Friday, June 26, 2015

A Major Beekeeping Change ~ Bee Sting Allergies

It is amazing how quickly things can change sometimes! The day after my last post (in which I mentioned how much I love beekeeping with my Dad, etc.), I joined the ranks of those who have systemic allergic reactions to bee stings.

Always before I have had localized reactions (which for me includes a fair bit of swelling, itchiness, and achiness of the joints near the sting), but that changed this week . . .

After being stung on Wednesday, I had not only the localized reaction, but also a systemic allergic reaction that quickly developed from just my ears itching to much of my body breaking out with very itchy hives and feeling light-headed and a bit dizzy, too. Very thankfully, two Benadryl stopped the allergic reaction from getting worse! (And I realize now that with some of my last few stings, I had very mild systemic reactions then, too.)

After this, all of us did a lot of research on bee stings and allergic responses! With how I reacted this time, I have a fair chance of having an anaphylactic shock reaction the next time I am stung (if I am remembering correctly, somewhere between a 30-60% chance.) Which means I need to have an Epipen with me at all times now. My doctor prescribed them for me, and my parents will pick them up today while they are in town so I am set there other than getting a special cooling case so they can be brought with me in the heat. (They need to be kept between 59 and 86 degrees.)

Now we are in the process of figuring out what to do with our bees and how to go from here . . . as of now, we are planning to try to find a farm or someplace that the owners would let my Dad move the hives out on to. That way he could at least continue beekeeping! (And I may possibly be able to help again at some point as there are some options out there [such as bee venom immunotherapy which my Dad has been researching about] . . . we're still thinking about those things!)

With all of this, Wednesday and part of Thursday were harder days, as again, I really enjoy beekeeping and particularly doing it with my Dad! We have had so much fun with it, and it was a special thing that we could do together. We also had so many big plans for growing the business together, and we were excited to see how things were going so far. I am really going to miss it and those times of us both out there suited up, going through hives, problem solving, and everything else that we did with it!

And life is going to change at least somewhat with needing to avoid as much as is reasonably possible being stung and also carrying an Epipen with me everywhere.

Even though all of this is relatively a 'little' thing, I will admit to struggling in my heart with discouragement as things were unfolding . . . the question of 'why?' was in my mind. There has already been a fair bit of hard things in the last year or so (and much more significant things, too!), and now this . . . 'why?'

As Leah reminded me, though, count my blessings. There is still so very much to be thankful for! And yes, while there have been some hard things, there have also been so many blessings that God has poured out on us. Blessings that are easily seen if I take my eyes off of the hard things and take in the big, broad picture of life. And one blessing is that the reaction wasn't worse!

Another blessing is just seeing my family's love, care, provision and protection of me as we went through this and as we plan for the future. They are pretty amazing!

The post I did awhile back on being Thankful for His Promises keeps coming to mind . . . and again, I am so thankful for His promises. God continues to be faithful, He continues to guide, this didn't catch Him by surprise . . . why He allowed this into my/our lives I do not know, but I do know: all things "work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." He'll work it for good someway! It is so wonderful and encouraging to know that we can trust Him fully and always . . . in both the little and the big things.

And if all goes as we hope, at the least, I'll be able to enjoy 'beekeeping from afar' and still enjoy some aspects of it with my Dad. :)


  1. (((HUGS))) I hope you guys get things figured out.

  2. So sorry Sarah. It isn't a 'little thing', you know, it could be a life threatening thing. Sadly many people have immensely fast and very bad reactions to bee stings. Do take care. I know it will be a disappointment for you, but stay safe!

  3. I am sorry that you have developed this allergy. My heart cries for you. Were you stung near the hive? Maybe you can keep the hies and just stay away. My neighbour swapped to Ausralian native bees, whihc are stingless, after I was stung so often. He was a pathologist and understood the allergy situation. But I guess in America that is not a solution. I pray that over time your reactions will ease.

    It is a shame for you and a very real concern. God bless.

    PS I would love to keep bees but it isn't feasible for me.

  4. I've been thinking along those lines lately, about how suffering of all kinds, big or small, is actually a gift from God, and that's always at least one of the answers to 'why'. 1 Peter 4:19 "Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator." - as we suffer, we're receiving the work of re-creation in our lives, making us more like Christ, learning to accept God's will in place of our own, learning more about the struggle between flesh and spirit, and learning to TRUST. As long as everything goes our way, we're only growing into our own shape, not into the shape of Christ.

    In faithful, contented people, I think suffering is often given in the form of not having something they want, even when it's a good, positive thing that would do no harm.

    I'm sorry you have to lose your beekeeping - and not only the bees, but that extra 'bonding' (for want of a better word) with your Dad. As for those other, bigger things you hint at, I wish you every comfort.


    p.s. you keep that Epipen with you! Take care :)
    p.p.s. Are there native stingless bees in America like there are in Australia? They might not produce honey, but they would still pollinate the garden!

  5. How disappointing for you Sarah but God wants us to be wise & if the bees have to go I am sure He will bless you in some
    other way. Keep safe my friend x

  6. I'm sorry you had that nasty surprise. Thank goodness for modern medicine as a safety net! And thank goodness you did not find out about the allergy with a full blown a.shock. Hope you can find a new interest to do with your Dad which is even more fascinating than bees...(they are indeed interesting)...but there's so much in the world and you are a very knowledgeable person who could turn a hand to anything.

  7. Thank you so much, Tammy!

  8. Thanks so much for your sweet and caring comment, Elizabeth! That's true . . . I guess it is a bit more than just a 'little thing.' :)

  9. Thank you, Suze, so much for your sweet comment! Yes, I was stung pretty close to the hives. If we had more acreage, we could just move the hives further away and that would be fine, but as it is, there isn't any other place for them here other than by our goats/orchard/garden. So staying away is kind of hard. :(

    How interesting about the stingless bees! Unfortunately there isn't anything like that here that I know of. That was kind of your neighbor to switch to those since you were having a problem!

    Thank you again, Suze!

  10. Thank you so much, Rena, for sharing all of that! I had been thinking along those lines as well, and then reading what you wrote and with how you worded it, I think it was the encouraging reminder I needed. Somehow hearing it from someone else helps! As I shared with a dear friend recently, as Scripture says, we are like gold going through the refining fire, the fire while hot and sometimes painful, helps melt off more of the dross. And the hard times, can draw us ever closer to the Lord and help us learn to trust Him in a much deeper way.

    Unfortunately, I do not know of any stingless bees here otherwise that would be a great idea for pollination!

    Thank you again and also for your caring and kind words! God continues to be faithful with everything. :)

  11. Thank you so much for your kind words and all that you shared, Marie!

  12. Thank you, Alex, for your kind and encouraging comment! Yes indeed, we are thankful we found out about the allergy with a reaction like I had and not worse!

    I'm sure we'll find something. :) One thing I can do is help him build the woodenware and paint it!

    Thank you again!

  13. Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about your allergy! Things like that can feel very disappointing.

  14. Thank you for your kind comment, Joy! Yes, they can be (and it was) . . . I'm so glad, though, that we can trust the Lord and know that His plans and ways are best!

  15. Oh my, Sarah! I'm really sorry about this. I know you love beekeeping. I'm glad that at least for a few years you were able to do it without major reactions to the stings.

    Bless your heart for your positive attitude, even though you are struggling with this. I wish I could give you a big hug right now!

  16. Thank you so much, Karen, for your sweet and caring comment! It was really a blessing and warmed my heart!


Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)