Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Carnage Was Terrible

Bees were busy girls this afternoon, but that didn't turn me away from my task. My last post described my travails trying to melt ten tons of sugar into 8 cups of water. We did manage to pour a lot of syrup into the feeders (the top section, just under the roof, with no handles), but now, two weeks later, there's so much sugar left crystallized that the boards that are supposed to float are cemented into the bottoms. These are the feeder boxes. I thought I would move them to the curb for easier hosing, but there were so many bees I left them about 10 yards from the hives and still a safe distance from the sidewalk.
I removed the slatted boards that normally float on top of the liquid sugar. This is what was underneath. Veritable glaciers of sugar. I'm a good cook, but I sure messed this one up for these bees. I felt terrible having to hose in some water to loosen the sugar-pack. We lost a few, maybe not as many as in the sinking of the Titanic, but still.

I was by myself, which may have been foolhardy. I smoked them, I talked to them, I cajoled them. Then when I thought I had one INSIDE my veil I started to panic. Then when I realized it REALLY WAS inside my veil, I ran away. Like that helped-- it was INSIDE the veil. Anyway, a moment later the veil was off, but not before I got it on the jaw. Somehow that seemed to calm me. The worst was over. I suited up again and headed back to finish the job. Used the hive tool to scrape the sugar out, dumped it (and the carnage) to the curb, and put everything back together again. Got another girl between my shoe and sock so there's a glancing sting to my right foot, but so far no serious implications from either site. Maybe the wine is helping. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. I thought I might need tequila, but the wine is working juuust fine.


6 comments:

Kathleen said...

With bee stings, or any injury, insult, or just bad day, it helps to medicate sooner rather than later.

How did the bee get inside the veil????

Kathy said...

The veil isn't attached to the top of my coveralls, but I think she got in where my veil sits on the top of my hat. I need to glue it down. I also want to get a pair of those cute Target rain boots.

John the husband said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Keep that tequila nearby just in case...

Pam J. said...

So sorry this happened but I'm also glad you're writing about it because it helps me with my fears. I got stung twice yesterday through my gloves and while it didn't stop me from doing most of what I had to do it did make me nervous. Because of your experience I'm afraid to switch to a 2:1 sugar water feeding...am still doing just 1:1. BUT, my big discovery yesterday is that I'm not strong enough to lift the honey supers! I use mediums but now that my girls have filled up the top two (of four) boxes with so much sugar water (and I hope some nectar) they weigh too much for me. Time to regroup on this whole bee business. The Husband said he'd be my bee helper, but I have to get him protective gear before we go to that level. and I really wanted to do this myself...

Kathy said...

Pam-- I know what you mean. I'm not sure if we're supposed to removed the queen excluders, but I know I can't lift the supers by myself either. Got both hives fed over the last couple of weeks, with fumagellin, now we'll just keep our fingers crossed for the winter.