American Beekeepers - astonishingly calm bees or crazy keepers?

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pnkemp 

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Personally I don't even think about an inspection without my suit on, smoker lit (even if the bugger goes out after 5 mins), and gloves on (nitrile or marigolds).

Then you look at YouTube and American and Canadian beekeepers seem to habitually inspect with at most a veil. I'm not just talking about some of the truly baflfing things like the Texas Beeworks lady who claims to deal with swarms and unwanted colonies in an area where africanized bees are prevalent without any protection or even her hair secured, but serious beeks like Kaymon Reynolds and the Guelph University Apiarist.

SO, are they just supermen and women immune to stings, are they bonkers, or is the average North American bees strain significantly calmer than over here in Europe?
 

Ian123 

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We certainly do have bees here like that, personally I love going through hives minus all the kit. It certainly teaches you to read the bees and appreciate a slower gentle approach. However I pick my times and if there’s a job that needs doing it’s time to get the kit on. I also wonder about some who claim not to use a smoker I’d never do an inspection without lighting up, however little it’s used.
 

DABOSS 

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I also wonder about some who claim not to use a smoker I’d never do an inspection without lighting up, however little it’s used.
I hardly fire mine up tbh but do wear full gear - 1. Hygiene 2. Sting to the eyes and throat, not worth the risk.
 

Wilco 

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We certainly do have bees here like that, personally I love going through hives minus all the kit. It certainly teaches you to read the bees and appreciate a slower gentle approach. However I pick my times and if there’s a job that needs doing it’s time to get the kit on. I also wonder about some who claim not to use a smoker I’d never do an inspection without lighting up, however little it’s used.
Agreed. Always light the smoker even if you don't use it.

Don't quite dare to not wear suit etc. but agree there are colonies like that here.

Remember Youtube is edited content, like almost any film media. You see what they want you to see.
 

Ian123 

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Remember Youtube is edited content, like almost any film media. You see what they want you to see.
To be fair in many places it’s quite normal and not an internet stunt!…Also rather a reflection on the standard of British bees and breeding in the UK I’m afraid.
 

Wilco 

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To be fair in many places it’s quite normal and not an internet stunt!…Also rather a reflection on the standard of British bees and breeding in the UK I’m afraid.
Admittedly our colony survival over winter seems to be slightly better than theirs if that migratory study was anything to go by...
 

Ian123 

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Admittedly our colony survival over winter seems to be slightly better than theirs if that migratory study was anything to go by...
I wasn’t particularly thinking US, there’s plenty of good EU breeders/associations…A friend had a Carnica group visit, there was a coach and mini bus full. A handful of the wife’s/partners had a veils and that was it. They told us it was bad form to turn up kitted out and rude to the host, who’s bees undoubtedly would be excellent……no pressure then😉
 

blackcloud 

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We certainly do have bees here like that, personally I love going through hives minus all the kit. It certainly teaches you to read the bees and appreciate a slower gentle approach. However I pick my times and if there’s a job that needs doing it’s time to get the kit on. I also wonder about some who claim not to use a smoker I’d never do an inspection without lighting up, however little it’s used.
:oops:
Not even pants and socks?
 

Murox 

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We certainly do have bees here like that, personally I love going through hives minus all the kit. It certainly teaches you to read the bees and appreciate a slower gentle approach. However I pick my times and if there’s a job that needs doing it’s time to get the kit on. I also wonder about some who claim not to use a smoker I’d never do an inspection without lighting up, however little it’s used.
No more would I even though I often have a water spray with me, smoke tends to be my 'last resort'. I usually try not to use either and just go at the slower gentler pace you suggest. Mind you I do not inspect if I have "to do it by time X" so Im not in a hurry.
 

pargyle 

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Roger Patterson always seems to inspect with just a veil, bare hands and arms as well ... mind you, I've seen one vid where he was, clearly, stung !

My father, who kept bees in the 1950's and 60's, used to inspect the bees with a bombay basher from his army days and a peice of net curtain tucked under it and into his shirt .... bare hands and arms as well. Never seemed to get stung ... mind you, some of my early memories are of sitting in the allotment amongst the raspberry canes surrounded by fresh raspberrries and bees from his hives and I don't think I was ever stung either....
 

nettle 

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My mum's auntie (she's 88 now) used to do her beekeeping in a skirt. She did get stung a lot, but she was (and is) a tough cookie!

Some of the UK beekeepers on youtube don't use much protective kit either. Philip Chandler wears a veil at the most.
 

Michael Palmer 

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About the Texas Beeworks lady...total scam.
But for the rest of us, gentle bees are the norm, unless you buy the unselected rubbish that will eat you alive. Of course it comes along with proper breeder selection for temper. I don't own a suit. I don't own gloves. Neither do my employees. Do we ever get stung? Yes, of course. But so much stinging that suits and cloves and heavy smoking are necessary? Never. Honestly, I would rather die from bee stings than from heat stroke.

I have a young man from Querétaro Mexico that is used to very aggressive bees. He just can't believe the bees I have here. No veil or gloves. T shirt. Come work with us and see.
 

Erichalfbee 

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About the Texas Beeworks lady...total scam.
But for the rest of us, gentle bees are the norm, unless you buy the unselected rubbish that will eat you alive. Of course it comes along with proper breeder selection for temper. I don't own a suit. I don't own gloves. Neither do my employees. Do we ever get stung? Yes, of course. But so much stinging that suits and cloves and heavy smoking are necessary? Never. Honestly, I would rather die from bee stings than from heat stroke.

I have a young man from Querétaro Mexico that is used to very aggressive bees. He just can't believe the bees I have here. No veil or gloves. T shirt. Come work with us and see.
I think the weather and continuous forage must help. Here in the UK we get ups and downs, dearths and manic flows and weather that keeps bees in for days/weeks when there is actually forage about. They don't know whether they are coming or going and can get tetchy. Same as beekeepers really.
The last excellent season I experienced was 2018. The sun shone for weeks and the bees brought in record amounts. they were good tempered the whole summer.
 

Robinredcar 

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I think its the mix of bees hear, when you look back through old pictures in the uk when we had predominantly just the one native breed alot of people just wore a vail or nothing in the form of protection just normal cloths. Rodger patterson only wears a vail on any of his videos, he admits he gets stung just dosnt seem to be regular.
Maby if we got back to just having our native bees we could get back to just wearing a veil as common practice.
 
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I think its the mix of bees hear, when you look back through old pictures in the uk when we had predominantly just the one native breed alot of people just wore a vail or nothing in the form of protection just normal cloths.
I know. When I look at pictures of beekeepers in the 18th Century, literally none of them are wearing BBWear Ultra Bee suits. Doesn't leave much room for argument does it. Clearly the bees were much calmer back then.
 

Robinredcar 

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No bbwear suits, also no bee suits or gloves and even some with no vails! Dosnt really leave much room for argument with genetics these days, with f2 and further aggresion and back then there was less imports of none native bees so the stocks where much more native amm.
I know. When I look at pictures of beekeepers in the 18th Century, literally none of them are wearing BBWear Ultra Bee suits. Doesn't leave much room for argument does it. Clearly the bees were much calmer back then.
 

rossbyjove 

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Just been given a swarm
I have just started beekeeping and was a given a very calm cast swarm.
Stopped wearing gloves and my smoker went out last time so
 

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