Friday, October 26, 2012

The bees get revenge

Today I went over to help my friend Pierre remove his mite treatment strips from his beehives. Honeybees can be cranky at this time of year; they know winter's coming, and they don't want anyone invading their hives and stealing their honey. Still, they are pretty tolerant. But Pierre warned me that two of his hives were nasty.  Sure enough, they were! I got stung three times on my right hand, the one I was using to remove the Apistan strips (I don't wear gloves when beekeeping.)


My hands are in desperate need of handcream, and not looking all that great to begin with, but I think you can see the difference between my left and hand and my right!

Oddly enough, being stung three times makes me feel like I'm a real beekeeper. Kind of a badge of honour. I said many naughty words, scraped out the stingers, and kept going. And poor Pierre was savaged. He got stung about 20 times, including on the ear by a bee who followed away from the hives and got revenge after we took off our bee veils. I unhelpfully backed away laughing while they were attacking him.

Yes, laughing. For some reason, we were both laughing, even as we swore and called the girls "b*tches!" We did look kind of funny, dancing around, swatting at ourselves. And you can't really fault the bees for defending their homes at this time of year.

I hardly ever get stung, and hardly ever at my hives (usually I do something like step on a bee in my garden, or pick up a hive tool with a bee on it.) Today was the first time I've seen a hive get all feisty and mean like that. And after four years of beekeeping, it's about time I got a few stings at once!

Fortunately I don't have an allergy, but it's always possible (if unlikely) to develop one, so I do monitor myself after I'm stung. Tonight I have an itchy, achy hand that looks a bit like a baseball mitt. :)

And for those who are wondering, I don't wear gloves (with occasional exceptions, depending on what beekeeping task I'm performing) because I find they really hamper my dexterity, and make it more likely that I'll squish a bee (and enrage her hivemates) or drop something. Gloves are just a personal choice. Gordon always wears gloves; he swells up a lot when he gets stung and finds it more uncomfortable than I do.


Before I left, Pierre and I sat down for a drink and a chat. He gave me a container of his delicious cinnamon creamed honey. He asked me if I'm going to wear gloves now. "No way!" I said. I could tell he was pleased.



23 comments:

  1. CINNAMON CREAMED HONEY!!OH MY GOD...I need to find this. You can play the 'wounded' card all weekend and be pampered by Gordon. Have fun.

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    1. It is so good! I knew a few beekeepers who make it. I will have to bring you a jar when we finally do meet up.

      I'm already getting lots of sympathy. :)))

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  2. Ouch. But at least you kept your humor :) and that creamed honey sounds divine...omg

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    1. It is so damn good. I just another spoonful!

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  3. Replies
    1. There's a reason I always take off my rings before beekeeping. Don't ever want to have to have my wedding ring cut off!

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  4. On the plus side - your right hand looks so much younger!

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    1. I know!! I was thinking I should get stung in the face. Plump up those wrinkles! :)

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  5. Oh Natalie, it reminded me of when my Kelly got stung on the hand by a bee that flew into the car through the moon-roof. Poor thing, her hand swelled up like a catcher's mitt! I've heard of people with MS actually allowing bees to sting them as a remedy. I've been stung by plenty of yellow jackets, so I can only imagine how that hurts.
    Nice to have a reward of Cinnamon Creamed Honey--good trade-off!

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    1. Oh, poor Kelly! That was an uncalled-for attack!
      I was stung by a yellow jacket the other week, and I have to say it was a LOT more painful than a bee sting. I'm glad I'm not a wasp-keeper... :)

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  6. I give, I give, call off the bees.

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    1. Soon they will be wrapped up for winter!

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  7. That is nasty looking. Seems you must have well behaved bees in your hives.

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    1. I do! But some of that is down to luck. And to be fair, my friend Pierre is the one who sold me the bees for three of my four hives. :)

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  8. "Rub some dirt in it!!!"

    You GO, girl.

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  9. You're a tough cookie when it comes to bees. Stings really bother me and sometimes I really sell up. last week there were still a few wasps that were active.

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  10. You are one brave woman!

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    1. Nah, I just have a high pain tolerance threshold, plus bee stings usually don't bother me much. This time I swelled up a lot because I had multiple stings. :)

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  11. Why not ask Santa to bring you a pair of bee-friendly gloves?

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    1. Ahh, but I have two pairs of very lovely beekeeping gloves! I just hate wearing them. :)

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  12. I'm sayin' nuthin' ...

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    1. I'm amazed at your ability to bite your tongue for such an extended period of time!

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