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Bee Safe

- September 2, 2014 by Guest Bloggers (View all posts by Guest)

Earlier this summer, I took a drive on one of those country highways; you know the type that has a route number but no name.  It was a beautiful day and I had my windows rolled down so I could enjoy the scenery.  I slowed to a stop at an intersection in a small town thinking about how peaceful it must be to live there.   Just at that moment, a swarm of bees zoomed through the intersection and several bees flew into the car. I had to fight my natural instinct to swat at them and jump from the vehicle screaming.

I’ve always been told that if you leave bees alone, they will leave you alone.  However, having had a conversation with a bee hive inspector at the last county fair, I knew that is not always true.  The inspector said that honey bees will leave you alone if you do not bother them, but Africanized bees are more territorial and will attack anyone relatively close to their hive.

Thankfully, the inspector had a few other tidbits to share that helped me with my situation.

Things to do:

  1. Avoid bees & beehives if not properly protected.
  2. If you have a bee allergy, notify someone.  If you work outdoors and know you are allergic to bee stings, tell your employer so they can properly react in case of an emergency.
  3. Be prepared.  Keep emergency medicine available.  If you are an employer, ask your employees about bee allergies, but keep in mind they might not feel comfortable sharing this information.  Have a plan in place for contacting emergency personnel and directing them to the jobsite for this type of emergency.
  4. If you find yourself close to a bee, you should NEVER swat at it, just calmly and quickly put distance between yourself and the bee.
  5. Call the professionals to remove swarms that have settled. Never try to remove bees that congregate in one area.
  6. If stung, do not remove the stinger with your fingers by pulling on it.  That will only cause more venom to leave the stinger and enter your body.  Use the edge of a credit card, nail file, or something similar to scrape the stinger off.

Applying the recommendations to avoid bees and gain distance, I somewhat calmly pulled over, put the car in park and exited the vehicle.

Bees are a safety exposure that is difficult to control, but proper preparation and training can help you and your employees just bee safe.