This weekend I officially joined the ranks of official bee keepers - I got my first bee sting.
It was sloppiness on my part. Having added the second deep almost a month ago, it was time to see if the bees had done well. I had never smoked them to this point - indeed, there was no need - so I thought there would be no need again.
When I cracked the outer and inner covers and pulled out the first frame, the bees came boiling out - and they were not happy. I was certainly not swarmed, but I was definitely jumped on.
Then it happened - under my veil, which I had failed to tuck into my overshirt, I felt something crawling. I slowly tried to extract my hand from the glove, but by then it was too late - I could feel the burn.
Remarkably calmly, I slowly walked away, shedding gloves, driving hangers on off, removing my veil, and then going into the barn, where I looked in the mirror and - sure enough - there was the stinger and poison sacks. I gingerly removed them, but the swelling - and pain -remained for a good part of the day. The next time I opened it, I made darn sure I was armed with the smoker. (The bees are doing well - we put on the first honey super).
The interesting thing is that the very thing that "mindless bees" will do - defend there nest - is something that a great many people seem to have difficulty with. To defend against an intruder or a terrorist is thought to be "extreme" by some - even questioned as being "savage" or "unnatural".
The bees, I think, would disagree...