Sunday, March 04, 2007

Please Don't Hug the Bee Hives

Well, we knew it was only a matter of time. Late yesterday, our bees claimed their first casualty.

We went down to the area of the apiary in the hopes of seeing the lunar eclipse. We quickly realized that wasn't going to happen as the exact area that the moon would be rising was covered in thick clouds. We decided to tuck the girls in for the night.

The sun was setting, so it had gotten pretty chilly and the bees were all inside their hives. As we got to each hive, Bernie put his ear to the side of them to be certain he could hear them buzzing about. With the latest scare of bees abandoning their hives, it is always a comfort to hear them when we can't see them so that we know they are at least still around. At any rate, he got to the next to the last hive and put his ear close to it, but couldn't hear anything. He decided to get his ear as close as possible, so he put his arm around the hive to draw his ear closer. As he did, he apparently alerted a few of the girls and they came flying out of the top hive entrance - which is exactly where his arm wrapped around the hive. He announced "I hear them" and as he straighted back up, a couple of the bees flew from his arm and started checking him out. One of the girls managed to get stuck between his eye glasses and his eye! He removed his glasses, but not before she firmly planted her stinger in his eyebrow.

I asked "Are you stung" and he answered "I think so. Check for the stinger." Sure enough, there was a stinger just underneath his eyebrow. I scraped it out (you should never squeeze it as that releases more of the venom) and looked at his eye area. There was a small red lump where he was stung, but it didn't look too bad and he claimed it didn't hurt very much.

When we went to bed, there was very little swelling, and although there is more swelling this morning, it's really not too terrible. I'm actually quite relieved - not only because he is not having a lot of pain, but also because it gives us comfort that he didn't have an allergic reaction. He will get stung many more times, and now we have a reasonable level of comfort that he won't have an allergic reaction. Even so, it's something to watch when stung.

Bees - 1
Bernie - 0

I put a couple of pictures of his swollen eye up on the website.

Bee Free,

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