Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Bumble Bees and American Cheese

I had a songwriting first today. I was sitting out by the lake with my guitar, working on a song and enjoying the warm, sunny morning. While jotting down some notes, I saw something coming across the water out of the corner of my eye. It was flying straight at me, and it was coming fast. It was a bee. I am aware that for some people, this would be classified as only a minor inconvenience, warranting a firmly stated “Shoo!” and possibly a wave of the hand. These people group bees in with other common nuisances, such as moths, house flies, and door-to-door salesmen. I am not one of these people. For me, a Russian submarine may as well have surfaced on the face of the water. I lost sight of the bee as it zipped in closer, and jumped up from the bench where I had been sitting. Guitar in one hand and notebook in the other, I proceeded to perform a rousing rendition of the where-is-the-bee hokey pokey dance. Turning in circles and hopping up and down, I alternately extended each of my appendages to see if the bee had landed anywhere on my person. When I had finished publicly humiliating myself, I turned around and looked behind me, expecting to see the bee buzzing off in the other direction. Surprisingly, I neither saw him nor heard him. He must have been too fast, I concluded, and returned to my perch on the bench, quite impressed at the agility of this particular insect. I continued strumming along, toiling over my second verse. After about 20 minutes or so, I stopped playing to write some lyrics in my notebook, and I froze. There was a sound coming from my guitar. It is very common for guitar strings to buzz while being played, so I had thought nothing of this buzzing until now, when my guitar rested across my lap and yet the buzzing continued. Horrified, I gently and hastily laid my guitar in its open case and quickly backed away, my eyes glued to the sound hole. I have dropped my share of picks in there, but my reflex to flip the guitar over and shake vigorously wasn’t looking like a viable option. Luckily, no action was required of me as the bee seemed as eager to escape his deafening wooden prison as I was to be rid of him. He rose up between the strings, hovered for a moment, and then was gone.

I hate bees. I hate anything with a stinger attached to it, and I always have. When I was a little girl I remember having two distinct goals in life: Never to tear a slice of American Cheese while removing it from its plastic wrapping and Never to be stung by a bee. Thus far I have succeeded in keeping both of these lofty ambitions, though not without cost. The cheese just takes a bit of patience, but the bees require dogged vigilance. When we were growing up, my sister and I had an intricate bee-avoidance system for the swimming pool. One of us would yell “bee!”, we’d both dive under water, and then we’d surface beneath an overturned raft floating at one end of the pool, specifically positioned for that purpose. And there we would stay, treading water in our bee-shelter, until one of us could muster the courage to see if the coast was clear. I even remember a day when my family was barbequing in the backyard and one of those disgustingly huge black wood bees descended in front of my face. With my eyes trained on the bee I scrambled backwards to get away and ran right into the side of the barbeque grill. I had a nice 2nd degree burn on my leg and a scar for several years, but by golly, that bee never got to me.

I wonder what came of my little winged co-writer. I got away with just a few heebie jeebies, but I’m pretty sure that little guy is going to have some permanent hearing damage. Do bees even have ears? Hm. Let’s find out. Off to google I go… Aha! Here’s what I found:

Question - Do bees have ears? If so, where are they? I seem to remember that grasshoppers have ears on their knees. Do bees too?
No. Honey bees do not have "ears" even like those of crickets and grasshoppers, and do not sense sound in any way like humans or other animals.
J. Elliott

My conscience has been assuaged.


Becky Smith said...


Loved your bee story. So glad you don't have it on your conscience that you damaged a bee's hearing! Whew!

Becky Smith

Rusty said...

I am impressed ... you have never, ever been stung by a bee. That is quite a feat.

I am not so lucky. On a family camping trip when I was around 6 years old, I thought it would be funny to play baseball with the two dozen bees hovering over our cooler. I was the batter ... and the bees were the baseballs. After a minute, I vividly remember getting stung at least three of four times. And THAT was the last time I tried playing baseball with bees =)


grandpa b said...

Interesting, entertaining and informative. To think that I've lived 54 years and never knew the answer to the question: do bees have ears? Never again will I be stumped if faced with that inquiry.

P.S. Next time this happens, try strumming "Flight of the Bumble Bee." That should serve as sufficient impetus to the little guy to leave you alone.

Guy Hufstetler said...

Being stung hurts far less than a second degree burn.

Also, bees generally do not attack. They only sting if they are in danger. Unfortunately, if they land on your arm and you ly try to brush them off, they think they are in danger.

I've never been stung by a bee that I SAW. They generally leave you alone. It's those ones that land on you and you don't know it that tend to get scared when you swipe at them.

So, that means that you don't have to be afraid when you see a bee.

You just have to live in constant fear that a bee will land on you when you don't know it and you will brush at it and frighten it.

I hope that makes you feel better.


mom said...

Your bee "thing" I of course knew about. Not tearing a piece of American Cheese while removing it from the wrapper? I had no clue. Is there anything else I should know? :) Mom

Brent Klontz said...

You got bee-dodging skills Kristie. Also, way to go with your underwater pool shelter. I remember doing stuff like that. Good times.

Heather said...

All bugs are scary...especially ones that can sting, bite, crawl, and fly. So ya comming to Caborca this summer? You will love it. Not one bee. I swear! Miss D-group with you guys.

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