After my bee in my bonnet experience( see here) I decided I had better introduce my girls to someone who actually knows what they are doing. Enter stage right; Ryan and Bruce. I have bee keeping friends! Thank you guys. So great to see how the pros work bees!
They graciously agreed to check out my hive and the aggression level of my bees. Well, shockingly the girls were MOST gracious as only Southern ladies can be! I know! I think “Blondie and the Girls” swooned at the sight of these two handsome men and were overcome. They batted their eye lashes. When they were asked to scoot over, they graciously complied. They buzzed around curious and interested in who had come to visit on that sunny afternoon. REALLY?
Have you every forced a doctor to squeeze you in because your child is on death’s door? Then you arrive for the coveted appointment and your sweet darling doesn’t even have a smidge of a temperature. On one hand you are sooo glad and relieved that they are better. On the other hand you just want to throw it down in a huge “I am not faking or overreacting!” fit right in front of the whole office staff, who bent over backwards to get you an appointment in the first place. Now you know how I feel.
When my gallant bee keeping knights walked up with flesh exposed, I said, “Oh no, You have NO idea what you are dealing with here. All due respect, you need to cover up, EVERYTHING!” Of course I don’t know my bee friends very well yet , but from observing them so far I can confidently say that I could nickname Bruce “calm” and Ryan “extra calm.” I have a HUGE fear pheromone problem about most things in life. The bees can probably sense it. When people question with an incredulous tone, “You did that?” I say, “Oh no, honey that was not me at all. I am a coward. That was the Holy Spirit within me that did that big thing!” Let me just say here that I am going to need A LOT more Holy Spirit involved in my bee keeping abilities!
I have to confess here that the sinful part of me wanted to point toward the garden and say, “Wow, look at that!” Then when their heads were turned, I could have given my girls a swift kick in the !#**! thus igniting the response that I had expected in the first place. Tell me I am not the only one that struggles between horrible and Holy!
I called my friend who had helped me split the hive a few weeks ago. After hearing the gentile description of my girl’s behavior, she asked, “Did they get down into the bottom box?” To which I answered, “Indeed they did.” To which she replied, “Really!” I know, I keep saying that too! So glad I have a witness or I would think I were going a bit crazy. Well, O.K. to be truthful, already there, but enjoying it so far! Join me if you dare!
So, what have I learned from my bee keeping mentors? Bees are MOODY! The day could be cloudy/drizzly, which means honey production is down and everyone is getting cabin fever. The hive could have been defending themselves all day from other bees trying to rob their honey. Bottom line is you don’t always know what you are walking into. Sorry girls, but I think men make better bee keepers. I know it is a bold statement, but hear me out. Our men often get off work and walk into our presence with no knowledge of what might have happened that day. They have to become skilled at gauging our present mood and quickly deciding how best to react to it. Am I right guys?
Middle of the day, on a sunny fair weather day, seems the best time to peek in on your hive. One reason is that a good portion of the hive is out foraging therefore you have a lot less bees to deal with. If you are working full time and you are forced to check in on them in the evening then wear protective equipment.
I can hear some of you asking, “What on earth are you checking for?” That is a fair question. In answer; it is always good to check if there is good capped brood.( baby bees) Then you know that the queen is doing her job. Also important is that they have a good store of honey for the coming Winter. That honey is not just for us, it is food for the bees during the cold months to come. As we found in my hive, a pest might be getting the upper hand. I was instructed to hang some small hive beetle traps between the frames of my hive to trap those pesky insects.
One thing I wanted to do was switch from a screened bottom board(the board the hive rests on) to a solid wood one. Bee keepers can’t seem to agree on which one is best for Winter, but I would think a
cold draft up my skirt wouldn’t do any one any good! I was glad we took the screened bottom board off because it turned out it had a wee rip in it, which could provide a way in for robber bees to enter the hive. Not sure what creature could have ripped the wire like that?
So from now on I am going to wear the right equipment, pick a sunny day and invite my handsome husband to accompany me. Then I can ask him to draw from his vast experience of judging a woman’s mood and tell me whether we should proceed or not. Question is; Will I listen and heed his answer? Maybe, maybe not? That is the prerogative of a woman!