Wednesday, July 28, 2010

SOB: Son of a Bee

I have a confession to make. I am afraid of bees. Its a rather embarrassing confession one that merits further exploration. We'll skip the obvious question of why I am afraid of bees for now and delve right into the real question, why on earth would I want to work in a garden then? Because, I actually never realized how many bees our acre and a half garden would attract. The tragedy for me is that having bees in the garden is a good thing, and I feel guilty wishing there would be less of them. Bees are the pollinators. Without bees there would be no crops. But every time I hear the hum coming from the rapidly beating wings it sets my heart pumping.

I learned quickly as a child that bee=sting=ouch. Every time a bee invaded my personal space I wigged out and would scream and run away. Unfortunately, little has changed today.

The slow realization that farming=lots of bees didn't kick in until the squash and cucumbers blossoms made their sunny yellow appearance. A cacophony of buzzing sounds all around me and as I am reaching in to harvest squash and I spot four bumble bees sitting in one blossom. They are several blossoms per plant times by the number of plants per row were talking a lot of bees. Sudddenly harvesting became and act of bravery and a source of anxitety for me. I would move the heart shaped leaves aside with my harvesting knife and brace myself for a bee sting in the face.

Ironically, the only time I have been stung was a few weeks ago when I was removing t-posts in the pea bed. All of a sudden I felt a sharp pain in my stomach. I looked down and saw a bumble bee on my shirt. I first ran over to my co-worker Lise screaming for her to get it off me. Then, a rapid fire of expletives followed. Bees really bring out the worst in me. People always say they only sting if they feel threatened. What did I do to that bee? I was just removing a post and was no where near her flowers. Secretly I think they are all SOBs.

While the sting did initially hurt and throbbed a bit for 20 minutes it is not the worst pain I have endured. On my list for most painful experiences is tattoos, belly piercing, jelly fish stings, vaccinations, and then bee stings. Logically I know I shouldn't fear them because most of the time they don't bother us, and even if I am stung, it really isn't that bad.

I have to get over this fear. I have considered several options, one is to get hypnotized, another is to go on Dr. Phil and talk my fears to death, and the last one involves getting a bee suit. My colleagues find this all rather amusing and take great pleasure in reminding me that my future farm will have to consist of crops that don't bear fruit from flowers.

Today I may have found a new ally, Dave my boss, was stung by a bee on the chin. He is mildly allergic to bee stings. We predicted he would have a chin like Jay Leno but he actually grew a double chin an hour later. He also broke out in hives on his hand. This is the second time he was stung this summer and the reactions are getting worse. Before Dave left for the day I asked him if I should order two bee suits. He said he wanted his with wings.


  1. You could try another method to ridding the bees: throw 1/2 a hamberger at them, scream like a girl and run! (still a fond memory of you). For Dave, he should talk to his doctor about carrying an epi-pen with him if he's having strong reactions like that. Happy Farming!

  2. Oh yeah! I completely forgot about that. What can I say except I turn into an 8 year old girl around them.