04 August 2013

Bee-trayed

A spiral of ground bee larvae and their older nurse bee sister.
Jack is an avid apiarist.  Of all the non-human creatures on this earth, bees really capture his attention.  Maybe that's just the honey talking...but like all animals, they get riled up and bite.  Or in this case, sting.
He and I were putting up a temporary fence for the horses yesterday when Jack unknowingly stepped a tad too close to a nest of ground bees.  I'd been told about them during a trail ride where we spotted a colony of them and they were every bit as ferocious as I imagined.  They didn't wait to see if Jack was a threat and went ahead and assaulted him.  We ran for the house, regrouped and prepared our arsenal: bug killer, a bucket, a shovel, matches and a bee smoker.
Getting the smoker good and smokey.
With the help of a friend who'd brought his grandson out to ride, they smoked out the bees, found the queen, dug up the hive and burned and buried the nest.
The Queen Bee. Twice the size as everyone else and just as unhappy to be out in the light.  Sorry girl, but you had to go.
I hate being destructive and upsetting nature's balance but that hive chose the wrong spot to homestead.  It may sound awful, but I'm glad Jack's the one who missteped.  I have a record of never having been stung (I'd like to keep it that way!) and it would've been terrible to have a child innocently stumble nearby.   Jack is usually the first to come to a bee's rescue (if it were up to me initially, the bees inhabiting our house would've been long gone) and advocate for them.  But in this case, after all he's done for the ground bees' cousins, you could say Jack was "bee-trayed."
A sisterly nurse bee trying to keep her younger, grubbier sisters safe.  Sorry girls!
(Get it?  Hahaha).

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