Claude’s Corner – June 2022

I hope you and your bees are well. 

I jot down notes to myself as I have experiences that I think you might find of interest. The note in front of me is “Try Something New” and I originally planned on writing about something I am currently trying out. But that must wait until later because something has recently happened far more important and without a doubt is the most important topic that I place at the top of my beekeeping journey. That topic is: 


I am not a medical physician, so I am not going to give you medical advice, but I will tell you what I know from personal experience and how I deal with stings. 

There is no exception to the following rule: before you begin or continue beekeeping, know your risk of an allergic, or not, reaction to honey bee venom. In other words, how does your body handle bee venom? 

In my case, if I react at all, I have local temporary discomfort followed by slight swelling and maybe redness at the sting site and itching, which goes away in a day or two. Again, for me, if I get stung on the hand, and my whole hand swells, I do not consider that to be normal or acceptable, so I would seek immediate medical attention. The point here is that bee stings can result in serious if not fatal results and should not be ignored or treated lightly. And if your known risk of a serious reaction is low, there is no guarantee that your risk will remain a constant low. 

Just because you are stung numerous times with little or no reaction, is no assurance that the very next time you receive a bee sting you will not have a bad result. 

So bottom line, here are my suggestions: 

1. Discuss with your health care provider (your doctor), that you are a beekeeper and get their professional advice. Discuss obtaining an EpiPen and discuss anaphylactic shock. Discuss what is “normal” and what is not regarding reactions to bee stings and a plan of action should you experience a bee sting resulting in a medical emergency. 

2. Always tell a family member you are going to your bee yard and where exactly that is, and approximately when you plan on returning. 

3. Always take and carry your cell phone with you. Establish several emergency contacts on your list of contacts. 

4. Always wear a veil. I learned that the hard way! 

5. Don’t wear perfume or other scents that attract bees (aftershave, hair sprays, etc.). Don’t eat bananas before you visit your bees.
6. Be careful not to get overheated. I carry a small cooler with me with ice, water, and a wet towel. I drink plenty of water and frequently wipe my face, neck, and arms with the cool wet towel. The bees can wait. 

The above is not an exhaustive list of safety practices so add to it on your own, and feel free to send me an email with your suggestions. Also, I welcome questions and constructive criticism. You can reach me at 

Above all, please bee safe out there!