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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bee seeing you....


Had to do some hive work this even. The bees were quiet, but when you dismantle the hive, some fall to ground. I was working on opening the top, and I felt--heat--in my right knee pit. I was wearing jeans, but got bold and did not put on my Tyvek coverall. Then I felt considerably more heat, uttered a couple of unfortunate syllables...consider this my confession and repentance...and began to demonstrate why disco was never for me; then proceeded to drop trou in the twilit sideyard. While not a Mormon, I DO affect modest undergarments, so all was well.

I hotfooted it to the house, with the Dread Dormomoo examining my jeans. Sure enough, a bee had climbed in from the ground and taken umbrage at the decor. She found a nail file (which finding re-defined "eternity") and found the offending barb, and did the *FLICK* thing to remove the stinger and venom sac without injecting the full load. AAAAHHHH! Then she made a baking soda and water paste, bandaged it all up, and we then put on our full, very hot, spacesuits.

I must truly have the soul of a beekeeper. Despite the pain (and I have a VERY low threshold!) I felt far worse for the little worker who was just defending her hive.

She acquitted herself with honor.

Earlier in the week, we saw a large cluster of bees on their hive "front porch". We approached carefully, for we have learned that they are not fond of approaches from the front of the hive. Ask Fake, one of our yard cats.

Then we saw IT!  One of the workers, laden with pollen in her saddle bags...WAS DANCING!
She was doing the classic "This is where I found it, this is how far you must fly to get there" dance.

Like "Wild Kingdom" it was.


Michael W said...

My father kept several hives. Fascinating activity. And then there was the night we all came home from some sort of outing. My younger sister raced ahead of us into the house . . . and that's when we found out that the bees had somehow entered the house and had gathered in a corner at the ceiling.

Pat always did have the loudest shriek of any member of our family.

Doom said...

I used to be allergic to all flying and crawling biting and stinging things, but I seem to be over it. Still, I'd have to like honey a lot more than I do, or the price would have to near gold, for me to... be so bold.

Still I am glad you do. Made for a fantastic story, to enjoy even my horrified cockles, which were raised in full salute. It's more the feeling of something unknown crawling on me that gets me. And while that wasn't there... I just knew!

Do you raise the bees for honey for yourselves, or as a side business? Just curious what would induce a man to such... a choice. It actually is a decent medicinal item, if... the makers don't get you. That and silver. Odd how those are two common items for "preppers"? :p

The Aardvark said...

@Doom- We are actually doing Our Part to save mankind, sisnce pollinators like bees enable the majority of our provender. The Hive collapse phenomenon (which appears to be linked to a confluence of fungi, mites, and agri-chemicals like nicotine-based insecticides, and glyphosates like RoundUp) concerns us, and so we figgered we would do a hive, which is really laughable, given my HATRED for All Things Pain. The honey was actually an afterthought. We will likely not have honey 'til Fall '15. This year will be spent building up the hive. Tonight I put on the second storey of the hive for them to move into and fill. After that, we put on a queen excluder grid, and add "supers" which the workers can access and make honeycomb in. No queen allowed, as she would populate it all with larvae.

@Michael- I picture that clearly, plus the shriek!

Michael W said...

@Doom --- my father never collected the honey from his bees (he kept an average of two hives). Before we moved out to Tottering-On-The-Brink, the hives were up on the garage roof. After the move my father placed the hives in a location where he wanted some SEVERE POLLINATION. And, by golly, he got it.

Dad was always into intricate do-it-yourself activities. Not only bees but winemaking, mechanics (he restored an old tractor that he then used out on the field), carpentry (his father, my grandfather, was a Master Carpenter) and trying to out-read me (Ha!).

The Aardvark said...

Update...my right calf has a tremendous fever, and rather reminds me of one of Popeye's forearms.

Not painful, much, but more of an "in the way" feeling.

Michael W said...

@Aardvark --- Ouch!

Back in 1975, during my last summer job, I saw a co-worker push a lawn mower over the opening to a nest of ground digger wasps. Needless to say they weren't too happy, and the entire population of the nest proceeded to express an opinion. Both his hands must've been stung by each and every wasp in that nest.

What followed was even more harrowing. As I watched, his hands inflated before my eyes as if air was being pumped into them. They became as large as catcher's mitts. He could do nothing but sit down on the ground while we got an ambulance to come take him to the hospital. He eventually recovered, but was a lot more prudent in his mowing from that time on.