Since my recent honey extraction, I’ve been stung twice, both times on the face. I swelled up like a balloon, and I’m not even allergic.
My daughter practiced her considerable makeup skills on me this weekend, so I don’t look quite so much like the Elephant Man today.
In fact, the swelling in my face smoothed out a few wrinkles. I’m calling it “Beetox.”
But the fact I was stung in the first place by my usually gentle girls made me wonder — Why now? Why on my face? Why did I have such a bad reaction?
I did some research. The answers were, as usual, mostly “Me-” rather than “Bee-” related.
1. I didn’t have my bee veil all the way on. Bees are alarmed by carbon dioxide, hair, and dark colors because common predators of bees (e.g. bears) are hairy, dark colored, and exhale carbon dioxide. This is also why bees are drawn to attack the face and head.
2. Bees are cranky after a honey extraction. They don’t like anyone taking their honey. I haven’t noticed this before because this is the first year I’ve had enough honey to extract in the spring. Usually I extract in the fall, right before my bees start closing down shop for the winter. Also it was warm, rainy and humid. Bees get cranky for some of the same reasons people do.
3. I swatted at the bee and hopped and flailed my arms. Big no-no. Bees are attracted to movement and swatting only makes them more determined to sting.
4. I pulled out the stingers out with my fingers. This squeezed more venom into the wound. Instead, I should have scraped the stinger out sideways using my fingernail, the edge of a credit card, a dull knife blade or other straight-edged object.
I’m sure my girls will settle down to normal once they get over the shock of being robbed and the weather dries out a bit.
While I would’ve preferred to have learned the above a different way, a few stings are a part of beekeeping. And I do look a little younger…