Saturday, July 18, 2015

LESSONS LEARNED by beekeeper Fred

A thunderstorm blew through last night so I thought I would check the bee yard.  Other than a few downed branches everything looked OK.  However, I did notice a swarm issuing from a hive.  This was about 1 PM.  Previously all swarms I have been acquainted with have come out in the morning.  Lesson No. 1: The bees don't swarm to any schedule.

So I sprung into action to gather up the needed equipment.  By the time I was ready the swarm had settled nicely onto a fairly low branch.  I thought this capture will be a piece of cake.  I forgot to say it was hot (84F) and humid (69%); 90F heat index.  Usually a swarm can be captured without any stings.  Not today.  These bees were NASTY.  Although I successfully hived them I paid a price; about five stings to my wrists.  And this was only the stingers that penetrated my gloves.  I bet another 50 stingers were arrayed on the backs of my gloves. LESSON No. 2-The ventilation strips on some gloves let in stingers in addition to cooling air.  I will be sure to get gloves without the ventilation strips next time I buy gloves.

Then I had a bright idea (or so I thought at the time).  I could open the swarm source hive and get a few free swarm cells and raise a few more reserve queens.   Taking a cue from the testy swarm bees, this time I lit up the smoker to calm them down.  No dice.  The bees were on me (hands, arms and legs) as soon as I lifted the inner cover.  LESSON No. 3:  Bees can be very testy on hot humid days and even smoke may not calm them down.  I guess those precautions in the bee books about working the bees on hot humid days are true.

So I went home and had some ice cream with honey topping.    

1 comment:

Gerard Schubert said...

Vanilla ice cream with Planters cocktail peanuts and honey! Awesomeness!