I thought to myself, I don't need no stinkin' smoker.
|This your hand...|
|This is your hand on bee venom.|
20 plus people gathered around 5 very active hives. Most were dressed to the nines, head to toe bee gear. Inwardly, I admit, I scoffed. Novices. Scary cats. Geez people, we are handling bees, not plutonium.
My bee outfit consists of a bee veil with hard hat, tight knee boots, man's size white long sleeve shirt buttoned down.
Oh and leather gloves that go to the wrist.
I've seen many beekeepers with much less. Most don't wear gloves. A few don't even wear veils, but that's beyond my nerve.
You see, honey bees are MOSTLY docile creatures (MOSTLY...like in "Mostly Dead". So that means they can be slightly ornery. And can avenge and fight for the honor of their honey...truuuue loooove.) thus it takes a lot for them to sting.
And these bees, they were furry yellow and black lambs. The beekeepers didn't even smoke the hives beforehand, although they recommended you should...
After 2 hours of being around bees that wouldn't hurt a fly, I leaped out of my car like Wonder Woman (in a bee veil) and marched up the hillside, not giving that pesty smoker a second glance.
Now, I can't be sure what relied up my bees that day. The scent of foreign bees? My misguided swagger?
Whatever it was, the second I took the lid of the hive, I knew.
This was not a "hi-happy-to-see-you-yeah-just-go-ahead-take-part-our-hive!" greeting. This was definitely a "she-might-be-a-BEAR-HOLY-CRAP-we-are-going-to-sting-your-butt!" kind of welcoming.
And I flinched. They can sense flinching. Bears flinching a lot, I suppose.
But I continued, because I was on a mission. The only difference now was I was on a much quicker mission.
After I checked all the frames for production (frankly this part is a big blur) I suddenly felt a little tickle inside my glove. Then...it didn't tickle so much anymore.
Yes, I've been stung before. It's never fun, but it's minor and I get over it in a few hours. Three days after, I thought my skin was going to burst open like a hot dog in a microwave. Long story short, I got an infection and had to be on antibiotics.
|I sewed on sleeves...these are my daughter's outgrown pant legs.|
Swagger is gone. Gloves are modified. Smoker is my new best friend.
I still love my bees, but now I have no illusions..... it's a very one-sided relationship.