I was told - 'Swarming Bees Don't Sting'!
(Lemon Grove, CA, United States)
Bee Swarm, Ladder, Short Pants - Disaster!
I tried to collect a swarm of bee in a tree a couple of years ago. I was wearing short pants and a short bee suit which only covered my top half, not my legs. It wasn't far from the Mexican border and well within the 'Africanized-Bee' zone. It seemed like a good idea at the time!
I was at the top of a rickety ladder, but the swarm was higher, on a branch above my head. While trying to get the swarm in a cardboard box, I dropped it all over me. I quickly climbed down the ladder and did the 'bee-sting dance', trying to look nonchalant, as the bees stung my legs, because the householder was watching.
Of course the swarm soon collected back on the branch again. They still needed to be removed, the householder was still watching, but from a safer distance now, so I climbed the ladder and tried again.........and dropped them all over me AGAIN!!
I think I eventually got most of them in the box and into a hive, but they left the next day and I was glad to see them go!
I counted between 40 and 50 stings on my legs, it made me feel a little dizzy, I took some Benedryl and was none the worst for wear.
I read later that if you receive more than 10 stings you should see your doctor and more than 50 stings you should go to the ER.
I used to collect swarms without a suit, but someone pointed out that when there are people watching, possibly children, it's probably not a good idea to give them the impression that it's not a big deal to 'mess' with bees. I'm a little more careful these days, at least when someone is watching.
Isn't experience a wonderful teacher? Although sometimes I do still collect swarms without a suit, wearing shorts. It can get very warm in a bee-suit despite the mesh veil. Some people say it's bravado, some say it's stupid. There's a very thin line between to two.
I always smile when someone learns I keep bees and says, "Have you ever been stung?", I usually say, "You mean, today?"
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