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False Things People Say or Believe About Honey Bees

Overwintered (Nucs/ Hives) Bees for sale!

First thing you need to do when you inquire about any bees listed this way is:

"Where were they overwintered". 


Quite a few advertise their bees as over wintered and people assume they mean they are overwintered in the area they are being sold but it has been seen numerous times where the bees come from a climate like California, Florida, or other warmer climate areas where the bees were shipped for the winter and they are returned just prior to spring.


It is important to keep in mind that beekeeping is local. Overwintering practices will be different in places with different climates and weather conditions. It’s a good idea to connect with local beekeepers to find specific overwintering practices for your area. And since all beekeeping is local, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for preparing. A South Georgia winter is not like a New York winter, and an Eastern Tennessee winter is not like a western Tennessee winter. To develop a successful overwintering strategy, each beekeeper must evaluate his own microclimate, which dictates things like precipitation, humidity, temperatures, wind, and hours of sunlight.

All Bees sting.

Not all Bees can sting. For example, male bees cannot sting. Only females have a stinger, or sting, since it is a modified ovipositor, egg-laying device. The females of many bee species cannot sting even though they have a stinger. Bees tend to sting to defend their nest, so most bees won't sting unless they are provoked or feel threatened. You may also be stung when you trap a single bee and trap her between the folds of your skin, your clothes and your skin or even if one becomes trapped in your hair. This would be one of the only few times that a bee would sting you when not in defense of the colony.

Bees will not sting you in the dark.

Most all Honey Bees will be home at night and inside their hives as well as most beekeeprs are also home at night inside their homes. BUT, If you decide to bother your bees at night, they will not hesitate to defend their hive. However, in areas with cool evening temperatures, the honey bees will often stay in their cluster and not fly out at you. But it is the temperature—not the darkness—that is keeping them docile and you sting-free.

Queens, too, sting in the dark. An established queen will often sting a developing virgin queen before she can hatch—or just after. All this stinging and fighting takes place in the deep dark recesses of the hive with no candles, light bulbs, flashlights, or LEDs—not even any bioluminescence.

 Honey bees can sting their victim repeatedly.

It is true that Honey bee workers can sting repeatedly. When the barbs in their stingers get caught, such as in clothing, and/or the thick skin of animals, especially mammals such as humans, the stinger can be forcibly removed from their abdomen, which is fatal to the Honey Bee, so it dies afterward.

Wasps are bees.

Wasps are not bees though they may belong to the same order of insects. A wasp is any insect of the order Hymenoptera and suborder Apocrita that is neither a bee nor an ant. A wasp’s stinger can be used for defense or prey capture. Wasps are carnivorous, eat meats and while Bees are vegetarians, collecting pollen and nectar for their young. Some species can be very aggressive, especially if you disturb their nests. Bees are usually nonaggressive though Africanized bees are the exception. Africanized bees are not commonly found in the United States.

Spraying the nest with water will help you avoid bee stings.

CAUTION! Water will not have a calming effect on a bee nest. You will just increase your chance of getting stung by irritating the bees inside the nest. DO NOT DO THIS!!

 All bees produce honey.

Not All bees produce honey. Actually less than 5% of bee species are honey producers. The only bees that produce enough honey to make it worth harvesting are stingless bees and honey bees. Though Bumble bee hives may have a small amount of nectar stored in Honey Pots, the nectar they gather does not undergo a transformation period to create the honey we are familiar with and do not create winter food stores. Bumble bees are annual, not perennial. They don't need to produce a lot of honey to survive the winter.

Bees are hard workers.

Many male bees don't do any work in the nest since their only duty is to breed with virgin queens. Procreation is the drone’s primary purpose in life Honey bee, bumble bee and stingless worker bees (females) work very hard. Females of the solitary bee species may only work for a couple weeks.

Adult bees live a long time.

Solitary bees live only a few weeks, just long enough to mate, build nests and produce offspring. Honey and bumble bee workers and males live about six weeks. The workers spend half their time working on the hive and the other half foraging for pollen and nectar. The queens live longer. Bumble bee queens live up to one year, and honey bee queens can live up to four years.

Bees won't sting at night.

Though Honey bees do not usually fly at night, they can if it is required of them. They conduct most of their flight activities during the daylight. Bees will sting at any time for protection. It is best to not use a flashlight or headlamp when working with Honey Bees in the dark as they will be attracted to the light source. Beekeepers usually move their bees at night, as this is the time when most of the bees are in the hive. Use a red-colored flashlight when working with bees at night. The red color light does not appear to excite the bees like a white light does.

A long-believed myth about bees is that they do not sting at night, which in fact is incorrect.

Most bees live in hives.

Only ten percent of bee species are social and live in hives, and only a smaller percentage of them build hives. Most bees are solitary and live in individual nests, tunneling in the soil or tree trunks.

If you rid your lawn of dandelions and flowers, it keeps bees away.

Bees may build nests miles away from a source of the flowers and other plants they pollinate. Scout bees are out looking for a good place to create nest and as well as new sources of food and supplements they require. Have you never noticed bees around the pool full of chlorinated water or the salt/mineral block used for your livestock?

Sealing up the hole in a wall where bees are nesting will kill the bees inside.

If you seal up the entrance to a bee nest, you risk angering them. They may burrow into unwanted places such as the interior of your house. Bees have been known to tunnel through wood and drywall. Your best bet to is to contact your local bee professionals.

But even worse you have created a situation that can be even worse than the bees in your walls.

Read more here:

Why You Need to Remove Abandoned Honeycomb

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Tennessee's Honey Bees