Neighbors of ours started some bee hives this summer. It is fascinating. The bees are Italian bees and I understand they are generally quite gentle so it is not always necessary to wear a protective suit when working with the bees. However, this time the wife got stung when one flew into her forehead when they had to open the hive. The stinger was removed properly and I had a chance to take a photograph which I thought I would share.
I learned that the sting of a honeybee is different from other bee stings. There is a special way to remove the stinger which might possibly prevent the venom from being discharged, but I can't describe it. Maybe someone else will provide a description of this process.
Nothing special. I use an old Pentax but I shoot through a linen thread counter similar to what is seen here: http://www.indigo.com/magnify/linen-testers.html . I don't know what magnification I have. Mine is an old brass magnifier made in Germany. Basically I just put the camera lens right up against the glass.
Those neighbors of yours need to take some beekeeping courses. They should never open a hive without protective gear covering their faces. A bee sting in the eye could ruin your whole day. Just because the Italian 3 banded is a gentle bee does not mean it will not defend its home. They are a gentle bee, but just like all other bees, they sting. When a bee stings, it dies, Pure and simple. Stinging someone or something kills it. As your picture shows, it looses its guts and stinger.
My husband has been a beekeeper for 13 yrs. and he has a healthly respect for bees. I have a healthier respect. I don't go near them. I garden, he beekeeps.
I agree with LC2sgarden. Wear protective gear appropriate to your activity. Opening a hive can create some defensive actions by the bees as related. My grandfather immigrated to Nebraska in 1878 and as soon as possible they captured a hive of feral bees and my Father kept bees for our comsumption until he died. There is a goodly amount of folklore about bees. My dad always said that in the Czech language the verb to describe that a human had died was also used when talking about the death of a hive of bees. English Literature has the story that when the Landowner dies, the Bee Keeper always went to the apiary and told the bees of the death.
I tried to get a few hives started when I retired but have finally given up. I live in south Texas and our small ranch simply has more rocks than flowering vegetation and I wind up feeding to get the hives through dry weather. Dealing with some of the Africanized wild bees and the parasite problems have caused me to give up what is a wonderful hobby. Good luck to those that are in an area more suited for bee keeping.
Good photo mygardens and love to learn about these special little creatures! I know that bees here have a problem that has really dropped their population. The ones that many like to care for and get some honey from. I think it may have been a mite of some kind.
I don't know about mites, but we are told that a killer wasp has been attacking honey bees near us and that they are a real danger to the honey bee population. Don't know if anyone can give more specific details on the problem.
Always remove the stinger by scraping it off the skin using your fingernail. Never try to pull it out.
If you try to remove it by pulling it out, you make thing worse. What happens, is when you try to pull the stinger out with your fingers or other tool, you actually squeeze the venom sac and inject more venom into your wound..
"Africanized Bees Now Preferred by Brazilian Beekeepers"
Advantages of Africanized Bees
Now that Brazilian beekeepers have learned to work with Africanized bees, they also recognize the bees' positive qualities. Africanized bees produce more honey in tropical climates than do European races. In a test conducted in Brazil in 1958, African colonies produced 35 kg in 1 1/2 months, while German bees in the same apiary produced only 9 kg. A similar test run for three months in 1959 showed a honey surplus of 42 kg fro African bees, 24 kg for Italian bees, and 12 kg for German bees.
F1 hybrids were proved equal in productivity to African bees. In 1968, a one-month test in a Eucalyptus forest in Minas Gerais resulted in a 9 kg surplus for "pure" Africanized colonies as well as Caucasian/Africanized hybrids, while pure Caucasians had no surplus honey.
Beekeepers discovered that they could produce honey in areas where bees had once barely survived. Before the arrival of Africanized bees, the northeast had produced no honey. By 1973 much honey was available for the local market, and the Pernambuco beekeepers exported 80 tons in one year.
Wild or unmanaged Africanized colonies swarm frequently, so during certain seasons swarms can be obtained easily. Virtually all beekeepers are using these bees to increase colony numbers. A few have gone one step further and are practicing a peculiar kind of "beeless beekeeping." They transport empty hives from Sao Paulo several thousand km north to Piaui at the beginning of the wet season. Six months later the beekeepers harvest the honey and bring the hives, now full of bees, back to Sao Paulo. Beekeepers consider the wild Africanized bees a free commodity. They have only to make suitable boxes available to the bees to obtain all they need.
Today most commercial beekeepers express a preference for aggressive Africanized bees. They feel that their bees should be able to defend themselves against people pilfering honey. In fact, beekeepers were very upset when a researcher at the University of Sao Paulo announced that he had created a new mutation, a stingless African bee. The beekeepers made a strong resolution requesting that this new bee not be propagated, since they feared that their own bees would become less able to defend themselves. Although this consequence was unlikely, since the nature of the mutation would prevent it from propagating without intensive manipulations, the beekeepers' reaction clearly illustrates their change of attitude toward Africanized bees.
