The Plague of Bees

"Plagues are locusts or frogs, Dad. Not bees..."

“Plagues are locusts or frogs, Dad. Not bees…”

I must stop drinking at lunchtime.

I don’t remember the bottle of red wine, but clearly I’m drunk.

It’s the only possible explanation.

And I’m worried. I need to see the doctor about this. I’m having hallucinations.

Right now I’m seeing a man in a full bee-keeping suit standing in our drive.

“Do you live here?” Blimey, even worse. I’m hearing voices as well.

Ah, he’s real. Now I look closely he’s not wearing a full bee-keeping suit. He’s wearing a bee-keeping top and Marigold rubber gloves. Spoils the effect slightly.

“Yes,” I say, suddenly aware that our drive is infested with bees.

“Good. I’m Alan by the way. I was driving past your house and noticed everyone was crossing the road. So I went home for my equipment. Look,” he says, his voice quivering with excitement.

“Right,” I say, my voice quivering with fear. I’ve heard of this. It’s a horror film. I can see the headline. Dad-of-three blogger stung to death by swarm of mad killer bees.

And ‘swarm’ is the right word. There’s a black mass of bees, all over the palm in our front garden. (Gardening editor’s note: it’s not really a palm – he just calls it that. This is North Yorkshire after all. His wife could tell you its proper name.)

“What should we do?” I ask, retreating towards the safety of my car.

“I’ll deal with it,” Alan says with all the bravado of a man who wears rubber gloves to tackle a swarm of bees. “You go inside.”

I don’t need a second invitation.

“Quick,” I yell to Ben. “Close all the windows.”


“Because we’re being attacked. By a plague of bees.”

My youngest son looks at me compassionately. Well, well. This has happened much sooner than he expected. Where did Mum put that number? Let’s hope the men in white coats can get here quickly…

“Take it easy, Dad.” Best to humour him until help arrives. “And calm down. Plagues are frogs or locusts. Not bees.”

“Well maybe locusts are in short supply in North Yorkshire. Or maybe God’s fresh out of frogs. Look out of the bedroom window if you don’t believe me.”

He does. He’s not impressed.

“Well it’s hardly an angry swarm is it?”

It had better not be – because here’s my lovely wife arriving.

“Who’s he?”

“His name’s Alan. Apparently he was ‘just passing’ and saw that we’d been attacked by a swarm of killer bees.”

“And he just happened to have a hive in the back of his car?” My beloved sounded sceptical. “What’s he planning to do with it? I was going to sit outside with a gin and tonic. I’d prefer not to die of anaphylactic shock.”

Clearly there was only one way to answer that question. Like the real man I am I stepped outside the front door. By a few inches. “How’s it going?”

“Yeah, good. I need to get the queen in there…”

“In that little hut?” I assume Alan rolled his eyes. Hard to judge facial expressions when someone’s wearing a bee-keeping helmet.

“In the hive, yes. And then the others should follow her in.”

“How long will that take?”

“Probably until tonight. Right now they’re just flying around, fanning their tails and spreading the pheromones.”

I wasn’t sure I needed a GCSE in bee-keeping. I reported back to my wife.

She scowled. “Spreading pheromones sounds like bee language for ‘this is a good bush to come back to.’ Then what?”

“He’ll get the Queen into the hive and then all the drones will  follow her.”

“So the brainless men will chase after an attractive woman? Just like real life, darling…”

Thanks for reading this post. If you enjoyed it – and you’d like something light and “very, very funny” to read – you can buy the ‘Best Dad I Can Be’ sample book with 27 of my favourite posts covering all the years I’ve been writing: it’s all of 99p on your Kindle. Alternatively the first chronological book, ‘Half Dad Half Fish’ which covers the time when the children were 9, 7 and 4 is available here



  1. Ah, the horror film to beat all horror films – Killer Bees!

    My youngest brother (who was 6 at the time), ended up putting his face in a bunch of flowers that just happened to be “taken-up” by bees. And my older brother (who was 15 at the time), knew about it…..!
    p.s. It wasn’t pretty, and my brother ended up grounded for quite a while!

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