Saturday, June 23, 2012

# 292 - Creatures that Sting and Panic!

Today I read a lovely blog by Ian from  and enjoyed the visit, as always. He had zoom photos of a winged insect that I initially thought was a bee, until I read the comments. Then, it appeared that the nectar drinking insect was actually some sort of moth.


I had to leave him a comment about my fear of bees. It's something I've battled ever since I was a little kid. The fear developed after I had a particularly bad sting that was very traumatic. Ever since then, I've felt the need to flee from a buzzing bee or wasp. To combat this urge, I always wear a hat or hold one in my hand so I can use it to gently wave away any inquisitive insects with big stingers on their rear.

As for my panic, it began after I was about 6 six years old. I'd been playing in the backyard on my beloved swingset. This swing set had two independent swings, a slide and the bench swing that had two seats that faced each other along with a ladder on one end, for monkeys, like me.

My best-friend, Kelly, and I are swinging.
Our favorite thing to do at this age.
One day I had climbed to the top of the slide and was standing on the top rung, ready to get into place to enjoy a fast ride down. Standing on that top rung, I looked over toward the top metal pipe that all the fun things were attached to --- the pipe that held everything together.

No surprise to my blog buddies, my curiosity got the best of me and my innocence was dented. The end of the pipe was open; there wasn't a plug of any sort at the end; it looked like a big black hole that needed to be explored, so I kept putting my eye against it...trying to see into the dark abyss. I would press my face against the pipe, trying to manuever this way and that so I could catch a good view inside of the pipe. What was in there?

I even hollered into it a couple of times, "Anybody Home???" Then, I'd try to look inside the hollow pipe again. I thought I heard something moving inside the pipe. Birds? I tried harder to focus my eye to see what I could see.

Little did I know that there were stinging creatures living in that pipe and they didn't like to have a Peeping Tom looking in on them.

You probably already know what's going to happen.

As I pressed my eye against the pipe for another good look, a load of these mean, angry, territorial, monsters with buzzing wngs went into attack mode and the first one trying to exit the pipe stung me. This is the kicker. It didn't just sting me in the face, but the first stinger went directly into my eyeball, into the corner of my eyeball, inside my eye.

Yep, my first experience at being stung was in the eyeball. The subsequent stings that happened around my eye and face were nothing compared to being temporarily blinded by being stung. It was terrifying. I ran screaming for the backdoor, barely able to see, and for my mother who came hobbling out in a rush to save me, yet again, from my latest disaster. By the way, my mom had caught the Polio Virus as a child and as we politically incorrect people like mother would say...she was "crippled."

However, let it be known that she was NEVER anything but completely NORMAL in her family's eyes. The outside world saw her as crippled and we knew it. Her left arm was paralyzed and smaller than her right, and her right leg was paralyzed and dragged behind with a brace to lock it into place with a shoe attached to the brace, kind of like a false "outer" leg to support the other ruined by Polio. She could not run, but she could move around easier in her younger days and this was one of the times I could have SWORN I saw my mother RUN!

After some tender loving care, which actually included meat tenderizer and a cold compress, I ended up with a nasty looking black eye for a couple of weeks that made people cringe at hearing it was caused by a sting.

In the eyeball! In the eyeball! In the eyeball!

For a while, I avoided by beloved swingset. I didn't trust it. At any time, those flying beasts could decide to attack again. I'm a nature-loving, outdoor type of gal, but for a couple of weeks after that sting, I found lots to do inside the house.

A most unusual thing happened after this sting. My grand-father, who could barely stay sober to walk straight, ended up coming over to help my mom with my infested swingset. My grand-father was a master plumber, he had me point out where the insects came from, then he stood up there and held some kind of torch up to that pipe and blew fire into the pipe while reciting a few cuss words, then he took wads and wads of newspaper and plugged every hole in sight. He didn't have to tell me twice to never remove that paper!

It was sweet of him to do this for me and for my mother. After all, my father had moved to Europe, so it was just us kids with our mom, at least until we could fly over to join him. I know it was difficult for my mom to call her father for his help, but I'm sure a part of him loved to do whatever she needed, even if he couldn't do it without a drink.

He had his good moments. This was one of them that I'll always remember with love in my heart.

So folks, I never even got a chance to see what stung me on that day because they took out my vision in one swift attack. My eyeball did recover. Everyone teased me and said I looked like a baseball player while healing.

Maybe that's why I feel comfortable wearing mostly baseball caps when out on our acreage --- it makes me feel empowered to be able to reach up and grab my hat and to gently sway it back and forth to keep the poot-heads away from me.

Over the years, I've become less afraid of bees. I still have the urge to run like a madwoman. Make no mistake, Deputy Dave has stood by and watched me act like a loon as I am running from a bee, swinging my hat and screaming, "Help! Help! I can't tell which way it went!!" He shakes his head and says, "Quit running, you're going to run straight into that bee and that's how you'll get stung."

Through the years of panic and fleeing and appearing to be a crazy woman at every state park we've visited, I've not been stung again. My first episode taught me well. I don't look into dark holes any longer. Knowing my luck, the next time a rattle snake will strike my nose. No thank you.

As for Ian's blog, the insect that I thought was a bee is some kind of moth and that made me smile. I don't think these would have stingers. Aren't moths delicate creatures?

I left his blog very happy and without the urge to run in circles while tripping on my own feet. That's always a nice feeling.

1 comment:

Mike said...

My best guess at your stingers would be yellow jackets. Viscious buggers. As for moths being delicate...Mothera isn't. ;)