By carefully watching and comparing flight activity of Africanized and Italian bee colonies, Brazilian researchers determined an interesting fact. Africanized bees are foraging in very large numbers early in the morning before the Italians begin. This allows them to get all of the nectar secreted by the flowers during the night, and may be one reason why Africanized bees outproduce the European races.
That's very interesting. I don't think a stingless bee is a good idea either.
I guess they wear suits when around the africanized bees, but how do they keep from provoking them. They seem to be very hair trigger aggressive. I've watched people deal with them on TV and find it very scary to be around them since they seem to want to sting till the death, of the enemy.
As far as I know (I'm a beginner) africanized honey bees (AHB) do not attack unless provoked. If you mistakenly break through into their hive you're in for trouble. They mostly kill dogs. As the european honey bee (EHB) breeds with the AHB a EHB colony can be half AHB and in a few months become more aggressive. Many beekeepers retain these more aggressive hives as they can be many times more productive. Bees when aggravated can be life threatening if one doesn't have on protective gear. Yearly mandatory re-queening (California) retains some order in this spectrum of bee behavior. Without protective gear the only recourse is to run from the hive (or leave the area in a vehicle) and a straight line departure of 1/4 mile might be enough. Once the hive is in turmoil anything living in the area can be stung. I guess dogs get confused, run in circles, etc and then receive the full force of the hives attack. Operating machinery might also aggravate a hive as I've had single wild bees investigate me persistantly when driving a tractor. There are protective systems that can be mounted on tractors to spray for up to 15 minutes for a get-a-way.
Maintaining bees as a hobby is a great service to your community and if you need the pollination, necessary for your orchard & garden. It can be expensive getting started and there are numerous problem areas for disease so carefull servicing and observation are required. Hundreds of barrels of honey from China have been destroyed because the honey was contaminated with antibiotics illegal in the USA. Success requires the proper management of antibiotics and miticides so the value of a conscientious beekeeper has gone up. Get to know your beekeeper!
Thanks morus_springs for all the great info on african bees. I have been reading a little on these "mean devils" lol... and still a bit wary on them. We have just reintroduced ourselves to the wonderful world of beekeeping. Had 8 hives years ago in TN. lost interest and of course the hives suffered. Now in TX. we have 2 baby (swarms) hives and have 2 on order. They fascinate me !
While living in Antigua I learned the best method for stopping the pain of any sting. Remove the stinger by any recommended method. Find a cigarette. Snap it in two. Wet the tobacco with water or spit and apply directly to the site of the sting. Nicotine is a neuroleptic (it paralyzes muscles and nerve signals in sufficient quantity) and within seconds will stop the pain of the sting. It is not harmful systemically in this application. What it will not do is reduce swelling, stop body defense mechanisms and allergic reactions. Nicotine is also, as many a gardener knows, a rather good insecticide.
When I started working at the apiary, I was told to use the hive tool, credit card, or a fingernail and definitely to NOT squeeze the venom sac (as said before). A bee got in my veil once and stung me under the eye and I got stung again under the eye later that summer in the extracting room. -_-
There's something fairly new on the market that works GREAT on all kinds of stings - it's called Stops the Sting. I saw a reporter in PA get stung by a bee at an apiary to test this product and he was amazed at how well it worked! It was one of those segments where they test products - something like a "does it work?" I went to their web site and ordered right away - I got the product in about 2 days - much faster than the normal 6 to 8 weeks... I have used it on bee, wasp stings, and mosquito bites and it did everything it claimed! Stopped the pain within seconds and no swelling, or itching! It comes in a small tube and is certainly easier to keep on hand than tobacco, meat tenderizer, etc. especially if you're outside working. Thought I'd share this information with you - check them out http://www.stopsthesting.com
Africanized honey bees do attack. I don't know what provokes them...wish I did. There is a hive on my property. A sole bee will occasionaly visiously dive bomb me even if more than 100 feet from the hive. There are a few areas on the property more prone to attack. Perhaps they are on the *flight path* to the hive. Just yesterday I had one desperately trying to sting my straw hat. My wife was stung last week while just standing about 200 ft from the hive.
I have been leaving the hive alone. Now I will eliminate it due to the unprovoked attacks.
Zeuspaul, The show I saw on them says it's our breath. When they breathed thru a tube strung out way behind them, the bees didn't seem to know they were there. Then they just breathed normally and they found them right away. You have my sympathy.
Hi I am allergic to bee stings but refuse to give up my hobby as it gives me great enjoyment.
The doctor prescribed phenergon which is an anti histamine but it always knocked me out for awhile, where I got stung it would swell up like a balloon.
Someone told me about a plant called aloe vera, got some put it in a potplant and took it with me next time I robbed the hive.
Well I got stung about 4 times took the sting out snapped off a little aloe vera rubbed it on the stings, the pain went straight away and my hands never swelled up but after three days they itched like mad, just like they used to when the swelling went down, Ican live with that so whenever I go to do the hives, along goes my pot of aloe vera gets used quite often.