Monday, March 21, 2011

1st Sting, 2nd Sting now it's Spring

We'll get to the stinging in a moment but let's talk about beeeees and their behavior.  Like so many of our friends, we love studying bees.  We have attended numerous bee schools conducted by PhDs that are educated bug people or as some would say, bug educated people.  The bug of choice is, of course, the honeybee.  We sit around restaurants talking about the mystical little creatures and are constantly trying to understand them.



So, before we visited our little six legged vixens, we hatched a game plan.  You see, it was springtime and those silly bees didn't know what they were supposed to be doing.  When we last saw them, they had moved up to the middle box of their three box world and were huddling to stay warm through the winter.  Now that it was springtime, at least according to the Gregorian Calendar, they should move down to the bottom box.  Alas, they didn't know this because afterall, they are only bees.  Of course they needed a beekeeper to "HELP THEM OUT".


Aleph (right) & Gimmel (left) after adding new boxes


So on the first day of  Spring, we decided to visit our bees on Plan Bee and move their world from the middle box to the bottom box.  When we finished, our Aleph hive, the first hive, would have the colony in the bottom deep box with the middle deep box empty and ready for brood building and the top medium box ready for honey.  Our Gimmel hive, our second hive, which was comprised of a deep and two mediums would be shuffled so that the middle medium would contain brood and the top box honey.  We were ready for them and their little world of boxes and frames were about to be shuffled.




A more seasoned beekeeper than my queen bee and I once sagely stated that "BEES WILL BE BEES".

The big day arrived and after a two hour car ride to our little slice of heaven in Liberty, North Carolina we arrived at Plan Bee and were greeted by swirling flying bees.  The obviously hadn't gotten the word that spring had just arrived and they were to be huddled in the middle of their boxes. As we looked into the hives we discovered that our bees were not just in the middle boxes as they had been with our last inspection but were spread throughout all three boxes.  Their numbers had grown dramatically and we saw pollen, brood and honey everywhere.



HERE COMES THE STINGING

So my queen bee and I have often and publicly announced we have never been stung by our bees.  After all only those less experienced, careless beekeepers that weren't paying attention were stung said I smugly.  Well, someone forgot to tell the bees that I alone on the planet was not to be stung.  So as I plied my trade of  scraping burr comb and brood from Gimmel and placing it on a bench nearby, a pesky bee crawled up on my shoe and stung me though my sock.  I winced in disbelief. 

GET THAT SMILE OFF YOUR FACE

I did remember to pull the stinger immediately and kept on going.  My queen bee was not so fortunate.  She bravely stood where no beekeeper should stand, in front of the hive.  My fault.  To be more exact, with her derrière sideways to incoming bees.  Everyone knows that bees cannot sting through blue jeans right??

SOMEONE FORGOT TO TELL THE BEES

So my poor wife winced at her sting and as we discussed the solution we agreed that dropping trow in front of the hive to remove one stinger was NOT a good solution.  Being a woman, she endured the pain until the appropriate time and removed the stinger from the INSIDE of her blue jeans.

So what did we learn class?




I would suggest the old adage of Bees will be Bees seems to ring true. If you have some other clever adage you feel would apply, please feel free to submit your comment.  Please note we do have to approve them and while our egos have been damaged, we still love our bees and are now officially part of S3BS.

(Stung By Bee Beekeeper Society)