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...and they lived happily ever after. Smith & Lady: poets, artists, photographers & adventurers.
Our relationship was forged to the soundtrack of Yoko Ono's magic,
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1st sting new hive


my 1st bee sting from our hive

My right hand has ballooned up like a Michael Meyers fat suit.

I got my first sting from our beehive Monday on our 7th interaction with it. Weather was too cold to open the hive for inspection – 46 degrees when the bees prefer 55 – and I was too aggressive in cleaning out burr comb (that’s the wax honeycomb the bees build between frames or inappropriate places in the hive), and when I was done, one bee stung me.

It was so gentle I said “Did I just get stung?” and looked and sure enough there was the stinger with its venom sac still attached. I pulled it out and pretty much ignored it. They suggest you take benadryl after a sting, but this seemed so minor, I didn’t. That night I had trouble finding where I was stung and was thinking this is nothing.

Info says swelling and pain happens immediately, then subsides after a few hours, so I thought I was free and clear. Next morning I woke to a hugely swollen hand, not painful but super itchy, difficult to close into a fist, so I didn’t start swelling until 12-15 hours after the sting.

Now after two days of ballooning ever bigger, I’m waiting for the swelling to subside. I think it’s reached maximum size because it can’t get much bigger without exploding . . . I’ve no detail on my hand, no knuckles, no wrinkles, no veins, just bulging tight red itchy artificial looking balloon skin with a hardness beneath the main sting area.

I don’t wear any protective gear when inspecting the hive, just a white t-shirt, but if I’m stung again I’ll have to reconsider.

I’m a little sad losing my non-stung status after working with our beekeeper mentor for a year plus seven visits to our own hive, but I’m also proud to be carrying a sting from our own hive.

Interesting point about the burr comb I removed – my pa-in-law who’s an engineer noted the six-sided wax cells the bees construct have the front-side cells offset half a cell from the back-side cells . . . this makes their entire honeycomb structure much stronger (see foto below).

holding honey bee burr comb up to the light

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