Wednesday, June 16, 2010

IS A BEEKEEPER EVER PREPARED?


Today was not one of my "shining moments" as a beekeeper. Part of it is, I'm on edge. Why? Not too sure but the nice weather and my moods are not coinciding. Maybe it's because it has been 11 days since I checked on the girls I feel like I've lost the touch. Whatever it may be, I sense my girls are losing faith. Lots of buzzing when normally they are grinning ear to ear (if they had them) and quiet as can be.

I ran into a little problem that I didn't anticipate and something that wasn't covered in beekeeping 101. As I was inspecting the 2nd hive body I quickly noticed that something was different. I tried to lift one frame and it felt too heavy. What? One little frame weighed too much for me to lift (panic sets in). If one frame is too heavy what am I going to do when all 8 are filled out??? Then I tried to slide frames side to side (after removing the one) and they wouldn't budge. I went back to the one "heavy" frame and pulled and pulled until it sorta popped, that is when I noticed that my bees had covered the top of the 1st hive body with comb and it was sticking to the frames in the 2nd hive body. Good grief! I thought I was done with that first hive body (I say that in jest). I know what this means now. I will have to remove the 2nd hive body completely to scrape that comb off and then put the 2nd hive body back on. Just an FYI for those who may not know: moving hive bodies around intimidates me the most. I have a sense that the girls will get pretty miffed at me when I do this and I'm not ready for that yet.

So, I should have been checking for eggs, queen cells, the queen but... I failed to do any of that. I did find capped brood (as I slowly but pathetically pat myself on the back).

It was my daughters first time seeing the inside of the hive and I now know that she and I make a horrible combination. Both of us worrying about killing bees (she pointed out one that I accidently crushed with my hive tool and than told me how mean I was) and the two us fretting over one bee that looked alive but wasn't moving, wondering if it may be sick, just to have it perk up and fly away. They could totally make a Saturday Night Live skit out of the two of us.

On the plus side, I got a great picture of my daughter holding a frame of bees. I love moments like this!

3 comments:

Pam J. said...

Boy can I relate to this post! I got my first bees on April 15 and ever since then it seems like all of my fretting time has been devoted to my sweet bees (well, not all...I have a son and daughter so there's always something to fret about). Until last week my bees were such gentle girls. I could peek under the top cover and inner cover to see how much food they had and they never even noticed me. I would be barefoot and in a tee shirt and shorts...totally unprotected. But in the last week or so they won't accept this behavior on my part. A guard bee always chases me away and I got my first sting, which was exciting in its own way. Got to scrape off the stinger with the venom sac attached, just like they taught us in my Bee Class over the winter. And I totally relate to going into the hive but not accomplishing any tasks like looking for the queen, brood, capped cells, eggs, etc. One new bee friend told me not to worry so much about finding the queen. If I find brood that's good enough. I dunno...

Michelle said...

Pam,

Ouch! You've taken that sting so graciously, I don't know if I would be equally so. LOL! I don't think I'll ever be prepared. All I can hope for is that I'm not holding a frame when it happens.

I think some of the sisterhood has pms. I had one bee chase me out of the yard one day while I was gardening about 15 feet from the hive. She just wouldn't stop coming at me.

Sam Smith said...

Heh If you pardon my saying, it looks funny when one or two bees chase people away flailing their arms ect. One little insect can make a lot of people jump and scream. Usually I tend my hives without gloves, lately though I have been using those nitrile exam gloves if the girls get to hot under their colliers, since I find it more pleasant to use the gloves then have a smoker running the whole time. fyi never set your smoker on top of the hive :) unless you like breathing smoke. I never have trouble with my bees outside, its when I open their hive that they give me heck :)