Over the next couple of days, most mornings about 9 I’d head out to the hive to make sure bears hadn’t gotten in the back yard and taken out the colony. (Just kidding, it’s Campbell 🙂 Just as Mr. Carrier said in his book, darned if they weren’t hovering around the hive, cruising up to 10 or 15 feet to take in the sights, er, orient themselves to their home location. By mid-day, it looked a lot like O’Hare out there… an awful lot of coming and going. (side note: they’re efficient little buggers – any time one of them croaks near the hive, they’re hauled away in a NY Minute. You DO know what a NY Minute is, don’t you? It’s the amount of time after the light turns red that the car behind you begins honking when you’re in NYC.) By about 3-4pm, everybody’s starting to head back to the bunkhouse for the night, so it gets pretty crowded overhead and on the entryway… come to think of it, there’s always a crowd around the water / sugar solution bottle, too. Apparently collecting pollen and making wax is thirsty work.
On Day 3 I stopped by Mr. Carrier’s to cough up more $’s to try on, then buy, my Michelin Man Bee Suit, a truly humbling experience. At this point in my life, I’m a little more “larger than life” than I’d like to be, so I had to say the words, “why, yes, I’d like a XXL suit, ‘just in case'”.
Shoot, “Just In Case”, who am I fooling.
And if having an ass roughly the size of Cleveland isn’t enough of a problem, my right shoulder has lost some of its youthful flexibility, so bending around like a pretzel to stuff my arm into the sleeve takes a whole lot more effort than I’d like – not to mention the discomfort that goes along with trying to emulate Gumby. Anyway, I try the thing on, then take it off and head home… readying for the big day – my first intrusion into the hive to see if Queen Freddie has been freed and is doing her thing.
Next Day, Day 4 (in beekeeping, apparently everything is measured in Days, Seasons or Quarts – don’t ask me why, I don’t make the rules, I’m just tellin’ ya what’s what!) I re-read the relevant sections of the book, put my suit on, fired up the smoker (using my trusty heat gun / paint stripper / bbq starter) and headed out to the hive.
Cover me, boys, I’m goin’ in.
Coupla puffs of smoke (on them, not me… ok, I put a little in the air around me, “just in case” ) and I pulled the top off the super and pulled out Freddie’s Travel Coach (ok, it’s not really a coach, it’s just a little plastic thingie, looks kinda like a fuse coupler / holder) and darned if she hadn’t been freed and The Team had already begun building comb on it.
Dang, this just might work out!
Lid back on and darned if I didn’t hot-foot it outta there, “just in case”. And I kept on going, too, until I hit the back porch and realized I’d forgotten to fill their sugar solution back up. Ohhhhh man, I’ve gotta do “the dance” again? Back out I went, sans smoker (note to self: using the smoker is a good practice) and when I pulled the feeder, guess what I found? A boatload of slightly-annoyed-because-their-dinner-was-interrupted Russian honeybees. (note to self: remember to use the smoker when interrupting them 2x in 5 minutes) Anyway, I filled the Quart of sugar solution, re-positioned it and headed back to the porch, secure in the knowledge I’d defied death yet again.
And that’s how it’s been for the past (nearly) week. Check on the bees mid-day, make sure they’re busy (pardon me for saying this, but: busy as bees 🙂 and have sugar solution and leave them the heck alone.
Until today, which was Day 10, the 2nd biggest day in the new-package beekeeper’s cycle: checking on the Queen and making sure the colony is healthy and working.
They are, and I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.
Thanks for visiting and, as always, until next time, be well.