get myself stung during two of my last three inspections. Totally my fault but I noticed that after I was stung the bees became more aggressive, even to the point of having a few follow me back to the car about 50 meters from the hives. So I was just wondering if any one else has also notice this?
When one stings you the alarm signal smell is triggered and all her sisters go into defend the hive mode so this is completely normal. Rule of thumb, wear protective gear always as you can become allergic at any point- there is no such thing as 100% not allergic and better safe than sorry!
I agree 100% with @Tim_Purdie and if you have a particularly bad day with the bees stinging your suit then go back to a hive the next day the hive will become aggressive straight away from the remaining pheromones on the suit. So washing the suit will fix that problem.
I agree with Pete & Tim. Also the bee that stings us continues to aggressively attack us, even though she can’t sting us again. There is probably a strategy behind that behavior. Maybe she gives off more pheromones while doing that. Also my little theory could be that it makes us breath harder which makes it easier for other bees to find our mouth (the source of CO2 we exhale), the general area they like to sting us.
When bees attack other bees or insects, they will try to sting them, but they also try to bite them. There is a gland near the mandibles (mouth parts) of the bees which emits a chemical that makes other insects sluggish. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are trying to use that defence on us too.
Answer to this is generally yes…and from my experience a book could be written about what conditions exacerbate aggressiveness after stinging. In the total picture, the trick of course is to prevent it in this first place (90% importance), and then when it happens, have an immediate plan to get it under control (10% importance) as the train has just about left the station…that’s just how our little friends are programmed.
I’ve found that if I’m getting stung, I’m usually doing something the bees don’t like. Perhaps an exception is dealing with a hot hive…where genetics dictate that my normal management is ineffective.
When I was starting out beekeeping, the first lesson I learned the hard way was never work beehives on a windy day. If you were a school teacher like I was, that’s the same days that kids were on edge, and you were glad when the day was over.