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Susan1 

House Bee
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I wonder if anyone could help me. I have just become a bee keeper and have had my bees for about 4 weeks. They are building up nicely and seemed happy enough when I opened up the hive the first few times. But this evening I got all ready and went out to inspect the hive at about 730 pm and got attacked and stung by some very angry bees. I had my bee suit on but even though I put on two pairs of gloves they must have stung my hands about 10 times. I did use a smoker and wondered if I should have waited a bit longer after smoking. I feel realy worried as I havn't been able to spot the queen yet - however there are eggs and larva. I was really looking forward to being a bee keeper and now feel worried if the bees react this way every time I open the hive. I have done a bee keeping course but have not yet joined an association.
 

Silly Bee 

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They can gt tetchy for any number of reasons.

Mine hate smoke, my m8 tried to smoke them a bit, hahaha, not again.

It can also depend whats in your smoker.

If they fly at you for no reason, put the lid back on, and try the following day.
 

Poly Hive 

Queen Bee
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Everyone is at home that late. 7-30 is a bit late this late in the year.

You do not give your location which would be helpful?

Smoke your bees and wait a good five minutes.

How was the weather? Its underlying thundery here and that makes bees tinky faster than anything.

Lastly sorry to say but getting stung is part and parcel of keeping bees. Which is why Benadryl cream is made. It soothes matters fast.

PH
 

kazmcc 

Queen Bee
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Please don't get disheartened. You will get grumpy bees at some point when beekeeping, you've just encountered it earlier than most. Have a chat with Queens, she felt exactly like you did a few days ago. I am not experienced, but there are lots of people on here who will advise you what to do and who to speak to. Maybe there is someone who lives near you who will come and visit to help you. Make sure you change your location instead of putting UK only, and keep your chin up. :grouphug:
 

Mike a 

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Welcome to the forums Susan

Its difficult to gauge the exact reason why they were a little off and attacked. The most notable would be queenless but as you say you have seen eggs and larvae which may count that out, but check for queen cells in 4-5 days just to be safe.

Other possibles could be
drop in nectar flow in your area which can make them cranky
weather
wasp attacks - reduce the entrance to small slot
Lack of stores - depending where you live but a few on this forum are having to feed their colonies so they dont starve.

Or my favourite they are all females ! :rofl::smilielol5:

I wouldn't worry to much at the moment, double check they have plenty of stores if you've had bad weather recently, reduce the entrance to a smaller slot if you see wasps trying to get it and check them again next week and if they are still cranky then.

As for the stings try Aloe vera it works a treat for me.
 

steve1958 

Field Bee
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Contact your local association and ask if there is a Beekeeper living near you that can Mentor you.
What area of the UK do you live in.
 

Chris B 

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and they'll be more defensive now nectar flow has slowed/stopped. Add in pestering wasps and they are likely to be on edge for a little while longer. It happens but not many bees are persistently nasty. If they've shown good behaviour in the past they will do again.
 

Midland Beek 

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Have they sarmed?

Are they starving? Bees can't fill up with honey and be pacified if there is no honey.
 

barratt_sab 

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I am a newcomer like you, but we've just had one hive behave a little more defensively that usual, and (having asked on the forum about camera flashes) I have concluded that it was down to some or all of:

- clumsiness on my part
- overcast, cloudy weather
- more wasps around (so the bees were more defensive)
- more stores in the hive (so more to defend)
- more bees in the hive
- reduced flow (so they were looking for something to do...)

As for worrying about not finding the queen, have a look here:

http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=6183

It was one of the things that made us most anxious, and our anxiety really didn't help anything, particularly finding the queen. If you've found eggs, she's been there in the last three days. Mike A's comment on that thread says it all.
 

milkermel 

Field Bee
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sorry to hear about your recent visit! Definately can vouch for aloe vera on stings, i have to strap a small piece of the plant onto the sting spot to reduce swelling.

Also dont know what gloves you use, but if they are rubber gloves might be worth giving them a good wash or changing as the stings will leave the scent and encourage the girls to home in on your hands for a re run!

Dont give up, stick with it, it is worth it!
 

Susan1 

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Thank you

Thank you everyone for the quick and encouraging replys. I live in Co Antrim N Ireland, I did wonder if I had left it to late to open the hive, would about 3pm be a better time all other things considered? The weather is overcast here and I guess a bit thundery so I should have known better. I have wanted to keep bees for so long and its only now that I have the time and I have to say money - for equipment etc. I hope I have not hurt the poor bees in my haste to put the hive back together. I don't mind about the stings really although I would rather not have them, I am going to get better gloves! Although I have read that bee stings are good for arthritis which I have in some of my fingers. I have a big field of meadow sweet right beside the hive and also lots of clover. I am going to get in touch with Randlestown association tomorrow to see if I can join and perhaps get some advice. I am really enjoying this forum and have found it very useful. I just hope my bees are ok, I cant wait to check them. Do you think it would be ok to try again tomorrow if weather is fine or should I leave it a few days?
 
