Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Don't BEE afraid

Uneducated as I was , when we first ventured into the apairy world, I did not want Keith to keep our bee hives on our property. Seeing poor little Thomas J. (My Girl ) die after multiple bee stings warped my view.

But over time and after watching my skilled hubbie with the bees and then reading what I could, I came around. First the hives were at a friends house many miles away, then they were behind the barn, then they moved up by our machine shed and THEN I allowed them to be located about 50 feet from our house.

And I made him get a EPI-PEN to keep in our truck. (Old nurses never die they just lose their patience (patients)

I also learned to garden side by side with them bees, planting the kind of flowers they suggested (bumble bees wanted sunflower, honey bees wanted glads and cosmos) and filled up my bird baths for bee watering.

Earlier this summer our grandaughter Allana started fretting about the bees. Now, I have been very comfortable about them for at least a year and I suppose she picked up on some of my earlier discomfort but it didn't make sense as she was such a bug lover the first 7 years of her life. (Just ask her mother who had to put up with every Tom, Dick and Hairy caterpillar our GK insisted on bringing back home after spending the day on our farm)

Her "fretting" became a real fear to the point that she would not go outside if she saw or heard a bee. If we were walking outside with her, she would suddenly rush to our side and grab on tight or hide behind us.

I felt so bad for her. She is normally a very brave little chickie.

So we did what I am sure any grandparent would do. Buy a book on bees? Naaaa. Sit down on google and discuss with her how rare a bee stick is? Naaaa. Take her to a therapist. No way.

We bought her her very first bee suit.

One with a zip on hood and leather gloves. All in her size so she could move well, and then she and Keith sepnt an entire day tending to our bees. They watered them and harvested the honey, gently wiping the bees off their hives as they pulled out the supers. Then they extracted the honey and filtered it. Later they bottled it, labeled it and stocked it in our farm store.

The next day when she and I were walking in my secret garden she saw several bees and announced "Don't worry Yaya, they are too busy collecting pollen to notice us. She still walked away a little quickly but there was no panicked arm grabbing.

It's nice to have our little bug lover back.

You can get your own mini-bee suit HERE


  1. Hi Donna,
    And such a good result that Allana has become comfortable around bees.
    The mini-bee suit was such the perfect idea.
    And no, I wont try a bunch of bee puns. No, I shall beehive myself this time and just appreciate your posting which gave me quite the buzz and didn't end with a sting in the tail.
    Take care,

  2. I am bee phobic, and mildly allergic, yet in LOVE with the idea of having bees for honey.

    For some reason, I haven't done it. Maybe I need the suit. I like the suit.

    And that scene from My Girl helped not at all to quell my fear of the little buggers. It's not uncommon to see me swatting and running away from a honey bee in the yard. Like a giant dork.

    This is just what I need to get over my fear. And I'm a therapist. I should know. Nothing like a little exposure therapy!

  3. Well done. Our fears are often irrational, and a little shove usually does the trick. One of my grandchildren was petrified about swimming without inflatable arm bands. His father insisted, and I've never seen a child enjoy swimming so much (without them).

  4. That's a lovely story, Donna.

    Hello, I just found your blog. I hope that farming in the US will get a little easier for you soon, and the drought will ease.

    I may complain about English rain, but you've had it so much worse.


  5. Donna, the bee suit was a great idea! Letting her help her Grandfather with the bees was a great way for her to actually understand what bees are all about. You and Keith Rock!

  6. Doug, you better BEElieve it!

    Klahanie,you are so right, I am much too beesy for word games. But I will make an exception for you and Doug you my beewildered blog friends. Now buzz off :) but BEE sure to come back soon.

    Lindsey, get the suit. You'll look smashing

    Cro.Me own da taught me how to swim by literally throwing me into the lake. He fished me out after I "refused" to float. Threw me back in a year later and that time it took

    Thanks Rusty Duck. I welcome those from across the pond. I even send them gifts sometimes. Thats how desperate I am for new followers..

  7. Martha, No, YOU rock! Thanks for the kind words. The best thing about being grandparents is having this second and third and fourth chance to do it better than you did with your own kids. I am so grateful everyday for that opportunity

  8. Talk about facing your fears!! The bee suit was a wonderful idea.

    Bees don't bother me, even though I've been stung a time or two. The thought that I frighten a little critter enough that it felt the need to defend itself, and die, makes me feel bad when I do get stung.

  9. Good for Allana, I'm glad she conquered her fears. Our grandkids and I last year would sit a couple feet in front of our hives and watch the bees going in and out, no bee suits, no stings. Bees sence when you are afraid. You have some fancy fancy suits.

    I am down to only one hive and I usually just toss on a pair of jeans, sweatshirt, gloves, and a veil for protection.

    I did once get into the bees in late fall suited up in coveralls and man were they cranky, stung me close to fifty times before my work was done with them. I swelled up a little and was stiff but no big deal. Moral of the story is get your bee work done in the late summer when the bees are nice and mellow.

  10. YOU KNOW I LOVE THIS STORY!!!!!! And that is all I have to say! :)

  11. Great that Your therapy worked so well. It's nice to see her so "beesy" around the bees.