I am bringing my smoker and using it for all hive checks for the rest of the season. Nearly every time I've done hive checks of late, I've been stung right through my bee suit. Today, I received a call from one of my beekeeping colleagues to hear he was stung 10 times through his suit. Quite a while later, after he had his suit off, a guard bee hunted him down and stung him in the face. One way to minimize stings is to complete hive checks during the middle of the day because many of the bees are foraging and there's a lower population in the hive. I am carrying an epi pen as well as Benedryl capsules with me. When I get stung I seek out a plantain weed, select a leaf, chew on it a little bit, and place it over the sting.
Smoking the bees before a hive check
Plantain - Wonder Weed