The Cottage Smallholder


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The bumble bee that wanted to sleep with me

Dead bumble bee

Dead bumble bee

I know that bumble bee numbers are down in the UK but we have plenty of them here in the cottage garden. In fact over the years their numbers have been increasing gradually as there are more spring flowering bulbs and shrubs for them to enjoy.

A week or so we found that a very large bee – possibly a queen – kept on coming into the cottage. So was clearly searching for a place to make a nest. I always worry when bees come into the cottage as they are not the brightest of sparks and it’s hard for them to find their way out. There is also the danger of the Min Pins snapping at a tasty, round buzzing invader.

If it’s during daylight hours we switch off all the lights and open the back door. Usually they swoop outside to the sunshine.

But this particular bee did not. She flew further into the cottage and vanished. So I opened a few windows for her and hoped that she’d eventually make her way out by herself. By the evening, all was silent on the big bee front so I closed all the windows.

That night I settled in bed with the Min Pins, a hottie and a good thriller on my Kindle. The pillows on my bed are designed for lounging in bed. An old fashioned bolster topped with two pillows and finished with a v shaped pillow. This decent stack is like a comfortable armchair. And of course there are lots of air gaps.

I must have read for about an hour or so until I began to feel sleepy. Within seconds of turning out the light there was a loud buzz beside my ear and I felt the legs of a creature crawling across my eyes. In the darkness it felt enormous and rather scary. To my horror I realised that it must be that pesky bee. I have an innate fear of hairy legged spiders taking a short cut across my face at night – a bee was an olympian step up.

Never has a bedside light been switched on so fast. With a shriek, I brushed the bee away from my face and as she started to examine the headboard of the bed, I quickly scooped up the Min Pins and duvet took them downstairs. With the stair door sealed against another bee invasion we slept on and off in a rattled heap on the sofa.

The next morning the big bee ventured downstairs again untroubled by her bedtime trauma. She made straight for a sunny window, which I unlocked for her swiftly. She ignored this maid service and examined the curtains instead.

That evening I found a dead bee on the windowsill. Was it the same one? Or perhaps she escaped and is happily nest building in our garden.


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11 Comments

  1. Ruta Masteika

    While I am not generally frightened of spiders and don’t mind them living on the ceiling of our bedroom I do get pannicky if they decide to sit on the ceiling right above my head. I sleep on my back and I fear they will drop down, attracted by the heat, and walk across my face. It has happened and is a most unpleasant experience so I do sympathise with you. This is the only time that I shriek and insist the OH removes said spider. I don’t like craneflies either because they clatter!

  2. Hattie

    I had a similar thing happen to me yesterday afternoon as one suddenly appeared in my sitting room. My cat was determined to play with it so I caught her (the cat)& put her outside in the garden. It took a while to catch the bee but eventually she settled & I got her into a glass , covered it & put her outside, unhurt. She was very large but very relaxed about being transported. I just hope she found shelter as not long afterwards it started to rain heavily.

  3. Marion

    Is Danny not into the rescuing of damsels in distress?

  4. Terrier

    I’ve noticed a few large bees around recently F, never occurred tome they might be queens looking for a new home, would love to keep bees but it would be another excuse from Mike for us not to go on holiday (along with dogs/horses/chickens)

  5. Liza Thomas

    Hi Fiona, I’m from India and chanced upon your blog when I was searching for ideas for chocolate Easter eggs a couple of weeks ago. Since then I have read many of your posts and enjoyed them all – though I am not at all familiar with most of the things you mention because we don’t have things like Min Pins and Hedgerows in India. But your style of writing is so brilliant – simple, personal, and interesting that I am totally hooked! Thank you for sharing all this with us.

  6. Love your storytelling 🙂 I also have a fear of big hairy legged spiders crawling across my face at night….but then again I live in semi tropical Australia where there seem to be more than our fair share of bugs and spiders.

  7. KateUK

    One morning I tucked my bare toes into my slipper and couldn’t understand what was tucked into the toe- scrunched up paper? A very large bit of rather tough fluff? A cat toy?
    Bumble bee flew off happily out of the window after being rudely awoken,squashed and shaken out of its cosy night-time nest.I always check shoes and slippers now.

  8. Don’t believe it when they tell you Humble Bees (note original name) don’t sting… They do. Not as bad as a bee or wasp though.

  9. Bridget

    When was Dynamic Danny whilst all this was going on???
    I’d have retreated to the sofa too.Such wonderful creatures bees..vital to our planet and way of life….but not so attractive at suc close quarters!

  10. Tanya @ Lovely Greens

    Funny story but am sorry you got such a fright! Poor bee though…am sure she’s the one you found dead.

    Our cats have been chasing bumble bees in the garden for the last few weeks and poor Louis came back to the house one day with a HUGE chin. It was so funny looking that I had to laugh – he was purring though so I don’t feel too bad about it 🙂

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