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Bee Careful When Working Outside

When we first moved to Canandaigua, NY, I soon took a part time job with Chase-Pitkin (a building and garden supply retail business that was owned by Wegmans Grocery Stores). During the summer, I used to help stock all of the boxes and buckets of deck sealer and paint. I often wondered how and who could be using all of that paint and sealer? It was also during July that Chase-Pitkin would receive and stock an enormous supply of bee and wasp killer and they would feature it on the main isle.

I grew up with honey bees as my father maintained 4 hives of honey bees to help pollinate the crops on the farm. But, unless you happen to step on a honey bee (which I often did as I wore no shoes during the summer when growing up on the farm), they pretty much leave you alone. Yellow jackets are a whole different kind of story! These fellows have a nasty disposition and if you happen to come in close proximity to their nest, their posted sentries will attack, and unlike the honey bee, they can repeatedly sting. I was working on cleaning out some weeks from all of the shrubs in front of the house last Thursday, and was attacked by a yellow jacket. It hit me on the underside of my arm about 6 inches back from my wrist. The multiple bits were very painful and the site started to redden immediately. I couldn’t sleep that night because of all of the inflammation and burning that was caused by that little devil! The next day I did the usual things that you are supposed to do when stung by a bee: take some antihistamine like Benadryl and used hydrocortisone on the attack site. Well, none of these recommendations worked and perhaps coincidently or because of the sting, my stomach decided to stop working which added to my misery! Things have much improved now and the pain of the sting is all gone. But, I have to be very careful with what I eat and can only eat a little at a time.

Our summer in the Finger Lakes is in full swing and the long days and bright sunshine are driving the plants crazy. My three gardens are doing well and we have enjoyed tomatoes, summer squish, and zucchini all fresh from the garden. Earlier when I planted my garden, I couldn’t get the plants to grow and had to replant the summer squash and zucchini several times. Perhaps, it was because the ground was too cold, but now things are really going gang busters. It takes the combination of the right soil conditions, the right amount of sun, moisture from the sky, and yes, bees to pollinate the flowers in order to have a garden. I know this to be true, but who invited the yellow jackets to the party?

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