There’s nothing quite as unnerving while working on a hive on a hot day as wondering whether what you feel is a drop of sweat running down your leg or a bee wandering around like a lost and irritated soul inside your pants — unless it’s hearing a loud buzzing around your head and realizing that there is an angry bee is inside your veil! There’s also nothing quite as amusing to listen to when transcribing hive inspections from Voice Recorder than hearing:
“Is that sweat?”
“Bee in the pants, bee in the pants, bee in the pants….”
….with a rising pitch and a falling volume as I leave the area as quickly as possible while trying to walk in a way that does not make the bee any less happy than it already is!
Over the years, I’ve beat myself around the head with a bunch of lemon grass, had hubby hit me on the head, dropped trou in the bee yard, and hurriedly fought with zippers and Velcro while trying to watch a bee about 2 inches from my nose! Most of the time, this doesn’t result in a sting, but yesterday’s bee in the pants episode followed 2 stings through the pants, so we skipped checking additional hives today!
This is the first year our bees have had the propensity to crawl up our boots and into our pant legs! Tucking our pants into our boots has not worked well, because the bees then end up in our boots — stings on the feet or stings on the thigh? We ordered some blousing garters from Amazon yesterday to see if we can keep them out that way!
Come to think of it, I haven’t had any bees sting me from inside my pants, but I’m sure I’ll feel better knowing that there’s a greater chance of them staying outside my clothes.
Now, bees won’t sting unless provoked, because a bee that stings subsequently dies, unlike those pesky yellow-jackets that set up home in our gate. We have one hive with irritable bees, but most of the others are generally very well behaved. However, one hive yesterday had expanded honey stores to beyond what would fit well in the space available, so when I removed the first frame to check it, I broke the cappings that protected the honey. Bees don’t like people messing with their honey. I guess it’s the same as a hacker raiding my bank account or someone breaking into the house and emptying my pantry! I can’t blame them for being angry, so I’m quite content to apply Stops the Sting and ice packs a couple of times a day and go about my business! Past experiences have shown me that my body doesn’t deal well with too many stings at the same time, so that’s the main reason to postpone hive checks for a day.
Neither avoiding the hives nor these stings have slowed us down any. We’re making progress cleaning up the loading deck. As that’s where the trees were trimmed prior to being loaded on trucks, we have a lot of small branches or even tree trunks all over the place that hide in the tall weeds and make using the bush-hog difficult. We’ve settled on weed-eating paths into the weeds to expose logs and stumps before hubby bush-hogs just to protect our equipment. With weeds that are well over 8 feet tall in places, we just have to do that this year. Now that we have our own tractor, we’ll be able to maintain areas of the land that we need to keep clear and avoid getting lost in the jungle! It’s slower and more tedious work than re-clearing areas that hubby previously cleared, but we are seeing progress. As the tree canopies increase, the undergrowth will become less of a problem, but we’ll have somewhat of a battle on our hands for the rest of this year.