I was told from before we started keeping bees you don't need to wear a suit...they aren't aggressive, you just need to a natural beekeeper, they will be gentle, no worries, if you get stung its doesn't hurt......it never swells...….you build up tolerances to it......need I say more!????
So for the longest time I DIDN'T wear a suit because I was going to be a "real" live beekeeper..... with no suit and very little smoke.
Bruce on the other hand was always in his suit and gloves and lots of smoke. I would get stung every now and then but mostly no. It was him that actually would get stung more than me...he could be just standing there and they would sting him. He would swell up and I was forever putting lavender essential oil on his sting areas. Sometimes some of them would be so swollen he would have to use ice packs and take diphenhydramine products. I would say "I just don't get it why when you get stung why they swell so much?" The area would be so red and inflamed and extremely swollen. This went on for several years. Then one day in October right after the boys and Skylar carved their pumpkins in the fall of 2016 I was feeding the bees and as always taking pictures and yes I get some of best bee pics while working with the bees.....so Bruce popped off the inner cover and I was wearing NO SUIT....
Yep you heard me right ...phone in hand and one of more irritated (if that's what you would say) they are just much much more protective and a large colony. Out flies this super fast bee and you guessed it right for lip.....she got my upper lip and within minuets it was SWOLLEN.
Skylar was here at the time while mommy was in Germany and she remined me every morning "grandma your lip is still BIG" it lasted for approximately four-fives days and was actually quite painful as the swelling was in an area that is highly sensitive with many nerve endings and serve as a tactile area. Of course I know some people like to let bees sting them for apitherapy, which is why I was never concerned about it if I got stung...and I never swelled anyway.....well before this day.
There for awhile I still didn't wear my suit.....I know hard headed and actually I really hate my suit....I know strong words....it is EXTEMELY HOT, heavy and very awkward. It was the suit that we got in a combo type deal when we first began......and yes it is in dire straights at this moment.....but as anyone knows running a farm you have to put out "fires" as they happen. Otherwise known as the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Bruce calls them "fires" because they take first place in what has to be done....and as long they suit is still in working condition and has no holes.....but I tell you I have come so close to just buying that beautiful pink cool (in temperature) suit.....plus who wants to feel like bag of potatoes as my suit is defiantly the wrong size. Then in the late fall and early winter its all good as it is warmer. Maybe one day I can get that pretty pink bee suit.
I used to think again it was funny how I could work with the bees and not wear the suit. SO I would take pictures of this nuc and Colten is wearing the suit.
Here we are sometime back when we were working and I am like "no SUit" hello WAS I BRAVE.
Well that has now since changed the more colonies we have the more chances have increased and as I said before I didn't swell....well now I do.
This bee sting was on the neck and when I would lay down to sleep I would have to prop myself up as my throat swelled slightly and I felt as if I had trouble breathing....it may have all been phycological….but none the same it hurt and did cause swelling.
This one I got last summer and it was my first hand swelling.
This was recent and this is a whole other story...….I am getting ready to share with you.
The shoe is one of my size nine Birkys so as you can see this one got me right after the bear attack. Which was one of the most adrenaline filled days I have had in quite sometime. Well it was more like a panic zone.....
So let me tell you this story...…
I was working in the kitchen making jam and was just finishing up the room smelled like blackberries and still had wafts of honey depending on where you were in the kitchen. I had kept looking outside most of the day....and it being a super hot sunny day....the goats grazing the chickens clucking around fussing at the other hens and the fresh summer air I would feel on my skin as I would open the door to the kitchen to take things outside or go switch over the laundry next door.
I stopped and said I want to go to the high tunnel before it gets dark....as it was roughly 6:30 ish and Bruce never wants to stop working he goes and goes and goes...….I always say I have other stuff to do. Eventually I just have to quit or walk away....we work everyday from 5am to midnight and yes somedays less but majority of the days it is non stop from 5am to midnight. THIS IS WHY the things I want to do don't happen....unless I walk away of just quit to go do what else needs to be done.
So he said yes that's a great idea I will go with you...which yes is more work but we are outside. So we had just got the greenhouse checked everything out then moved on to the high tunnel and as we were getting ready to proceed in the door Bruce spots a bear.....which mind you the day before as we were taking the two little boys to art camp we saw one hive tore up...I told Bruce it was bear....he said no. Probably a deer ran into a night. Or even a skunk they can tear up a hive too. No I said a bear. He still was not convinced. SO now momma was right again...….here in broad day light was this bear at one of the huge hive bodies knocking it over. That huge bear took one little tiny push and toppled over that entire colony like it was a feather. Bruce ran back to the house and I stayed and as the black bear ran into the woods. This huge cloud of swarming extremely mad bees came flying my way as I was standing at the edge of the tunnel. I had on an apron as I had just left the kitchen and I threw it over my face. These bees where looking for anyone to attack as the bear ran off into the woods and their skin is so thick and just about impossible to penetrate. I'm sure bees went after the black bear too. I ran as fast as I could to the greenhouse pulled down the storm door opening and closed the door. The bees were dive bombing the greenhouse coming up through the floor....I had on a skirt and yes some had got me on the legs and the hand. Colten threw my suit in the door and hoped back on the four wheeler and Bruce was back in his suit trying to put the hive together.
What an evening...….
The bear did come back around 11pm and Bruce had to fix the hive bodies yet again....not happy bees!!!
So this is what we found the morning on the way to take the boys to art camp.
You can see this bear was looking for brood...which yes and honey but mostly they look for brood and this hive was struggling so we added more brood to the hive just the day before.
Yep Bear footprint
This is the colony that was attacked by the bear two times as you can see lots of bees......
I was in my car taking this pic Bruce had just set them back up.
So I got it in the eye.....and this is yet another reason you need to wear the suit.
WEAR YOUR BEE SUIT!!!!!!
Bruce and planted entire field of wildflowers and sunflowers plus all the other stuff …….the bees have been loving the wildflowers this year along with lots other pollinators.
So as you can see I REALLY DO LOVE THE BEES...….
I enjoy everything about it, I love what they do for everyone on the planet and want to keep them happy and safe...…
I even went as far as getting a honey bee tattoo
I love my honeybee Tattoo. Done
by Davy Sheets at Primal Tattoo in Carrolton Virginia.
I hope you see why now I will continue to wear my bee suit and continue to be mindful of safety first.
As of today it is raining again....off and on but very gloomy outside. I hope we have a market on Saturday but they just keep saying more rain. Bruce and I getting ready to finish up some pickles and go pick more butternut squash, we have a half of an acre to pick of nothing but butternut squash. YAY!
Enjoy the rest of the week and HAPPY HUMP DAY!!!!!
No bee stings...……….LOL!!!