Day 55: Off to a bee farm
Anyone who offers me a glass of wine as soon as I walk through their front door earns a special spot in my heart! Don and Fran have earned such a place. I went to visit their bee farm last weekend and I guess they realized a glass of wine would do nothing but help as I faced my fear of bees. Bees rank pretty high on my list of fears, for the following reasons…
The first day of grade one I was feeling good, playing tag and just loving life in general as any happy healthy six-year-old would. Anyways, that changed the moment I ran through a wasp nest. I was wearing overalls that day. I haven’t looked at a pair of overalls since. There was screaming, there was blood, there were tears, and there was a whole lot of calamine lotion being dabbed on a little six-year-old who stood in the nurse’s office wearing nothing but her knickers. If you don’t think that is a scarring incident, you’re weird!
Fast forward 15 years without any major incidents worth mentioning about bees, and BAM, I’m stung by a bee on a first date. That date was cut short, my hand was swollen for days and there wasn’t a second date! I hate bees.
So, yes bees are now a fear of mine. When I arrived I was scared, but on the verge of being excited so I knew it couldn’t be that bad. Here’s the first thing worth sorting out – the difference between bees and wasps. I came in being afraid of these insects with stingers in general. Fran pointed out that bees are quite nice and she explained the difference between bees and wasps to me. Turns out bees are cute little things, with adorable furry yellow jackets that really have no interest in stinging you. Bees will only sting if they are handled in a rough manner or feel their nest is being threatened. If they sting a mammal or a bird, they will die, so for them, to sting someone or something isn’t exactly at the top of their ‘to do’ list. Wasps on the other hand are evil aggressors who are out to get you! You’ve been warned!!
Wasps have a smooth stinger, easy to insert in and out of the victim. Bees have a barbed outer sheath, like a fish-hook that can tear their insides out and also makes it torture on the victim to remove.
After a glass of red wine, some beautiful shots, and a whole lot of new found information about bees our adventure came to a close and I can now check bees off my list of fears. Wasps are still there because we should all be very afraid of those aggressive slender bastards with tiny waists! Love bees, hate wasps.
Here they are. Can you tell how close I am?! I was very explicit in letting them know I am a friend and not in any way shape or form a threat! They understood and I didn’t get stung.
This is it!! This is where the magic happens!! They’re all wrapped up because winter is coming and they need to keep their nests at 80 degrees Farenheit.
Don explains the life of bees to my dad (Don on right, Dad on left).
Please look carefully at this one. It’s cool! When winter comes, the workers (women) kick the men out of their nest because the men are lazy and do nothing but eat their honey and the women have NO NEED for that so they kick them out, fight them, chew off their wings and leave them for dead! Yikes. They mean business!
This is cool too. Those buggers with orange/red stuff on their sides are the bees responsible for bringing pollen back to the nest for protein. Their back legs are flattened to carry the pollen. You can see the two that are carrying pollen.
All facts are from the bee keepers themselves… soooo I hold zero responsibility for the aforementioned.