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Get yourself stung. it's good for you?

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Ian123 

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Wear what makes you comfortable and your experience dictates. I have two full sheriff suits and the fencing veil hood. If banging around and twenty hives to look in it’s on with the full kit, as much as anything it’s to keep the crap off. But I love doing my queen rearing or looking through some on a hot day in shorts t-shirt and hood veil that’s there for safety sake, it’s a pure joy compared to sweating your nuts off. Some mentioned it’s a macho thing but on your own in the apiary there’s few if any to impress. It’s also a case of experience and good bees, some years ago after Apimodia in Ireland we had a group from 1 of the carnica associations visit on the return journey. One large bus and a mini bus full, all bar a few of the partners turned up minus kit, in fact we got told it was bad form to turn up kitted out head to toe as the bees are expected to be of a nature that can be handled minus the full regalia. Bloody foreigners and their nice bees;)
 

thorn 

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Thanks for the clip. I had heard about beekeepers' spouses becoming allergic after years of washing suits but I couldn't remember where I'd got it from.
Makes perfect sense.
Are you sure it's not asbestos you're thinking about? That's a well documented problem.
 

kerrbees 

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Never, never take chances when near hives!!
ALWAYS wear a bee suite and check that all the zips are closed.There is another important point to watch!

Do not use leather gloves as they are impossible to clean and they will contain pathogens which you can easily pass from hive to hive.
I find that using neoprene gloves with an attached gauntlet is ideal as they can be washed in soda crystals. Oh, by the way, I am sensitive to bees so better be safe than sorry.
 

drex 

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Never, never take chances when near hives!!
ALWAYS wear a bee suite and check that all the zips are closed.There is another important point to watch!

Do not use leather gloves as they are impossible to clean and they will contain pathogens which you can easily pass from hive to hive.
I find that using neoprene gloves with an attached gauntlet is ideal as they can be washed in soda crystals. Oh, by the way, I am sensitive to bees so better be safe than sorry.
Each to their own. Be sensible. Be comfortable.
When I started the best advice I was given was to get the best suit I could afford.
What I wear now depends on the bees, the weather and what I intend to be doing.
 

Little_bees 

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When I started the best advice I was given was to get the best suit I could afford.
I agree. I've seen lots of beginners struggling in badly made suits with gaps where the zips don't quite meet and cheap veils which make it impossible for them to see eggs (not easy at the best of times for beginners).
 

Amari 

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Wear a Sherriff sting proof suit, Marigolds and Dunlop wellington boots... the ones with metal toecaps!
I wear Marigolds but they're not sting proof. Yesterday I inserted Apivar strips into 13 hives (continuing high varroa counts despite a course of vaping). Twelve were calm. In the last one the bees virtually exploded in my face like a swarm of locusts. I got several stings on both hands through the Marigolds.

It is this occasional unpredictable behaviour that prevents me being gloveless (actually I never would - low pain threshold etc).

I learnt my beekeeping on a course run by the Hampshire county bee officer, John Cossburn**, at Sparsholt agricultural college in 1972. He insisted that we were all gloveless, except for one pupil, an ophthalmic surgeon. I was a physician in the same hospital but was not granted the dispensation.

** Does anyone know if John is still around?
 

drex 

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Hi Giles
There is a picture of a John Cossburn talking to Romsey bka on their site
 

Ian123 

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I’ve found those pu palm coated gloves a good compromise between leather and nitriles that I hate. They are cheap last a while and available in white from large decorating merchants brewers/dulux A120 PU Palm Glove
 

Amari 

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Hi Giles
There is a picture of a John Cossburn talking to Romsey bka on their site
Well, fancy that Des! Many thanks indeed. He looks to have weathered better than me tonsorially 48 years on! I lived in Romsey at that time and my first apiary was in the grounds of Romsey Cottage Hospital.
 
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bingevader 

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I think you're right. He did say at the beginning he was a bit vague on remembering the exact terminology. But the science is right.
Then, whilst I greatly respect his beekeeping knowledge, he should stick to that and as he says, if in doubt, seek the advice of an Immunologist. ;)
His daughter's case is anecdotal, she may have always been allergic.
If what he is saying is true, then unless you were to practice his advice from the moment you started beekeeping, your family would fall into the greater risk category and so to have them stung would not be a good idea.
It's a bit masochistic to require everyone to be re-stung each month.
Certainly not anything we will be doing in school!
We'd be more likely to cause an allergic reaction.
Surely it would be better to be appropriately suited and to minimise any contact your bee kit has with the rest of the family?
But then I don't pick up handfuls of bees with bare hands, so I suppose my risk is already greatly reduced. :D
 

Erichalfbee 

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Then, whilst I greatly respect his beekeeping knowledge, he should stick to that and as he says, if in doubt, seek the advice of an Immunologist. ;)
Which is exactly what he did as he explains in the last few sentences
 

Little_bees 

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It's a bit masochistic to require everyone to be re-stung each month.
Certainly not anything we will be doing in school!
We'd be more likely to cause an allergic reaction.
It's a bit of a catch 22 situation.

You don't want the children to get stung for fear of initiating an allergic condition.

But if the science does turn out to be sound, then several years exposure in school, inhaling the proteins and handling used suits, would increase the potential for developing an immunologic reaction after any future sting.
 

Flowermagpie 

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I have a severe local reaction to being stung. I wear leather gloves with disposable gloves over the top. This gives me the protection I need and I only have to wash my leather gloves occasionally (I stick them in the washing machine and put my hands in them when wet to reshape them).
While I appreciate the science behind being stung I cannot risk it, nor do I want the fear of being stung to stop me enjoying my beekeeping. I keep several spare disposable gloves in my pocket ready to swop with any that rip or get covered in propolis on hot days. Until you know what your reaction to being stung is I think it is foolhardy to wear only thin or no gloves at all.
 

Little_bees 

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I have a severe local reaction to being stung.
Local reactions can be very variable.
I've had single stings on the hand which have blown up overnight so that my arm is swollen with pins and needles up to the elbow. Severe enough not to be able to drive the next day. On other occasions the sting barely registers.
I once got stung on the eyebrow and for the best part of the week had a huge blister under my eye which kept popping every time I went near it. I felt sick and light-headed for several days.
Yet a while ago I was helping a friend move some hives and didn't realise I'd stupidly not done up my veil properly after grabbing a drink. Suddenly I had a face full of bees. After a quick sprint across the field, unzipping as i went, they all decided they'd seen me off. I had a dozen stings on my face and scalp and thought I'd be in for it the next day. Surprisingly I hardly had a reaction, just a slight tingling.
Until you know what your reaction to being stung is I think it is foolhardy to wear only thin or no gloves at all.
Just goes to show you never know how you are going to react. It can change by the day or may suddenly change a few years down the road.
 
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