Friday, February 17, 2012
First of all, we wouldn't do this if we thought she was in any real danger of getting bad stings. She's not. When the bees are stressed, which they have been off and on over the year that we've had them, they get defensive and a bit more prone to stinging. But she's equipped and ready. And if they seem a bit testy, she simply steps back. No one has suffered a sting since I took one to the face last fall handing equipment to Husbandman over the fence with no gear on.
Secondly, Husbandman can do the inspection alone, but he doesn't like to. Its good to have another set of eyes, or even squishing fingers when we see wax moth larvae or hive beetles. I don't feel comfortable being out with him by the hives with the boys napping and our 5 yr old watching a movie with instructions to run out and get us if she needs us. It's incovenient to stop every few minutes to run in and check on them, battling the 4-leggeds at each gate coming and going, making sure my clothes and veil are free of bees before going into the house, etc. So, with me passing off my veil to my "miny-me", I get to stay where I can keep instant tabs of potential emergencies and Husbandman gets his 2nd set of eyes and fingers.
And boy does she have eyes. Sharp ones. She's still learning bees, but once she knows what she's looking for, my guess is she'll spot the queen every time. She's way better than me. I quickly glance at the frame for problems and impatiently ask if I can take a break to check on the kids again.
And finally, there's something about bees and bonding. There's a daddy who treasures his little girl. And there's a little girl who adores her daddy. And working the bees is their special activity that they get to do together. Almost like the bees are working their propolis, fusing their hearts together.