Saturday, September 07, 2013

I Guess There's a Reason They're Called "Sweat" Bees


Who knew that looking up "sweat bees" on Google this morning would bring up such a plethora of information.  I've spent the last 15 minutes wading through articles and pictures just to find an actual picture of an actual sweat bee, versus other insects that people just tag with that name.

But, I'm not going to give a big lesson on what a sweat bee is or what it looks like or the fact that it is an actual bee and not a black fly like most people think.

This is about spending an afternoon basically covered in the nasty things.

Yesterday afternoon, the 4th grade got to visit an outdoor classroom situation to learn about Missouri's natural environment.  The lessons take place in a local state park and are given by state park workers. The kids learn about recycling, animals that live locally and their habitats, and Missouri state symbols and state animals (not the ones that live there, the ones that are listed as state emblems).

I took this trip for the first time last year, with my first 4th grade class.  I remember it being an informative and education experience for the kids... despite the fact that it was pretty warm that day.

Yesterday, the information was actually a lot better... but the weather was a lot worse.  The temperature was about 95 degrees when we got there, and there was very little shade.  The kiddos were expected to sit on tarps at each station to listen to a presenter, despite the sunlight and heat.

Honestly, the heat wasn't what was so bad.  These kids are all quite accustomed to being outside when it's hot.  Just ask them on a day when it's 95 degrees if they'd rather stay inside for recess.  They'll look at you like you just shot hot pokers out of your eyes.  They don't believe in the term "too hot to be outside".  (Even when we actually got back to school, the first thing they asked is if we could go outside for some recess time.  Psh!)

The kids had a really hard time staying focused and paying attention, however, and it wasn't the heat causing it. It was the fact that swarms of sweat bees were feasting on each and every one of us.  

Honestly, I've never really paid much attention to sweat bees before.  I've seen them now and then, but they've never been a real bother to me.  They hover, and with a few swipes of the arm..they usually disappear.  But, yesterday, it was like they declared war on the invaders of their land.  They were EVERYWHERE.  No matter how much I flicked my arms or moved around... I had 3-5 of the nasty buggers on me.  And I was a moving target, it was worse for the kids that were seated and trying to listen to speakers.

Thankfully, sweat bee stings are comparable to mosquito bites.  And they hardly ever sting.. supposedly.  They give off a very minor stinging sensation that are followed up with a tiny welt.  And, thankfully, none of the pesky itching that usually follow a mosquito bite.  The only time they'll sting is if swatted on to the skin.

Most of my kids came away from the day unscathed.  I, however, came away covered in tiny welts.  Because I was sweating like nobody's business out in that heat, and the bees had discovered an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord on my body.  And the fact that the kids were a lot better at swatting them away versus swatting them on their skin (like I did).

While the kids had all been learning, I had been spending my time dancing around like a crazy person just trying to escape the bees.  I flapped and flailed like nobody's business, but those pesky critters didn't mind that a bit.  They would just hover back for a few seconds, wait for my crazy dance to stop, and attack once again.

I have never been more thankful for a field trip to be over.  And I'm usually the one teacher that gets excited about a little excursion.. to get away from the classroom for a while and enjoy some other learning activities.  

My day in the heat did tell me one thing:  I can't wait for winter to get here.  

I know that there'll be no more swimming or enjoying the sunshine or frolicking around the playground in capris and t-shirts.. but I'll be happy to trade all those things in for a few months of cold and no bugs.

I can have fun in the cold just as much as I can in the heat.  Minus the swimming, of course.  

But, this current heat wave has even limited the swimming.  Who'd have thought that in September, I'd be declaring that it's too hot to swim?  Which is kind of an oxymoron.  Who ever heard of it being too hot to swim?  Isn't that the point of having a swimming pool, to be able to cool off in the heat?

It is... but I don't like myself or my babies outside in direct sunlight when it's so hot.  The pool can give off false security.  You don't realize how much you're getting burned when the water is so refreshing.  I'd much rather wait until early evening to have some swimming fun, because the sun has settled and the water can be enjoyed without the fear of getting 3rd degree sunburns.

This weekend, I do have some work to catch up on.  Having a short week, last week, really limited the time I had to get grades posted, papers graded, etc.  I have plenty of that to take care of today.  Grades are supposed to be posted by Friday afternoon.  But, because I had a meeting Thursday night and a doctor's appointment yesterday.. I didn't get them all in.

So, it's just another weekend around here:  Working, grocery shopping, cleaning, and hopefully some swimming.

My kids made the comment that they don't remember the last time we did something on the weekend.  How quickly they forget.  We've been back at school for three weeks, and they're already throwing off phrases like "I don't remember the last time..." They seem to forget that we don't get home until 7PM each night, and that because I'm so stinking exhausted by spending 12 hours at work each and every day, that I like to relax on the weekends.

They think it's bad now, just wait until the games start happening each week - which starts this coming week.  We won't be getting home until 9PM at least several nights a week.  The weekends are going to go from lame to lame-er.  I'll just be spending two days a week catching up on all the missed sleep!

But, right now, I'm sitting around doing nothing but typing.  I have a lot to get done, and it's not going to do itself.  

So, I better run.

Have a great Saturday!


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