At last... my first bee sting
I'm actually not surprised the poor little bee stung me considering the conditions yesterday evening. I was a beekeeper on a mission; I've been told to get Apiguard (a treatment for varroa mite that is prevalent in all colonies) into my hive ASAP as well as some sugar syrup, otherwise known as Ambrosia. Despite the ominous dark cloud looming above me, I knew I had to do it then and not put it off another day.
Three frames into my inspection and the heavens opened. So, I stopped and quickly placed the Apiguard on top of one half of the brood frames and then placed the feeder on the other half. (For those non-beegeeks Apiguard is a vorroacide that comes in a small tray. When placed on top of the frames the heat from the brood causes the gel inside to evaporate, which the bees then essentially breathe in although some do eat it too).
Now I'm sure that if there are beekeepers reading this you're probably thinking that you would have done it or are doing it differently. But you see, this is what I've learnt about my fellow beekeepers in the short time that I've been one. You ask six different beekeepers the same question and you are guaranteed of getting six different answers! My question was 'When do I administer Apiguard and then when do I feed my bees syrup?'
I literally had loads of different responses. But I've gone with a beekeeper in my local branch, Mike Townsend, who has visited my bees and knows my situation best. His view is to put Apiguard in now (as it takes a full four weeks to do both trays) and give four pints of Ambrosia in my contact feeder. Then in mid September give them the rest of the syrup (up to two gallons or more) so that they can start storing for winter.
So, that's what I'm going to do. As Mike told me, “Whatever you do in terms of time you feed, giving them plenty means you have done all you can to see them through the winter.”
But, anyway, going back to my first bee sting – I was working quickly as the rain was pelting because I didn't want the bees to get wet. I have no idea how the bee managed to get into my marigold glove and sting my wrist but when it did, I definitely knew about it. They don't call it a sting for nothing and I even saw the bee's stinger still pulsing in my skin.
Being my first bee sting, my phone was on standby in case I was severely allergic and my throat started to close as I blacked out. But the good news is that I survived. And actually I'm really quite pleased because now I feel like a proper beekeeper although I won't rush out to be stung again. This morning, the area around the bite has swollen and it itches like hell. As I have no antihistamine in the house, I've resorted to wearing a plaster to prevent scratching it (that's the photo you see at the top of this post).
As I didn't take any photos on this visit, as I literally had no time to, below are some photos I took on my last visit on the 12th August. I'll be back to check on my bees over the bank holiday weekend though so will make sure to take photos then.
|A curious bee coming to see what I was up to as I lifted a frame out the hive|
|If you look very carefully you can see small curled white larvae - bees of the future!|
|My little nuc, which arrived on 5 frames, is now over 10 but really only living properly on 8.|