posted by Matt W on February 26th, 2014

There’s a funny story about how I met my next door neighbor in the first house my wife and I owned. We had been living in our new house as newly-weds a couple of weeks and hadn’t introduced ourselves to our neighbors yet. I noticed that my next-door neighbor had three bee hives in his back yard up against our mutual fence. I thought they were very cool and would walk over and watch as the bees did their thing.

I have always liked bees. When I was little, someone told me, “A bee typically doesn’t sting if they can’t see what they are stinging, so if you catch a bee in your hands and seal them in, in a way that doesn’t let light in, you won’t get stung.” As a guy, I had to try this out and was never stung in the process of catching hundreds of bees that way.  Recently, I have been looking into getting bees, and taking a beekeeping class so I have a better understanding of all that is involved in caring for bees. The whole bee on the decline thing has worried me and I just wanted to see if there was a way I could help out or at least understand the situation better. My daughter thought that it sounded fun so we are going to take beekeeping classes together later this spring. It should be very cool.

Anyway, I’m standing behind one of the hives watching the bees fly in and out in the straight line in which they always flew and a bee attacks me. It doesn’t actually sting me but makes several attempts. That was when I heard my neighbor’s voice for the first time, “That’s a guard bee, so you better get out of there.” I walk over to introduce myself.

My neighbor and I start to chat and a couple minutes into our conversation, the guard bee flies up my nose and stings me. Well, as you can imagine, it hurt like an ice pick through the skull. There were tears rushing down my face, only to be outdone by the snot flowing from my nose. The inside of your nose is pretty sensitive.

My neighbor motions me to come closer, “Come here and let me look.” He then proceeds to stick his finger up my nose and scrape out the stinger, all while explaining that, “You need to scrape out stingers instead of pull them out so you don’t inject anymore venom.” He then asks if I am allergic because if I am I need to go to the emergency room with that type of a sting, and “Oh look, the stinger is still trying to pump more venom. Cool.” All I’m thinking during his entomological monologue is, “Did this guy who was a stranger until two minutes ago really just put his finger up my snot filled nose?”

He monitored me for a while until he was convinced I wasn’t allergic all while giving me an in depth history on his bees, and drinking beer. On many occasions, I ended up helping him with his bees and received gallons of amazing honey. As my oldest lived on peanut butter and honey sandwiches for the first six years of his life, we went through quite a bit.

Well, hopefully soon I will have some hives of my own, and who knows, I might end up sharing my bee knowledge with someone. I can assure you however, that I will NEVER put my finger up their nose.



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