Avoiding The Dreaded Sting

I haven’t been stung that many times, but every time I was, I was doing something stupid. Something the bee books tell you not to do. Ever.

Bee handling season is upon us, and I’d like to share with you a few lessons I’ve learned from painful experience.

1. Always check your clothing for stray bees after you inspect the hive.

Sounds simple, right?  The first time I was stung I wasn’t wearing a beekeeper’s suit. I fed my bees sugar syrup and got sticky in the process. After I finished, I went inside and took off my pants to wash them. When I picked up my pants, I grabbed a bee! Ouch!

I started wearing a beekeeper’s suit after that. Easier to see the bees. And I always check for hitchhiking bees before I go inside.

2. Bees don’t like dark colors, body odor or vibrations near the hive.

I found this out while dressed all in black, needing a shower and banging two bricks together while gardening right next to my hive. Amazingly, I only got stung once.

My bees probably thought I was a very dim-witted little bear.

3. It’s a good idea to wear wellies while inspecting the hives instead of black socks and black clogs.

See Number 2 above.  Bees can sting through socks like nobody’s business! It was my worst experience with bee stings. My ankle was swollen for a week.

4. Inspect the hive between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm, when a lot of the bees aren’t home.

Inspecting the hive at 7 am isn’t a good idea. Especially when wearing black socks and black clogs.

Now when I inspect my hives, I smell as sweet as a rose in my white bee suit and wellies. I also look like I’m going out to handle Plutonium…

There is a silver lining to my experience with bee stings. I used to have some pain in my hands from typing a lot. Now it’s gone. Bee stings really do work for that!!

7 thoughts on “Avoiding The Dreaded Sting

  1. I learn something new every time I read your blog. Can the bees sting through your beekeepers suit?

    Glad to hear the stings gave you some relief in your hands.

    • I’m glad I’m able to provide new information. I’m always concerned that I’m rehashing old material. 🙂

      I’ve never been stung through my beekeeper’s suit. But then I usually wear a shirt, pants and gloves as well. That way I feel protected and at ease, and the bees don’t have to smell my fear. 🙂

      The time I was stung through my socks was unusually bad. It was very early in the morning, and I slipped handling one of the deeps. We were all upset!

      But wearing wellies is a good idea. They protect you all the way to your knees.

      • Also, my bees are Buckfast hybrids, and are considered “hot” or very defensive. Gentler strains, such as Italians, are a bit easier to handle.

        But really, I’ve only been stung six or seven times in six years. That’s not bad, in my opinion.

  2. mossandivy says:

    Thanks for posting this. It gives me courage!
    I can’t remember being stung by a honey bee, But being allergic to bee stings, my memories are solidly intact. I no longer rush to the doctor for a shot anymore. Instead, I slice open a clove of fresh garlic and hold it in place until it pulls all the poison out. This works great for spider bites too. Time tested by yours truly. I always carry fresh garlic in the car in the summer time.
    Please note that I am highly allergic, but not deathly allergic to bee stings, and I wouldn’t encourage those in the latter camp to rely solely on garlic, but for me, it has meant hours of pain instead of days in delirious agony.

  3. […] Avoiding The Dreaded Sting (romancingthebee.com) […]

  4. […] Avoiding The Dreaded Sting (romancingthebee.com) […]

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