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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife was stung in the eyebrow recently when we were just sitting approximately 8 yards away from the hive. No known incitement.
In the future, what is the risk of a repeat event, and more importantly, what is the worst case scenario I would need to avoid? Has anyone you know ever been stung in the eyeball? These are Italians.
 

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I had the same problem with my hives. Couldn’t do anything in my yard without getting harassed by them. Always one or two dive bombing my face. In my garage, out on my deck. I had to wear my bee suit while I cut the grass. . It was really bad.
I ended up requeening them last week to see if that will help. If it does not I will be moving the hives farther away from my house.
 

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Welcome to Beesource!

And, a lefthanded welcome to beekeeping, from the bees. 8 yards is a good distance I would consider safe from the flight path, where it seems 85% of the stings occur, but it can happen, and without provocation, but only very rarely without provocation.

Was anybody eating a banana? The smell is very similar to their alarm pheromone, by which they call for backup from their sisters. That would be considered provocation enough from a hive that had experienced any difficulties recently.

Did anybody make a sudden move? Was she wearing flower-scented perfume? Wearing bright colors? They have all figured in to some stinging incidents.

Head-butting is a "polite" warning requesting one to please remove one's self from the flight path, and to please give the hive a bit more inter-personal space. Stinging comes next.

Worst case is a full-blown attack, which is usually the bees 17 to 19 days old, plus any others that smell the alarm pheromone and hear the vocal call. In this case, retreat indoors, jump into the pool, cover with a blanket, whatever works if you do not have your bee suit on. Help one another remove stingers ASAP, as they have the poison "pumps" attached and are actively adding poison as they remain poked into your skin. A credit card is an excellent tool for sting removal. Use a brushing motion in the "out" direction, if you can see it well enough.

Any major stinging event - upwards of 30 stings, watch carefully for symptoms of shock. Constricting of the airway, dizziness, difficulty breathing, confusion, change in heart rate, muscular trembling, in addition to the usual symptoms of a stinging - pain, itch, and swelling are cause for immediate medical attention. If you have an Epi-pen, use it. It is a potential life saver.
 

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These days I always wear either at least sunglasses or my little skeeter net, they seem to know to go for the eyes, too many close calls for comfort. I've been stung in my nostril, and all around my eyes, and that's cool, it's just pain, but a sting on the eyeball would be very no bueno, I think.
 

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Welcome to Beesource!

And, a lefthanded welcome to beekeeping, from the bees. 8 yards is a good distance I would consider safe from the flight path, where it seems 85% of the stings occur, but it can happen, and without provocation, but only very rarely without provocation.

Was anybody eating a banana? The smell is very similar to their alarm pheromone, by which they call for backup from their sisters. That would be considered provocation enough from a hive that had experienced any difficulties recently.

Did anybody make a sudden move? Was she wearing flower-scented perfume? Wearing bright colors? They have all figured in to some stinging incidents.

Head-butting is a "polite" warning requesting one to please remove one's self from the flight path, and to please give the hive a bit more inter-personal space. Stinging comes next.

Worst case is a full-blown attack, which is usually the bees 17 to 19 days old, plus any others that smell the alarm pheromone and hear the vocal call. In this case, retreat indoors, jump into the pool, cover with a blanket, whatever works if you do not have your bee suit on. Help one another remove stingers ASAP, as they have the poison "pumps" attached and are actively adding poison as they remain poked into your skin. A credit card is an excellent tool for sting removal. Use a brushing motion in the "out" direction, if you can see it well enough.

Any major stinging event - upwards of 30 stings, watch carefully for symptoms of shock. Constricting of the airway, dizziness, difficulty breathing, confusion, change in heart rate, muscular trembling, in addition to the usual symptoms of a stinging - pain, itch, and swelling are cause for immediate medical attention. If you have an Epi-pen, use it. It is a potential life saver.
Excellent source of information, thank you for the post.
 

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We keep 7 hives 50 feet from the house, outside the front door. In several years of beekeeping, my wife has been stung exactly once, and we are not sure it was a honeybee. Once a visitor was stung. Neither on the face.

Mean hives get moved or requeened. It can in most cased be controlled.
 

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For your interest: a report about a sting right into the eyeball from the past. An article in the German Bee Journal, 1909

Bienenstich-Auge.jpg

Which translates to:

A bee sting straight in the eye.
from Medical Councilor Dr. G. Schwabe, Leipzig

As a result of an inflammation of the cornea, which the editor of this newspaper fell ill with around the middle of May of that year, I became more closely acquainted with the named gentleman; I had heard of his apistic activity several times. Occasionally during his visits to the sick we also came across honey and the bee in the conversation, and I told him about my one-time encounter with this prickly insect during my many years of medical and ophthalmic activity, which interested him so much that he asked me to want to publish this case in the "Deutsche Illustrierte Bienenzeitung". I am happy to comply with this request by giving a concise excerpt from my journal below:

Elsa B., 4 years old, the daughter of the landlord, who had irritated the bees by bumping into a beehive, had been complaining of painful inflammation of the right eye for 3 weeks, combined with severe photophobia and tears. The medically applied means have so far been unsuccessful. During the first ophthalmological examination I discovered a bee stinger, which, about 2-3 mm long, had penetrated the cornea at an angle and caused irritation of the eyeball.

In the chloroform anesthesia it was possible to remove the sting, which only protruded minimally from the puncture canal, by means of tweezers. The healing was immediate; all symptoms of irritation in the right eyeball passed quickly. The slightly blackish sting canal of the sting was visible for a long time in the corneal tissue with magnifying glasses.

