Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t like bees, I do. Without them we will be in a pretty pickle. They busily pollinate round the globe making it possible for us to harvest anything from fruit to nuts. Never forgetting flowers, trees, and bushes. So of course I like them – but rather like I like the taxman. And he does an essential job of course, but I have no consuming urge to cuddle him. Bees the same. If they were passive and hummed gently as they flew from bloom to bloom, they would score top points with me, I’d be voting for them as the Time Magazine Personality of the Year. The trouble is bees have a tiny flaw – they get pissed in May, and anything may happen.
When I am out walking the dogs in that merry month, suddenly bees start lurching into me. They then go on their way, but do I hear a tipsy giggle as they pass? Is that alcohol I smell on their breath? You see May is the time of the cistus flower. This delicate, white beauty is a sight singly, but stretched across the hillside as far you can see, they are a miracle,- and an involuntary intake of breath is in order. The scent is hypnotizing – if a perfumer got on to this, women would rule the world. And this is exactly how the bees react. They get totally intoxicated inside the thighs of the cistus flower, sucking up its offerings. They get dangerously aggressive, because they don’t want anyone else to get a share.
So I’m walking past the hives mid-May at a measured stride and the yobbo bees attack, without the least provocation. This year alone my wife Sue has been stung on two occasions, my dogs once, and oh yes, I too was viciously attacked from behind. The trouble is these bees are jihadists. They sting and die. Perhaps they dream of going to heaven with twenty virgin bees – not much use to them as they haven’t got the tackle to enjoy them. But they probably get a buzz out of it.