Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Bee challenge

 A few Sunday's ago, Asheli was here doing his laundry and doing various things around our house (including learning more English, helping with some yard work, violin lesson and piano lesson.)  After lunch, we heard the very familiar sound of a swarm of bees passing by.
I quickly jumped up to close up the doors.  I am not afraid of bees, but it is a chore to capture them and return them back outside when they get lost in the house.  I was trying to help them out by keeping them in the safety of the outdoors.
Usually they pass so quickly it is a challenge to see them.  But they didn't move through so fast.  I went outside and was standing in the area full of swarming bees.  I looked to where the largest concentration of bees were flying around and watched for a while.  Soon I was joined by the rest of the group (Doug, Joshua and Asheli.)  I said, "I think they are going into your sleeping bag, Asheli."
There are still a few bees flying around the opening in the bag

Doug and I started talking about the possibilities of capturing the bees.  We were lamenting that we had not prepared the bee hive that we have often talked about.  As we continued to discuss possibilities, Asheli broke into our thoughts with the statement, "But what do I do???? What will I sleep in tonight?"
His voice reflected great concern.  I told him we would not let him sleep in the cold.  Bless his heart.  This was not a welcome sight to him at all, but Doug, Joshua and I were quite excited about it in a different way.
Quite a bit later, there were only a few bees flying around and the rest were not to be seen.  I tried to look into the sleeping bag, but it was dark inside, it was difficult.  I took my camera, turned on the flash and took a few pictures.  Oh, what did we see?  It was thousands of bees happy as could be snug as bugs in a rug!
Oh, wow.  Yes, the flash tells the story.  They are indeed in there!

We loaned a different sleeping to Asheli, and I carefully removed all of his remaining clothes from the clothes line.  He was not very interested in coming close to those bees.  After a while, the bees started being a bit more defensive about their newly acquired sleeping bag.
After many hours, when dusk was upon us, I started dressing a bit more carefully hoping to remove the bees from the precious sleeping bag.  Doug prepared a box for me.  I put on gloves, tied my shirt tightly around my waist to remove any gaps.  I was wearing two or three layers.  I put on a hat and put on a net over it.  I went out to the bag and started my new adventure.
waiting for the bucket - adventure begins

 I tried to shake the bees out of the bag into a 5 gallon bucket.  They didn't slip out nicely, but went here and there.  Some were in the bucket, some were on the outside of the bucket, some were in grass by the bucket, and too many were still in the sleeping bag!  Hmm.  So where is the queen?
After some encouragement from Doug I tried to shake out the rest from the sleeping bag.
After some time, a massive clump of bees were huddled on the bucket.  Some were inside, but most were outside.  This was causing the bucket to tip with the weight of them.  I didn't want it to tip over so I was holding it as Doug was preparing the box.

heavy bucket of bees.

After the box was ready I poured the clump into the box.  I was doing too much squatting and standing.  I started to notice that it felt that my shirt was feeling a bit loose around my waist, but I was too busy to do anything about it.  Foolish, foolish me!
I don't know how long I was out there dealing with all these bees until I started feeling a lot of crawling on my back, on bare skin under my shirt close to my waist.  Oh, that got my immediate attention!
I calmly stood up and tried to walk as carefully as possible as to not squish a bee and to produce a pain that I would not quickly forget.  These bees have a sting that seems to last a lot longer with complications than the ones we have encountered in the US.  I didn't want to give them any reasons to remind me of the reason many people fear them in these parts of Africa.
Doug came to my rescue.  He got a fly swatter and gently coaxed bee by bee and sometimes small groups off my bare skin and my clothes and relocated them onto the nearby wall of the house.
He removed bee after bee.  Over a hundred we are sure.  Finally he said that I could start getting out of my clothes.  Joshua had been sent to a remote part of the house, and I carefully came out of my outer clothes outside.  I left them outside.  (For a few days, actually!)
Still bees on my clothes the day after

I went inside in my last remaining layers.  In the bathroom, I removed the last of the clothes and prepared for a bath.  Another bee must have been tucked in somewhere, for now there was one in the bathroom flying around.  Doug helped him out.  There were at least two more in the living room also.
What a night!

The next day Doug dressed carefully and moved the box to a distant place hoping to get the hive prepared.
Doug the next morning
He worked on it most of the day.  I noticed many small areas of bees that morning and through the day until the sun was very high.  We decided not to do our laundry this day.  We would give the bees some space.
Little pockets of bees on the clothesline posts
The number of bees seemed to increase through out the morning.  There were a lot it seemed that were no longer in the box.
Bees here
Bees there, here a bee, there a bee....
After hours and sunshine, the small groups of bees that were here and there all over the walls and clothes lines post appeared to have disappeared with the exception of one large massive clump of bees that was growing on the post.  It seems that they had all come together in that one spot.  So I was wondering if they were confused or if we had truly missed the queen.  (I didn't get a pictures of the mass on the post.)

After another hour or so, they took off in a swarm!  Hmm.  I guess she was there after all.  Doug went to check the box, and it was EMPTY!  They had escaped and returned to the group during the morning hours.

Well, we have no bees, no stings, and now a partially built bee hive - and some experience.
AND WE GOT THE SLEEPING BAG BACK.  There was a lot of white stuff in it where the bees had been.  It appears that they had started setting up house and they were already putting out the wax!

Life is always an adventure in the mission field, and we just don't know where the next adventure will spring up!  It can even be in the sleeping bag.  Who thought laundry could be so exciting?

God was so good to us through this.  Truly He cares about the little and the big.  He kept us totally safe during this whole adventure, and gave us hopes for future honey making as well.  Truly it is SWEET to trust in Him.  Truly sweet indeed.