Letter Re: Some Harsh Lessons of Beekeeping, by Keith K.

Hugh,

Regarding the Harsh Lessons of Beekeeping, I began raising bees five years before relocating to the Redoubt from SC. I was stung often back East. One hive came with us in a trailer with the “mountain useless” motorcycles. When I purchased five nuc hives to build out our bee population the following spring, I was stung and had a dramatic trip down the mountain to the ER. The second year, while working the frantic hives in spring (six died and six were near starvation, suffering from bad weather), and I was stung AGAIN and went to the ER again.

Both times I was stung through the veil on my face.

So I got a clue and began the allergy shot series in CDA. After 6 months of ramping up the dosage, now when I get a “shot”, equivalent to two bee stings, I’m okay.

So the warning is this for all you beginning beeks: consider that you may be used to bee stings from the part of the country where you came from, the California bees for sale here in Idaho may have some attributes in their venom that is foreign to your body’s immune system. I discussed the possibility that Africanized Honey Bee venom may be slightly different with Dr. Wakefield, and that over time, AHB DNA will get into the general population of bees. Or, perhaps I’m just getting old, and all the work of setting up a homestead just made me vulnerable. We sold honey this summer for prices well above the “market” due to our pristine area. However, recovering from $10,000 worth of ER bills in two visits will take a lot of jars of honey. At least, tell your medical doctor you are taking up beekeeping and you would like a prescription for two epi-pens. My son’s epi pen saved my life. – K&K

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