Monday, May 11, 2009

A virgin bee keeper no longer...

Two stings today.  One on the eyebrow, one on the forearm.  

 The eyebrow sting concerned me most due to stories about eyes swelling shut under similar situations conveyed to me by friends but it does not even ache.  No pain, no swelling after 30 minutes.  The forearm sting aches a bit.  This may be because I immediately brushed away the eyebrow sting venom sack as I walked away from the hive but did not realize I had been stung on the forearm until after a few seconds.  That was enough time for the stinger to pump some toxin into me.  So it aches a bit.  I really do not know whether the toothpaste does any good or whether it is just the elimination of the pumping apparatus that has reduced the majority of the sting effects.  I doubt I will experiment with this.  The ache is like having a highly localized pulled muscle.

Earlier in the day, about a half hour before the stings at 4:30pt, I had taken the top off an adjacent hive to remove some comb that had fallen to the bottom during the extraction of the bag in which it was ensconced while collected when it was first put together in March.  This is the observation hive that was first obtained as a hive in a paper shopping bag on 3/13/09.  Today is a sunny, warm day and the bees are calm and busy.  I temporarily removed a couple of foundations to get to the comb that was on the hive floor and removed it without incident.  There is some pollen in some of the cells.  This hive has three foundations that are being heavily worked by the bees.  Piece of cake.  No problems.  Closed the hive up w/o incident.

That was so easy I decide to put the new glass observation top, which I had just made, on the massive-number-of-bees hive that I collected on 4/24 and upon which I subsequently put a queen excluder and super because they seemed so active and numerous.  The other hive was complacent so why not?  Seemed like perfect timing.  As I remove the wood top to the hive super I receive a sting to the eyebrow immediately.  The super is amazingly full of bees.  (All three hives I have are thrown from the same mother hive.  Two on 3/13, one on 4/24.)  I wipe the sting off as soon as I see the bee coming at my face and feel the bee on me.  Then I place the glass observation top on the hive, askew, and walk inside with a bee in my hair.  It escapes inside the house.  I put toothpaste on my eyebrow immediately to alleviate the sting effects.  I have read a study that this is the most effective pain relief available other than time.  The bee-errant is found on a window adjacent to me and dispatched then I go back outside to replace the glass and wooden top properly to the hive, receive another sting on the forearm which goes unnoticed for a bit, then I retreat inside again while wiping off the sting sack that has been actively pumping toxins into me.  Not optimal.  Toothpaste goes on it and it stops the pain in moments but it aches.  Two hours later, after dinner, it still aches but only when pressure is put on it.  Two and a half hours later and not even that happens.  Next time, I need to get the pumping apparatus off me immediately.  

Finally, I am stung.  No longer a virgin bee keeper.

I was stung by bees
Being careless and silly
Seemed right at the time

First week of May

 2 inches of rain.  Rain total:  20 inches.

Heavy wind has blown off two of the grafts.  Not expecting a good take for the grafts this year.

Cameo wine bottled this week.  Good flavor for a Celtic Scumble.  Had been racked twice so almost no leas.