Sunday, June 17, 2012

Oh My Ouchie!

These photos were taken during our 5th week of beekeeping.  This being our first year, with every inspection we are learning something new and exciting.  I just love this photo, look at all the bees!
I love seeing full frames of brood! That whole middle section are bee larvae waiting to be born.
Paul looks so happy holding up the frames!  The reason being, this is the first time we've seen honey on the frames! The honey on these frames are for the bees to eat.  Nonetheless, this makes us super happy to see that they are producing honey since so far, all we have seen is brood and pollen.
Is this not a marvelous site? All on the right side is capped honey!! 
Another look from a different angle. On the left is capped honey.
Here again is a closeup! Honey on the top and capped brood on the bottom.  All the holes you see are where baby bees were born and emerged from.
When we pull the frames out to inspect, the bees barely notice us.  They continue on doing what they are doing.  Making wax and honey and feeding the babies.
However, sometimes the bees feel defensive and will protect the hive by stinging. I got stung 4 times during this inspection on my hand. Boy did it hurt.  When you get stung once, there is an attack pheromone that is set off, and more bees go after you.  Thus is why I was stung 4 times in the same area.
Despite getting stung, we moved on to visit our other hive 4 blocks away on the rooftop.  Getting stung is part of beekeeping, you just have to get used to it. In this photo we are removing propolis from the frames. Propolis is a sticky substance that the bees collect, usually made up of tree sap.  The bees use it as a sealant or glue to fill in gaps within the beehive. They put the propolis all along the edges of the frames and box, and we remove it so that it doesn't build up too much.
Checking the frames.
Look at all that capped brood! A lovely sight. We also see signs of honey in these hives too!
Frames are covered with bees.
Simply gorgeous!
This frame is mostly pollen.  All the dark color on the right is pollen.
In this photo, you can see on the left the propolis between the frames edge and the box. It's the dark brown substance. This sticky sap makes it hard to maneuver and take out the frames. This is where our hive tools come in handy, we use the hive tool to pry the frames loose from the propolis.
A welcomed sight! Here we see the Queen. Do you see her?
A better look.  See her now? Everytime we do an inspection, we always look for the Queen to make sure she's still alive.  Without a Queen, the hive will not survive. When we see her on the frames, we breathe a sigh of relief.
The next day, after the hive inspection, my hand got really swollen from the beesting. I mean, really, really swollen.
So swollen that I couldn't bend my fingers.  I saw my doctor and she said that it's likely that I have a mild allergy to bee venom.  She prescribed me a steroid to help with the swelling and in 5 days I was back to normal.  I must say, my body's reaction to beesting venom really scared me.  In all my life, I've never gotten stung this badly before.  My doctor tells me that the more I get stung the more my body will build a resistance to bee venom.  So in a way, I should look forward to getting stung more often.  Too bad it hurts.... a lot.


  1. I feel for you, I was stung for the first time in many many years this weekend and I got flu-like symptoms that night, yuck! Hopefully next time it won't be such a bad reaction :) Great photos of the whole operation though!

  2. Ouch! Great photos, good luck with bee-keeping.

  3. Ouch! Great photos, good luck with bee-keeping.

  4. Really amazing. Thanks for keepin' those bees--on behalf of all Brooklyn gardeners.

  5. OOOWW!That looks painful!
    Next time you get stung, you need to ice it, on and off for about 10 minutes at a time. The cold slows down the spread of the venom, thus minimizing the swelling. And cross your fingers you are not allergic to bees!

  6. If you are able, try to take an antihistamine pretty soon after being stung. Did your Dr mention that? It helps. Pretty bad swelling but the excitement in your words showing the photos..priceless. It truly was awesome and thanks for sharing the experience.

    Noted, they have bees on the roof of the Waldorf in NY. Think I read it in our local paper. Great heh!!

  7. Thank you so much for posting so many great pics and bits of info about the bees. They are fascinating creatures and i'm happy to see how well your hives are doing.

    (Also, it might help the beestings to do a baking soda and water poultice on them immediately to ensure the stingers are pulled out completely. I've had a reaction like that before because a tiny bit of stinger was still under my skin.)

  8. Yikes!!! You couldn't pay me more then the kardashians to do this job. That swellin' on your hand does look pretty nasty, its all part of the job I suppose? Does that happen frequently? A very fun to read and adventurous blog post. Every step of the way I felt in front of that bee frame, with the amount of pictures posted. More = Better
    God bless, and happy gardening! Hope you don't get stung too much!

    -Tony Salmeron

  9. My husband is a country boy. The 1st time I got stung, he drug me into the house and blotted Clorox Bleach on my sting. It took out the ouch of the bite.

    Really works, try it.


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