Monday, February 10, 2014

bee brave

A few short years ago, my husband started taking beekeeping classes at the local university. That lead to buying two hives, which lead to swarms and re-queening and the never-ending building of more boxes and frames. And lots of honey.

Today we have four hives in varying sizes. One is very docile (aka: lazy) and the other three are busy and ANGRY. They particularly hate me. Every time I venture near a hive I get a few bees beginning to buzz and head-butt me, and eventually they chase me through the yard as I run yelping away.

They scare me.

But they are also kind of awesome. Did you know, for instance, that all the bees you see flying around are female? And that their stingers are actually ovipositors (egg-laying thingies) that don't work because they are suppressed by the queen's pheromones? It's pretty cool actually.

Still. I dislike the head-butting. I don't know where the panic comes from--being stung certainly sucks but it's not THAT bad. It's more of a instinctual reaction on my part: I hear buzzing near my ear, and suddenly my legs are carrying me far, far away.

Well anyway, yesterday was full of bee-related activity. I felt like drawing a bee, so I drew this:

Right about the same time, my middlest wandered near the hives right after my husband had dropped a frame he was inspecting (FYI--bees do not like being dropped). He had a bee land right on his eyelid and it stung him before I could smack it off. Poor kid. He was a trooper, though. After some understandable tears, he put on his veil and helped my husband inspect the last hive, which was way braver than I would have been. This morning, however, when he woke up he looked like this:

Yikes. Now he's a bit high on Benadryl but otherwise fine.

The moral of the story? I like bees…in theory. I like books about bees, and drawing them. I enjoy honey. But dang. I just can't seem to get to the point where I want to help with them, despite the cajoling from my husband. Unlike my eight-year-old son, I am a bee wimp.

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