Beehave

It’s been ages since I posted anything here. It’s funny how these things seem to ebb and flow. I tend to go with that rather than contrive input which never seems to work well, for anyone. This is an odd little story, one I’m not sure has any great or profound meaning, but I’m not sure it doesn’t either.

The other day I was about to go out when I saw an unknown car next to my vegetable plot, and someone wandering about in it. As you may know I’m well off the beaten track and my lane only leads to my neighbours fields so the only people who use it are either my ‘people’ or theirs. So I stomped off to ask this intruder what he was up to. It was a rather bemused older chap who couldn’t understand what I was on about at first, since he had apparently assumed the land to belong to my neighbours and had placed two beehives there, which they’d apparently told him he could do (on their land, not mine). He was quite put out that he’d wasted some time doing so only to have to move them. It hadn’t occurred to him to check beforehand. His car had bees flying about it, it was something of a curious scene, and how he’d managed to drive here without disaster is a mystery. I know bees aren’t vicious, but I don’t imagine they take kindly to being bundled into a confined space and thrown around.

He told me the neighbours had said he could put them in their field, but that the gate was locked so he put them where he had. Later I checked the gate, and while the main one had a padlock on it there was a large person gate to the side of it which was open, which he must have failed to notice. I told him I was allergic to bee and wasp stings (which I am, every time I’m stung it spreads further, it’s not good), but that otherwise I’d probably have suggested he leave them there. I believe the bee population is dropping and of course without them nothing gets pollinated. I do have quite a lot of bumble bees here, and have managed to learn to work round them without freaking out, and they seem to move out of the way quite happily as long as you don’t charge at them. I pointed him towards my neighbours garden and as I left he could be seen trying to get in. I have to assume he succeeded since my garden is now full of honey bees happily buzzing away. Apparently I must further come to terms with coexisting with something that can cause me considerable harm. I don’t see that as a bad thing as such, though I guess being consulted might have been nice.

It surprised me how cross I was with this silly man at the time, though it is something of a shock to see some unknown wandering about your home, be it inside or out. The significance of it being bee related is quite interesting, for the above reasons, but also because of the more symbolic considerations which I explored afterwards, and from ancient times it appears humans have revered bees, who have been around for aeons longer than we have. It would seem I’m going to have to get the hang of them, despite them not setting up home on my vegetable patch. Bees boundaries relate to pollen, not fences. I’m sure my flowers and veggies will be delighted though.

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8 thoughts on “Beehave

  1. Do remember to talk to them. They have off days just like us and, for no apparent reason, I’ve had one or two sting or at least dive bomb me! Luckily I don’t react at all to their venom. Also, in parallel manner, I just walk very slowly away from the hive activity so that others are not attracted to the stinger’s attentions. I understand that others pick up the scent and join the defensive offensive! Quick movements also disturb them and also one’s own adrenaline pump. Personal stressing and the wafting of adrenaline has always been my explanation for being aggressively stung when I was nowhere near the hive. A good manager doesn’t let his colonies swarm but when they do, the swarm fills up with honey for the shift and in my experience are totally mellowed and I will trust them implicitly not to sting…..so fear not when they all pick your head as a staging post, lol.
    Youv’e gotta love them Cathy, they’re such a wonderful metaphor :-))

    • Thanks for the hints Ed. It’s quite interesting because when I went to talk to the guy I was probably full of adrenalin but the bees didn’t seem interested. I suspect the flowers are far more attractive to them than I am. Perhaps they can sense fear rather than anger. I don’t feel afraid these days, and I tend to move past them in as graceful a manner as I can.

      They are a wonderful metaphor πŸ™‚

  2. I have NEVER felt a hostile sense from a bumblebee in all my life. In fact I think I quite like them, almost regarded as friends. Distant relatives whom my nature hums right along with πŸ™‚
    But seriously, I bet you have nothing to worry about from them. I get around one and just think to myself, oh look at him buzzing, let’s let him buzz. He seems to say the same back as he buzzes on by, and we generally seem to have a good time in our shared space.

    Wasps, on the other hand. Aughh. Can’t stand the sight of them, and kill them with license if needed. Bastards are only okay viewed at sufficient distance. Else they’ll just be a pain.

    Nice to hear from you here, again πŸ™‚

  3. That said I don’t ever run from any of these buggers, cause if you’re running you’re too late. The advice of course is to jump in water (if it’s near and if persued), or, more conventionally for the typical urbanite, to retreat to your nearest indoor dwelling with door slammed firmly behind as quick as possible.
    You still get stung but you not swarmed. But again, those escape tactics are only relevant if you are “escaping”, which for bees is not the same as “getting away.” You get away the way they do; moving, gently, but with occasional swiftness. The same applies to wasps; I think I had one in my hair in 3rd grade and froze up until it was swatted out by someone. The only time I was stung by any of these was running through the honeybees who inhabited the race-course of a 5k I ran. I remember seeing everyone ahead of me briefly jumping and slapping their shins and thinking how odd it was. Then I run through and get a series of rapid-fire injections which, while stingy, made me laugh a bit with understanding.
    Cool part was the endorphins of the run made the stings feel like nothing. I was actually amazed how littler they hurt, knowing full well that at rest a sting would be quite a thing. In fact I thought I went through thorns until the end of the race when I saw the little red bumps.
    I haven’t feared getting stung since (although I’m reasonable about it, of course).

    • My problem with all of these has been lifelong. I was stung inside the throat by a wasp when I was 4 or 5 (I can remember it) and was apparently at serious risk of choking. My body doesn’t seem to discriminate between bee, bumble bee or wasp stings. I’m not sure how different the components are but it seems to react pretty much the same. It’s an allergic reaction. Bumble bees aren’t aggressive but if they land on you they sting you (quite unintentionally). I was stung on the toe by one years ago and the swelling reached nearly to the top of my leg. I have to act fast if I get stung, with antihistamines. But I think there is something valuable here for me. Learning to coexist with creatures who may wish me no harm, but could do worse than a human punch if so moved, is an interesting challenge.

  4. Insect-wise, it’s very rare to encounter anything aside from crickets and moths out here, and my only grievance concerning their presence in the wetter months of the summer is all the guts that I end up having to scrape off my windshield when I drive at night. The only “guests” that I might feel similarly about to the way that you feel about the bees would have to be rattle snakes, scorpions, coyotes, and javelina.

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