Beekeeper’s Children Have No Fear

And their fearless nature is something we can all learn from.

A hive opening at an Essex County Beekeepers meeting. It was raining so few bees were flying around.

My first hive opening during my beekeeping class was at a farm with around 20 beehives.  Students and beekeepers alike were there, all decked out in the required beekeeping gear and bee spacesuits.   One by one, we opened and rummaged through the beehives, learning as we went, with hundreds of thousands of bees flying all around us, zooming this way and that, filling the air with their buzzing sound, and landing all over the backs, heads and arms of every one of us.

A hive opening at an Essex County Beekeepers meeting. It was raining so few bees were flying around.

Halfway into the hive opening, an eight year old girl runs by us all, laughing and giggling and doing the things eight year old girls do.  Panic filled my belly and a few other students and I were looking at each other as if to say “Whose kid is that? Get her out of here, it’s unsafe.”

We watched in disbelief as she danced through the apple orchard filled with bees, jumping around happily and carefree.  Then one of beekeepers who managed the hives spoke up “That’s my granddaughter. She’s used to bees.”

I was in complete disbelief.  Here we all were with layers of protective gear, looking like idiots, as this brave little child runs by us wearing only a sundress, making a mockery of all our fears.  After all why should she be afraid? She grew up seeing the gentle nature of bees almost daily with an open mind, without the prejudice or fear preconditioned in almost all of us.

Now that I have my own beehives, I watch as my children age 3 and 5 play and go about their child business with thousands of bees only 10 feet away.  When my 3 year old spots a bee that has landed nearby he walks up to it, reaching out as if to pet it and says “Hello bee. Hello bee.  Awww, cute little bee.”

The mother in me panics.  Not being able to get past my fear I tell him, “Don’t touch it. Just say hello. Bees bite when they get scared.”

He just sits and watches until the bee flies away then waves “Goodbye bee. Cute little bee.”

This happened once at my 5 year olds T ball game.  My 3 year old was on the sidelines when a bee flew past him landing on the ground nearby.  Slowly the mothers all moved away, arms wrapped around their children in a protective pose, while at the same time trying to shush the bee away from them.

Not my son. He walked right over to the bee in his childlike way, sat down beside it and said “Awww, hello bee. Cute little bee.”

“Wow! He has no fear. ” said one of the moms, still clinging to her child.

“That’s because he’s a beekeeper’s son.”  replied my mother in law.

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

  1. My First Bee Swarm – Part 1 of 3
  2. Duct Tape, A Rock And A String Saved My Swarm – Part 2 of 3
  3. In Case You’re Wondering Bees Can Chew Through Garden Row Cover -Part 3 of 3
  4. One Little Bee Made My Husband Run Like A Baby
  5. I Used To Think Those Crocodile Hunters On TV Were Crazy

Author: Anita Deeley

Anita Deeley is a biologist and former state bee inspector who maintains 100 honey bee hives. She is the beekeeper, writer, owner and creator of When she is not spending time with her girls (the bees), she enjoys being a wife to her beekeeping cohort, Brian and mother to 3 little boys (the beekeepers in training). Read more about Anita here >> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Connect with Anita on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Facebook here.


  1. This is a fantastic post. I just found your website and am reading through all the old posts. We are picking up our first package of bees on April 20. They’ll go into a top bar hive. I have a 4 and a 2 year old. Everyone thinks I’m crazy. The kids are innocent, and my 4 year old is looking forward to them. I look forward to teaching them about the bees.

    • Thanks Christy! Congratulations on becoming a new beekeeper. You will love it! I love my top bar and am adding several more to the apiary this year. It’s so nice not to have to lift large heavy boxes. Kids love bees (once they get over the fear of stinging)! My two boys love to help out in the bee yard and my 4 year old even wants his own hive this year. Once you get your bees established you should go to their school and teach their class about bees too. Preschool/kindergarten is a great age to learn. I have done this several times – the kids (and their parents) come up to me, months and even years later, to tell me what they learned about bees. Now instead of being afraid of bees, the kids learn just how amazing those little creatures really are. This understanding is essential to help persevere the honeybee for future generations.