Joined
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Hi Susan, sent you a PM but you seem to be answering many of your own questions, about inspection,maybe let them have a rest. You are invading their living room - would you like it to happen two days running??
 

MuswellMetro 

Queen Bee
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sorry to hear about your recent visit! Definately can vouch for aloe vera on stings, i have to strap a small piece of the plant onto the sting spot to reduce swelling.

Also dont know what gloves you use, but if they are rubber gloves might be worth giving them a good wash or changing as the stings will leave the scent and encourage the girls to home in on your hands for a re run!

Dont give up, stick with it, it is worth it!

buy a better pair of gloves, rooftops on here sell a reasonable pair of rubber goves on his web site modernbeekeeping co uk,,i bought a second pair last week

wash them is washing soda each inspection and inspect as near 1.00 pm as possible...less bees at home

if i opened mine up at 7:30 and lifted just the bit of ply over the porter escape in the crown board, they would come out like a volcano
 
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kazmcc 

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Hi Susan. I'm glad you are enjoying beekeeping. This forum has been a valuable mine of information for me. I did a taster session on 1st July, long story ( read my blogs lol ) and had no knowledge of beekeeping at all! I have asked every stupid question, and hopefully some good ones too, and everyone has been so supportive. I would recommend this forum to every new beek as the advice is from people who know their stuff. I love the pictures too. Sometimes pictures can show you something that is hard to understand when explained ( bee escapes for example ).

I look forward to seeing you around the forum, and hearing of your bee escapades :)

Karen
 

Rosti 

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Do you think it would be ok to try again tomorrow if weather is fine or should I leave it a few days?
Welcome! you are not alone in having some fiesty bees what with the current weather!

You have not said how many frames they are on, or how many spare frames they have, also did they have stores?

You have not said what type of gloves your are using - 2 thin latex jobs is still pretty thin! Purchase some thick gardening gloves (Marrigold blacks, most supermarkets sell them) for some thickness and wear them under some yellow wash up gloves, that should give you quick protection and cover up the black colour.

I dont think you should inspect again for a week, you have seen eggs and larvae - good enough to tell you a queen is present and laying a couple of days ago.

You don't mention what stores they had or your local weather, much could depend on this. If it has been dry for some time and is now raining or continued dry weather they might be short of stores because of a poor local nectar flow, thats enough to get them going on it's own. I would give them 1xltr in a rapid feeder now (through a feeding hole in the crown board), see how quickly it goes and if necessary give them another 1xltr in 3 days (just check the feeder not the hive).

If your gear has been stung get it all cleaned with mild detergent and some washing soda crystals so no 'warning' / 'attack' pheromones on it for next time.

Get your gloves, plan what you want to see and have another go in a week.
Look for:
eggs & larvae again
how many frames are drawn
how many have sealed brood
If that brood has a nice even pattern and the cappings are not raised (drone layer if they are)
Is there a nice arc of honey and pollen above the brood areas
Are the frames at the edge of the brood area noticeably heavier than the brood area - if not may be short on stores?
Check that open comb is not completely full of the syrup you fed, if it is dont give any more.

Finally - and you already been advised in prev posts, reduce entrance, protec them against wasps and robbing.

Relax for the week, see if you can get some help from your local association, let us know how you got on after next inspection.
 
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Susan1 

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Have just been out checking my chickens and had a quick glimpse at the hive and noticed I have forgotten to replace the dummy board from the brood frame. Should I put it in. I have about nine frames of bees in there now. I have not been feeding them or anything as there is a big field of clover and meadw sweet beside the hive. But I suppose if the weather is bad they cannot get to it, I have so much to learn. I definitly need help, this forum has been a brilliant source so far. I was wondering MuswellMetro why you have to have ply over the bee escape? I am not sure if mine is even the right way round.
 

Rosti 

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I was wondering why you have to have ply over the bee escape? I am not sure if mine is even the right way round.
You want them to expand numbers and draw comb, if the brood box is warmer it helps them, hot air rises so a hole in the top lets all that heat go. If they are on an open mesh floor then they already have enough ventilation

If they are on 9 drawn frames then I would be giving them their last two of foundation and not have dummy boards in (assuming its a national?)
 

Brosville 

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I think the bees may be trying to tell you something! As someone else said, you're keeping on invading their space - imagine how good your temper would be if some damned great bee kept on blowing smoke through your front door, yelling "fire" and then marching in at a most indelicate moment......you'd be well hacked off!
If in doubt, leave 'em bee!
 

Susan1 

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Right I will have to look at this to maintain heat. I have to make sure these bees are well looked after as I really want to do my best for them so thanks once again for everyones help. I will let you know how I get on.
 

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