Beekeeping

Yes, when we bought the house, we also got 2 beehives! No, we had neither one ever delt with bees before. But the former owner showed us how to pull the honey from the first hive. He told us we would want to pull the honey from the second hive mid-October. He also warned us that the second hive was more aggressive.

I really enjoyed harvest the honey with Hy. It seemed very doable, and we pulled a good bit of honey, too. Nobody got stung. Below is the honey harvest from the first hive.

The honey harvest from the first hive

So, a couple of weeks ago we decided it was time to harvest the honey from the second hive.

More aggressive? Yes. Yes indeed!

We asked a master beekeeper to watch us to make sure we made no big mistakes. He got stung, and I got stung. Both of us were stung on our ankles. My bee suit was just a little too sort to cover my ankles. I got a total of at least 6 stings, perhaps 71 .

My ankles were not happy. The next day I felt pretty miserable overall. I was exhausted the whole day. But, the day after that I was much better. Two days later I could walk with very little discomfort as the swelling had mostly gone way down.

But 8 days later, I felt like I was standing in acid. My ankles were killing me. They were all swollen again and horribly discolored. I had a fever. Something was wrong. So, time to go to the doctor.

The PA had to remove all of the stingers, which had become infected. She gave me an antibiotic. And now, on my second to the last day of the antibiotic, I’m well but having the most bizarre dreams and a (more than usually) terrible time sleeping. I’ll be glad when these pills are out of my system.

Oh, and guess who has a new, longer bee suit! I like pulling honey, I’m not going through that again.

To make matters worse, the second hive appears to be dying. The master beekeeper who worked with us doesn’t think it will last much longer. We only harvested 3.3 quarts of honey from it!

A quart of fresh honey around here sells for $40 at the hardware store. I was really surprised it costs so much. Sadly, when you think about it, my doctor’s bill will probably be more than the value of this entire harvest!

Yes, the photo to the left is the sum total of our pitiful (but very tasty) yield. We don’t see a lot of bee activity at this hive, unlike the first one which is always abuzz with the little critters coming and going in great numbers.


  1. When the redness and the swelling went down it looked like 2 stings may have become so inflamed they appeared to be one.