Bananas, Stings, and Humility Take Two

This is a picture of my husband John. John eats a banana every day. You’ve probably heard about how the banana smell closely mimics the scent that bees mark you with when they sting you. It’s a smell that means, “Sting this animal here!” to other honey bees.

We’ve known for years that because John eats so many bananas, that when he sweats the smell drives the bees bananas. So when he comes out to the bee yard with me, he always wears protective gear.

Except for last evening when I was going to feed the bees. It was hot and humid. It was at sunset so the bees shouldn’t have been flying much. He was standing 50 feet behind the hives. And still a bee tried to fly up his nose and stung him just above his lip. It wasn’t a bad sting. He got her right away before a lot of venom had been pumped into his face. But he gets a large reaction from stings, so the next day he looked like Homer Simpson. Sadly, we all laughed every time we looked at him.

So eating bananas really can attract bees and get you stung.

Here’s where the humility comes into play. I always say that if you want to be in the bee yard with me, you have to wear a veil. And I get really grumpy when I hear of new to beekeeping people not wearing protective clothing around hives and especially when they are doing it when there are other non-beekeeping people around. I think it’s really important to model good behavior. If you get stung in the eye, really bad things can happen. But the truth is, I don’t always follow my own rules. And the bees remind me that I need to work on being kind and not so sanctimonious. Humility take two.

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