Sunday, November 20, 2016

A honey bee stinger

Started winterizing the hives last week, and I got stung twice for my troubles (well, thrice, but I'm not counting the stab I received from a yellow jacket.) One of the stings pierced my right temple near the eye. By the next morning, the entire right side of my face was swollen. The morning after, the swelling had started to spread to my left eye, too. Although I don't mind looking freakish so much, the accompanying headache and fatigue, which I still have 3 days later, are beginning to get tiring (no pun intended).

So what makes a honey bee sting so effective? I love this simple animated graphic that demonstrates what happens.

One thing this image doesn't show, though, is how quickly venom is pumped. Bee Culture ran an article back in June that recommends getting the stinger out as quickly as possible by any means necessary. According to the article's author, "Studies have shown that leaving the stinger in just eight seconds can increase the size of a bee welt by 30%. It doesn’t really matter how you remove the sting; just flick it off as fast as possible."

That there is some good advice.


  1. Ouch! That sounds painful. Isn't that what veils are for - so the bees don't do a number on your face? In my quite limited experience, it seems as if in late fall and early spring there is always one bee looking to sacrifice herself for the good of the hive. I imagine an older bee, knowing that her death is near, looking to die with a purpose, stalking the nearest animal (me!).

    May your bees prosper!


    1. LOL! I've always imagined these rogues as younger bees that don't know any better, but the ideas of bees committing harakiri seems nobler.

      Ironically, I was wearing a veil. This time of year, they're so crotchety that I always suit up It was a weird thing that happened. I was bending over sideways, so the veil shifted flat against my head. Bam. The opportunist took her shot.

  2. Youch! I hate it when I suit up and still get stung - seems so unfair. It's surprising (and amazing) that they can find the one weak spot in any armor - like Bard hitting the bare patch on Smaug! Hope the swelling and headaches have gone away!

    1. Thanks, yeah, I'm getting back to normal. Hey... wait... did you just compare me to Smaug??? *They're* the ones holed up and sitting on gold. Though, I suppose, I do have the fire. LOL!

      Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!


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