When I was a little girl I had a Winnie the Pooh book. I liked the part where he got stuck in rabbit’s hole because he ate too much honey and grew too fat to get out. Remember? Winnie the Pooh was always looking for honey and I was afraid that someday he was going to get stung by a bee.
I’m allergic to bees. I have carried an epi-pen for 25 years and last spring I finally went to the allergist to find out if I really needed it. The answer is yes. I tested positive for 5 out of 5 bee’s venom but the worse of the bunch was the honey bee.
That cute little honey bee who only thinks about working and gathering nectar to haul back to the hive for his queen – he was the worse of them all. But I have an agreement with them – I put it out there to all the honey bees of the world that we can be here together. I don’t kill them and I ask that they don’t kill me. It’s a good deal.
So, I seldom worry about bees. Of course I am cautious. I don’t walk across a lawn dotted with clover while wearing open toed sandals. Bees adore clover blossoms and toes! And I avoid swimsuits with big flowers printed on them. The bees can’t seem to tell the difference between spandex flowers and the real thing until they get up close and personal. I’m even a little bit curious about bees. My brothers have almond orchards in California and the ‘bee people’ put hives in the orchards in the spring so the bees can pollinate the trees. No bees, no almonds.
The bees may not be able to tell the difference between my swimsuit and the garden but I they know which hive is theirs.
Out in the wild, it’s a different story. In the woods behind our house my husband found a honey bee hive in a dead tree. Their home may be in the woods but I know where those bees are working this week – they are in my front yard, in my grove of tall persimmon trees. I just walked to the mailbox and when I stepped out the front door I could hear them. Throwing caution to the wind, I went over and stood under the trees and looked up. There were thousands of them – buzzing their little worker bee song while they worked. I could see the blur of their wings in motion and the little clusters of pollen attached to their legs. They are in such a hurry! How do they know that all it would take is one strong wind storm and their persimmon blossom crop would blow to the ground, lost to this season’s honey making? I wish they were neon colored so I could see them in the sky going back and forth to their hive in the woods. But I don’t want the honey. It would be like a breach of my contract with the honey bees of the world if I took their honey. Nope, their persimmon honey is not intended for human consumption. At least not this human!
And if you see Winnie the Pooh in the neighborhood, steer him away from my yard, I don’t want him looking for that honey. He might get stung or stuck!