I could turn this into a really long story but the punch line says it all, yesterday one of my sweet little bees stung me. Darn Her!
Okay, now comes the long story. Frank and I were robbing honey which is no big deal. Frank and I found the Queen of Hive 1 laying eggs in the top super. No big deal and not as surprising as it should be (we are almost positive we caused this when trying to trap her in the brood box at the last inspection). But, go figure, the bees didn’t really like me squatting, holding the frame containing their monarch over their upturned hive lid while Frank flung boxes and frames around giving me access to the actual brood box (in name only since all the brood is now in the top super). Okay, before you experienced beekeepers point out I should have just moved the super to below the brood box (since our supers and brood boxes are exactly the same size) I must confess that our brood box is nailed to the bottom board so this simple manoeuvre isn’t possible. We didn’t nail the bottom board and brood together, the guy who sold us the boxes did. We really need to pry them apart some day but not today.
As Frank was flinging and I was squatting I had one job, keep my eye on the queen. If she fell she’d land in the lid and we could get her into the brood box. If she flew, well, I guess I’d just watch it happen. But Frank was really insistent on me keeping my “eye on the queen”! Which leads us to the punch line. While I was so engrossed, my net must have brushed up against my face and some observant bee took the chance to sting me on my chin. (I am not including photos of the queen here because I was too busy in the heat of the battle to take any.)
This was my first sting while beekeeping (I’ve had 2 minor brushes while gardening) and a full assault and so I said “ouch” about 3 times. Before I could decide whether or not it really hurt, another bee stung me (or tried to) through my 2 shirts and overalls. I felt it but I could tell the stinger was gone and it wasn’t a big deal. I had a quick flash of a coordinated attack on my person but realised I didn’t have any option so I squatted and kept my eye on the queen.
Moments later, Frank had the space free, I slid the frame (my eye still on the queen) into the lowest box (now again the real brood box) of the hive, we re-stacked the boxes and put back on the lid.
We then walked around the garden a bit until the unhappy bees left us alone. Frank pointed out the stinger was still sticking in my chin. I pointed out there wasn’t anything I could do about it until I had my gloves and net off.
And then, the bees went back to doing normal bee stuff and I liberated myself from bee clothing and bee stinger.
Here’s the offending item. You can see the string of intestine running up from the base of the stinger to my finger. This is why bees always die when they sting you, they are rather dependent on that part of their innards. (No cheap comments about dirty finger nails please. Remember, I’d been harvesting honey with leather gloves on for an hour before this photo was taken.)
Yes it stung. But I’d say in much less than 1 minute the initial fire was gone. It became nothing more than a minor throb and then really reduced to nothing more than a numb thickness. It hurt when I touched it (no leaning of head on hand for me) but now, 16 hours later, I hardly notice it and there is nothing more than a minor red spot on my chin. I was expecting something much more dramatic from my first full sting – boy am I glad to be disappointed!
The big upside to this whole incident is that it earned me high praise from my hubby. Once we were wearing normal clothing and spinning honey out of the robbed frames he said “you were really brave”. I was feeling all warm inside and then he christened me with my new nick-name: “fatty chin”. He’s such a romantic!