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Revenge of the Bees


Many thanks for This Photo licensed under CC BY Orangeaurochs



Both as a warning to others and because I haven’t finished World Water Day yet -it was on 22/3/2022, let me tell you about a misadventure I had with my bees.

The day started beautifully. It was lovely weather so I spent almost the whole day with the bees. I got a bit of honey and started moving their supers around for winter. They were a bit upset by that so I finished up, went inside and took off my beekeeping gear. My bees are normally very quiet and I often enjoyed a coffee with them on the balcony with no protective clothing at all, while they went about their work.

After a while, the neighbours noticed that the bees were a bit agitated. Looking out, I could see they were buzzing around an open ice cream container into which I had scraped some bits of wax, honey and a couple of dead bees from between the supers. Not wanting the neighbours to get worried, I thought I’d just duck outside and put a lid on the ice cream tub. Alas, as I was doing that an angry bee got stuck in my hair. It panicked and I panicked and then I got a sting.

I wasn’t too distressed. I’d had a couple of bee stings before with nothing more than a bit of swelling. I went inside and started washing the tools. On my second lap down the stairs I suddenly felt weak and faint. I made it as far as the couch – didn’t fall down the stairs at least, and promptly passed out in what was apparently a full -on anaphylactic shock. The last thing I remember was my heart racing, my stomach cramping up in a big ball and being barely able breathe. Some people can get it from eating peanuts or seafood and it can definitely be life -threatening.

When I came to again, I was covered in cold sweat, had prickly itchy hives all over my abdomen and my right eye looked as if I had done a couple of rounds with Mike Tyson. I was however, feeling a bit better. My son was horrified when he heard about it. He immediately wanted to take me to hospital, but all I wanted to do was have a nice lie down. The cups of tea were nice. There are a couple of reasons though why it would have been a good idea to get to a hospital. In the first place they usually give you a shot of adrenalin which should stop you going into cardiac arrest, but because some people don't tolerate that well either, having medical help on hand makes a lot of sense. If  the adrenalin works for you, then they would most likely prescribe an EpiPen to keep with you in case you encounter the same trigger again.

For people with food allergies there is some additional help. They can go through a desensitising course and possibly overcome them. Unfortunately for those who are allergic to the stings of insects such as bees, wasps and Jack Jumpers,* success rates are not as high. My bee man who also happens to be a heart specialist has advised me to give up on the bees. So sad, especially now that I am actually getting some honey. Not that I’ve given up entirely.

There might be a bit of good news in all this. Bee venom is supposed to boost your immunity and be good for all kinds of ailments and not just in the annals of alternative medicine. Not all claims have been proven, but I'll let you know if it does anything for my wrinkles or I come back stronger than a Mallee bull.

*A rather savage type of bullant found in Tasmania 

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