One Bee Ruins It All, by Toby Nix, a Coweta Local Beekeeper

11/05/2017 23:56


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  • Jun. 30, 2017 - 6:00 AM

It’s right about that time of year where local beekeepers will be harvesting honey and offering up local and raw honey for you. 

I am a beekeeper myself, though I would be lying if I claimed to know more than maybe 10 percent of what there is to know about keeping honeybees. 
I am lucky to have a couple of mentors who answer my bee-related questions throughout the year. Even though I am sure a lot of my questions dispel the notion of there being no such thing as a stupid question… or stupid person.
No more than 30 minutes before I sat down to type this story I was stung behind my right ear by a honeybee. This sting makes maybe the fifth or sixth time I have been stung over the past three years of having bees. 
This sting is unique in that it is the first time I have ever been stung anywhere on my head. That also makes this particular sting, by far, the most painful. 
It’s also unique in being the first time I have been stung for no reason. No reason that I can explain. I am sure the bee had a very good reason if you asked her. Maybe she heard me talking about robbing some honey from her hive next week.
All the other times I was either digging around in a hive longer than I should have been, or more recklessly than they preferred. This time I was 20 feet away from the nearest hive, not fooling with them at all.
So, I am sitting here at this laptop with dip tobacco borrowed from a friend stuck behind my ear, held in place by a SpongeBob SquarePants Band-Aid borrowed from my daughter, hoping the old wives’ tale about tobacco on a bee sting holds true.
For the record, it took the pain away almost instantly. I am not sure how it might help with the swelling, but since I will be wearing protective headgear for training tomorrow, I am putting a lot of hope in this tobacco (for external use only, kids).
What was going to be a nice story about how keeping honeybees has been one of the most fascinating acts of nature I have ever been able to witness has, within the last 30 minutes, changed to a story of pain and betrayal.
I was going to talk about how in the three years we have had honeybees, our garden has yielded more than triple the food any of our pre-bee gardens ever yielded. But not anymore. My ear hurts too badly. 
I’m no longer going to mention how, thanks to honeybees, our young pear tree is full of pears, or how our Rose of Sharon is full of beautiful purple flowers.
I was also able to make 20 or so tubes of homemade chapstick last year using the beeswax I harvested from the hives. Homegrown beeswax and organic coconut oil make the best chapstick. If only I could tell how the bees made all that chapstick possible. 
You will never hear how I was able to get more than 10 pounds of honey last year. Honey that was manufactured in my very own yard. Those bees have made my yard great again. Assuming my yard was once great in the first place, that is. 
If you have never tasted raw and local honey, you are missing out on one of life’s greatest pleasures. But now you’ll never know. All thanks to that one bee who decided to sting me. 
(Toby Nix is a local writer, guitarist and deputy sheriff. Twitter: @toby_nix)