Bee Careful

My daughter has become fascinated with bees. Now that Spring has arrived we have been spending many hours outside preparing our vegetable garden. So, it is natural that she should come into contact with them often. Bees are buzzing everywhere, especially on our beloved raspberry bushes.

She’s All About Bees

“Daddy, what do bees do?”, my daughter asked.

“Bees fly around from flower to flower collecting pollen and then take the pollen back to their hive to make honey. That process helps our flowers on this bush turn into raspberries.”

That concept must have made bees seem endearing to her for now she wants to capture bees in every container available, even if that container is completely inappropriate.

The containers my daughter typically uses are those clear plastic jars I use for storing kitchen staples like flour and sugar. She often comes running into the house to hand me a jar with a very startled and angry bee inside. The lid is never screwed on. We keep the bee jailed in one of those jars and examine it closely. Then when it’s time to let it free we gingerly set the jar down in the front yard, take the lid off, and run like crazy.

However, on one sunny afternoon as I was sitting in my comfy chair having a quiet moment to myself, my daughter burst into the house carrying a small green box. She quickly handed me the box that once contained Chinese medicine balls.

“Here,” she said brightly. “There’s a bee in there.”

I kept holding the box out at arm’s length, sizing up the situation. She likes to joke with me now so there was a possibility she was pulling my leg. While considering whether this was one of my girl’s little pranks, I gently adjusted the crooked lid so that the box was completely closed. Without trying to think too much about it I quickly put the box up to my ear and heard angry buzzing. Then I quickly held the box back at arm’s length again, my skin covered in goosebumps.

“Yup, there’s a bee in there. I’m not sure that’s an appropriate container for a bee, though. It can’t see anything and it’s probably a bit upset about that. How about we let it go in the front yard and you use the big jar to catch bees from now on?”

She took the box back outside and threw it in the air away from her. The box opened mid-flight and away buzzed an angry and confused bee.

That was one of those moments where a parent has to immediately shut down all emotions and turn into a problem-solving robot. If I had panicked I could have accidentally dropped the box and we’d have a bee in the house.

There’s a Bee in My House

Just as I settled back down in my chair both kids came bursting in again, my daughter holding the green box once more. “I got another BEE!”

As she stepped forward to show me the box, however, it slipped from her fingers and landed on the living room rug, popping open on impact. Then an absolute leviathan of a bumble bee rose up from the floor.

What happened next I can only describe as “AAAAAA!” The colossal bombus headed away from us and toward the dining room. That gave me the opportunity to hustle the kids out of the house.

I had a can of ant and roach spray locked away under the kitchen sink. Thinking all retail cans of insect nerve gas would be the same to a bug, I sprayed the monster bumble bee as he clung to the dining room ceiling light.

My kids called from the front door, their faces pressed against the screen. “Dad? Can we come in and see the bee?”

“Nope.”

I squinted at it, wondering if it was dying. The spray only made it slightly damp and very angry. It’s wings blew away the ineffectual but lovely, lilac-scented mist. Digging under the kitchen sink again I found a can of wasp and hornet spray, in the kind of can that looks like an air horn. This device was completely inappropriate for indoor use. But I figured it was completely inappropriate to have a giant bee in my house.

The kids called out again as their heads poked from around the screen door. “Daddy? Can-”

“NOPE!”

I held up the can, pressed the button, and felt a slight recoil. A thick line of liquid bee death launched toward the ceiling, impacting the domed light. The spray burst in all directions. I quickly adjusted my aim and then hit the bee, knocking it into the wall. It was dead before it landed on the chair.

Bug killing fluid dripped from the ceiling, the light fixture, and the wall. My dining room table was covered with an oily sheen. While it was only about two seconds, I likely used enough chemical spray to cause NATO to consider invading my house.

I turned to see both kids standing in the living room because they don’t ever listen to me.

“Is it dead?” my daughter asked.

“Yep.”

As we all stood there looking at the carnage I figured this was enough evidence for my two budding apiarists to understand that we need to be careful with bees. Instead the kids suddenly ran outside, my daughter shouting “Let’s get another one!”

Bee Ready For It

While I was wiping up the mess I looked out the front window and saw both kids hovering around a flower bush in the front yard, plastic jar at the ready. I couldn’t help but smile because I love watching my kids learn about nature. However, their enthusiasm sometimes gets ahead of their brains. If they aren’t careful I think a painful encounter with an angry bee might make their fascination with them end quickly. I have a sting kit at the ready should their bee adventures get out of hand.

June 5, 2015 at 1:00 pm 2 comments

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