To Bee Or Not To Bee (a Bee-odyssey)

Discussion in 'Environment' started by jjl, Feb 18, 2016.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Messages:
    1,905
    Likes Received:
    370
    Trophy Points:
    81
    This is a post from one of my Bee groups. I have permission.

    There was a post in this group about rendering wax. This is a perfect example of what not to do.

    Since everyone is getting a good laugh at the trouble I got into today's because of what I sure was a feral bee getting into the house (trying to convince the wife that all my bees are marked under their left wing). I want to share a real newbie mistake I made, please keep the laughter to a minimum.

    A few days ago I decided that I wanted to try and render five buckets of old comb I have into wax. The wife was gone and I was left to my own devices. Mistake 1.

    I find an old pot in the garage that her Chickens were laying eggs in, not really being used. Mistake 2.

    I bring it in the house, put some water in it and started it to boil. I find a slotted cooking spoon to dip,out the trash (her good one, of course). Mistake 3.

    I get all my other stuff set up and started the melt the comb, now this is old brood comb, drone comb, basically any comb I had gathered up. I start adding comb to the water. I did not realize how bad it would smell, nor did I realize the smell would spread throughout the entire house. Mistake 4.

    My solution was to open the windows and doors to air out the house before she got home. Did you know the smell of melting comb attracts bees almost as much as the smell of honey? Well I forgot. Took the bees that are about 60 yards from the house to know what I was doing. Mistake 5.

    So now I have combs melting on her stove and the kitchen quickly filling up with bees. I am a beekeeper, I can handle this, not so much. I turn down the heat, and rush to close the doors and windows. The smell returns with a vengeance AND I have a kitchen full of bees that have decided to explore the rest of the house. I am a beekeeper, I can handle this, not so much. Mistake 6.

    OK, first problem is the bees, turn off all light and close all the blinds, except for the kitchen. Next get suited, and find my smoker. Hint: smokers in the house is a bad idea, stupid smoke alarms. Open the doors to smoke out the bees, forgetting that the bees outside can still smell the melting comb. Mistake 7.

    Now the kitchen is starting to look like a swarm is moving into my kitchen. So how do you catch a swarm, either vacuum them or put a box under them and shake them into the box, out comes the bee vac. I can handle this, I am a beekeeper, I do keep lying to myself. Mistake 8.

    The wife gets home........kitchen still full of bees, smoke, me in my suit, smelling of smoke, and the smoke alarms still going off. All in all it was a bad day for me. I am no longer allowed to render beeswax in the house and I am pretty sure she is interviewing sitters for me when she is not around
     
  2. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Messages:
    1,905
    Likes Received:
    370
    Trophy Points:
    81
  3. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Messages:
    1,905
    Likes Received:
    370
    Trophy Points:
    81
    "Smoke me, smoke me, smoke me!" I wail.
    Jim and I are walking down my mother's dead end street, covered in angry stinging Bees.
    It's a small street, lots of nosey neighbors.
    A lady steps out on her front lawn and takes in the sight of us.
    We must look like we are from hazmat in our Beesuits and veils.
    The smoker must make her wonder too.
    And, of course, there is that cloud of bees that envelops the both of us.
    At last, she queries,"Can I help you?"
    But she really doesn't want to help us, she just wants to know what is the hell is going on, ten feet from her doorstep.
    "The bees don't want to part with their honey," I tell her.
    "I can see that."
    But this isn't the whole truth and in another twenty minutes, the six-hour siege will have ended.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  4. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Messages:
    1,905
    Likes Received:
    370
    Trophy Points:
    81
    It's been a crazy summer.
    I have five hives now, soon it will be four.
    This last hot hive went queenless and was so defensive, that it took six hours to close it up properly.
    Things get complicated when you lose a queen.
    But I've been learning a lot.
     
  5. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Messages:
    1,905
    Likes Received:
    370
    Trophy Points:
    81
    This particular hive gave me a bit of trouble a few weeks ago. I had been advised to handle my bees in nitrile gloves.
    Big mistake.
    I had an old school chum over to show him one of my hives. My Russians that I keep at my mother's.
    He had just taken me on a morning motorcycle tour of the Honey Bee forage in my home town, I was returning the favor by teaching him about bees
    But when I opened the hive, the bees became very aggressive and started stinging my wrists and hands through the thin synthetic rubber.
    I apologized to my friend but closed the hive up quickly, not before noticing that there was a lot of extra honey in the super, almost ready for harvest.
    My forearms arms looked like balloons, and they were swelling so rapidly, I became alarmed enough to seek treatment. But the nurse practitioner just told me to pound down liquid Benedryl and ice them.
    My crazy homeopath advised me to put a drop of my own urine under my tongue to stop and reduce the swelling.

    It took ten days until the swelling disappeared altogether.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  6. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Messages:
    1,905
    Likes Received:
    370
    Trophy Points:
    81
    So for ten days, I did not feel safe going near that hive. I wasn't sure I hadn't hit my toxic load which can happen sometimes.

    Then it rained for four days. So no bees.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  7. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Messages:
    1,905
    Likes Received:
    370
    Trophy Points:
    81
    By the time I approached this hive, a full two weeks had passed. The nectar flow for the tulip poplar had slowed, and I needed to get the honey super off the hive before the girls began to consume it.
    It would be time to feed again.
    I had a few concerns approaching this hive. I was afraid it had just gone "Hot", which sometimes requires finding the queen and pinching her. But you are in the hot hive the entire time you are playing "Where's Waldo" with one queen and fifty thousand angry workers. I was hoping this wasn't the case.
    Once again, a woman of faith, I donned the nitrile gloves.
    Jim was a little smarter.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  8. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Messages:
    1,905
    Likes Received:
    370
    Trophy Points:
    81
    The first thing that went wrong was the smoker went out.
    Jim and I were experimenting with some old rags and they did not hold a burn.
    So while Jim is struggling with his gloves and lighter, I grab a frame of bees and set it beside the hive outside.
    A cloud of angry bees cover my hands and wrists and start to sting me.
    I manage to grab two frames of honey, shake the bees off and replace with empty frames.
    "I gotta go!" I shriek. "I'm taking too many stings at once! Can you close it up for me?"
     
  9. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Messages:
    1,905
    Likes Received:
    370
    Trophy Points:
    81
    I went upstairs to tell my sister about it. We had a laugh and watched Jim manage to close the hive up properly.
    Then I saw it:
    I had left a frame of bees leaning against the bottom brood box.
    It needed to go back inside.
    I decided to give the hive an hour to calm down. The frame of bees was in the shade, so they would be fine for some time.
    My sister and I took a ride to the river to get some fresh water.
    I returned an hour later, but Jim insisted that he could put the frame in himself. He was already wearing long pants and it was easier for him to put on the rest of his bee duds.
    Jim got a big ass fire going in one of the smokers. (We keep two on hand just in case thank heaven).
    When he opened the box again, the bees were fiercer than ever.
    The frame was sticky with propolis and Jim had to pound on it pretty hard to get it back into place.
    This did not improve the mood of the colony any.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  10. jjl

    jjl hhotah hhotah

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Messages:
    1,905
    Likes Received:
    370
    Trophy Points:
    81
    Coward that I am, I stood watching from a safe distance, shouting directions at Jim.
    He managed to get the inner cover on the box.
    His whole front was covered in bees.
    "I'm sorry!" He shouted. "I just can't!"
    And with that, he picked up his smoker and went speed walking down the road and then across the busier street to the factory watershed.
    "SMOKE!" I shouted.
    He couldn't help swatting at them
    The worst thing you can do.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.