Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Beeladee: To Bee or Not To Bee!

We have had bees for 10 years now. I would like to say we are beekeepers, but in reality, we are more "bee havers"! I can't handle the hives by myself, the boxes are too heavy for me to lift. Mark is busy with his own work, so our bees are usually left to fend for themselves.

We went out a couple of days ago to inspect the hive near our house. It had started leaning and I was afraid it would fall over. I had expressed my concerns that the hive might be in trouble (wax moths, varroa mites, ants, etc.) since the bees were not visiting my garden this year! We also hadn't been in it for a while and thought an inspection was well overdue.

Once we had the topcover off, we realized the bees were not suffering! They poured out and clustered in a huge mass on top of the frames! I smoked them, trying to calm the hive. We pried off the super to inspect the brood box! Again they became quite agitated. After several stings through his suit, Mark decided we had better put everything back together, level the hive, and get out of there! We smoked and worked, smoked and worked and finally got it all situated.

We couldn't get into our truck as several bees were still swaming around us. We decided to walk home and come back for the truck. Usually the bees won't follow for long, but I guess that they smelled where Mark had been stung and also where he had accidentally crushed some of them while lifting the super off. A few persistent ones just wouldn't go away! We continued to smoke our suits and finally were able to get in the house, away from the bees!

I showered to get the smoke smell off me and out of my hair. Mark decided he would wait and shower in a while. He went back outside several hours later, still wearing the same clothes he had worn under his bee suit. Out of nowhere, a bee zoomed in and stung him on the nose! We've never had the bees act agressive away from their hive. All we could assume was that this bee was one that was stirred up when we opened the hive and she smelled what was still on Mark's shirt from his earlier bee stings and smashed bees!! He showered and changed right away!

With all of the recent incidences of Colony Collapse Disorder, I'm glad we are able to have our bees. Bees are the best pollinators in the world and our food production would suffer if not for their presence. My neighbors tell me that our bees are all over their gardens. Glad they are reaping the benifits! I need to plant something yummy to lure the bees back to my garden!

Smoking the enterance to calm the bees

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