HUERFANO — I have never met honey bees that are sweeter than the honey bees we have in Huerfano County. My dad was a bee keeper, so I’ve seen and been stung by my share of honey bees. Most of them were an ill-tempered, East Coast variety that would just as soon sting you as look at you, although it was hard to know when they were looking at you because they have all those eyes bunched together like two big black bubbles, and they cover half the bee’s head. But we knew they were looking at us anyway. We kids were about as fond of honey bees as rabid wild possums, which, yes, we did have a few of in rural Pennsylvania. Never did I think I would meet up with laid back, mellow honey bees like the ones we have here. In fact, Huerfano honey bees are just as sweet as they can bee. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) I have it on good authority that you can even pet our local honey bees, although I’ve never done that myself, because if I admitted that, I’m sure the guys in white coats would be dropping by with a straightjacket to haul me away. We have some flowering
shrubs around our house that were just loaded with honey bees all summer. We walked past those shrubs and all those honey bees a thousand times and never got even one sting. Maybe the honey bees were too busy making honey to mess with us, but I prefer to believe that they are really just nice little guys. On the other hand, we have some wasps that are the most aggressive, stinging, demonic creatures in the land. You don’t even have to get near one to get stung. You just have to walk past their neighborhood nest, which they hide with such precision that you don’t even know it’s there until you get a little too close. Then the wasp that’s on neighborhood watch for the day will make a beeline from the nest and sting you right on the tip of your nose. These wasps are so horrid, I’d rather bathe a skunked 90-pound black lab who hates water than be stung by a Huerfano wasp. Don’t bother doing Huerfano wasps any favors. For instance, if one is trapped in your house and keeps flinging itself against a window trying to get out, do NOT open the window and shoo it outside to save its life. I’m speaking from experience when I say, this good deed will not go unpunished. I performed this very same good Samaritan service once, letting a harmless-looking wasp out the front door. Ten minutes later, when I went outside, the evil fellow jumped me from behind, landing on my back. Of course, I didn’t know what it was, since it was on my back, but I figured it was just another filthy yet harmless adobe bug. When I brushed it off, that malicious little screwball wasp stung me on the finger. HEY! I just saved your life, you ungrateful twerp! So my advice regarding our little stinging neighbors is this: Honey bees are our friends, but never turn your back on a Huerfano wasp.