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How to skip a bee sting

Hello readers! It’s wonderful to be back home after a fast-paced, adventure-packed weekend in Savannah (courtesy of The Kessler Collection and the lovely ladies at The Zimmerman Agency). On assignment for Points North, I zipped down–yes, zipped, because the total in-flight time to Savannah from Atlanta is approximately 37 minutes–to the oldest town in Georgia and let myself get spoiled beyond the recognition of any average American’s vacation. Especially a mid-twenties (let me have it!), newlywed, freelancer-budget vacation. We stayed at the exquisite Mansion on Forsyth Park and sipped complimentary champagne, soaked in soothing bath salts during downtime and stuffed our faces to the point of no-turning-back discomfort (I am still recovering.)

But the massages, the savorings and the fellowship were not what sticks out in my mind. As a faint waft of royal jelly tickles my senses, I remember with fondness the life changing experience with the Savannah Bee Company. First off, shout out to Kate. If all beekeepers were as rad as you, I would have long ago tried harder in Biology. Second, what was presented as a honey tasting and shop tour was anything but as we cautiously donned netted hats and headed “out back” to the bee garden. Tucked amidst a Gotham City lookalike, over nine live beehives swarmed, ready to sting at the slightest untamed movement.

Now, I am not really faint of heart when it comes to nature, bugs or getting your hands dirty, but with hundreds of thousands of bees protecting their home base, I can admit I was a little jumpy (i.e. she told me not to move around to much and by god if I didn’t look like the tin man until she said it was safe). But fearless Kate (after warning again that if a bee gets caught up under your arm it will sting) dives in (no smoker, no hat and no jumpsuit–um, badass) to pull out a honeycomb. It’s actually great that she pissed off the bees by ripping the roof off their house, because she was able to demonstrate the “guard bees” buzzing to warn you that you are about to get stung (increase alarm here). No trouble for Kate–she plows forward, bare armed and fearless handling a bee-swarmed honeycomb like it’s a platter of store bought hors d’oeuvres.

“Go ahead, just stick your finger in there,” she says. (yes, that’s really what she said). And after you pull your mind north, know that she is talking about the honeycomb. Seriously, this comb is covered in bees. COVERED. Stingers abound, buzzing threatening pain and justice… but sure, we can just stick our finger down in there and scoop out some honey. Okay, well I went for it. Apparently, bees don’t give a crap about your grubby fingers as long as their queen bee is safe and sound. Since she was tucked away, back at the home-hive, these bees were only focused on tidying up the comb. Seriously. Hundreds of bees, simply moving out of the way so we could smash the walls of their home in favor of our taste buds… iiiinteresting, eh? Did Pooh Bear know all this?

Okay, so you may or may not have raised your eyebrows and pursed your lips in a semi-impressed “humph” but leave it to Kate to add a “that’s not all” to the day’s nature-inspired thrill seeking. “Just reach in there and pick one up,” she dares. (Except it’s not even a dare, she’s just instructing it, flatly). Nine pairs of terrified, doubting pupils dilate immediately. She corrects herself enlightening us on the drone bee not having a stinger. (So, duh, why wouldn’t you try and pick one up?) (?!?!) Fearless Kaitlin (a bubbly blonde who was, earlier, the MOST scared) went for it. Pinchers abreast, she plopped the bee-daddy into her palm and amusedly (amusedly) watched it crawl up and down and around her forearms.

Of course, then Kate tells us that once that drone made it back to the comb, he was knowingly walking to his death. The secret life of bees reveals a dramatic, soap opera of a life where the weak links (aka, drones who’ve done their duties) get marked. Wings and legs fly, emotions discounted and life goes on. It’s the circle of a hard knock life. Bees, one. Drones, nothing. Humans–mind your own beeswax.

P.S. What the heck is royal jelly? Here’s your “learn something new everyday” quip (and if you already knew this, you’re as cool as Kate): Select female bees get their larva pods infused with Royal Jelly (seriously). This makes them live a million (okay not a million) times longer than the average bee and turns their shells a sparkly, golden color. They also get twice the size of a regular ole bee. The good news is that this royal jelly is now available at a retailer near you (if you’re in savannah, I guess). Tossed in with your average body butter, it turns your skin soft, supple and fabulously scented. I am still waiting on the golden color to reveal itself, but I feel more immortal already. Eat your heart out, Edward.

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Discussion

One thought on “How to skip a bee sting

  1. painted a nice picture, Jenn! I felt your apprehension!

    Posted by Susan (Mama K) | May 26, 2012, 10:59 pm

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