It was not until one summer night, my sweet friend Maryanne casually mentioned that she was about to "buy a couple of bee hives" that I ever really gave much thought to bees.
My first question to her was..."Why?" quickly followed by a .. "You've got to be shitting me". She wasn't.
I soon learned that my friend just happened to possess a wealth of knowledge on the topic. Who knew? Inspired by a fruitless pumpkin-growing season, she learned that the problem was not the soil, the seeds or the gardener but rather the lack of local bees.
I admit it. I was a "beekeeper profiler"and this is what I had assumed they generally looked like....
After several interesting conversations with my Beekeeping friend, I've learned more about bees than I ever thought possible. For starters...
- You've got your Bumble, Carpenter, African Killer and Honey Bee amongst thousands of other bee species. Maryanne is 'sticking' to the 'Honey' variety.
- Bees make wax, honey and Royal Jelly. Royal Jelly is used in treating Grave's Disease (a disease of the thyroid). It is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties as well.
- Smoke causes bees to calm down. Always a good thing to remember. Just sayin'.
- Environmentally speaking... urban areas are in dire need of bees. The numbers have dwindled to critical levels and bees are needed for propagation of plants and vegetables.
- Honey made in your neighborhood is best for fighting environmental allergies.
- If a bee is buzzing around you - stay calm and carry on. Flitting your arms, running and screaming really pisses them off. They are probably "drones" and are trying to protect the queen. They are not out to get you.
- Bee Venom Therapy (BVT) is being used to help those with Multiple Sclerosis
- Bees are our friends.
- Remove the stinger carefully. Try to scrape it off with a credit card or something similiar. The reason for this is so that you don't squeeze more bee venom into you by pinching the stinger to remove it.
- Wash as soon as possible with soap and water.
- Ice, Tylenol and/or Motrin may help with pain.
- Benadryl can help with localized swelling and inflammation
- Word on the street is that some people have found a paste of vinegar mixed with baking powder helps with the pain and that meat tenderizer breaks down the bee venom thereby decreasing pain.
- If you have any other type of response other than localized pain and swelling at the site - go to an Emergency Room. Difficulty breathing, swelling of lips, eyes, face are all indicators of a potential life threatening allergic reaction.
So there you have it. A little summertime Bee Talk. Have you any bee 'pointers'?