Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Bee Tale of Woe

In a previous post I mentioned that a couple of days ago, Papa Pea was mowing near the bee hives and got nailed in the forehead by one of our honey bees.

Yesterday he worked in the bee yard splitting an over-crowded hive into two hives. Even though the day was sunny and the bees should have been in a good mood, they were not. Papa Pea was decked out in his full bee suit and he used his smoker which usually calms them down and makes them sluggish, but it didn't. He reported they were wild and crazy and very upset with him when all he was doing was trying to help them out by alleviating their congested living conditions.

This morning I was sitting out on the front lawn giving some loving to Maisy, one of our granddogs who hasn't been feeling very good, when a bee started buzzing my head. It was a mad bee. A very mad bee. What was his problem? I did nothing to him. He apparently drank cranky juice for breakfast because his buzz was that of a bee on a kamikaze mission. Once you hear that particular sound, you always recognize it and know you are in trouble.

Being around the bees has never bothered me, but since my sensitivity to their sting seems to be increasing over the last few years, I gotta admit to feeling a little more panic than a big, strong homesteading gal should when in the situation I found myself this morning.

Trying not to lose my composure completely, I thought if I got up and went in the house, the bee would stay outside. Wrong.

By this time, he had tangled himself in my hair and I knew it was just a matter of time before he found a tender spot in which to plant his ringer-dinger of a stinger.

Running through the house and out the door to our attached garage, I yelled, "I need help. I've got a bee caught in my head!" Well, he wasn't IN my head, but hubby got the message. As I tried to hold still and Papa Pea tried to remove the bee without getting stung himself, Mr. Bee's butt made contact with my scalp at the back of my head and he let me have it.

Now, I'm not a wimp and happen to have a very high level of pain tolerance but, holy macaroni, did that hurt!

After hubby extracted the stinger, we immediately put the cut side of an onion on the site (the onion juice supposedly draws the bee venom out of the skin) and I took the homeopathic remedy, Apis, which counteracts the effect of the venom in one's system. Then Papa Pea made a poultice of baking soda and water which I've worn all day.

Betcha would have a hard time figuring out what this was a picture of if you didn't know, huh? (Kinda looks like I got shot with a caulk gun. Splat!)

When hubby went out to close up the poultry early tonight, he reported he was chased back into the greenhouse by an angry bee who, by all rights, should have been tucked into his hive and settled down for the night at that hour.

I don't know what's gotten into our normally mild-mannered, well-behaved bees but I sure hope they get over their current hissy-fit but quick.

I tell ya, life on the homestead can be dangerous. If it's not Father Goose being overly protective and taking a chunk out of your leg, it's bees who are becoming down right dysfunctional!

38 comments:

Carolyn Renee said...

We NEED bees around here for our fruit & vegetables. And honey would be a wonderful added benefit. But I have yet to get up the courage to take the plunge into beekeeping for the reasons you have so kindly pointed out in this post. I'm a wimp.

tami said...

I'm with CR. Full fledged wimp here!

I noticed the other day that I haven't seen that many honey bees lately. Bumbles yes, honeys no. Last year we had tons of bees around here. Guess the eating's good somewhere else.

Take care!

judy said...

just when I wanted to sit down for a good cry you have me laughing out loud at 6:13 am--I'm sorry you got stung,I feel bad ,its just the image of you running through the house is all,I hope you don't get another reaction,are sure you don't have in jun Joe up there in a hideaway? the local shaman.the reason for the oncoming tears were for my daughter from hell,her 2 babies that I should like to shelter under my wings { no,I'm not a saint or a angel,my neighbor already said that) I just wish i had more piss and viniger.....

Sue said...

I sure hope you're ok (and Papa Pea too!) This is odd that you are having this problem, because I noted the same thing at home before we left. I've NEVER had a problem with the bees--cripes, I've got my face burrowed right in where they're "working" and never had a problem, yet I noticed that some of the bees this spring are AGGRESSIVE. Is there something in the air??????

Stephanie said...

