Bee Stings Galore

During the last week I was told about two instances of multiple stings from bees.

The first was about two beekeepers picking up a swarm. They rightly understood that swarms are usually very quiet and rarely sting. However this is only true for new swarms. If a swarm decides to 'set up camp', they immediately use much of their stores to start the comb. This can happen within a few days and when it does, the bees have something to defend - their new home!!

With no veils and suits on the beeks, the bees were able to inflict much damage to sensitive skin.

The second case involved an over-confident beginner who noted the films/videos where people in shorts and 'tank-tops', with no smokers would play with bees.  All went well the first few times. Then, not heeding the weather conditions and the sound of the bees, the lifting of the lid was enough to have the bees attack multiple times. 

In both stories they love attacking the face!  The lessons? 

Always wear a veil.  If bees stings the eye it means permanent blindness in both eyes, so never risk it. Better still, wear a suit and gloves.

Never assume swarms are not going to sting. Most of them are fine but some are not.

Always light the smoker even if you don't use it. The smoker is the best way to cover the pheromone from a bee sting and stop a frenzy of bees. Smoke the skin, then remove the sting. If you have bees bothering you during inspection, smoke your suit, hands/gloves and body. This nearly always stops the bees without blowing smoke all over the quiet bees, the comb and the honey.

Always treat bees gently. Use slow movements, low noise, and avoid jarring their frames and hive. They will reward you ten-fold and treat you kindly next visit (they can face-recognise and have a collective memory).

Happy Beeking oh brave souls!!