reassurance needed please!

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freethorpe bees 

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I have just inspected my new hive for only the second time and made a right bumble (pardon the pun) of it. My nuc frames have got the plastic spacers on and while I was trying to remove some comb from the bottom of the frame one of them slipped off causing me to drop the frame. As you can imagine that caused pandemonium. I just hope the queen is ok - I didn't see her on that frame and it was only the third frame into the box. I can't believe how nervous I am and as the brood looked fine (apart from me being there!) I closed up the hive to let them calm down.

I am using the leather gloves which are a bit big but they are sting proof (as far as I can tell). I got the smallest size available but that probably doesn't help with my clumsiness.

Have any other new beekeepers been quite nervous about inspecting their hives?

Look forward to other comments.
 

margob99 

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Oh the joys and humiliations and bumbles and stumbles you've still got coming to you! LOL and I've only been doing this for just under a year ...

I was quite nervous the first couple of times on my own. I still believe my bees survive in spite of me not because of me. But survive the winter they did.

Now, however, I'm nervous for all sorts of other reasons. 1st hive has been temporarily queenless and this situation has made the bees the rudest, most tempestuous and rebellious lot I've ever met. Makes every visit to the hive a challenge :(

Here's hoping the next inspection will reveal a new queen (or allow me to put a test frame in from my new/2nd/swarm hive) and address their behaviour and mood problems.

50,000 irritable females can be a right unnerving problem in any suburban garden!

:nopity:

Edited to add: nice as the leather beekeeping gloves are, I found them impossible to use and reverted back to 2 layers of gardening gloves
 
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Frisbee 

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I think your nervousness will calm down when you are more familiar with what you are doing and habit takes over from conscious thought.

We have all made mistakes handling the bees...especially during our early days. Dropping a frame is something we will all be capable of doing and the bees will be somewhat shaken.

Don't worry about a bit of brace comb on the bottom of a frame, stuff like that can be tidied up another time. Get used to handling a frame and get confident in your movements with it first.

Frisbee
 

freethorpe bees 

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Thanks for your reassuring words! I think I may practise using my gloves with the spare super I've got - in a calm environment! I can't help feeling sorry for my bees ending up with me!
 

merylvingien 

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As a newbie myself, and having a job dealing with things that sting, i too was nervous about handling frames with sting-ed things on them. My main concern was fingers getting zapped. I too was wearing the leather gloves and i found that they were a bit cumbersome.
However! I asked on here and that = http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=4841

They work!!!
 

Polyanwood 

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Don't feel bad. I tripped over and dropped a whole box of bees once.

It might be worth thinking a bit more about exactly what you are worried about, as different worries may have different solutions.

For example:

worried that you will get stung
possible solutions:-
- get stung at least once, so you know what it feels like and know you don't react
- try closer fitting gloves of the Marigold washing up type
- ask to observe more experienced beek or get a bee buddy

worried about doing something bad to your bees
- slow down
- always know why you are opening the box
- ask questions on here
- be extra vigilant until you have seen the queen, then relax once you know she is safe

Enjoy your bees :)bee-smilliebee-smilliebee-smillie
 

trulli1 

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Hi FB,

At the end of the day its a lesson learned, with regards to holding the spacers on the frame, not a nice lesson, but I'm sure you wont do it again.

Have you considered using Marigolds or Nitrile gloves?

Have you been stung yet? I just want to know if you have an allergic reaction to stings, hence using the leather gloves or do you feel "safer" using the leather gloves. I have nothing against the leather gloves, but find it harder to work with, my opinion.

All the best in the future with your hive!
 

freethorpe bees 

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Thanks for advice on gloves - I was stung twice on the back of my middle finger on my first inspection ten days ago - I still have the bumps and it still itches! So I think I am most nervous about being stung on my hands - it'll hopefully just take time to get more confident. I am most clumsy when I put the frame back into the box - I need to practise lots!

I suppose I do feel safer using the leather gloves - but it is true once (hopefully!) I am more confident I won't worry about the bees on my hands and will just get on with the job in hand.

Fingers crossed!
 

merylvingien 

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Just for further reasurance, i opened one of my hives up yesterday wearing these new gloves, i thought, just as well try em as i have bought them. Lifted the feeder off and one came out instantly and try to whack me on the finger. I did pop a bit of smoke under just before too, but these girls seem to hit you first off then calm down.
Anyway, i watched as she was trying to get the stinger in the glove, but the rubber is obviously just too thick and she couldnt manage it, so its a result for me at least. Now i can pull the frames out with much more confindence and control and not worry about my sausages getting a roasting :D
 

freethorpe bees 

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Thanks M - I'll put them on my shopping list!

I am still a little concerned about the queen - hope she is ok - but hopefully seeing the girls going in with pollen should mean she is still there and laying.

