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Author Topic: A few questions before i start beekeeping.  (Read 3888 times)
Jbman
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« on: March 21, 2006, 08:43:30 AM »

I'm a teen and i live in the east of Kent in England. I have a few questions before i start beekeeping.

 1) Is there a way to test if you are allergic to bees.

 2) Is it a good idea to start off with a nuc.

 3) Finally is there a beekeeping suit that can prevent bee stings from entering.

 THank you for any help that you offer.
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Horns Pure Honey
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2006, 06:33:06 PM »

1) Is there a way to test if you are allergic to bees. sorry, but get stung and have benedrill to take icase of alot of swelling

2) Is it a good idea to start off with a nuc. you can start them but they wont stay in it long becuase of space.

3) Finally is there a beekeeping suit that can prevent bee stings from entering.  I know of no bee suite that is 100% bee sting proof.
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2006, 06:44:49 PM »

You might want to visit an allergist. They can test you for an allergic reaction without you having to get stung.
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« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2006, 07:17:56 PM »

Yes, you can express your concern about allergies to your own doctor, he/she can usually run tests or have you sent to an allergist for verification. Finding out the HARD WAY whether through one sting or an attack of many, you don't want to find out that you are allergic.

NO BEE SUIT that I have seen is totally bee proof - I've always found the hood and Vail a poorly designed product. It is best to make use of your tools like the smokers, gloves, slow purposeful handling of the bees, always having a place to set boxes down AHEAD of time - in other words, don't surprise the bees and they usually go about their business paying little attention to us.

Nucs are good to start with, just to get a feel for having bees, but they over populate quickly and OFTEN the money used to buy nucs could go toward buying full hive bodies instead.

NOTE: honeybee venom is usually WEAKER than most other stinging insects like wasps, hornets, and the terrible yellow-jacket. But allergic people need to always be aware of possible dangers and having bee-sting kits (you can get a script for these from your doctor too) is a great thing to have around.
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Apis629
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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2006, 07:27:00 PM »

1. The only 100% accurate test I know of is to get stung.  Don't worry 99.98% of the population receives nothing but a LOCAL REACTION.   And, in the Bee Culture article last year they said that one's chances of dying from a bee sting (due to allergic reaction) was about 1 in 555,555,556.  You have a greater chance of dying in a car, airplane, train or just walking across the street.  Realisticly, death and even allergic reactions are EXTREMELY RARE.  I was the same way before I got bees...I actually received my first true "bee-sting" from my very own hive.  Prior to that I had only experienced paperwasps.

2. Starting with a nuc really helps the bees to build up but, at least in the US, they can't be shipped.  Only packages can be shipped.

3. No suit is 100% sting proof.  If it were it'd be heavy, stiff, bulky and have a high risk of overheating and possibly heat related illness (heat exaustion, heat stroke, dehydration, etc.).  Just be sure to tie up you're veil well and you'll do fine.   And a peice of advice, if a bee gets in you're veil, walk away...loosen the skirt so you can get your head in, look up towards the sun and just "scoop" it out.  


The rewards of beekeeping far outweigh, at least in my opinion, the pain of a few stings.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2006, 07:37:02 PM »

Quote from: Apis629
in the Bee Culture article last year they said that one's chances of dying from a bee sting (due to allergic reaction) was about 1 in 555,555,556.  You have a greater chance of dying in a car, airplane, train or just walking across the street.  Realisticly, death and even allergic reactions are EXTREMELY RARE.


BUT...... A friend of mine is highly alergic to bee stings. He will stop breathing within 30 seconds of getting stung. He carries epi-pens. So just saying get stung to find out is not a very good way to do it if you are like my friend but don't know it.
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« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2006, 07:46:53 PM »

I found a link which may help

http://www.medicinenet.com/insect_sting_allergies/index.htm

But as JERRYMAC said, just get stung and see what happens IS NOT the way to find out if you have a normal, mild or severe reaction to bee stings. Even with ODD like a lottery, people win the lottery all the time - but anaphylactic shock is NOT a winning lottery ticket.

And yes, beekeeping is WORTH the effort to learn everything you can about the hobby, then take the plunge. Places like the bee-forum are here to help with your QUESTIONS of interest into this great wonderful hobby.

I started as a teen and 34 years later, still I am fascinated by honeybees. So stick around here and you will surely become a knowledge beekeeper EVEN IF you don't start a bee yard for years.
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Jay
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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2006, 08:16:58 PM »

I think the advice given about stings and alergy's has been done and done here so I won't add to it, go see your doctor.

