Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Muse-Flash! Bee venom, baby

I'm going to start a regular post called "Muse-Flash!" where I'll write about something interesting, unusual, and thought-provoking and hope you will do the same in the comments.  Maybe these little tidbits can provide some writing inspiration for all of us.

I had the idea for Muse-Flash! because I was once inspired by a blog post by Julia Karr where she linked to a video of a Mimic Octopus (watch it, it's amazing!).  Later, when I was revising and needed an animal for the younger sister in my story to discuss, I remembered that octopus and into the novel  it went!  I hope to do the same for someone else.

So, my first Muse-Flash! is about an alternative use for bee-venom (other than the one the bees themselves put it to, defending their hives). I have a friend--a fellow beekeeper--who stings herself intentionally with her bees because it minimizes her arthritis pain and reduces inflammation.

Here is a great video by National Geographic about bee sting therapy: 

I started keeping bees last year in a home-made (top-bar) hive with a captured swarm.  Bee swarms are supposed to be very docile to collect so I didn't bother buying a bee-suit.  My thought was: why waste money if I don't even know I'll get a swarm?  As it turned out my swarm wasn't docile--they stung me eleven times.  I later discovered that they'd clung to that tree for three days, through a major storm, and that the homeowner whacked them with a baseball bat to encourage them to leave (please--don't ever do that, people).  So, I think I got off easy.

Anyway, what did those eleven stings do for me?  First, they made my body vibrate.  I got a rush of adrenaline that gave me the strength of ten-men (you know, at least).  But--then they just hurt.  The bee that got me on a finger joint made my pinky look exactly like a sausage--a shiny, shiny sausage.  So, maybe you have to start with inflammation to lessen inflammation?

But, despite the pain, I think it's an intriguing and fascinating remedy (unless the patient is allergic and then they'd just die--so don't try this at home).  If I ever find a way to include it in a novel, I will!  But in the meantime, perhaps it will work its way into one of your manuscripts?  And if it does I wanna hear about it.

I'll leave you with a picture of me in the bee-suit I cobbled together to empty my captured swarm into their new hive.  One bee still managed to crawl up inside my pant leg and sting me on the thigh.  So I'm twelve bee-stings healthier, I suppose--and that'll do me for a while.

If you have any interesting tidbits, links or thoughts  to share, please do so in the comments.  We could all use a Muse-Flash! once in a while.


  1. I love LOVE LOVE your beekeeper outfit - so creative. And I also love National Geographic, I'm quite addicted to their documentaries right now. :3

  2. Thanks, Michelle! My husband thought I was insane. Still does, actually. And you'd get along with my four-year-old! That's all he watches. =D

  3. Just catching up on your blog, and I love this post! I am excited for more from the Muse-Flash series! ...And I also expect a package of honey and beeswax to arrive in the mail one of these days ;)

  4. Thanks, Lalove! If you play your cards right you just might get something like that. If you don't you'll get venom. ;)

  5. What an incredibly fun idea, this Muse-Flash! And you crazy woman trying to catch a swarm with no bee suit...yikes!

    I'm allergic to stings in varying degrees, depending on who's the stinger. I was stung by a poor little honey bee one time (playing frisbee barefoot in a field...will never go barefoot outside ever again), and the sting hurt for half a year.


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