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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Not Exactly as Planned

I had assembled every tool I could possibly immagine needing; a long knife, hive tool, bee brush, veil, helmet, jacket, cardboard boxes, bucket, super, repelent, fume board, hammer, axe, saw and of cource, the smoker and smoker fuel. I arived to a hopeless clump of wax, honey, brood, pollen and bees. The log was actually about 5 feet long and was probably close to 2 feet whide at it's widest point. This is much bigger than the landowner made it out to be! It seems that when it was cut, they went half way through the brood nest, so, there went my hope for a queen. I figured I'd clear out the trunk in hopes of finding some bees protected in some cavety. I pleeled apart the combs which had all sandwiched together like a stack of pancakes. Inbetween each pair of combs were countless dead bees; killed by the weight of their own honey. After I was about a fith of the way through the trunk, I had filled my bucket with honeycomb; dripping with honey. Unfortunately, none of it could be used as the landowners, in a panic, tried to spray the nest with wasp and hornet spray. It worked none the less. I noticed when I began to take apart the hive that there were italian, carniolan and russian bees all there. It also seemed as if some heavy foraging was going on. I realized when they all dispersed with the smoke, that this hive was practically devoid of bees belonging to that hive, all the bees I saw were bees from other hives, stealing the honey for their own uses. As I got to the center of the combs which contained some of the brood nest, it was covered in Small Hive Beetles, even if I could save the honey, it would surely become a mass of bubbling liquid before I could eat it given the Small Hive Beetle's eating habits. This hive was certainly HUGE in its prime. It even had honey from over a year ago. The color of the brood combs told me by themselves that this hive had been a perenial. All this activety had stired up the curiosity of the neighbors. One of which came over and said exitedly, "Are you like, a real Bee-man?" He was so facinated by bees that he had bees on honeycombs tatooed on his shoulders. Unfortunately, I forgot the camera but, he said he'd e-mail me the photos. In the end I endured one sting and the hive had over 150 pounds of honey. Beleive me, it was heavy, so heavy that I needed help to lift it in shifts. Feeling that I had done my job,(for free too) I took off my honey-soaked gloves and veil and had a conversation with the landowners standing next to the shell of a hive. Just as I was talking about how I had only gotten one sting and was surprised that was it, given the hive had just been fallen the day before, a lone bee flew into the coller of the shirt behind my neck and stung. It actually didn't hurt too bad...untill I tried to get the stinger out. Since I can't see behind my head, in an effort to remove it I basicly pushed it in. It wasn't too confortable but, probably the worst effect was that my neck was stiff. The burning passed in a few minutes. The odd part is, I thought a sting in the neck would hurt MORE than the fingers. It was the other way around. Anyways, no bees could be saved, the comb found its way into the dumpster with the honey, and I got nothing, not even bees in return for my work. I even ruined my shoes. The honey won't come off. All in all, I feel the better for it, I worked hard and created three more bee enthusiests.


Blogger G4st said...

Great story, man.
Sorry about the shoes.

8:49 PM, January 19, 2006  
Blogger imabkpr said...

Cool! Wish my beekeeping stories were that exciting. Im in FL too.

6:37 AM, January 20, 2006  
Blogger The Beekeeper said...

I'm still trying to scrub honey and propolis out...even rubbing alchohol hasn't worked. Don't worry though, I got them for about 15 or 20 dollars at Wal-Mart. The lasted a while.

5:57 PM, January 20, 2006  
Blogger The Beekeeper said...

OH and, G4st, in responce to how I scoffed it down without you...about 2 jars resided in tea, 1/2 a jar became maranade, 2 jars became honey butter, 1/2 jar became a bread sweatener, 10 jars became gifts and 6 jars were sold. Next harvest should be before the end of March.

6:01 PM, January 20, 2006  
Blogger G4st said...

That, my friend, is good to know.
P.S. my birthday is Feb. 24th

7:33 PM, January 20, 2006  

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