[NAFEX] honey bees
Tim at historicinteriors.com
Tue Feb 17 11:25:11 EST 2009
I started keeping bees last year, so with not quite one year's experience, I'm an 'expert' now. Here's my 2-cents worth on the topic:
First, I highly doubt the man who was killed by stings was a victim of honey bees. They are very gentle and do not go out looking for a fight. Yellow jackets will. Yellow jackets nest in the ground, and if you run a lawn mower over them, they will fight back. First hand experience on that. Yellow jackets can and will sting repeatedly. Honey bees can only sting one time. Yellow jackets enjoy the battle; honey bees do it only when they are threatened and feel they need to defend themselves or the hive.
There are some who are very allergic to bee stings. Anaphylactic shock is, I believe, the name of the problem. It can be deadly to those who have the allergy, so it is possible that honey bee stings might cause death, but an outright bee attack is very very unlikely from honey bees, but quite probable from yellow jackets.
As for a swarm and queen that might have taken a side trip on the way to their new home, no chance. If the bees leave their hive in a swarm taking their queen with them, they are focused on nothing else but getting that queen into her new home. Without her, they are sunk, and they know it. She does nothing but lay eggs and give out scent commands. She does not even feed herself.
So, who knows what bees they might have been, but honey bees love those split grapes, and apple cider! I'd guess the bulk of your friends were honey bees. And for what it is worth, in my limited experience, they get up late and work into the evening. My kind of bug.
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2009 08:23:42 -0500
From: Matt Demmon <mdemmon at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Honey bees
To: North American Fruit Explorers <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
<ab99ebde0902170523s1004a03k583f9b24f7c1c1cd at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
Sounds like a swarm with a queen that got distracted by the sweet fruit!
On Mon, Feb 16, 2009 at 4:10 PM, William C. Garthright
<billg at inebraska.com> wrote:
> This is a bit off-topic, but I thought it might be of interest. I live
> in town, and I usually see a few honey bees in my yard in the spring,
> but only a few. Last year, my elderly mother fell and ended up in the
> hospital just as my Concord grapes got ripe. So I didn't get them picked
> right away...
> By the time I got around to picking them, they were overly ripe - still
> good (especially sweet, in fact), but badly split. They were also
> covered - thickly covered - in honey bees. I've never seen so many bees
> in my life! I don't know where they came from. The bees seemed to be
> very docile, though, when I went out to pick the grapes. I carefully
> reached in and grabbed each bunch of grapes (trying to avoid actually
> grabbing a bee), cut the stem, and lightly tossed the bunch into a
> plastic bin on the ground. Some of the bees just rode along the whole way.
> But as I continued to pick, they seemed to become more agitated. There
> was more and more buzzing from the bees around me. Of course, there were
> fewer grapes left on the vines, too, so the bees became even more
> concentrated. Eventually,... I lost my nerve. I figured I'd pick the
> rest of them at sundown, when I expected the bees to leave.
> Well, there *were* fewer bees as it started to get dark, I guess, but it
> was also a lot harder to see what I was doing. Pretty soon, I was going
> mostly by feel, and there were still a LOT of bees around. (I thought
> they went back to the hive at night???) And note that, a few days
> before, a man in Omaha had died of bee stings - from honey bees,
> according to the news - while mowing his lawn. So I was kind of nervous,
> still. Then I reached in, grabbed a bunch of grapes, and brought it out
> to find the biggest bee I've ever seen in my life! It looked similar to
> the honey bees, but about two inches long! Well, thinking about it, I
> suppose it wasn't quite *that* big, but it really was the biggest bee
> I've ever seen, no question about that. Maybe an inch and a half long?
> It was a veritable giant of a bee, anyway.
> I set the bunch of grapes on the ground, and gently pushed the monster
> bee off with a stick. It didn't seem to mind. But I decided I'd had
> enough of picking grapes for that day. :-)
> I ended up picking the rest the next day. No sign of the huge bee, and I
> never did get stung.
> Lincoln, NE (zone 5)
> Ask your child what he wants for dinner only if he's buying. - Fran
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