Betty Duffy

Monday, October 11, 2010

Botox(?) for my Birthday

My Dad and I have kept bees for several years. We’ve lost several hives in that time to harsh winters and inexperience, but this year, the bees have done well. So well, they divided early in the summer, swarmed, and we managed to recapture them to start a second hive, which has thrived.

Lately, there’s been a sweet smell emanating from the hive, and I suspected a honey flow, so my Dad and I decided to open them up today and see what was going on.

”Don’t you want your gloves?” my Dad asked me. But I was feeling pretty cocky today because it’s my birthday for one, and also because I’ve never been stung by one of our bees. I’d begun to think of myself as the bee-whisperer, since long ago, I'd dispensed with the white clothing and the bands around my pantlegs and sleeves, and never have the bees seemed unfriendly to me. I put the net over my head, just to make my Dad feel better, and opened up the hive with my bare hands.

I was loosening a frame from the topmost super when I felt a sting on my stomach, right where I was leaning over the box. I backed up, and removed the netting from my face, so I could see to remove the stinger from my stomach. Then I heard a buzzing in my ear. Another bee flew around and stung me, right on the nose. One flew into my hair. I was under attack.

“They don’t want us here,” I said. “I’m leaving.” And I RAN inside to get some ice on my nose before it could swell. Dad closed up the hive, though it’s notable that no one was attacking him.

So what was it, I wonder? My red shirt, mistaken for a flower? My black pants, mistaken for a bear? My new jar of Oil of O(ld) Lay(dy)*, perfumed and freshly spread over my face? And why the hell couldn’t the bee have stung my lips instead of my nose?

*Thanks, Sarah, for calling it Oil of Old Lady--I've been cracking up ever since.


Jamie said...

Happy birthday! May those be the most painful moments of the new year, out of the way for good.

karyn said...

Maybe it was the bee version of X number of spanks on your birthday for good luck - except they can't spank, only sting. I love the idea of bee keeping, but I'm a wimp about getting stung. Happy birthday!

BettyDuffy said...

Thank you!

Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

I am so baffled by the idea of all this outdoorsy bee stuff that I have no idea what to say...other than, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!