I lurk with admiration

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by savinggrace, Jul 5, 2006.

  1. savinggrace

    savinggrace COO of manure management

    Oct 27, 2005

    I am a beekeeper wanna-bee (ha!) and I visit this forum often, absorbing knowledge and dreaming of keeping my own hives.

    Here is my problem. I react badly to bee stings. One sting and I need to take large amounts of benedryl for several days.

    As a result I am terrified of them!

    I know (thanks to this community) that honey bees are docile. But I also know most bee keepers are stung on a regular basis more times than they can count!

    So, are you of the opinion- #1 anyone can keep bees or #2 beekeeping is not for everyone, and I should just better take advantage of the fact that there is a wonderful honey company in town? (My Honey Company Richmond Illinois)


  2. Ol'Reb

    Ol'Reb aka Mr T-Bone

    Apr 20, 2006
    Piney Hills of Louisiana CSA.
    Here's my experience with stings. When I first started 1 sting would swell and itch for days, thus requiring lots of benedryl. But if you want to do this you will get stung, so I kept at it, I managed to get stung at least once a week sometimes more for a couple of months. Now the stings don't bother me near as much, this past weekend I was stung a total of 15 times, apart from the initial ouch, the itching is tolerable and the swelling does not happen anymore, I still take benedryl if I'm stung more than twice or if I get stung on the face or head. I believe my body has built up a resistance to the stings to some degree.

  3. dcross

    dcross Well-Known Member Supporter

    Aug 12, 2005
    East central WI
    <<I react badly to bee stings. >>

    Are you sure it's honeybee stings you react to? The venom is different from species to species.

    <<I also know most bee keepers are stung on a regular basis more times than they can count!>>

    I have nine hives, and can count all the stings I've gotten this year on one hand:) That's without wearing gloves when I inspect them.

    <<#1 anyone can keep bees or #2 beekeeping is not for everyone>>

    Heh, both!
  4. busybee870

    busybee870 Well-Known Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    NC Arkansas
    there is a shot that you can get, there are pen like injectors, with the meds you need for reactions. All you need is a prescription. You take one with you every time you go tend to your bees, if stung, you self inject, (its not bad) and it will keep you from having any serious problems.
  5. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

    Apr 25, 2005
    I'd definitely get the EpiPen (the shot busybee is refering to) but discuss it with your doctor. I don't think I would recommend taking the injection unless you feel like you are having a bad reaction. I'd make sure you have someone with you until you know how you are going to react on a regular basis. You could develop an immunity, or it could swing the other way and you could develop a life threatening allergy. Proceed with caution. If you do decide to go ahead you also might want to consider a top bar hive since you disturb the hive much less when inspecting. If you react badly then I'd definitely invest in a full protective gear.
  6. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper keeper of the bees Staff Member Supporter

    Apr 22, 2005
    My wife still swells each time she is stung. BUT, she is getting so she doesn't swell or itch as much as at first. I keep telling her to go get stung each day and soon she will be like me and not be able the remember the next day where she got stung.

    In Sue Hubbles book she would hire summer help every year. Before they were allowed to work in a bee yard they had to be stung every day for about 30 days.

    :D Al
  7. Sunmo

    Sunmo Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2004
    the Bald Hills, WA
    I've had bees starting on my second year now. Last year I bought 2 hives, and one died. This year I bought 3 more. Since then I've had 6 swarms I've collected. I'm out of boxes now.

    I also react very badly to stings. I got my doctor to prescribe for me Epinephrine, or the epipen which was described earlier by busybee & hovey.

    I'm a volunteer EMT and firefighter for my fire district in western WA. Epinephrine is NOT for just a bad reaction to bee stings. It is supposed to be used to prevent shock for people that are extremely allergic to bees. If you have several systemic reactions to a bee sting--your throat swells so you can't swallow, your throat swells so you can't breathe, your blood vessels dilate, causing your blood pressure to plunge--only then should you use epi.

    Epinephrine causes your heart to beat very fast and will raise your blood pressure. If you have cardiac history or have high blood pressure, you should go see your health care provider before using epinephrine. If you are experiencing just minor reactions from bee stings, (they may not seem minor to you or me), minor itching for a couple days or a little nausea, anxiety, or shakiness, I'd caution you against using epinephrine.

    If you do use epinephrine, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY!!! If you don't have an epi pen and you have trouble breathing, pain in your chest, dizziness, profuse sweating, rapid heartbeat, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY.

    You and I are in a special class of people. You could get stung 100 times and not have a reaction requiring epi. However on that 101st time, you could have a really bad reaction and need epi. Talk to your doctor. Get him to prescribe an epi pen. Find out what the circumstances are that you should use it. Then keep one up to date with you always. If you’re a bee keeper, and you hang around with other bee keepers, and one of them gets stung, it may be their 101st sting too. Learn what the symptoms are.

    I've been stung less than 5 times this year. That includes catching 6 swarms, keeping 10 hives and helping others with their bees. It took me 3 years of watching other bee keepers before I got the nerve up to buy a hive. Bees are the most fascinating creatures around. They dedicate their whole live solely for the good of their society. They will work themselves to death just so others of their species may live. Wonderful creatures. Get some hives NOW!!!!
  8. Jack Parr

    Jack Parr Well-Known Member

    Sep 23, 2005
    I have gone through the bee sting training process by being stung on a more or less regular basis and now after 18 months of trying to be a beekeeper, have reached the stage of " immunity ? ? ? ", however prior to getting involved I was stung once, by a honey bee, on top of my left ear. That first sting sent me to the emergency room of our local hospital with the reactions described above. After all was said an done I would have survived but since I am on Medicare I decided to take advantage of it. Plus having smoked for way too many years I have breathing problems at times.

    Not a good start for a wanna be beekeeper ? ? ? :shrug: :shrug:

    I in fact did proceed to start keeping bees and now have eight hives going and two expermental setups for " let's see what'll happen if I do this ".

    Bee stings, for me now, are pretty much a non-issue after being stung more or less 100 times. Got stung yesterday while riding the mower near the hives. A slight burning and itching at first then all is OK.

    So I am pretty much convinced about the repeated sting, build immunity phenom. Worked for me.

    One of the two bee magazines, don't recall which, had an article about being stung on top of the ear and the reaction that ensues. The explaination, by a paramedic no less, is that, there is a nerve connection between the top of the ears and the throth, which can trigger the reaction. I have not researched this further however so I am just relaying what I have read but that explaination provided in the magazine is exactly what happened to me.

    BTW the Emergency room on duty doctor didn't offer any explainations about being stung in different places on the body causing different reactions. Next time I see her I'll have to question her about this.