As for clothing, I wear one of these:



I like it very much and I think it keeps stingers away from my neck much more readily than one of these:



paticularly during removals when I'm in a tight spot like an attic and streching this way or that brings the netting up against your neck.
The hooded jacket zip veil works great for me, never been stung through it. All my stings have been on my hands and legs working the girls in the summer in shorts.

Nucs are great, they give you a big head start with a couple frames of brood and a couple frames of food and a queen who is already accepted and laying, it is like buying a mini hive! They will cost you more money than a package of bees however. Good luck and have fun. Cheesy
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Apis629
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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2006, 10:50:43 PM »

Quote
Apis629 wrote:
in the Bee Culture article last year they said that one's chances of dying from a bee sting (due to allergic reaction) was about 1 in 555,555,556. You have a greater chance of dying in a car, airplane, train or just walking across the street. Realisticly, death and even allergic reactions are EXTREMELY RARE.

BUT...... A friend of mine is highly alergic to bee stings. He will stop breathing within 30 seconds of getting stung. He carries epi-pens. So just saying get stung to find out is not a very good way to do it if you are like my friend but don't know it.


Ok...I guess I spoke a little lightly.  I was trying to emphesize the possibility of an allergy, not so much the dangers of being allergic.  I'm sorry if this statement came across as understating the possible dangers.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2006, 11:35:35 PM »

OH! OK. You were saying the odds of being alergic. But still if you are that unlucky one...... wait a minute....... where did you get that number? There are not 500 million people in this country yet there are some that die every year from bee stings ain't there?Huh
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Jbman
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2006, 12:27:53 AM »

Tank you very much for the help. I will see an allergist right away
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amymcg
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2006, 06:01:00 AM »

Now, just so you guys know.   A person has to get stung twice in order to have an allergic reaction. The first time nothing will happen, but inside your body, you are making antibodies to the venom. You make the right antibodies and you're fine.  If you make the wrong antibodies (known as e-antibodies) then you will have some sort of allergic reaction the NEXT time  you get stung. That allergic reaction could be mild or very severe.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2006, 08:22:09 AM »

I believe that you believe that.   Smiley  If nothing happens, why would your body need to make antibodies to the venom?  shocked And I'm sure my friend would tell you his bad reaction, near death experience, was the first and only time he's been stung.
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Apis629
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« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2006, 01:46:23 PM »

That number came from a Bee Culture (I beleive it was November) that said the cance of DYING due to allergy was 1 in 555,555,556.....not the chance of being allergic....Maybe it was 55,555,556.  I've been know to be off by a decimal place or so before.
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Summerbee
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« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2006, 02:13:45 PM »

Allergic reactions to bees seem to run in my family; my great uncle was a beekeepers and develpped an allergy, and my ma is.  Oddly enough they never told me this until after I got a hive:)  I am fine though, I don't get stung a lot, only maybe 12 times in 4 months.
I bought a full beesuit but really regret it.  It is a mens small and is wayyy too big. The neighbors' kids go shouting about Martians to their parents when I step outside:) And in FL it is so hot that I can hardly stand it for 10 minutes.  I think I will just get a zipper veil/jacket.   When I work the bees w/out my suit I do not get stung; probably b/c I pay more attn to tucking my socks over my pants and stuff.  When I wear the suit I get careless, thinking I'm impervious, and usually one will crawl up my pantleg or sting me through the veil mesh.  But bees are way too cool let that deter me.

-Summerbee
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Jbman
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« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2006, 11:20:26 PM »

I'm allergic to nuts and fish as well so would it be more likely for me to be allergic to bees? Also if I was wearing a jumper under the suit would it stop the bees being able to sting me?

 p.s. It is possible to stand the heat wearing both because it is quite cool where  I live in Kent.
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Summerbee
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« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2006, 07:57:30 PM »

Well, yes, theoretically you could suit yourself up in such a way that no bee could penetrate your costume.  You could wear jeans and a sweater under the beesuit, and tuck your socks over your pantlegs, and wrap a dishtowel over your neck under your veil.  (Don't laugh - that's what I did on my first time inspecting my hive:) )I looked like a cross between a astronaut and a arabian.  It was effective though, - not one sting.  But if it turns out you are allergic to bees I wouldn't risk it despite all of that.

I have no idea if there is any correlation between different allergies making you more susceptible to another; I would imagine so though.
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