Bees in your pants? Trust me, it’s not that bad! Last spring a friend gave me a swarm she collected from her wild bee hive. It was nearly nightfall when the bees arrived and I know better than to try and move bees toward dark, but I hoped it would be simple and quick. I opened the box and saw thousands of crawling bees, so I tipped the box upside down and shook half the bees into the new hive. What I didn’t know is that the other half were clustered on a big branch that was wrapped in a pillowcase inside the container.
Once the surface bees were moved, I saw the bees beneath were tangled in cloth and branches. Oh dear. I hadn’t realized the complications of the move and now, with half the bees inside the hive and the other half entangled, I couldn’t turn back. In the dark I tried to shake out the pillowcase but it had thousands of nervous bees both inside and outside it. The scared branch bees didn’t want to release their hold either because they were afraid of falling away from the hive which surely would mean they’d die alone.
It took a good while and eventually nearly all the bees were inside the hive, but in all the branch and cloth shaking, a good number of bees had fallen onto the floor of the bee house. Bees don’t like being down on the ground and as I did my work above, every little lost bee on the floor moved toward the only tall thing they could find, my pants legs. They climbed over my sneakers, up my socks, and underneath my jeans.
Don’t panic with bees in your pants. Talk to them.
I felt the tickle as each one climbed my legs all the way to the top of my knees, as far as my jeans let them go. Being in the midst of the transfer, I told these little bees not to be afraid, to find a safe place, hold still and wait for me. I would tend to them as soon as I finished.
A half hour later I had most everyone safely inside the hive, out of the container, off the branches and unstuck from the folds of the pillowcase. I tucked the new hive in and told the lost-in-my-knickers bees we were going to wend our way down to the house where I had light and could safely find them all. I walked across the field down to the house, slowly so my jeans didn’t bind anyone. Once in the bathroom, I closed the door to keep us all in one place. Then I rolled down my jeans at about ice-melting speed, finding and carefully lifting off each bee as I found her on my thighs, shins and socks.
All in all, I released fourteen bees from inside of my pants. I am so proud of these little bees because they went through an adventure that could have been traumatic and not a one of them got upset. Fourteen bees. No stings. Bless the sweet trusting goodness of each one.