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Farm Family Bonding: Attacked by Bees

I am not afraid of bugs. I don’t squeal when they fly by or crawl over me. I live in the country and if that was the case, I’d never make it out here. My kids aren’t either–they pick them up first and ask “Does this bite?” after they’ve carried it around for awhile. We’re good with bugs and we’re usually good with bees but last night was an epic failure. In my defense, I was completely outnumbered.

My dad and brother are beekeepers and I get it. In fact, we’ve had two swarms of bees float through our farm in the past and my dad asked me to cut the tree limb they were on, put them in a box, and “hang on to them” until he could drive three hours up to get them. I am down with the bees. Those bees were peaceful. The bees we met last night were demons on a mission.

And it all started with this. It’s a square hay bailer if you weren’t sure.

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Here’s how it went down:

Jeremy had some hay down that needed to be bailed. He’d raked it and needed the bailer so I went to the barn with him to do my normal job. He backs the tractor up and I put the big pin in to hook the two together. Easy. The kids were playing in the garden and everything was good. I was standing off to the side when Jeremy pulled the tractor and bailer out and that’s when things went south.

I was standing right beside this blue plow:

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As the bailer passed by me, I noticed pretty fast that there were lots of big black things flying around my head. Even though I’m not scared, we do have a rule out here: smack at bug first, ask questions later. If you aren’t sure what you’re swatting at, just swat it and apologize if it’s a June bug or something harmless after the fact. So following my plan, I start swatting.

I had about four of these yet-to-be-identified buzzers in my hair and another 15 or 20 around me when I started trotting away from the barn. When I finally saw that they were huge black bees I started running. Jeremy was on the tractor and he’s getting swarmed too, but he’s yelling “Run! Run! Run kids!”

Now at this point I’m a little disoriented what with all the swatting and running I was doing. And all the stinging the bees were doing. I take off for the house with the bees and the kids following close behind. The bees were all over my back so I came out of my shirt halfway to the house in an attempt to drop a few. That’s way out of my normal behavior.

I make it to the kitchen door to hear my son who is 5 crying the “I’m hurt” cry and I know he’s been stung. Of course I spin around and go back for him. Dragging him into the house, my daughter is running with a couple chasing her. She hasn’t been stung yet but she’s pretty panicked and I’m coaching her. “Keep running!” She runs past me and past the back door and around a tree in the backyard. She’s heading back toward me and she’s created enough of a margin between her and the bees to get her in the backdoor.

We jump in and slam the door and my son is still screaming hysterically. “It’s in the HOUSE!!! It’s in the HOUSE!!” Great. You would have thought Cujo had followed us in.

I tell the kids to go hide as my husband comes in carrying my shirt and we start looking for the bee. We find him in a light fixture in the kitchen and take care of him. See ya.

In the meantime, the tractor is still running and just sitting in the pasture. It was a long several hours and many stings later before Jeremy finished getting the hay up. I tried to get a video but he told me absolutely no. He knew I’d put it on Facebook. He was right.

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