A bee in the bra is worth a dozen anywhere else

Seriously. I work with bees a lot. I get stung a lot. But from time to time a honey bee really freaks me out.

Yesterday was cold but I’ve been doing some experiments with moisture control and I wanted to check my hives for dampness before it got even colder—something it is supposed to do this weekend. I was wearing a bee jacket and veil. I normally don’t wear protective gear in the winter for quick checks, but I’ve been getting stung a lot lately and didn’t want a swollen face for the weekend. I put my bee jacket over two sweatshirts and a tee shirt and called it good enough; my winter jacket just wouldn’t fit under there.

Long about the third hive an irritated guard nailed me on the wrist. It hurt too. No, I thought, the previous last sting-of-the-year wasn’t the last one after all.

I kept working and the rest of the job was uneventful. I was really cold though, so I collected an armload of wood before I went inside. I built a fire and stood close to the wood stove hoping to thaw my fingers.

After a moment I felt something wet under my shirt. I scrooched around in my clothes hoping to dry it. A moment later I felt in again, so I pulled my shirts up from the waist. I couldn’t see anything unusual so I yanked them back down and decided it was just the cold.

As the fire got warmer I felt the wet sensation yet again. This time I pulled my shirts out from the neck and looked down. A miasma of alarm pheromone hit my nose. It confused me at first, and then I realized I was not alone in my shirts. I bunched up the fabric in my fists. Although I am not normally a bee killer, this was getting personal.

After a moment, I pulled on the neck of my shirts again and had another look. Then I freaked. She was in my bra, right where . . . where . . . oh, never mind. Let’s just say she had no business being where she was bee-ing.

I started to think of barter, negotiation, and compromise. I was willing to sacrifice my other wrist or maybe an arm or ankle to this marauding heathen but please not there! She was equally freaked and running in a tight little circle. I realized the wood stove was warming her into a frenzy.

Fit to be tied, I pulled off the bee jacket, sweatshirt number one, sweatshirt number two, the t-shirt, and the bra. I tossed them on the floor. I could hear myself make a little whiny noise as I wriggled out of each successive garment. My cat sat a cautious distance away, watching me with his head cocked. I told him where he could stuff it.

In the end nothing happened. The bee flew off in the house somewhere. The cat circled his tail, bored once more. I got dressed. This morning I found the bee marching across a blanket, blithely unaware of her extraordinary powers of intimidation.

Rusty
HoneyBeeSuite

The culprit, blithely unaware.
The culprit, blithely unaware.

Comments

Michael
Reply

OK, some good stories. Now, I got one for ya’ll.

I had been working with bees for a few years. Went down to he chicken house to let the birds out for the enjoyment of a nice early spring day. Since it promised to be such a fine, relatively warm day, I decided to temporarily remove the hive reducers of a few hives I had by the spring pond nearby. I was wearing a pair of sweat pants with one little hole, about the size of a dime, about mid-thigh of one leg. I hadn’t noticed that a guard bee had made a “bee-line” for that one little darn hole, but I definitely noticed it when I felt the sting in my right (or was it the left) testicle. Ouch! But hey — stings happen.

I got busy w/my day, and started taking manure out of the chicken coop. After about an hour, I started to get thirsty, so I headed up to the house for a drink of water. Our house is on a little rise, about 50 yards from the coop, not much, really, but by the time I got to the house, I was panting and my heart was racing. Then, when I tried to drink the water, I couldn’t swallow! Oh, no! I was having an anaphylactic reaction! A trip to the hospital ER, and to make a long story short, I started receiving immunity shots for the next 2 years. Carried, and still keep nearby — just in case, you never know — an epi-pen, even though I’m supposedly no longer reactive.

Rusty
Reply

Michael,

That’s scary. It always surprises me when people who were not allergic, become allergic. It seems to happen frequently.

Michael
Reply

Indeed, it was scary. And, at least for awhile, somewhat depressing. I didn’t want to give up keeping bees. Thankfully, my healthcare plan had a provision for desensitization treatment.

Jen
Reply

Great site, just happened on it while having some down time to look for information on winterizing my hives. I am new to beekeeping this year. I loved the story above, made me laugh and feel the frenzy of getting the bee outta there.

I have one of my hives at my dad’s berry patch a few hours from where I live. I was showing a good friend of mine and her dad how I inspect a hive. I had on tan slacks, clogs, my bee jacket, veil, and gloves. I was working, showing them frame after frame of interesting hive findings, when I felt a trickle of sweat working up my thigh to my behind. Not sweat. Now I usually wear jeans tucked into muck boots, so I was questioning my clothing choice. I got nervous, said, I think I have a bee in my pants. Bam, stung right on the behind as I stood with friends watching on. Worse yet it was my first sting from my own hives, not the last, but the first. Oh well. It does hurt, however briefly, but it is the surprise that really gets me.

Great blog, love the stories (and the information). I am glad I am not the only one that recognizes the beauty in a well re-told story, making even seemingly mundane things lively and revealing the “funny” in them. Life after all is full of really interesting daily happenings, we just have to recognize them! I wouldn’t change my adventures in bees, chickens, or raising children for anything. Thank you for sharing.

Rusty
Reply

Jen,

Cute story. I like your description of sweat trickling up your thigh. There is something about the feel of bee feet walking where they don’t belong, that just sends me!

BillSF9c
Reply

And yet no one has noted (all having FAR more class than I?) of the great pain & amounts of money that so MANY have paid for size implementing injections into these aformentioned male & female areas…

Leave a comment

name*

email* (not published)

website