I’m really paranoid about bee stings. It probably stems from the time when dad, having kept bees for years, developed a major allergy from a sting. I remember it so vividly. It was the first dinner party I had ever cooked for my friends, so I guess I would have been about 14 or 15 years old. Just as I was dishing up, dad came in with his face and neck all swollen and unable to breathe. We just dropped everything and RAN. I don’t even remember what I cooked, and I don’t know if we made it back to the table. Thankfully, he was ok, but the bees had to go.
My gorgeous makeup artist on the show, Suzy, got a nasty sting in her hair when we were out with the bees up in the Maniototo. I had EpiPens on hand but luckily no jabs were needed. I thought I was going to be really nervous about being amongst the hives with beekeeper Reece. I had myself kitted out top to toe, with hopefully no possible entry point for any angry bee. But it was so fascinating that I forgot to be scared. It was a bit like snorkelling. There’s all that trepidation before you go underwater, and then when you are there you just get taken away by the sheer magic of it all. It was quite amazing how the bees did not even seem to notice or mind that we were stealing all their honey. The trick is to smoke the guard bees, as they are the ones who release a pheromone if they sense danger or attack and that sends the whole hive onto red alert. Apparently this is why you should never squash a guard bee. It will bring all the other bees out in an angry mass to get you. Reece didn’t even wear gloves, and although he got a couple of stings he said he was so used to them it was nothing.
On the way home we stopped for a picnic. It was just so hot that we drove for ages trying to find a tree to have our lunch under. There were fresh mushrooms in the paddock and so I picked a box full and took them home for our breakfast the next morning. My perfect kind of day!