• author
    • Donald Sanders

      Columnist
    • October 9, 2013 in Columnists

    I’m a walking, talking bag of bee venom

    I don’t know what the hell is up with those damn honeybees! It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing because those damn bees won’t leave me alone anywhere. I’ve been stung so many times this summer that I am a walking, talking bag of bee venom.

    Yesterday, I was in the midst of starting the motor on a big saw when I was swarmed by about a million bees. At first, one stung me on the right arm. I looked at it and thought, “Did I just get stung?” About the time I decided that yes, I had been stung, I was stung again on the same arm, then the other arm, and on the back of my neck.

    The very next thing I noticed was the sound of a little girl screaming. (I think it was the same little girl I heard screaming the last time I was attacked by a swarm of bees.) I found that I was now running and mumbling some weird noises while waving my arms above my head. I stopped. I then started running again while waving my arms above my head and mumbling weird noises.

    I wouldn’t mention this, but it seems to be happening to me all of the time. I have been stung intermittently for the last few years while working on creek restoration projects with the Putah Creek Council. I guess it’s true that if you work around wild animals and bees, you are going to get bitten or stung.

    What I find unbelievable is the fact that of all of the people that do creek restoration, who probably number in the thousands every day, I am the only person that ever gets stung. What the Hell is up with that? Why me out of all of the other people? What strange reason can those damn bees have for picking me out of a whole group of people?

    I mean, when I think of it, I am scared crapless! One lady, Mrs. Rebecca Fridae, of Winters, California, seems to have some strange power over the bees and they follow her around like they are protecting her. They fly all around her head like Indians around a wagon train. This put the fear of God in me, so now every time I see her, I run the other way. I’m sure that Mrs. Fridae thinks I’m a nutcase by now.

    Anyway, I’ve decided that I need to know the reason why the wrath of the bees is pointed at me. I decided to bring my huge brain on line and put it to work on the problem. It took some warming up. The first problem I faced was how to get back to my truck that I ran away from and left idling next to the big saw, with bees swarming all around it.

    I called everybody I know; those who didn’t play like they weren’t in and actually answered their phone wanted nothing to do with it because they probably knew that bees were involved. Finally, my friend Joe came to my rescue and brought a coat with a hood I could tighten around my head like an Eskimo. I looked sort of like Kenny on the cartoon “South Park.” In the cartoon, Kenny always dies.

    Anyway, I finally got to my truck and rolled the windows up. I released a sigh of relief. Now, have you ever seen the movie “Aliens?” In one scene, the lady astronaut knows there is an alien behind her and slowly turns her head, inside her helmet, to see the big bug. Scary huh? That is exactly what I did inside the hooded jacket, inside my truck with the windows rolled up. It was terrifying!

    When I got home safely I decided to study up on bees. The very first thing I read explained the whole bee problem to me. It made so much sense. The headline read, “Out of 20,000 species of bees, only four make honey.” OK, let me think. No wonder they are always so pissed off. That’s one bee that makes honey out of every 30 million bees and then, to make matters worse, the humans steal every drop of it from them to put on their toast.

    I thought, “Oh my God!” Those damn bees think I’m the boss of all the honey stealers! What the Hell am I gonna do now?

    I’m going to study this bee thingy, so I’ll get back to you on that.



    • Bright colors attract them. How about about trying some product to protect you, placed on your face and body? Thanks goodness you are not allergic.


      • Jesse

      • October 11, 2013 at 7:38 am
      • Reply

      Donald, I don’t know why the bees don’t like you, but it could be bananas. Do you eat a lot of bananas or eat a banana right before you have been stung? The pheromone for alarm smells a lot like bananas. It also could be something you wear that has a smell to it. Try showering with a completely scent free soap and a scent free detergent and absolutely none of that smelly fabric softener stuff. The bees might leave you alone if they can’t smell you.
      Once you have been stung, there is an alarm scent that attracts them to the same spot, hence the reason they went after you in the same place.

      Bees also sense CO2, so if you are breathing hard, they will follow. At night, they will guard the door and go after anything that releases CO2 or smells, or has a light. Don’t shine a flashlight into a beehive.

      Some people have Zen with the bees. I know a beekeeper who doesn’t wear any protective clothing. Bees don’t bother him, but they do go after me when I annoy them.

      Some weeks ago I was stung by a hornet on my right leg. I was in the bee yard and a guard bee landed on the same spot, obviously smelling something in my skin reaction. I thought that was really weird because bees have never bothered with my legs before, but now, since the hornet thing still hasn’t healed, I think they can still tell where it is.

      Last comment, in nature, this is really a good thing for the bees. Say a bear violates a hive to get the honey. The guard bees have to be able to discourage the bear. If they can successfully sting the nose, mouth or eyes of the bear, a scent is released that tells the other guards where to sting. Remember, they die after they sting so the cost is pretty high for them.

      Maybe you look too much like a bear?



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