This is a journal I will be keeping to document my experiences, both successful and unsuccessful, in beekeeping. This will be my first year, 2011, keeping bees. We'll see how it goes. I will be keeping bees naturally, letting them build on foundationless frames, and without medication. This is also my first blog I have ever done and I am by no means a journalist or English major. So, if you see grammatical errors of any and all kinds don't be surprised. The looks of things on the blog will probably change several times before I come up with something that I like.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

White Man's Foot

I learned something pretty neat today.  I was reading back through The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping and noticed something that I had missed.  It talked about a bee sting remedy that I had never heard about before.

The remedy was to apply a poultice of crushed or chewed plantain leaves on the sting to relieve pain and itching.  Now I had no clue what a poultice was, or what a plantain leaf looked like.  The only plantain I knew of was the fruit that looked like a banana.  So, I did what any person does now when they don't know what something is, I Googled it.

A poultice is a soft warm mass, hence the chewing of the leaf part.  The book said that the plantain growed wild in most of the United States, (I am a very outdoorsy kinda guy and consider myself to know more about nature than the average bear) but I had never heard of or seen it (to my knowledge).  Well it turns out that the plantain plant does grow everywhere, I have it all in my yard and have seen it everywhere.

I used to pick this weed out of my yard with a tool that I bought several years ago that was awesome at removing dandelions, root and all.  I guess I won't be doing that anymore, the dandelions either, having bees now I probably will not mind them growing in my yard as much.

I found out that the plantain wasn't just good for bee stings, but a number of things including:  mosquito bites, poison ivy rash, sunburn, eczema, burns, cuts, and toothaches.  Seems that this is more of an ointment than a weed.  It is also known as jewelweed, plantain major, and white man's foot.  The term white man's foot was phrased by Native American's who said the plant seemed to grow where ever the white man settled.


  1. Thanks for posting this. Also thanks for commenting on my blog as well. I will stay in touch. I too have only been keeping bees a short time, lots to learn, mistakes to make, but fun.

  2. That's really interesting. I knew that plant right away when I saw the thumbnail, but didn't know it had a use.

  3. We are pleased that you got something new from our book...we simply ran out of room for the nice drawing Laurie did of the plantain.
    One small correction, "jewelweed" is a different plant all together, also reportedly good for skin irritations. Sometimes called "touch me not" (as it has a seed pod that "explodes" when ripe and/or touched), it grows in wet areas, and has an orchid shaped flower (i believe it exists in orange and white). You know the jewelweed is blooming when you notice a lot of bees with "mohawks" of pollen on their heads (the structure of the flower rubs pollen on their heads while they are sucking nectar).