At first I attributed the 30-50 stings per visit to the fact I had been rough with The Beast. As I pointed out in a previous blog, I dropped it. I also had to work roughly with it last year to loosen the propolis. Then I thought that it may have been caused by using cedar chips in my smoker. So I switched to pine. Then I stored some (Unscented) dryer sheets with my with my pine chips - Dryer sheets are a non-pesticide method of dealing with Hive Beatles. So I bought new chips.
No matter what I do, these bees sting me 30-50 times if I try to go any where near the brood chambers. Oddly enough, they don't seem to mind if I take the honey suppers, as long as I don't go any further.
I have gotten fairly creative with my dealings with the hive thus far. For starters, I normally like to work my bees in just a long sleeve shirt, hat and veil. However, the bees sting me right through my shirt and jeans. So I bought a full suit with zip on veil. The bees didn't care and stung me right through that as well.
Next I came up with a really good idea. I made a vest out of rope and zip-ties and put it on my under my suit. This pulled the fabric up off of my body. It worked great but the bees still stung my thighs and ankles.
|The black spots are stingers I received in|
only about 5 minutes.
I plan to make a pair of matching pants. The rope cost about $6 and the zip-ties were about $1. So it wasn't a very expensive fix.
Nonetheless, I have only managed to reduce the amount of stings but not prevent them altogether.
Next I had the bright idea to use a spray bottle filled with sugar water. I thought that since it worked so well to keep the bees from flying when I first installed them, then it might work to keep the subdued until I could finish working the hive.
I mixed a spray bottle with 1/2 water and 1/2 sugar. Then I began spraying the bees. At first it seemed to work great. As bees began to swarm I began to shoot them out of the air with a sugary mist. I even sprayed the ones that landed on my suit. However, the more I sprayed the more they swarmed. And the more I sprayed the more coated I became with sugar water.
Before I knew it I was coated in sticky stinging bees. My glasses were glazed over like a doughnut so I couldn't see anything. It was a nightmare. My only course of action was to run to the truck and leave the hive laying open.
I came back the next day, employing my wife as the getaway driver. I suited up: rubber boots, jeans, long sleeve shirt, long gloves, TWO veils, and my suit. I still got stung about 5 times and you can see from the picture above just how many stinger went into my suit.
I quickly put the hive back together and then dove into the trailer as my wife speed me off down the gravel road while I was being pursued by a legion of angry bees - still angry from the day before! I nearly fell off the trailer twice while I swatted the bees away. A mile down the road we stopped. I sprayed off with some Raid and we drove on for another half mile. Finally I was free of them and we went home. That was three weeks ago.
I have given it a lot of thought and the hive has to be re-queened. I am simply going to have to bundle up and get her out. I'll let you know what happens.