Kidneys and Bee Stings

Summer                                Full Strawberry Moon

The dew-point and the temperature are one, 67.  That means a cloud hangs not above us but around us.  It’s a drippy, soggy Saturday fit for neither garden work nor bees.  And I have work to do in both places.  There’s always Latin.

Hilo now takes naps with me every day and sits upstairs with me longer at night.  I want to have as much time with her as possible before her kidney disease takes over.  Kidney disease is strange.  As long as there is at least some kidney function, the disease doesn’t manifest itself much except in heavy drinking of water.  The creatinine level and other measures of kidney function reveal a different, starker picture.  They show the gradual, then exponential depletion of effective kidney reserves.  Once the body tips over into renal insufficiency, things can get bad quick.

As the universe would have it, at the same time Hilo had her labs confirming her problem, I had to go to the lab at Allina Coon Rapids to get my creatinine levels.  Witnessing the steady and relatively rapid deterioration in Hilo’s situation, I awaited my lab results with somewhat more intensity than I might have.

Mine remain unchanged from December and not appreciably different for several times in the past.  Looks ok for now.

After my thumb got all black and blue following my last sting, I began to investigate bee defensive behavior.  I learned a lot of interesting things, a few very practical that I hope I remember the next time.  It seems that when a bee stings it releases an alarm pheromone that attracts others to the location of the sting.  So.  I should scrape off the stinger (not pull it out because that causes the stinger to pump more venom into the wound), then smoke the area stung to mask the pheromone.  I also learned that the same alarm pheromone expresses when a bee gets crushed during hive inspections.  Of course I try to avoid this but it happens.  That situation, too, calls for smoke.  Last, and most obviously, if the bees are ornery on a particular day, put on gloves.  Oh, yeah.

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