Oh no! Sorry to hear you got stung, but thank you for sharing what you did to remedy the situation :) Hope your head doesn't hurt too much today.

Sharon said...

Even the strongest beekeeper hates having a bee burrowing down into her hair! I can take most stings, but the head shots - ouch!

fullfreezer said...

Ouch! I wonder what got into them. I hope they calm down soon and that your noggin heals up fast.
Judy

LindaCO said...

Wow! Hope it feels better soon.

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

I think they just had enough of people stealing their stash.You were wrong place-wrong time. After all, they dont raid your panty shelf. If they did you might sting a few too ;)

Karen L. said...

Your bee problem and "head shot"(isn't that the term models use?) reminded me of two things. First, the photo made me think of my childhood days down the shore when a gull might fly overhead and decide to "let go" leaving some whitewash on whatever was hit ... like a head. Second, my Dad had a problem with some mad bees once. One followed him to the back door. He waited for a while and tried to go out but that bugger was still there waiting. He finally used the front door and went the other way around the house to fool that bee. Cannot remember if that worked or not. He, like you guys, hated to lose even one bee.

Lisa said...

Hey Mama Pea, you got me worried for you through this post. Through the years I've been stung and never a big deal.... until the last handful of years and I've had to go to the ER once, and was told I should've gone to the ER another time I didn't. I carry an Epi-pen with me when I'm outdoors and I know how to use it. I keep a battery of anti-histamines in stock and take them immediately along with fixing a poultice like Papa Pea prepared for you. (sometimes I also use black tea leaves)

My youngest daughter got stung by a hornet only ONCE and she almost lost her life. Within minutes her ears, palms of her hands, bottom of feet turned the darkest purple, lips swelled and misfigured her face to unrecognizable, splotchey, blotchey hives all OVER her body. Then the vomiting started.... oh my gosh, as a mom of two I've seen my share of throw-up, but this was violent. Then she began to lose consciousness and spoke of how hard it was to breathe. Around this time we arrived at the ER and she was immediately whisked away before anyone even knew her name. She will tell you she saw a 'white light' and felt it was God telling her she would be 'ok'. I'd never spoken of 'white lights' before as she was only @10 years old at the time. Since then she's been on immunotherapy... a fancy name for venom shots.... that's what they're called for mixed vespid, wasps and bees. She's highly allergic to all but bees. Each 'stingy' bug has its own unique 'venom'.

Anaphylactic shock can come on to some as a one time exposure to the allergen.... others, like yourself and me, can see our allergic reactions change each time we're exposed. Also, there can be a delayed allergic reaction... so you take care of yourself. Even though I'm late in reading your post by a day, I still think you need to take it easy with a hot cup of tea and a good book.

I am sorry this is so long.... but you can tell it is a subject close to my heart.

The Weekend Homesteader said...

Stings in the head hurt like the dickens. I've had that happen to me too. The queen usually determines the temperment of the hive. The last package we installed had a really mean queen and the bees were aggresive. Even after smoking them, we could barely go into the hive. The hive swarmed, and since the mother queen goes with the swarm, the new queen took over,and she was much more docile. We noticed a huge improvement in the temperment of the hive. Perhaps you could re-queen your hives?

Sparkless said...

I wonder what is up with your bees? I hope you didn't have too bad a reaction to the sting. Sounds like you did everything to keep it from swelling too much. You should keep some Benydril on hand in case of a bad reaction.

Mama Pea said...

CR - If there's no allergic reaction to bee stings for you or anyone in your family, I'd say go for it. For instance, no matter how many times my husband gets stung, he has very, very little reaction. Up until the last couple of years, I've been stung maybe three or four times at the most. Now I seem to get zapped at least once a year . . . with a bad reaction. So it's just me and not something everyone has to worry about. There are so many benefits to having honey bees!

Mama Pea said...

Unfortunately, honey bees are in danger all over the world. Here in the U.S. they are suffering severely from all the pesticides and poisonous sprays. Hope that's not the case by you!

