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Albert_136
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Do bees emerge defensively when disturbed at night?

I recall some old story about someone in Africa who lived on the border of an elephant preserve, reservation, whatever, who had rigged up some contraption to disturb the bees when the elephants approached and deter them from advancing further.

So years passed and I wondered. Do US bees emerge from the hive defensively when disturbed at night? Would deer be deterred if they do?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Do bees emerge defensively when disturbed at night?

I would have thought bees couldn't sting through elephant hide. Apparently that is mostly true but the elephants have a couple vulnerable areas. Here's a really nice little article about elephants avoiding the sound of angry bees.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/w ... s-say.html

But note these are African elephants and African bees: "African bees emit a pheromone that triggers the bees to attack. You can have 10,000 bees attacking at once. Elephants remember that sound and are terrified by it."

Whether any of that would carry over to US bees and US mammals remains to be seen. These researchers just use a recording of the sound of angry bees. If you could find something like that on-line and play it back, you wouldn't need to be disturbing actual bees.

Let us know if you try the experiment!
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imafan26
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Re: Do bees emerge defensively when disturbed at night?

Interesting. Most hives have guard bees and day or night they don't like to be disturbed. But it also depends on how aggressive your bees are. Bees are more agressive when they have honey and brood to protect and when they have an aggressive queen. We usually replace agressive queens because our hives are in an urban area. The hives do get defensive and mad expecially when you disturb their hive.
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Allyn
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Re: Do bees emerge defensively when disturbed at night?

rainbowgardener wrote:...But note these are African elephants and African bees: "African bees emit a pheromone that triggers the bees to attack. You can have 10,000 bees attacking at once. Elephants remember that sound and are terrified by it."
...
I live in an area that has Africanized bees. It terrifies me just thinking about it.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Do bees emerge defensively when disturbed at night?

Even so, I think Africanized bees are a hybrid between the African bees and our honeybees, so maybe not as dangerous as the pure African ones?
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BEEMAN
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Re: Do bees emerge defensively when disturbed at night?

I raise honey bees and they will come out after dark to defend their hive. the problem being you have less chance of seeing them in the dark.

imafan26
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Re: Do bees emerge defensively when disturbed at night?

Bees usually will guard 25 ft around the hive. If you wear dark fuzzy clothes and strong odors like perfume they will come after you even more because they think you are a bear and they don't like strong odors. When bees are docile we can get right up to the hive, but especially on a wet and cold day, most of the bees are not out foraging and they get more aggressive when the hive is opened. On the other hand a little aggression is not bad. Aggressive hives are usually strong hives. When bees don't even have to be smoked when we open the hives, that is not a good sign. We want a hive that is calm but not lethargic.
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Allyn
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Re: Do bees emerge defensively when disturbed at night?

rainbowgardener wrote:Even so, I think Africanized bees are a hybrid between the African bees and our honeybees, so maybe not as dangerous as the pure African ones?
I don't know if they're "as dangerous" as the pure Arican ones, but they are plenty dangerous. They kill people and animals every year.
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/what-makes- ... -so-deadly

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tomf
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Re: Do bees emerge defensively when disturbed at night?

rainbowgardener wrote:Even so, I think Africanized bees are a hybrid between the African bees and our honeybees, so maybe not as dangerous as the pure African ones?
I was a very dumb idea to interbred them, now they are a problem here.
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Re: Do bees emerge defensively when disturbed at night?

The Africanized bees swarmed from a lab somewhere in Brazil and gradually made their way to the U.S. They were not deliberately introduced and it would be nearly impossible to eliminate them since they can mate with other bees. Africanized bees produce more honey, but are more difficult to manage. Beekeepers will introduce European queen bees to Africanized hives to try to dilute the African traits and diminish their aggressiveness. They are still much more dangerous to deal with than a docile queen.

Some queen rearing operations have very aggressive Carniolin bees because they are almost constantly kept queenless. Queenless hives get very cranky. More aggressive hives are stronger, but most people, especially beekeepers in urban areas prefer hives that are less aggressive so they are easier to work and won't attack the neighbors. When hives become too aggressive the aggressive queen is replaced with a more docile queen. If the hive is very docile, it does not always defend itself as well from more aggressive bees in robbing season and they are more likely to starve.

For most hives, the guard bees will defend the hive from anything within 25-35 ft diameter of the hive. They do not like strong smells and fuzzy clothing in dark colors. They defend the queen, brood, and honey = home from anything that may want to harm them. Swarms have an old queen, but no brood or honey to protect. They only surround and protect the queen. Swarms are usually not aggressive and if a beekeeper is called immediately they can remove the bees safely from an accessible area. If it is not accessible, they cannot do it safely. Bee swarms move short distances to rest while scouts look for a permanent home. The queen has been starved and she is not used to flying so she needs to stop more frequently to rest. Once the scouts find a suitable home, they will try to convince the hive that they have found the ideal home and if the queen approves of the accommodations they move in and set up housekeeping. Moving bees once they have decided on a permanent home is harder to do.

Foraging bees are more interested in gathering honey and nectar than in attacking anything. If you pay attention, they will almost always give a warning buzz to tell you to back off. If you start screaming, waving your hands and swatting them, they will think you are attacking them and defend themselves.

I have bees in my yard and in the herb garden everyday. Not at much as before 2011 when the varoa and hive mites arrived and nearly wiped out every bee. Bees usually forage after it warms up in the morning and again in the evening. On mild days, or after the sun comes out after it has rained a few days, the bees might be out all day to catch up. I can usually get within a foot of the foragers and I usually wait until they have moved on from the area I am working or I use the water from my fan spray to nudge them over to another part of the garden. I think the bees are used to me working in the garden and know I am not out there to harm them. So, as long as I pay attention when they warn me to back off and I don't accidentally grab a bee, we share the garden.
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jal_ut
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Re: Do bees emerge defensively when disturbed at night?

"Do bees emerge defensively when disturbed at night?"

Yes!
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imafan26
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Re: Do bees emerge defensively when disturbed at night?

They also act defensively if you try to disturb them when the weather is bad, when they are queenless, and when you rob their honey.
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jal_ut
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Re: Do bees emerge defensively when disturbed at night?

Here it is possible to buy queen bees in the spring from the local bee supplier. Hey, if you don't like the bees in your colony, kill the queen and install a new queen in her lil queen cage. 3 days later go release the queen. Or, just kill the queen and use the news paper method to add the box to another colony. If it happens to be swarming season, you might find some queen cells in a colony. You can take one of these frames with a queen cell and put it in the other box after killing the queen.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/- Plant a Garden

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