It was honey bees. Lots and lots of honey bees!
But it wasn't that simple, we had to go to the farm and work in his veggie garden. So he managed to swing an afternoon of labour out of me. That was kind of clever I thought.
The sun did not disappoint and it was another great day for bees. Not much wind and tons of sunshine.
Dad, being a complete workaholic raced to his assigned row and began picking with gusto.
I did my best to fill my baskets and get as many closeups as I could. We chatted with the owner when we paid our bill inside his store. I told him of my interest in bees and about the research I'd been doing for my book about bees. He showed me some tiny round holes (about 1/4") that were drilled in the edge of the facing board on his storefront porch.
The holes were drilled by Carpenter Bees. He said he could watch them coming and going and he could often see little drifts of sawdust where they had tunneled into the wood. I was glad to see that he enjoyed the study of these bees and wasn't irritated that they were drilling small holes in his wood.
I was unprepared to visit hives that day so I did not have a veil or hat with me.
Bees were everywhere.
I walked slowly toward the first hive and the first thing I noticed was the strong smell of honey. Wow! The last time I had been that close to hives was in very early spring on the bee course. The bees hadn't had time yet to produce any honey.
It was difficult to tell where the entrances to the hives were. I walked over to some other hives and I was trying to watch to see where the bees were coming and going from.
What followed then was a sting. It was a slight pin prick really and nowhere near as painful as any stings I'd experienced before from hornets and yellow jackets. When the bee pulled away I felt the plop vibration--I knew that would be the back end of the bee's body being torn away with the stinger. But at the time I was moving quickly to ensure no stinger was left behind.
I heard another loud buzz by my ear and I figured that it was time to get the heck out of there.
It's sad how we say "stung by a bee". We say it from habit, but for most of us 99% of the time it was never the docile honey bee that was guilty.