Ungrateful creatures!

I got a couple of stings this afternoon!  I took combs heavy with honey from a colony that had died of starvation and gave some of them to a couple of colonies that have plenty of bees but are short of stores.

I don’t really mind the odd sting at this time of year as it keeps up my immunity. In the past, my first stings of the beekeeping year have taken 2 days swelling up and another 2 going down again but, now I’ve learned the trick of getting the occasional one through the winter, that doesn’t happen any more.

How (I hear you chorus!!!) can a colony that died of starvation have combs heavy with honey???  Simply that they died of ‘isolation starvation’, meaning that the cold weather made them cluster together for warmth generated by metabolic heat through eating honey.  Normally, the occasional sunny day warms the interior of the hive enough for the bees on the outside of the cluster to move onto fresh stores and make a round of honey sandwiches to pass around their sisters until the cluster as a whole is able to move.  This winter has been so gloomy, sunless and cold that they weren’t able to do so. Partially it was my fault for ignoring the advice to site hives where the sun will strike them on Christmas Day, but these were on my allotment, where I have to keep them tucked away to avoid scaring neighbouring gardeners.

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About chrissladesbeeblog

I have been keeping bees since 1978 and currently have about a dozen hives. I am a member of the BBKA where for many years I represented Dorset at the Annual Delegates' Meeting. I am the co-author (with Dave MacFawn of of S. Carolina) of "Getting the Best from Your Bees" and am working on a book of my own poems : "Bee People".
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11 Responses to Ungrateful creatures!

  1. Charlie Slade says:

    Does immunity to venom work with other species? Could, for example, someone working with poisonous snakes or spiders protect themselves against deadly toxins?

  2. Immunity to venoms is very specific. For example I am allergic to wasp stings and, upon the advice of the doctor, keep anti-histamines handy in case I am stung by them. Also, every person will have their own individual response that may vary with time and circumstances. Don’t take risks without telling your doctor first!

  3. Chris,
    Glad to see you have started a beekeeping blog. I have a beekeeping blog and it sure is a lot of fun. Keep it fun, and Happy Beekeeping!
    Santiago & Angela Wallace
    Wallace Family Apiary
    http://www.wallacefamilyapiary.wordpress.com
    http://wallacefamilyapiary.yolasite.com/
    Also out of necessity, I also stated a Youtube account. Here is one of my videos:

  4. Thanks Santiago and Wallace. I shall enjoy browsing your site.

  5. I just watched your film on making pollen substitute patties and noticed that you have the finger ends of your gloves missing! That’s just what I did at first to give myself more sensitivity and yet still be confident about being protected. Nowadays I don’t usually wear gloves unless I’m also doing without smoke.

    I was wondering about your name being on every box and thought that it might be to deter thieves until I heard what you had to say about it being a state requirement. The ‘land of the free’ seems to be highly restricted in many respects!

    • Chris,
      Glad to hear you watched my video on pollen substitute patties. Yes, I cut out the fingers to give myself more sensitivity…good eye. On occasion I don’t wear gloves at all, I’m working towards wearing them less and less. Sometimes I only wear veil, fingerless gloves, a short sleeved shirt, and jeans. I depends on the mood of the colony, the season, and also depending on how much work I’m going to be doing in the colony. When I harvest honey I just shake and brush, I used Bee Go one time and the stench nearly drove me away. I also don’t use a bee escape for harvesting, I just do what Jerry Lee Lewis sang about “Whole lot of shaking going on”….and then I definitely bring out the gloves. The one thing that I always do wear is a veil. I would hate to get stung in the eye, anywhere else is alright.

      I like your bit about the “Land of the free”, very good writing. You live,”across the pond”, right? I’m not sure if every State requires the registration number to be printed on the hives, but I do know that Florida requires it. After re-reading the regulations tonight, (http://www.freshfromflorida.com/pi/plantinsp/apiary/ap-fees.html) , I re-discovered everyone in Florida is required to have their registration number permanently imprinted on each colony, not just those that migrate.

      Hope your bees are doing well, and I look forward to hearing from you again.
      Happy Beekeeping,
      Santiago & Angela Wallace
      Wallace Family Apiary

  6. Pingback: Communicating with a fellow Beekeeper…long tradition and a valuable learning medium. « Wallace Family Apiary's Blog

  7. Yes, I live in the south of England. I visited friends in Virginia last year and, while everybody seemed to live in mansions by our standards (I asked somebody where all the poor people live and was told: ‘Nowhere near us!’) I was struck by a number of unnecessary petty restrictions in the way people lived their lives. There seems to be freedom to conform. I don’t think I’d like to live there.

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