Saturday, September 8, 2012

Do as I say, NOT...

Sometime in the far distant past, like about 2 months ago, a group of robbers ganged up on my number three hive and killed it completely. By the time I figured out what was happening and after a trip, it was too late.

Jump ahead to 3 or 4 days ago and I looked out and the same thing was happening at a stronger hive.  I called "Carl" and he told me what to do. I had already almost closed off the hive but he said to lock it down completely. Hmm, much easier said than done. The bees did not like my interfering with their life even though I was trying to save their lives and the life of the hive. Ungrateful little buggers.

He also said to turn the hive 180° . Yessir, that was nearly impossible and it nearly caused me to get stung several times. OK, so the bees came out in a mad scientist swarm and stung me so many times through my jeans and up my pants leg and on my ankle and a dozen or 20 other places that I had to retreat and get far away from them. Being in pain is not my idea of fun.

Part of that was my fault because the top hive body was so heavy I could hardly carry it and it slammed down causing the bees to let me know that I should not treat their hive in such a manner. After another try I got the bottom hive body turned and the second one on top again. I abandoned shutting the hive further until they calmed down as I just said, being in pain is not my idea of fun. I didn't mention it was 105° F when all this was happening. Bees are sorta like humans as they  also get irritable in the heat.

I got them closed up and there were many bees who did not get to get inside before the confinement. They were not happy and bees do not write letters to the editor, they take direct action. It was chancy going into the back yard for a while. Of course, the lawn mower man came and he is afraid of the bees on a normal day so he was very apprehensive when I told him what they were like today. I told him to just do what he was comfortable doing and he actually did everything. Same with the man who put on weed killer and fertilizer. He was stung three times but they did not bother him when he was moving. About dark O'clock I opened the top for the other bees to get in and go to bed  --  or whatever bees do at night.

Yesterday the other hive was being attacked so I closed it off and put a help message on the bee message board. Dane sent a "call me" message so I did. Later that evening we talked for about 45 minutes and I found I had actually done some things correctly. I haven't been very close to the hives today but I must go out and check them and get the one I closed, and then reopened, closed again. Then the west hive needs closing completely. I am having a very difficult time in getting the entrance reducers to stay in place. I am beginning to think the bees all get together and push in unison so the reduced board will fall out. I will sneak up on them and nail that sucker in place if I have to.

All three hives seem to be strong and full of bees. I hope to have enough bees to start my own nuc next spring. Dane thinks I can do all three early and one of them again in May. That would be nice.

We'll see - so stay tuned.

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