Monday, 9 July 2007

day of the bee

Yesterday was Bee Day. Mel has written about it and posted some very unflattering photos of us all in bee suits, here, so I won't duplicate her post ... just pop over to confirm in your own mind that I can still do up the bee-suit over the bump :).

It was a very long, very tiring day; but I think that we all came away feeling quite smug that actually, we had managed something that some people had actually told Mel was impossible - moving the hives over such a long distance. She describes the necessary procedure here.

The bees were very good tempered about it all - the single battle wound was proudly displayed by B, who had the most cobbled-together suit of all of us - think pith helmet swathed in VERY old veil that seemed to develop holes as fast as I sewed them up, tucked in to a boiler suit. At one point I felt as if I was married to Mr Benn - B was certainly wishing the shopkeeper would appear and tell him that it was time to go home at the point that he was trying to remove the bee-sting from his adam's apple whilst wearing sweat-filled rubber gloves. He gets the Silver Milk Bottle Top Award For Bee Phobics Who Face Their Fears.

Some of the individual bees did rather less well - we transferred the frames from the WBCs to the Nationals mid-afternoon and then waited until about 8.30PM when the weather had got good and cool, for the laggards to come home. Then we called time, stuffed up the hive entrances with foam, gaffer-taped the stacked boxes of the hives together, put the travelling screens on the top (so plenty of air could get in to the hives to keep them cool), secured the ratchet straps and Tony and B carried them down to the van.

A small cloud of bees who had been outside at the cut-off point followed them down the garden to the van, where the lads summarily executed them, by squashing. It was rather like Canticle For Leibowitz, where the body of the woman with the blueprints is found outside the blast doors of the nuclear shelter. Sad, but necessary for the survival of everyone else. It's stupid to have a weep over BEES for goodness sakes - but I admit to shedding a tear after Mel and Tony had driven off. Blame it on the hormones.

So, things we learned:

  • Don't rest Hive No. Two on top of Hive No. One as you swap the frames over - it may cause Bee Wars as the bees will get confused about where they are supposed to be living.
  • You can NEVER find the queen in a hive of bees when you are looking for her.
  • If you take a super (a box of frames) off a hive and you are working to time, it's probably best to rest it on a sheet or a piece of board, because otherwise when you pick it up again there will be a small heap of bees on the ground who will then have to find their own way home - if you have them on a sheet, you can shake them back in to the hive.
  • Mel's friend Tony is GREAT at 'banging' bees off frames and floors.
  • You CAN move bees that are in a WBC by transferring them to a National Hive first.
That's the lot, I think, unless Mel or B has anything to add. I think it was a great confidence builder for all four of us, all being relatively new to beekeeping. We agreed that it was probably an A-level bee-keeping exercise, or maybe first or second-year degree level, and I think we did okay.

10 comments:

  1. yeah, the shopkeeper. That fez-headed
    git never turns up when you need him.
    If I'd conquered the castle or got to
    be in charge of the submarine *then*
    he'd have turned up.

    Oddly for other bee phobics out there, the sting didn't hurt as much as i thought it would (in fact not much at all) and I'm not suffering from anapha-wotsit shock.

    ReplyDelete
  2. yeah, the shopkeeper. That fez-headed
    git never turns up when you need him.
    If I'd conquered the castle or got to
    be in charge of the submarine *then*
    he'd have turned up.

    Oddly for other bee phobics out there, the sting didn't hurt as much as i thought it would (in fact not much at all) and I'm not suffering from anapha-wotsit shock.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sounds like a great day, and fantastic to see bloggers co-operating in a physical way!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I hope you stick with it (no pun intended). To add to the above, I was pleased (if a little envious) to see Mel starting out. I got my first sting under my lip - of all places having lifted my hood back at the end of a session. Just brought the rest of my garb over, but still no hives.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oooh. A-level beekeeping activities without ensuing Bee Wars. I am impressed. And a little jealous.

    I'm relying on you, B, to conquer Mr. KW's bee phobia. Oh yes.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oooh. A-level beekeeping activities without ensuing Bee Wars. I am impressed. And a little jealous.

    I'm relying on you, B, to conquer Mr. KW's bee phobia. Oh yes.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It was a baptism by fire and no mistake. Pretty typical of me to do everything the hard way, but I'm really delighted with my hives now. B and Tony were both superstars weren't they? And I see a new career for one of us - there's definitely a gap in the market for maternity beesuits.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It was a baptism by fire and no mistake. Pretty typical of me to do everything the hard way, but I'm really delighted with my hives now. B and Tony were both superstars weren't they? And I see a new career for one of us - there's definitely a gap in the market for maternity beesuits.

    ReplyDelete
  9. That photo of you and B is actually adorable. You look like you're having fun. In space suits. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. That photo of you and B is actually adorable. You look like you're having fun. In space suits. :-)

    ReplyDelete