How to Avoid Bee Stings while raising Honey Bees
The first question anyone asks when they find out that you are getting into beekeeping is most often regarding stings.
They ask things like:
“How often do you get stung?”,”Do they sting you?”, and “Aren’t you afraid of being stung“.
The simple and honest answer to the root question is – sometimes.
Honey Bees will avoid stinging you unless it is necessary because they die if the stinger is pulled from their body.
There are times when a beekeeper can’t avoid being stung like when a wild boar runs through and knocks over a hive. The danger of being stung during a hive removal/cutout is greater than when caring for backyard bees. When something drastic happens that signals danger to the bees the likelihood of being stung is increased
Perhaps running barefoot through a dew covered meadow filled with grazing bees isn’t smart either but, the bees will only sting if they think your little toes are coming to squish them.
Most bee stings are avoidable when routinely inspecting your hives,
But only if You Do Not Do these Five things near your Beehives
1. Eat or Drink – especially Bananas –
Never eat or drink near your beehives. They will sniff out the natural sugars and water in your food and stop by for a taste.
Bananas smell an awful lot like the hormone excreted from bees when their stingers are removed. A single Sting from a bee can be deadly but usually only to the bee and only if the stinger is left behind.
This smell of a dying bee nearby alerts the others from the hive to come and investigate, usually defensively.
Never eat bananas before examining your hives!
2. Swat at the Bees– you look like a predator
Bees will only become aggressive if threatened. Do not swat or wave your arms around like a crazy person. Be still and use slow deliberate movements to gently brush the bee from your skin.
3. Wear dark colored clothing – Especially fur – you look and smell like a predator
The biggest natural threats to bees are large mammals like bears. Bears love Honey so bees are leery of anything that looks or smells like a bear. So don’t wear dark clothes and smell like Mammal sweat near the bees because to them you will just look like a big bear. Fur coats carry a distinctive mammalian scent.
4. Wear Perfume – you smell like a flower
Don’t wear sweet or floral smelling perfume so the bees will not be as attracted to you. On the flip side of that, don’t smell like sweat either. I bathe in baking soda before going out near the bees. I do not wear deodorant or use perfumed soaps before visiting the beehives.
5. Wear Floral Colors – you look like a flower
Don’t wear colors or patterns that the bees may mistake for flowers. White, Grey or Solid Pastels are best. Some beekeepers like to opt for Camofluage just to be safe.
If you do get stung, remove the stinger by scraping it or flicking it away Do not pull it straight out. Once removed, wash the area and apply a sting relieving product