Tuesday, June 19, 2012

That stings!

     As a new bee keeper one of the things you worry about is getting stung of course. I've been stung a total of 6 times since I've had my hive, and one of them was simply because I sat on a bee while going out to watch my hive. I normally just sit on a little bench out there by the hive and watch. I call it getting lost in the bees. It's very soothing and meditative. Since that time however, I've been more careful to look before I plant my butt...even though it was my upper leg that got stung!

     A special consideration in our house is that my husband thought he was allergic to bees, or he used to be, he hasn't been stung in a long time. He used to carry an Epi-pen because he was so alergic. Of course prior to getting a hive, I read everything book under the sun, and every one says the same thing. NOT JUST THE BEEKEEPER WILL GET STUNG! We discussed and decided it was a risk we could take, with some precautions. He stays away from the hive for one, and for another we have an epi-pen. We've had the hive for about a month and a half almost two now, and until last night I was the only one who's been stung.

     Normally, when I get stung it's like a mosquito bite on crack. I'm not gonna lie and say it feels like a massage, but it's not so painful I can't stand it either. I was stung the last time I did an inspection about a week ago. I don't know if I got an especially toxic (to me) bee or what! It took me a bit longer to remove the stinger since I had on a hoodie that covered my glove tops, so I had to whip off a glove and remove the stinger, which I did. It was less than a minute, not too shabby. I also washed it and put some baking soda on the site, it didn't hurt more than normal, so I went about my business. Shortly after I was done with the hive I felt like my leg was on fire and noticed I was swelled up around the sting site about the size of a half dollar. Not too unusual.
it's a little hard to see how bad it was swollen 
The next day I was swelled the size of my palm and MAN O MAN did I itch! It kept swelling for another day, finally ending up the size of my palm around and a good half inch above my skin! Oy! The picture here is my sting the second day. On the 3rd day it was pretty much the same, even though I'd taken some Benadryl. On the 4th day it went down, but still itched, although not as bad. It's still itching today, although not as much.

     Jump to last night. It's been super hot here in CO, record breaking days of heat for Denver. We live in a modest home, with no air, so it's a fan in the window! Our bedroom faces the back of the house, were the hive is. We were laying in bed watching television before we zonked out, and out of the blue my husband jumped out of bed like he's been stung... which as it turns out he had been! At first I was convinced it was a wasp, because the stinger didn't look like a bee at all! Forgive the graphic nature here, but there were no entrails, only a hard spiky singer. However, we couldn't find a bee, a wasp etc.. in the room, only then did I find half a bee on my side of the room, on the floor. It didn't look like a bee who'd just stung, it looked like a bee that had been cut in half, but was still alive. My husband, was stung on the foot, near the ankle. He didn't seem to have any issues, no breathing problems, no swelling, nothing. As a precaution we gave him a dose of benadryl but all it did was make him sleepy. I'm relieved that he didn't have a reaction! I'm not wholly convinced it was a bee sting.
Geddy Images, off the web I didn't take this! 

Since I've been keeping the bees I've been asked a dozen times, aren't you afraid of being stung? YES! it hurts! I doesn't feel terrific, and the last time sort of freaked me out with the swelling. I am a bit worried that perhaps I have developed an allergy myself. This is one reason I'm not working the hive again until someone is home with me.  I was more afraid of my husband being stung and thankfully he is fine, but if you are following along and maybe thinking of keeping bees, I thought perhaps I'd answer the question of what a sting feels like, what it looks like etc... I hope you find this helpful!

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