Wednesday, 14 May, 2008.
I got home from work this afternoon and had to check on my new pets. The weather was nice, so I expected the bees to be out doing what they do best. As I approached the hive (from the back) I could see that there were several bees on the entrance board, several more taking flight and an equal number returning from their foraging adventures. It looked like all was right with the world.
My five-year old idolizes me and when I am home, he is not far from me. It's great to have a fan club, even if you have to raise them yourself... but I digress.
Ian and I were sitting on the lawn about 15 feet in front of the hive and down a slight slope, so we were at eye level with the entrance. I was watching the flurry of activity at the entrance and explaining the finer points of the action to my son when he reached up to swat a bee from his hair. This action resulted in a sting on his pinky-finger and the offending bee still floundering in his hair. It took no time before he was crying and cursing the bees, but only a couple of seconds before two or three other bees were responding to the sacrifice of their sister. Did you know that once a bee stings, the chemical they release with their dying sacrifice signals to the other bees that they need to sting as well? I waved them away, but realized that it was safest to pick up my son and run. We made it away without any further casualties, but I hadn't had the bees even 24 hours and already my son had been stung. It's fine if I get stung. I almost expect it to happen, but if my kids get stung, I begin to lose face at home.
One freezy-pop and some gentle explaining later and my five-year old had decided that bees weren't all that bad and he was willing to give them another chance. Now he wants me to buy him his own bee suit...