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biggles 

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Do bees sense fear? A friend helped me the other day and was very scared of the bees. Loads of them head butted him, so much so, he had to leave. Even when he was 200 yrds way the other side of a barn, they still buzzed him.

Can they smell human pheromones ?

Sorry if this has been asked before but I could not find it after a search.

Pete
 
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I was told they can sense fear eg. pheromones - and they are def. more angsty when I am worried/harrassed.
 

thedeaddiplomat 

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That explains a great deal! I think I will have to change my brand of formaldehyde!
 
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Presumably fear = sweat (or glow for the ladies) , which can set them going
 

RoseCottage 

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Not sure about this really.

I think that this is something that can happen for all sorts of reasons. I often get targeted more than my wife simply because I wear red trousers when we are sharing our kit with a curious visitor.

A few bees (maybe 10 or so out of many many thousands) decide that my trousers make me more of a threat and bomb me in an attempt to bully me away from the hive...

First time I was a little nervous but now I expect it and so am not fearful in any way.

So do they sense fear and target the individual or is it more likely something about the circumstances? I personally suspect the latter more than the former. Yes they may be able to smell your sweat or detect your glow but I don't think that they are mind readers.

All the best,
Sam
 

biggles 

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Fairy tales or whatever it is strange how they seem to pick on whoever is more scared of them.

Yesterday I went through my hive with another friend who was very keen to lift out frames etc. He was very good with them and said it didn't even enter his head that he might be stung. They didn't even bother to come out and see him.

Nigel, before him, done them several times and every time he got loads bumping and stinging him yet me standing next to him got nothing.

I'm sure there's some thing in it.

Pete
 

Polyanwood 

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I have inspected bees for people who told me they were very aggressive, but when I came to look at them, asking them just to talk me through it, while I did the manipulations, so we didn't both get stung, they were ordinary bees - owners said they weren't usually like that. (And I am no expert, I just take it slowly) I think it is the quick movements of the hands over the brood box and the bumping of the frames that go with being scared that might be more of a problem.
 

Teemore 

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I have inspected bees for people who told me they were very aggressive, but when I came to look at them, asking them just to talk me through it, while I did the manipulations, so we didn't both get stung, they were ordinary bees - owners said they weren't usually like that. (And I am no expert, I just take it slowly) I think it is the quick movements of the hands over the brood box and the bumping of the frames that go with being scared that might be more of a problem.
I totally agree with this - I have seen hives that are totally docile get really agitated and noisy because the person doing the manipulation was rushing their actions and bumping frames etc. On other occasions with either the Beek making more sedate/measured movements or A.N.Other doing the manipulations, the bees stayed calm.

One observation of my own relates to aftershaves/deodorants: a beekeeping friend uses organic deodorants etc because of allergies and it has been noted that even when agitated, bees don't hassle him as much as other by-standers.
 

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