Bees Keeping Busy

By Kelly McCarthy

September 17, 2012 Updated Sep 17, 2012 at 6:23 PM EDT

Kirkwood, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Action News has been hearing about a lot of bee stings lately. While this might not be life-threatening, what might be causing the increase?

Bees always have one thing on their mind.

To store enough honey to make it through the winter.

Last year's mild winter left a few more buzzing around than usual.

"People don't realize that our winters really save us a lot of hassle in many different areas and one of that is that it kills off all the bugs, and that didn't happen this year," said Susan Garing, President of the Southern Tier Beekeeping Association.

And we're approaching the time of year that sees the most bees.

"The peak time for their population is in the fall, and so if you're going to encounter them you're more likely to encounter them later in the summer," said Garing.

Just one bee hives holds about 60,000 honey bees.

and this association produces more than 100 pounds of honey for the Southern Tier.

"They only way you're gonna get stung is if you physically threaten them by squashing them or swatting at them. Something like that," said Garing.

If a bee feels threatened, they're usually going to go for your eyes or your ears and the best piece of advice in that situation, is to just calmly walk away.

"If you do have an insect come and look at you, it's probably trying to determine if you're edible and it's probably going to determine that you are not," said Garing.

If you do get stung the first thing you should do is remove the stinger

"Scrap that poison sack out of your skin so it can no longer continue to pump into your skin," said Garing.

Garing recommends to wash the wound and treat it with a number of different remedies.

There are natural ways like icing and using home remedies, but Benadryl and other antihistamines work well too.

"It's just a natural part of what they have to do which is defend them."

These guys aren't looking for a fight, just enough honey to get through the winter.

The Southern Tier Beekeeping Association has about 120 active members.

They hold monthly meetings on how to raise healthy bees in our environment.