The force with which the sting penetrated the cornea must have been very great, since it is difficult to cut through the edge of the human cornea even with the sharpest eye instruments.
-Deutsche Illustrierte Bienenzeitung, July 1909
 

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I get several thousands stings per year, don't wear any veil or such. I get dozens of stings into the eyelids. Never was stung into the eyeball though. It is difficult to get a sting there, because naturally you blink reflexively when a bee approaches. Your body reacts faster than your consciousness.
 

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Thank you, username.

I forgot to mention that when I have been stung upwards of 100 stings (my personal record is perhaps between 450 and 700 over about 45 minutes), I feel a sensation not unlike having just finished a workout. I believe this "pumped up" feeling is normal for a large number of stings, and very likely not a symptom of anaphalaxia.

I have met a few other veteran beekeepers who have experienced the same sensation, usually around 100 stings for adult males in the neighborhood of 200 lbs.
 

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On two occasions in 8 years of beekeeping I have had bees flying into me and bumping my ears and head. Both times it was cloudy with a storm approaching. There was no place in the yard that was safe from them. After the storm passed everything was normal. You can mow and trim the grass with no problem. My bee yard has a 6' chain-link fence around it and the bees fly up above head height normally but bad weather, skunks, or any irritation can cause them to get nasty for a short while.
 

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In the future, what is the risk of a repeat event.
I have an app for that:
https://freeonlinedice.com/

Today I just been viciously attacked by a bee while mowing my lawn (battery powered, no CO2 emissions) 20m away from my hives with the entrances pointing the other way.

Bees are usually calm, today are toey, weather is fine, nectar and pollen aplenty. Nothing suspicious at the entrance either.
 

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I do get stung somewhat routinely (got a shallow one yesterday).
Typically, it is 0-2 stings per a bee working day - just the way I do things.
That, and being just a small hobbyist.

How do exactly people get up to tens and hundreds of stings per a setting?

Outside of unpleasantness of this, we are talking of outright dangerous living.
 

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One of the worst cases I've ever heard is a colony getting turned over and coming apart. One of these situations happened to Enjambres when she was moving hives with a tractor without protective gear on. You can look up the thread.

In my case I live on an acre and have 5 production colonies and a resource hive. The nearest is 75 feet faced away from my house. Never get stung when I'm gardening, near the hives or even occasionally walking through their flight path. The flight path is the danger zone. Others can sometimes walk with me behind the hives and they won't care. My wood cutter walked up to their water area (benign space) and they did not like him. They started following and buzzing around him. He's a peaceful guy but may have smelled wrong to them.

There is something to bees knowing you. My strongest hive, with the same queen is much easier to deal with after 2 years. I've gotten better, more careful, use cover cloths, a quiet box and feed generously. The less stress the better. They are Russian. Worked bare handed Saturday on all my hives with no stings. (full inspections)
 

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One of the worst cases I've ever heard is a colony getting turned over and coming apart. One of these situations happened to Enjambres when she was moving hives with a tractor without protective gear on. You can look up the thread.
......
Well, when you move bees - you assume the worst will happen and prep for that.
You double/triple secure things and protect yourself and plan it so to avoid others.
Kinda obvious.
:)

I have had bees in the immediate backyard for 5(?) years now.
No issues so far for anyone.
Well, got a sting into my left temple not long ago - that was not asked for.
But it was an accidental bump into me.
 

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We’re in the dearth now and I’m careful to avoid the flight paths of my hives without protection. For whatever reason, they will run into my head and get caught in my hair, buzz like crazy and then sting.
If I can, I just squish them on my head when the buzzing starts, I can never get them out of my hair.

This doesn’t happen earlier in the year when there’s plenty of nectar. I can walk around them without a problem.

If I haven’t showered after a sweaty workout, and/or I’m wearing my favorite dark green fleece jacket, they are liable to hassle me any time of year.
 

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My wife was stung ...

From my experience, bees are very purpose driven and quite smart, often smarter than a beekeeper. Whatever they do, they do for reason.
Consider possible reasons:

- bad tempered colony if it happens frequently,
- banana (refer other posts)
- storm coming (ditto)
- maybe your good lady is on HRT. It is not widely known but bees somehow tend to attack in such cases. I have heard of quite a few cases. Luckily for us blokes we are free from this risk :)

Can anyone add more?

Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Wonderful and rich information!
Sounds as if the risk of eyeball sting/blindness can go off the worry list.
No bananas, suglasses or HRT involved. May have been irritable due to being out of sugar water/ storm coming.
Thanks, everyone.
Jon D
 

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GregV - The bees do not like queen rearing days very much, as I rearrange their home in the morning, make them queenless, and then come back and insert grafts in the afternoon.

The day I set my personal record for getting stung I did not have a long-sleeved shirt under my bee suit, and I had just washed it for the 12 or 13th time, so all the slick, hard finish on the canvas was gone. There were at least 150 stings on each of my arms (right through the suit), a lot along the back and just above the belt, and a few up one pants leg. Also quite a number of them on my wrists.

I kept some fairly mean colonies because they just happened to be my best honey and pollen producers. 3 and 4 brood boxes and 6 and 8 honey supers tall, and I bred from them.

I have not made that mistake again - I keep multiple long-sleeved T-shirts in my bee keeping duffel bag, a towel, and not a single piece of wool clothing. As Meghues mentions above about being sweaty, multiply it by 10 when wearing wool. Bees seem to really hate the smell of sweaty wool.

I'll still keep the mean bees if they are good producers, I don't mind them so much. That's what I started keeping bees with, and that strain is well adapted to my area.
 

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GregV........There were at least 150 stings on each of my arms (right through the suit), a lot along the back and just above the belt, and a few up one pants leg. Also quite a number of them on my wrists.
............
Well, this kind of a beekeeping or the bees is not for me.
A bit too much.
:O)
 
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