When people think of bees, they think of honey, pollination, flowers, the Queen Bee...
People hardly think of bees as creatures - insects - that poop. In fact, most miniature creatures - creatures as small as honeybees - are exempt from any sort of probe into how their most basic, bodily functions can be released, mid-flight, to land on your unsuspecting person.
Two Sundays ago, Richelle (Greybelle Designs) and I experienced what it is like to be pooped on by a swarm of bees.
It feels like sun showers.
It was Mother's Day, and the final day of the Campesino Pop-Up. It was a grey day punctuated with periodic sunny breaks. I got called out to witness the swarm of bees that followed their escaped queen to hunker down on a cherry tree branch two houses or so down from the shop. I promptly went outside armed with Janaki's camera to take photographs of the bee-wranglers from Mellifera Bees and Pascal in beekeeper-wear. They were formulating a plan to get the queen away from the cherry tree and back into their hives above the Marché garage rooftop. It was really quite the sight; the clump of bees have formed almost a sloth-like appearance on top of that cherry tree branch. Adults and children looked on in wonder and awe from a safe distance. I stared ahead at the flurry of activity above and at these beekeepers in hazmat-like suits and remembered thinking to myself just how surreal all of this was...
Richelle and I watched from across the street as Pascal relieved part of the branch from the tree. The shaking of the branch caused a mad flurry of bees to fly all over the place. I kept snapping photographs with Richelle beside me watching excitedly... and then...
A pitter-patter... like raindrops.
I tore my eyes off of the camera and held my hands out to the sky. "Is it raining?", I asked Richelle. She looked as bewildered as I did. It was then we noticed tiny yellow splotches dotting our clothes and faces and arms and necks. It was a bit sticky, and at first, we thought, perhaps... pollen?
It smelled faintly of chamomile, beeswax, honey, and a melange of flowers.
We crossed the street and asked Melissa what the sticky, yellow dots were... and she said... "Oh! It could be their poop! It's bee poop!"
I looked at the yellow dots that have now solidified clear across my arm in part-horror, part-fascination. At this point, I have also become hyper-aware of how strongly I smelled of beeswax and honey and something else. I wasn't sure if I liked it... and I knew the smell wasn't entirely unpleasant... but this did not erase the fact that I have bee poop all over my person and I was stricken by the urge to wash it all off. The documentary photographer in me stuck it out, regardless, and continued to take photographs, and now, looking back, can say with absolute certainty that this has been the most interesting sensation I have ever experienced to date.
'Just another day at Le Marché St. George, I say.
Words and Photographs: Issha Marie