Oh this flippin' learning curve is a bit steep!
 

DianeJones 

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Yes, definately! I opened mine on my own for the first time on Sunday, had to rehive from a Nuc. I smoked the Nuc and the bees sat on the end of my smoker taking no notice at all. But all went well. I use the latex gloves, been stung a couple of times a the teaching apiary - it does hurt but I feel sorry for the poor bee...
 

freethorpe bees 

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Good luck with it Diane - us novices need to stick together!
 

DianeJones 

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Yes, so much to learn - this forum is great!
 

thedeaddiplomat 

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Today must be about my first anniversary of beeking - so I, too, am very much new at this.

I use leather gloves, because they provide me with reassurance. I have found that after a little practice I can work OK in them. I, too have been a little heavy handed with the odd frame: I think this is a symptom of inexperience, in which case probably time will cure it!

I have to say that watching the bee inspector go through my hives last week was a revelation - I have never seen anyone work so calmly, or gently - net result was that no bee would have dreamt of stinging him. I am now trying to copy his approach.

I still have days when I wonder whether I have got what it takes to keep bees. But when I think this way, I remind myself that they have not survived all these thousands of years without being able to take the occasional novice in their stride.
 

Grub 

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I have just inspected my new hive for only the second time and made a right bumble (pardon the pun) of it. My nuc frames have got the plastic spacers on and while I was trying to remove some comb from the bottom of the frame one of them slipped off causing me to drop the frame.


I had a full brood box in a wheel barrow going over a cow field and neraly got trampled, I left it in the middle of the field and the cows pushed it over the bees everywhere, but hey believe it or not all was ok and at least all the cows shifted.
You will do fine

Grub
 

Stiffy 

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I have just inspected my new hive for only the second time and made a right bumble (pardon the pun) of it. My nuc frames have got the plastic spacers on and while I was trying to remove some comb from the bottom of the frame one of them slipped off causing me to drop the frame. As you can imagine that caused pandemonium. I just hope the queen is ok - I didn't see her on that frame and it was only the third frame into the box. I can't believe how nervous I am and as the brood looked fine (apart from me being there!) I closed up the hive to let them calm down.

I am using the leather gloves which are a bit big but they are sting proof (as far as I can tell). I got the smallest size available but that probably doesn't help with my clumsiness.

Have any other new beekeepers been quite nervous about inspecting their hives?

Look forward to other comments.
I was told by a very old beekeeper that it only takes 15 minutes a week to check his bees. He then said to me it then takes the bees the rest of the week to sort out the mess he had just made.

I am in my 2nd year of beekeeping and have made some horrendous mistakes which thankfully the bees have sorted out for me.
I am sure everyone on this Forum (which is brilliant) have all made similar mistakes and I bet there some mistakes many wouldn't want to admit to?

I have found that being very calm and taking my time with the bees works a
treat and the bees seem to respond accordingly. I too started off with heavy leather gloves but now just use nitrile as they give a much responsive feel to what I am trying to do and makes manipulating much easy

Have fun and dont worry too much
 

freethorpe bees 

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Thanks so much to everyone for your reassurance and advice - I really appreciate it. Next Thursday I have earmarked for my next opening of the hive so fingers crossed all will be well. I agree - this forum is great!
 

tonybloke 

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greetings from the east coast.
are you a member of the Norfolk Beeks?
 

keithgrimes 

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Its nerve wracking ain't it? The best thing I've done is join the local bee keeping association. They have a twelve hive apiary which they open every saturday and take us novices through our paces. We all work the same hives every week with a very experienced beekeeper who explains everything clearly but makes us do the work and all the manipulation. I've yet to get my first bees, and will almost certainly c*ck things up mightily on several occasions, but this experience with the BKA has definitely increased my knowledge/confidence/enthusiasm. I keep telling myself that even the master beekeepers had to start somewhere.
 

Firegazer 

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I go very gently and carefully and the bees I have seem to be OK with that. MUCH better than trying to hurry and being rough.

I think the bees may well recognise you from multiple visits (old hands - what do you think of this?) so any upsets could gradually make them more sparky, and you more twitchy still. Best to keep everything calm, I think.

Going slowly is probably OK on a warm summer afternoon, where not much heat will be lost and they can warm up again easily. You (and I) may need to be more efficient in Autumn and early Spring where the heat-loss is more disturbing. Somerford Steve had a clever gadget called "manipulation cloths" which are a bit like two towelling scrolls which get rolled across the bees. Hard to explain easily, but it means there's only a gap (light in and heat out) for one frame-space at a time. Looked like this may help give a bit more time when the weather isn't hot and also keeps the light out better which seems to annoy the bees.

I'm sure others here will give you good advice on whether this might help.

Welcome to the community!

FG
 

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