Attached to My Bees ... Literally
They started at Bobby first, pinging off of him. One tried to crawl down his glove. He asked if I could handle putting the honey super back by myself, since he was starting to get nervous, and my number-one beekeeping rule is to only work at your comfort level. I'd rather work alone than with someone fumbling and bumbling and making stupid mistakes because of nerves. So he excused himself, and a bee followed him all around to the back of the house. When he came back around front, she started at him again, so I told him to go into the house, and I'd finish up.
I stepped back at one point, and two bounced into me, so I moved further back, and another bounced into my arm ... and stuck. She'd stung me in the right forearm. I scratched out the stinger and went back to my business. While putting the hive-top feeder back into place, another one stung me in the other forearm, and a third stung me right over that bony spot behind the ear.
Honeybees have a barbed stinger, so after they sting, they either pull hard enough to break away from the stinger, disemboweling themselves in the process (which is gross and upsetting to see), or they remain attached to the stinger ... and you. The stinger can be scraped out with a fingernail or the hive tool, and the bee flies off.
Both bees remained attached to me. There wasn't much I could do. I couldn't let go of the feeder or else I'd end up covered in sugar water, so I got it about two-thirds into place and then stepped back and scraped off the bee from my arm. The one behind my ear was trickier. I could hear and feel her buzzing, but it hurt less than you might expect; at first, I wasn't even completely sure if she'd stung me or if she was just caught in my hair. I went and knocked on the front door because I didn't want to bring her into the house. Bobby answered the door, but he's not yet been stung, and I could tell he wasn't comfortable removing her with a fingernail, so I told him to go get a butterknife from the house. There I stood, on my front porch, with a bee stuck behind my ear, still buzzing away.
He got her out with the butterknife, but then he couldn't get her out of my hair. What a scene we must have been on the front porch!
When she was finally out of my hair, I could feel the stinger still attached, so Bobby plucked it out for me with a pair of tweezers. We let the bees cool off for a few minutes, then went back and got the feeder fully into place and the inner and outer covers back onto the hive.
This certainly wasn't our most fun experience going into the bees, but I'm also glad that handling a hot hive for the first time is behind us! I know much more what to expect and will try not to make the same mistakes again.
This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!