Adventures in Beekeeping - Journey To Liquid Gold - Pics

Quail_Antwerp

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Morning, Boogity!

We are fairly certain it is the hive that is aggressive. This was a swarm that we captured back in May. We "think" the swarm was from my original hive, but there is a small chance it came from a wild colony of bees in the woods behind our house (there is a colony in a hollowed out tree back there).

The first few times we checked this particular hive they were fine to work with. We only check our hives once a month, and it was in July and now this month that they were aggressive. We're also in a bit of a dearth, so I told DH this morning maybe I should start feeding and see if that helps. I was told starving/hungry bees will be aggressive? From what we saw yesterday they only have 3 frames of honey built up and capped, so I am concerned for this hive for winter.

We definitely do NOT want to give up on beekeeping. The reward for us is too great, and we'd like to maintain around 6-10 hives eventually. We only plan to add one or two hives a year, so as not to completely leap into a large apiary and it being more than we can handle.

We were considering re-queening the hive, and I was going to order an Italian Queen September 1. My first choice would be a Cardovan or a Carnolian, but all of the local Queen breeders seem to be sold out of both of them for 2012. I will have to go with either a Russian or an Italian, and Italians are supposed to be gentle and calm (from what I've read).

Also, the girls in this hive didn't go completely nuts on us until we moved into the bottom super and started pulling out the frames in the bottom. Even then, they weren't that bad at first, until we got close and closer to their 3 full frames of honey. They are definitely building up some honey stores in the top super, but just a bit is capped in the corners around where there was brood/larvae. In the bottom super, they have 3 full frames of capped honey and they didn't want us to touch it.

But I shouldn't have to run 200 ft away before they leave me alone.

Thank you, Boogity!
 

Denim Deb

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Hey Boogity, would that type of bee be good for someone who wants bees but is allergic? I'm not looking to get into bees anytime soon, but it's been something I've wanted to do for a long time but haven't because of my allergy.
 

Quail_Antwerp

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Well, 1 frame of capped honey yielded four 8 oz jars of honey and 2 jars of chunk honey. Yum yum!
 

Boogity

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Denim Deb said:
Hey Boogity, would that type of bee be good for someone who wants bees but is allergic? I'm not looking to get into bees anytime soon, but it's been something I've wanted to do for a long time but haven't because of my allergy.
I'm not the one to give advice to someone who has allergic reactions to bee stings but I really do not think beekeeping is meant for someone who may suffer from a sting. Even the most gentle bees will sometimes sting. A beek cannot help but to crush a bee now and then no mater how careful. Sometimes when you handle a frame, which is a necessity, you may accidentally put your hand on a bee and their natural reaction is to protect themselves and the colony.

Have you had a bee sting lately? Do you have an immediate violent reaction? If you can tolerate a sting without going to the hospital then I suggest you go ahead and force a bee to sting you. If you live through it (kidding) then wait a week and get another sting. Eventually you should become naturally less sensitive to the bee venom.

20 years ago one bee sting would make my skin red and swollen in an eight inch area around the sting. I would get dizzy and feel like I was going to pass out. After about 24 hours of pain I would itch terribly in a large area around the sting for another day. Eventually I became almost immune to the stings. Three weeks ago when it was sooooooooo hot I was messing around in one of my hives and the perspiration ran into my eyes so much that I couldn't see. With the vail on you cannot simply wipe the sweat from your eyes. My hands were also very moist and I dropped one of my very busy brood boxes. Of course the ladies were very upset and they started head-butting my vail very hard. I quickly stuck my hand up under my vail to wipe my eyes and about 10 bees got in there along with my hand. I got 4 stings on my face two on my neck. I also got a few stings on my backside when I bent over to retrieve the box. As much as I could determine I received 11 stings. I put things back together at the hive and headed for the house which is about 200 yards from the hives. All the way back there were bees giving me hard head-butts. Anyway I picked all of the stingers out and got into the shower for a few minutes to cool off. Within 15 minutes after the shower all stinging sensation was gone and I had no swelling at all. By evening I had forgotten that I was stung at all. So exposure to bee venom can make some folks become much more tolerant to stings. But not everyone.
 

Denim Deb

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I get shots every month and don't have as severe a reaction as I used to. My throat no longer feels like it's going to close up if I get stung.
 

Quail_Antwerp

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Denim Deb, my husband is allergic to bees, and not just honey bees, but all manner of bees, especially yellow jackets. We keep an epi-pen on hand. My husband was stung once, and that was last year, and he didn't swell up.

We both suit up in a bee suit with a zippered hood. We also wear gloves, where a lot of beekeepers don't.

This is the jacket combo we use

http://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=34_99&products_id=723

and these are the gloves

http://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=34_65&products_id=571

Other precautions we take include using duct tape to seal our pantlegs to the tops of our shoes so no bees go up our pants or into our shoes. It has worked well for us. My husband wants us to both get a full suit, because while we've not had a bee sting us through the suits or gloves (and yes they DO try), I HAVE been stung through my jeans!!
 

Denim Deb

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Thanks for the info, QA! While I won't get bees here (I think the neighbors would freak!), maybe it's not that far fetched an idea after all. And, I do carry an epi pen w/me as well. In fact, my friends have gotten into the habit of asking me if I have it w/me because on rare occasions, I have forgotten it.
 
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