Monday, April 18, 2011

Day #188 Welcome Home, Bees

Just think about it.
  •   After all the books I’ve read,
  •   all the beekeepers I’ve listened to,
  •   all the DVDs I’ve watched,
  •   all the seminars I’ve taken, and
  •   all the lists I’ve made,
you’d think that I’d remember to follow the procedure step-by step.

Sunday morning I got up before 5:00, ate breakfast, and drove 3½ hours to Ocilla GA. I got lost only once, but not for too long, at that.

I’d taken a hive net with me – remember, I blogged about it way back when I first bought it. The idea was to put it in my car, set the nuc and the package on it, draw the string tight at the top, and then drive home with blatant unconcern, knowing that any loose bees would be confined.

Did I use it? No. The lid of the nuc was screwed on tight – no way for the bees to get out of there. So I set the small nucleus hive on the blanket I’d put on my front seat, and blithely told the bee guy to set the package on the floor. He did.

(c) 2011 Kara Dunn

I got in the car and took off down the road. Once I was back on I-75 North, I heard something buzz beside my ear. It hadn’t occurred to me that a great number of bees had been clinging to the outside of the package. I’d thought they were all on the inside.

So, I drove along, singing to the bees to calm them (and to calm me), and made it home in record time, where I spent twenty minutes or so coaxing two or three dozen bees out of my back window.

(c) 2011 Kara Dunn
And remember how I so confidently told you the way to remove the queen cage from the package, remove the cork from the end that had the candy plug in it, and hang the cage between two of the frames, so the queen and the workers could spend three or four days eating their way through the candy, thereby releasing the queen.

You remembered that, didn’t you?

Well, I installed the queen cage in the hive body, dumped the 12,000 or so bees from the package into the hive, put the lid on, and THEN recalled that I hadn’t taken out the cork.

After that, I put on my bee-jacket and veil. There was no way I was going back into that group of disgruntled critters without some protection. “Maybe,” I thought, “they won’t notice what I’m doing.”
(c) 2011 Kara Dunn

They noticed. Did you ever try to pry a little cork out of a little hole while dozens of bees crawled around your hand wondering what you were doing?

I did get stung – once when I inadvertently squashed a bee between my hand and the screwdriver handle. And once when I squeezed another one between my hand and the knife handle. The screwdriver hadn’t worked. It just pushed the cork farther into the hole, so I asked my neighbor (whose daughter was taking these wonderful pictures) to pop in to my kitchen (where I hadn’t washed the dishes after my hurried breakfast) and bring me a sharp skinny knife.

That worked.

Finally, everything was back in place. The bees settled in quite nicely before dark.

I’ll have to go back into the hive in three or four days to remove the queen cage (assuming she’s gotten out of it) and to be sure she’s started laying eggs. I think I’d better wear my veil when I do it, just in case they remember the kook who:
·         cooped them up for a 3-hour drive
·         dumped them into a big hive
·         bothered them by opening the lid and poking around
·         and then had the audacity to squash two of their sisters

I do hope bees are forgiving.

Now, let's all celebrate.

BEEattitude for Day # 188:
       Blessed are those who try their best, for we shall forgive and forget.

One thing Fran is grateful for right now:
       The full moon shining like a drop of liquid gold over the treetops as I drove toward Atlanta early Sunday morning.   


The Cat Bastet said...

Yay! The bees are here. The photos are wonderful but I still can't imagine being that close to so many bees. You are a brave woman!

Cathy Akers-Jordan

Fran Stewart said...

I have to admit I felt scared when I had to go into the box the second time -- but it all went well. Today I'm having so much fun just listening to them buzzzing around.