Mama Pea said...

judy - If I gave you a little laugh, I feel good about that. You have so much to cope with that it's impossible for you to do everything. But I can understand how it must hurt to see what the little ones are going through. Sending hugs to you!

Mama Pea said...

Sue - Let's hope this is not new bee behavior (for some reason) because it sure would change the way I feel about the bees! Papa Pea is the one who gets right in the bees and fortunately, he's bothered very little when getting stung.

Mama Pea said...

Stephanie - I guess there's not much room for swelling on the skull, 'cause the swelling is working it's way down my neck. No nice.

Mama Pea said...

Sharon - You're right about that! Stings in the head ARE more painful. And yet when a bee is upset he almost always goes for the head. (Nasty little buggers!)

Mama Pea said...

Judy - Thanks for the good wishes. I'm right with you on hoping for fast healing!

Mama Pea said...

LindaCO - Today is definitely a down day. Lots of pain and swelling. I've been good for nuthin'!

Mama Pea said...

Jane - Gotta keep a good sense of humor about these things! Thanks, Pal!

Mama Pea said...

Karen L. - Yes! My poultice did definitely look like a low flying seagull dropped one right on me! (I'll take the baking soda blob anytime!)

Mama Pea said...

The Weekend Homesteader - Maybe we need to do interviews with potential queens and pick the one with the best laid-back personality! Seriously, I can see the validity to your suggestion. Thanks!

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - The Benydril is a very good suggestion. Thanks!

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - I very much appreciate all of your information. I truly have been taking it easy all day today because I feel so punk.

That situation with your daughter must have been unbelievably scary. Thank heaven, she came out of it okay. I wonder what it is that makes some of us react so badly to insect bites?

Leigh said...

OUCH! Bee stings hurt! Supposedly the "sting juice" is helpful in treating arthritis (?) Not that I would recommend the method. I agree about the benadryl. We read too that echinacea tincture (big strong does) is useful too. The puzzling thing though, is why they were so mad.

Leigh said...

I appreciate this information too. We don't have our bees yet but I'm nonetheless in the information gathering mode about them.

Jenyfer Matthews said...

The last time that happened you talked about going to get an epi-pen to keep on hand. What happened to that idea??? You homesteaders need to have ALL your tools at the ready!

Dani said...

Did the sliced onion work?

Hope you're feeling better and that the bees have settled down.

Susan said...

Maybe they're cranked up about the weather like the rest of us? I agree with the Weekend Homesteader - it may be you've got yourself a real Type A Queen! That sure isn't the usual bee personality going on there.

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - When you get your bees you will be amazed as to how your harvests of fruits and vegetables will increase! They are wonderful pollinators and we all need to do whatever we can to raise healthy bees. The demise of bees will bring about a near famine.

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - Yes, hubby and I always joke that after a bee sting our arthritis is much better! (Thankfully, neither one of us suffers from it.) Glad to know about the strong dosage of echinacea tincture being a good remedy, too.

Mama Pea said...

Jen - Yeah, I know. When do you suppose I'll get smart?? Sigh.

Mama Pea said...

Dani - Well, at the sting site, I didn't get much swelling. But I also think the skull doesn't allow for much swelling. I think that's why the swelling went down into my neck. So maybe that's an indication the onion DIDN'T draw the venom out?

I am feeling better today, thank you.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - The weather, the queen, the world today! Does it seem to you like EVERYTHING is a little wacko??

Erin said...

Oh no! I know how you react to those bees, did the swelling not happen this time? I think I'm going to ask our Dr. for an epi-pen just to have on hand once we get a hive. We have no reason to suspect the kids will be allergic since hubby and i are not, but who knows and if there are other kids visiting it will be nice to have on hand. I attended a lecture the other day about how the local association will only be doing splits from local hives and swarms now because so many Africanized bees have been showing up in shipments from Georgia (they ship a LOT). Not that you have them LOL, but the term "angry bees" reminded me of it!

dr momi said...

Hope your queen didn't breed with a "nastier" variety. I've been lucky so far, my bees are extremely gentle....but maybe it only seems that way because there are so few bees! :-)