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My New Angry Bee Strategy

I think this only works for one angry bee. I brought a large nuc home last night & split it this morning before it got settled. Maybe it’s a few of those bees that were after me today while working in my garden. I was sitting down & also working with organic fertilizer, (blood & bone etc.) which wouldn’t have helped. My new strategy is to put my head down & freeze & don’t breathe heavily. It worked every time. It didn’t take long for the bee to give up & go away. However it didn’t take long for the same one or a new one to appear:) A while back I read that the bees target the area where we exhale carbon dioxide. So by bowing my head & hiding the point of exhaling & not breathing heavily, the bees found it hard to find that place & went away.

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You must have nerves of steel, Jeff
Stings don’t bother me…but on the face…no no

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I know it’s the wrong thing to do, but I’m still a “freak out and run away flapping” person when a bee comes at my face and I don’t have a veil on. I’m really trying not to, can mostly stay calm but when they get next to my face primal instinct takes over. :flushed:

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I think “walk away” is a good strategy. It’s what I’ve been doing lately and it works well most of the time. We all know bees are territorial critters and if they buzz you, it’s to encourage you to go away. Generally by the time I’ve walked 10 metres down the track, the bees have lost interest and gone back home.

I have built little back verandas on some of my bottom boards so I can supplementary feed with syrup. Little hole it the “roof” of the vereandah lets me insert an upside down feeder bottle. My latest version has a bee proof ss screen underneath but with the older versions, bees can escape when I’m replacing the feeder. Sometimes they are not happy!

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Hi & thank you @Dee, @Kebabman & @sciencemaster. It happened again after I posted my message. I was sitting down & kept my head bowed, she was determined to get me & I was determined to prove my theory & it worked, she eventually went away. I clapped on one earlier in the day, she went down & got me a beauty on top of the foot. I can hardly walk on it this morning.

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Sounds like something I’ve been trying to fashion, can you post a pic please , you might have solved the problem I’ve been having making mine?

Hi Kirsten,

Here are a few pics of the latest version.


The 250mL maple syrup bottle is a good size for a nuc but is too small for a normal sized hive. This bottle came with a pouring hole in the lid but I’ve drilled 8mm holes in others. You need to be able to block off the hole with your finger so you can invert the bottle when it goes onto the feeder as per the second pic.

The screen in the third pic keeps the bees inside the feeder and also sets the depth of the syrup. I have it set about 5mm from the base. This gives the girls a chance to get out when the syrup comes flooding in. Any caught directly under the mesh may not make it though.

The fourth pic shows the metal tray with the verandah roof lifted off. I made it from soft annealed, 0.3mm aluminium flashing, glued in at the corners and along the bottom edges. It extends 8mm inside the hive, a double bee space. The space is too big for the girls to propylise up, too small for them to burr up with wax, but plenty big enough to give them good access.

I hope this helps when you are making something for yourself. I’m in the (slow) process of building another three bases. I will take some more pics and measurements as I go.

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Thanks @sciencemaster it does help. The problem I’ve been having, partly, is the bottle shape, if I could find a large flat sided bottle that didn’t interfer with side of hive body, would be a big help! Oh for some ‘normal’ Spring weather & some sort of flow! I really didn’t/don’t want to be feeding them artificially, but seems for now have no choice. The original colonies the swarms came from are thriving, so it seems that if I can get them to a stage where they have good stores in hive I may be able to avoid this eventually. I’m thinking it will be next year though at this rate.
Thank you for taking the time to provide the detailed descriptions & photos you give too, it’s very kind of you.

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Hi there, Newbee here. We opened our Flow hive a week ago to inspect the brood box to check space and remove frames of honey to make space. We didn’t find any full frames of honey and there was plenty of space. Our flow super is getting pretty full and we will take two frames next week weather permitting and leave four as we are in coastal NSW and 1/3 the way through Autumn and I don’t want to artificially feed my bees unless I have to. There were quite a few casualties (dead bees) as a result of this inspection and ever since we’ve had the odd bee come after us and hunt us away. Even when we sit on the second storey verander drinking coffee overlooking the bee corner we have this one bee hovering around our heads constantly until we come inside. Yesterday I made sweet chilli sauce containing honey and I had heaps of bees outside any open windows and doors and I think they were attracted by the smell. Do bees have long memories, will they ever forgive us for squashing their sisters under foot and squashing a few between the boxes. Shayne

Hi Shayne, my first mentor told me they remember for 3 days.

One tip I have for when doing inspections is to keep your smoker going. Give a little puff of smoke to move bees away so that you squash very few while returning frames etc. Also remove any bridging comb from frames before replacing them. That is to eliminate jambing bees between frames that the workers find hard to remove. SHBs will take advantage of bees stuck between frames & lay eggs in them.

With practice, you will kill less bees with every inspection.

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That would probably be true for guard bees, as they are guarding from 18 to 21 days after emerging. Some bees are just naturally mean, and some of my hives seem to have held a grudge for up to 6 weeks. They usually got requeened at some point during that time, so who knows how to time the anger? :smile:

Hi Dawn, I was answering @Shayne14’s question about how long do bees remember after squashing bees during an inspection. That was my question to my mentor. How long do bees stay angry for after an inspection?

I understand @JeffH. I actually have home security camera footage of a very angry hive attacking the camera for about 3 days after we inspected. The camera had a spider above it, and the spider had captured a forager. She must have spread alarm pheromone in the vicinity, and as the camera is black, other bees took extreme prejudice in deciding whether or not to attack the camera.

That hive did calm down after requeening, but I hated walking past it, as I frequently got “bumped” even when 30 feet away, and I have long hair which tends to tangle and anger bees. It took about 2 months for the problem to go away.

Having said all that, I understand that your comment was a little different. I am just filling in some perspective on the issue, which is a toughie. :blush:

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