My mentor had me wait 10 days after installing my bee package before opening the hive, and he was out of town so I did it myself. No problem, right? On day 12, (day 10 & 11 were too windy), I waited until late morning, suited up, (for me…put on shoes, white shirt and veil), opened the hive, removed the queen cage pulled a frame, checked for comb, closed up and called it good. I forgot about smoking the bees, but oh well…they were docile. I told my mentor how well it went. He said. “You should smoke them next time, or at least have the smoker ready.”
I have a friend who wanted to help/observe the next time I opened the hive, so I waited until her day off, (today – day 24), and we went out to inspect the frames for larvae. I got my tools ready and by the hive, suited up as before, opened the hive and there seemed to be a few more bees than before – a good sign!
I was fairly clumsy getting the frame out and the bees were agitated with me – it was obvious. I figured I’d better be quick so I looked at the comb – just lovely! Larvae present and capped comb – whoopie! And then OUCH! First sting just above my belly button. It wasn’t that bad. I was glad it finally happened so I could stop worrying about what it would be like. I said to my friend, “I got stung,” and put the frame back in. Then it all went to the proverbial hell in a handbasket. They were after me. I’d been tagged! Before I got the inner cover on, (backwards), I had a few more stings. I hastily walked away from the hive with a few angry girls after me, and my friend followed. That is when my husband walked out the back door and asked, “How’s it going?” I said, “Run!” and he did, right around the corner of the house where a bee ran into his head and got him!
Controlled pandemonium. I said to my friend, “I’ve gotta get back there and close it up. AND I put the cover on upside down, so I have to take it off again too!” A few other choice words escaped my lips and I went back over to the hive. Now, my husband is still mortified he was “hit” and is complaining. “This really hurts! What should I put on it?” I yell,”Lavender! It’s in the bathroom, by the sink!” Like I’m gonna do anything about it. I’ve got my own problems!
I can’t believe I have to go back over there and it took two more trips before I got it all back together, but no more stings. I had counted getting hit 4 or 5 times on my arms and back.
By this time I was pretty hot wearing that white turtleneck that offer NO protection against a bee who sees me as a threat, so we went in the house to get cool and check my stings. Strangely, only one still hurts. It was the first one on my belly. The other stings didn’t hurt at all – puffy welt, but no pain. Lucky me. And then – (here’s the good part) – my husband say’s “you smoked ’em, right?”
DUH! No, I didn’t. Hadn’t used a smoker yet, and the thought just never even occurred to me. I was way too excited to look for larvae. I had been very excited about this all week.
I will think of smoking the bees first the next time. I put the smoker, loaded and ready to go right next to the hive, just in case I forget again. Dumb! I never even remembered to check all the other frames for comb! Now I need to go back in there. With smoker. But not until next week. I can’t wait! 8^)
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