Set back on a beautiful meadow covered at this time of year with colorful wildflowers on our new ranch is an old, red bunkhouse and a white outbuilding. Upon their discovery, we were initially hoping to repair the buildings, but termites, rot, and other reasons have changed our minds. Both are too far gone and need to be torn down.
Around the buildings stand a mixture of sprawling hardwoods and straight-backed pine trees. Their tops sway in the almost constant springtime breeze. It is quite picturesque; however, the drought has killed many of these trees and instead of green leaves, you only see bare limbs or the dusky red color of dried needles. The wind has already toppled several trees, but some still remain as standing corpses marring the view.
On one of the standing dead pines, an employee of Cross Creek Cattle Company was sawing away with a chainsaw to safely bring down the giant. Bits of sawdust kept hitting his arms and legs and the hum of the saw drowned out any other sounds. He kept attacking the trunk hoping to see signs of it falling when something diverted his attention.
Maybe it was the size of the “sawdust” hitting his limbs or maybe it was a sixth sense warning of danger. Whatever it was, he drew his eyes away from the tree and down to his legs. He was standing in the middle of a cloud of bees! They were swarming around his legs and body striking at his denim-clad legs. He did the only thing he could do–he ran!
Luckily, the bees were not aggressive. They did not follow him on his race out of the woods. In fact, he was not stung once, which is amazing considering the circumstances. We later found out that this employee is allergic to bees.
We are an awful long way from an emergency room, especially for anaphylactic shock. He is now required to have Benadryl or an epi-pen on hand.
Having seen the flight out of the woods with chainsaw in hand, my husband climbed down from the tractor to see what was happening. During the excitement, the bees had gone back to their undiscovered hive. Worried about the unfelled dead pine, my husband decided to knock it down with the help of a large tractor. On his way to the tree trunk, he looked over in the direction of the white outbuilding. From a hole in the side of the exterior wall, a mass of bees were forming a black cloud and moving toward him. Needless to say, he got out of there as fast as he could.
My husband called a local bee man, who comes out free of charge. He identified them as honey bees. He thought they were domesticated and had obviously been worked with before. As it it too early in the season, honey was not ready, but they had filled the wall with a hive.
They will have to find another place to call home as the outbuilding needs to come down, but until then caution and prevention will have to suffice. Nonetheless, it was an eventful day on the ranch.