Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Get Stung!

Image from HERE

If you do not like bees (and wasps) then this blog really isn't for you so go and read something else I've written on my blog as I'd be exactly the same about reading a blog about spiders! *shrieks*.

So anyway I mentioned about my beekeeping course and yesterday we officially got to visit our beehive. Oh I was excited. Yup total beekeeper geek alert :-)

One of the first things I knew would happen on my beekeeping course would be - getting stung. It's like an initation test really as you're probably going to get stung a fair few times if you want to be a beekeeper. When I was younger I was stung twice by wasps but never a bee. I was never afraid of bees growing up they seemed to buzz around and hover over me and then fly away. I'm not a great fan of wasps though...

It's a myth that if a honeybee stings you it will die, the queen bee rarely leaves the hive and the larger drone bees do not have stingers. The worker honeybee which is the one you see mainly in your garden is the one that stings you if you have annoyed it somehow. It's very rare for a bee to sting you if you ignore it. The worker bee will die though if when it has stung you the stinger becomes dislodged and yes of course the bee will die as it is attached to its abdomen. :-(

Of course if you have an allergy to bee stings then it is obviously unwise to think about becoming a beekeeper. If you suffer from anaphylaxis (an extreme allergic reaction) you should carry an ephinedrine syringe with you at all times if you want to get close to a hive.

If you are stung by a honey bee then you should quickly remove the sting (it will be visible in your skin) and apply a cold compress. When I was stung by a bee on my course it of course hurt but I learnt that after applying a cold compress that a copper coin helps to ease the swelling! A handy tip. We were also given lollipops after to distract us, a good tip if your child gets stung. I should add the bee did not die but possibly has a little vendetta after me now!

I should add you should never retaliate on anything that has stung you, if they are close to their nest there is a chance a swarm will be after you. They are protecting their family.

Do you know the difference between a bee and a wasp?

 Bees are hairy and robust with flat legs for gathering pollen.

Wasps are slender with smooth bodies and slender legs.

Due to the recent humid temperatures here in the UK you may have spotted a few bees coming into your garden. If your garden is anything like mine there might not be much for the bees just yet, my lavender is just days away from flowering and my marjoram has not even begun to shows signs of flowering. Yes bees love marjoram flowers infact they like most herbs. Other great attractants are buddleia and of course sunflowers. The more you get bees into your garden the more you will find that the plants are benefitting as the bees will pollinate them. You'll find that butterflies will love these flowers too so you'll have a pretty garden full of activity!

When your garden is full of flowers take the chance to go and watch the bees in action. Watch them as they push themselves as far into the flowers and really have a feast. It's truly fascinating. Just don't stand over them blocking the sun and causing a shadow as they will fly off as they will be worried you are going to attack them. 

In my next blog on bees that I will publish next week I'll explain all about the bee workforce and the most important bee of all - The Queen Bee.

Thanks for reading


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