Friday, 30 September 2011

Inspecting and feeding the bees

Most weekends we inspect the bees at Hanbury Hall to make sure they are OK.  The honey has been extracted now and so we are feeding the bees sugar syrup to replace the honey we took from them.  Here is a short video showing how we go about opening the hive and looking at the bees.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Ouch .. Lucy got stung

We were looking at the bees today and one of the gardeners at Hanbury Hall came over.  So I gave a frame of bees to Lucy to go and show to her.  As I passed the bees on their comb over I thought 'they seem a bit lively!'.  Ten seconds later, Lucy got stung!  Fortunately the gardener, who was not in a bee-suit was left alone, but Lucy, in a bee suit, got stung through her leather glove!  Lucy, who has been beekeeping since she was tiny, brought the bees back and put them in the hive, then smoked the area she had been stung (it hides the smell given off when a bee stings. The smell attracts other bees to come over and sting the same area).  Only after that did she walk away to remove her glove and inspect the damage.

When I went to find out how she was, I found that the bee had left its sting in her glove and she was busy showing visitors the sting!

Bee sting stuck in a leather glove

As you can see from the photo, when the bee tries to pull away, they leave their sting in your skin (or in this case the glove) and also leave behind their sting gland, which continues to pulse and force venom into you.  If you get stung by a bee, then quickly flick off the sting gland with a fingernail.  Don't try to pinch it off, or you will squeeze more venom into you.

The story had a happy ending for Lucy.  Because the sting had to go through her glove, by the time it got to her finger, it only scratched her, so the pain and swelling were minimal.  Anyway, as a beekeeper, you expect the occasional sting .. it reminds you to treat your bees considerately!