The rest of us were in the house when I heard her screaming out back, getting closer and closer until she ran through the back door flailing and screaming bloody murder. Her hair was writhing with bees. There looked to be a dozen or more but more than one is enough. They were stinging her scalp.
I grabbed her and took her into the light of the bathroom and began raking bees out of her hair. Rob got them as the hit the floor. Some of them I squished with my fingers, another one I squished with my big toe. Some would fly away only to come back at her. It was horrifying. She was in such trauma. She couldn't stop grabbing at the stings and crying rivers of tears. "Angry bees are stinging me!" she wailed, over and over again. "The bees are angry!"
I quickly undressed her then undressed myself and got into a cool shower with her. I couldn't feel any stingers but thought if we could wash them out it would help. Plus, the cold water should help the pain. It did not. She was in such misery.
She was pretty wound up, too. Like, not calming down and really freaked out. Hugs didn't help, Tylenol didn't help, an ice pack was out of the question (she wouldn't touch it, said it was HOT!) She started asking to get in the car. I think she wanted to get out of the house but not back into the yard. I am fairly certain the pain made her feel like they were still stinging her so she figured if she got out of the house they would stop.
At this point I was pissed at the bees. I love bees and I am very happy with their help in the garden but these were not honey bees. They were some kind of wild bee, too squished for me to really tell. I channeled my inner Momma Bear, went out and found where they were hovering around a hole in the leaf pile and promptly annihilated them with a whole can of Raid Wasp & Hornet spray.
Still, I was worried. She couldn't gain control of her emotions. She continued to cry and scratch at her hair, sob and cling to us, quite terrified. Finally, after an hour I asked her if she wanted to go to the hospital and she cried, "YES!" We have made two trips to the ER with her and she's always come out feeling better, more confidant, and well cared for, so Rob took her in. They (the attending doctor and nurses) were a little curfuzzled as to why they (Rob and Rhetta) were there but they checked her out, soothed her worries, gave her a dose of Motrin and sent her home.
It worked. I don't care how much it cost. She came home at ease with what happened stating, "I got better!" The Motrin did the trick with the pain and helped her go to sleep when it was time for "lights out".
This morning I got Willon down for his nap and very bravely went out to dig out what was left of the nest. I didn't yet know what I was going to find but thankfully the spray did the trick. Really I thought she had found wild bees since we have many kinds that live in the ground. These were not bees. These were, it turns out, hornets, and this is all that's left of them and their hive.
Rhetta woke up this morning feeling okay. She said, "Afraid of bees." to me first thing but didn't mention them again. I found welts on her torso I thought may have just been mosquito bites but are definitely stings as they had swollen to the size of, I don't know, dinner rolls. Her ear wasn't quite as fiery red but it was still giving off some heat. She was somewhat reluctant to go to school but I think that was because the long weekend threw her off. She most cheerfully went with her teacher this morning and flat refused to talk about the bees.
I do hope she can forgive them, but for now I am just glad she is not allergic.