International Pirate Day came early this year

By | June 1, 2012

Generally our bees are very gentle, and we usually close the hive up, and take our veils off to have a chat at the end of the class.

eyelidStingThis Thursday we must have upset them, as a few guard bees came out and did their job very well.

Someone got stung right between the eyes, and he was the lucky one. Before I knew it, I had a sting on my eyelid.

The main thing to learn here is if a bee is buzzing around you, its likely you wont get stung. Dont wave your arms about, or try to squash it, as that will only increase its suspicion of you. Stand quietly, and it likely fly away to find what it really wants, pollen and nectar. If you’re nowhere near the hive, its not a guard bee and only wants to find flowers.

But if you are near the hive, and a guard bee does want to sting you, it will have already done so, in the wink of an eye

The most effective places they will target if they want you to go away are the neck, face, ideally near your eyes.

Sting timeline.
- – - – - – - – -
If you’re interested, a sting on the eyelid wasn’t quite as bad as I first thought. Funnily enough it was something I feared, knowing that elephants are scared bees for precisely this reason.
Far from going and telling an elephant to harden up, here’s how the sting developed.

Thursday night 8pm – Stung on the face at the apiary. Yes it hurt, I give it a 1.8 on the Schmidt Index. No swelling, and I could drive the 45 minutes home without any bother. We will note on our hive record card (updated at each visit) that the temperament of the bees was around 4 (on a scale of 1-10). 2 stings in the face really is not tolerable, and in some cases, would warrant removing the queen (who might be propogating aggressive genes). Though other than the stings, the bees were very gentle, and it was quite out of character for this colony.

Friday morning 8am – The sting doesn’t hurt any more, but there’s been significant swelling overnight. The picture on this blog post was taken around this time, on the way to work. So, I could still marginally see through the swelling, and I could still go to work (with my pride tucked under my arm).

Friday afternoon 1pm – After explaining to colleagues over and again that I wasnt in a fight, I decided to go home. More for the fact I had a cold (it wasnt a good week). The swelling had been increasing through the the morning, and it was the last day before my holiday.
Things were just stacking up in favour of a restful afternoon.
On a good note, public transport was easier than normal, as nobody pushes in front of a person sporting a fresh shiner.

Saturday morning 8am – The swelling was actually reducing, which I was pleased about. I was off to meet friends in the afternoon, and watch the England v Belgium match at Wembley followed by an all night poker match. I wore sun glasses worn through most of the match to prevent any unwelcome football hooligan machismo.

Saturday night 8pm – The swelling had almost all gone, but the jokes were still thick and fast. Still red and sore looking, and thankfully not itchy

Sunday 11am – By this time the swelling was almost completely gone. It probably just made me look more hungover after the poker match than I actually was.

In summary in my case, other than a few hours pain immediately following the sting, the only effect was a very puffy eye, and some social discomfort.

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