Friday, July 10, 2020

Senior moments in beekeeping by Grandpa Jack & Beekeeper Fred

Eight  years as a beekeeper and several years of prior experience still doesn't exclude me from making one of THOSE mistakes. 

A couple of days ago in anticipation of removing several supers of capped honey, I put my bee excluders on.  I use a triangle board that will let the bees out, but will not let them back in. Note:  Unless you leave them on too long.  I like using the triangle board, its does a very good job and beats brushing each frame off of bees. 

Luckily I threw a coat on and put my hood up, even though at the time I felt that it was quite unnecessary.  Usually after a couple of days most of the bees have cleared out and you can just take the super off and the hive is unaware of what your even doing.

I cracked the cover loose and was met with a noticeable roar.  That was my first clue.

I had put the excluder in one of the hives, upside down.  Instead of the bees going down to the super below, they were coming up into the super and unable to leave.  Talk about packed with bees !
Luckily I had a one inch ventilation rim on top and that was packed with bees.

Now you would think that they would of been happy to see me considering their circumstance, but they let me know by way of a couple of stings, that they were ticked off.  I backed off, lit my smoker, put on a pair of gloves and grabbed the bee brush.  After several minutes of rearranging and telling them that I was very sorry for what I did, the hive and super full of capped honey was back in place.

We will try this again in a couple of days.  Grandpa Jack

Not wanting to Grandpa Jack feel all alone I have my own story from today.

I drove over to two of my remote hives.  One hive is working its 5th super, so being an optimist I was going to add a 6th super.    The tower of two deeps and 5 supers is the limit of my lifting capabilities.  I suited up so I could move one of the lower full supers to the neighboring hive which was still working its 2nd super.  Like in Jack's situation the bees were none to happy, but everything went fine.  I had the hives reassembled and bent down to pick up the bricks to secure the covers in place.  Unfortunately I had forget to zip one side on my hood.  Bending over opened the gap. And in flew a bee.  It went straight for my ear.  I was anticipating a sting, but the bugger went straight into my ear.  I think the hair on his body prevented him from backing out.  Expecting a sting any second I drove 5 miles to a neighbor who kindly retrieved the bee without me getting stung!  Whew!  This incident will keep me zipping up the hood for another year.  

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