Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Don't fear the stinger

Nobody likes to get stung. Let's face it, it's just not fun. Sure, there are people who swear by bee venom and say that it cures everything from arthritis to high blood pressure. Having been stung three times in the last month, I know enough to say that I am not ready to just let bees sting me at will, nor am I desirous to encourage such bee-havior. I am still seeking for that symbiotic relationship between myself and the bees that will result in all of us living our lives and helping each other out.
I feel I have done a noble deed with both colonies, recovering a swarm and removing a feral colony, both in danger (perhaps not imminent) of being destroyed by the humans whose property they were occupying. I have given them a place to live and am encouraging them to do what they do best, so I expect the bees to recognize this peace offering on my part and respond accordingly...
Now that the top bar hive (I have to come up with a better name for these colonies) is established, I can approach it during the day and not have the sentry bees buzzing me and attempting to run me out of their territory. I still struggle with the proximity of workers at times. I let the kids hold drones that have been booted from their hives and I have coaxed a worker onto my hand, but I am still not comfortable doing that. I know that worker bees will not sting unless they are threatened, but to retrain myself to NOT duck and cover when a bee gets close enough to my head when I am in the bee yard is still a bit of a challenge.
I read someone's theory that bees can sense fear and may be enticed to sting preemptively. I'm not sure of that, but it seems to make sense. As I get more comfortable around the bees, they are more comfortable around me and I can take more liberties with them without worrying about getting stung.
It's going to happen. I know I will have other stings, but I really want to get over the gut reflex to wave (or even thrash) at the curious or well meaning worker bee who happens to get too close to my personal space.

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