Here’s a little something for people that are NOT allergic to bee stings to think about…
If you get stung by a bee, it only hurts for a few minutes.
It’s not the end of the world. Be grateful your fate isn’t nearly as tragic as the little bee’s is. The bee dies. You will live to get stung again one day.
So if a bee flies in your direction, please refrain from waving your arms around and screaming like a banshee. It’s just silly and it upsets her. She’ll figure out that you aren’t a flower. Even if she lands on you because you’ve doused yourself in cologne, she’s only going to rub her little legs on you trying to get pollen. It might tickle a bit.
What do you think she does when she lands on a flower?
Do you think she lands on the flower and then viciously stings it to death?
Do you think she’s going to sting you for wearing perfume and tricking her?
Just let her do her business without scaring the bejesus out of her so she can get back to the hive.
I learned this from my grandfather.
He was a beekeeper for most of his life and managed about a dozen hives. My grandfather was also highly allergic to bee stings. A bee sting was lethal and life threatening for him. He was so sensitive to them that he could not even eat the nectar produced in the hives. Before it becomes honey, it is a delicious runny nectar.
My grandfather could only eat the product once it became honey. But he would break off sections of the waxy honeycomb filled with the virgin nectar and bring them home for me to eat because I had seasonal allergies and this made them less severe.
He would sometimes carry a queen bee, tucked inside a matchbox in his pocket when he smoked his hives in order to calm them so they could be harvested or moved. The bees respected him as long as he carried the queen.
I loved watching him in his netted hat and coverings.
He had given his bees to another local keeper when we moved about 20 miles away to a new property. He was getting on in years and beekeeping was becoming too strenuous for him to do it properly.
One day my grandfather’s bees didn’t come back to the new keeper’s hives for the evening like they were supposed to. A few days later, as my grandfather sat in the porch swing outside watching the sunset, he saw his bees, all gently gliding in for the night.
They had nested in a barrel behind his workshop.
People think bees are stupid little bugs, but they are so much more than you can imagine. I think people could learn a lot from bees and how they live their lives. My grandfather had so much respect and love for this creature and he was probably one of the calmest and most secure people I have ever known in my life.
My husband reminds me of my grandfather in many ways.
Bees have a structure they live within.
There are so many different kinds of bees. There are honeybees, bumblebees, carpenter bees, and killer bees. My grandfather kept honeybees.
There are three kinds of honeybees in every colony; the worker, the drone and the queen. The worker bee and the queen bee are always female. The drones are the only males.
The worker bees work everyday. They go out and gather pollen and they feed the hive. They take care of the babies and they build the honeycomb. The queen’s job is to have babies and the drones job is to mate with the queen.
Everyone has a job to do and the hive functions and thrives when conditions are right and healthy for them.
When I would visit the hives with my grandfather he would point out the different honeybees to me and explain what their purpose was.
The drones were always just a bit bigger, slower and lazier than the worker bees and liked to hang around on the outside ledge of the hive opening getting some rays. The opening to the hive was always bustling with workers coming and going and you could pull one of the screens from the hive to watch them as they cared for the eggs and the newborns, all tucked snugly inside one of the honeycomb pockets.
My grandfather would explain the order of things and how they would someday apply to me as an adult.
“You work with a purpose and you will be rewarded with something sweet and eternal. Without purpose, there is no life.”
One day a bee got caught in my long curly hair. The bee was desperately trying to get free and started climbing the curl she was entangled in, heading right for my tender scalp. I ran towards my grandfather, wanting him to get the bee off of me before I got stung!
To my surprise, he turned and ran away from me and yelled for me not to come any closer to him. “I can’t help you baby! You’ll either have to mash her with your fingers, or let her sting you. Either way, she’s going to die if you can’t free her without getting stung.” Even with his coverings on, he knew there was always the chance he would get stung because this was an angry bee.
I stood there, feeling this tiny bee wiggling in my hair, and knowing that it was up to me to decide her fate. Would I allow her to reach my skin and sting me? Would I reach up and viciously squash her with my fingers? Or would I remain calm in the face of crisis and help her get free?
I didn’t even hesitate.
I squashed her with my fingers.
What can I say? I was seven years old.
It was an interesting lesson to learn as a child.
From that day forward I wore my hair tucked under a hat when we visited the hives together. I wasn’t allergic to bees and my grandfather always had a smoker going to keep them calm while we were tending them, so coverings and netting for me wasn’t really necessary. Besides he always taught me not to be afraid of getting stung.
Life is like that too. Never be afraid to get stung by life or by other people. It will only hurt for a short time and it’s never the end of the world. If you ever become fearful of getting hurt, you cease to live with purpose.
I loved the lessons he taught me as a child that I still carry them with me today. He was the bravest grandpa anyone could ever wish for. I loved him to bits and back again and I still love him today.
Even the bees loved him ❤
- A Little About Our Journey – Surprises from the Bees (morningsidehoney.wordpress.com)
- NC State researcher says bee colonies are healthier when queens take many mates (newsobserver.com)
- Understanding the Lifecycle of the Arizona Bee (local.answers.com)
- Bee Sting Remedies (y98.cbslocal.com)