Here to stay... or do I speak to soon?  

Posted by Smoke

On Monday we get a call about a swarm of bees at the primary school. We go there and find them in a clamp, on a tree branch. So we get a box under them and give em a good shake, and they drop into the box. Those that were left, were scooped up into a plastic bag and was brought home.

We got them all into one temporary/catcher hive and stuck a queen guard to the front of it to keep the queen in. If she goes, then the whole swarm goes.

Day two, The bees are happily buzzing about and enjoying them self and only two or three died during the night.

Day three. We find that the bees are all gathering on the front of the hive and by that I mean from top to bottom, I first think that maybe they can't get in as we were worried that the gaps in the queen guard was to small, then we read that if it gets to stuffy inside, the drones (male bees that can't sting and is the breeders), who are bigger than the females, are sent outside as they don't have a continuous function. But the bees outside, are all the smaller bees. And the drones can't get through the queen guard.

First let me remind you that we try to work with the bees later in the day when it is cooler, as this calms them down. So at about four o' clock, we suit up and go to an old "windpomp"(wind powered water pump) that doesn't work anymore. The windpomp is about 400 meters away from our home and has over the last few months become the home of a swarm of bees. We can't extract the swarm, because they are in the borehole, and we have to smoke them from beneath.

Now these bees have become a nuisance and we fear they might become a problem later on when we start processing the honey. There for we have to get rid of them, by either catching them, or by chasing them away. We might be able to save the wax(wax can be expensive and also, it takes the bees the same amount of time to make four kilograms of honey, as it takes them to make one kilogram of wax).

We decide on about four o' clock as this was a good time when we previously went there, only we didn't recon it would be warmer.

So the smokers are on and we are suited up. The plan is to attach a piece of garden hose, about two meter long, to the one smoker and then lower it past the wax combs to the bottom of the hive, this way, if we pump smoke in, the bees will come out.

My brother in law opens the end cap of the well and then states in no uncertain terms that there is trouble, even though I am standing a good ten meters away, stoking the smoker, I get pelted by bees, yes, pelted, it feels as if someone is throwing pebbles at me. I an not alarmed, as I have my bee suit on and I start blowing some smoke at the bees at which moment the smoker dies and I feel the bees being real close to me, as if they were walking on me inside my suit,but I am not worried...

...then I see three bees walking across the visor INSIDE my suit, so I worry a bit and decide to calm down as they may sting me if threatened. I start walking away calmly to get away from their "attack zone". I then realize that a bee has started to explore my ear and fails to get inside my ear, I am still calm and keep walking, this bee then moves to my earlobe and I know then that I am going to get stung. By this time there is about five bees inside my suit and in my face and as I start to panic( when a bee stings you, it leaves behind a pheromone that attracts other bees to sting in the same spot). I grab a hand full of long dry grass, as I have drop the useless smoker by now, and then remember that my father in law has my zippo, as he was lighting the other smoker. So smoke is out of the question.

Then I got Stung, on the earlobe, and the little blighter wasn't even trying to get away, I felt it sitting there waiting to die. This whole time I was moving away and found that the bees on then outside had left me and there were only two left inside. Prompted by my father in law, I unzipped my hood, took of my cloves and got out of the suit. I honestly now appreciate the proverbs "to have a bee in your bonnet" and "to make a bee line". So we left it as an unsuccessful day and thought to come back the next day. I found out that the bees entered my suit through the smallest hole in my suit, at the zipper.

Today.My father in law was up at about three this morning and was reading about bees. He later went and removed the the queen guard from the hive, and now the bees seem to bee happy, I think they are settled and they were seen today flying in and out probably to collect food. As soon as they start carrying pollen to the hive, we can move them to their own hive.

Busy busy, So I am of to the windpomp again, this time the holes are patched.
Until next time.

ps: sorry that there aren't pictures today.

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 3:05 PM . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Wow! You are one cool dude under pressure. I think I would be freaking out if I had a bee in my ear and others trapped in my suit with me. Those windpomp bees sound like they meant business. I hopw you new colony settle down nicely for you. What an interesting slice of someone's life you have just given us!

July 8, 2010 at 4:37 PM

Yes!! The first swarm has come to roost... or something like that. Good thing it was bees and not cockroaches, hey.

July 8, 2010 at 5:38 PM

argent: I once had a bug crawl into my ear and a doctor had to remove it with a jet of water. so that was actually more scary than the bee sting. My ear is fine now.

huMAn: We also got a lot of wax today out of a borehole, tomorrow we take on the windpomp again, hopefully we will be ready. I designed a nifty tool for the extraction. mk1 failed today so tomorrow we use mk2

July 9, 2010 at 5:52 PM

At the very least, it's a good thing they can't sting repeatedly ;)! As a kid, I once disturbed a wasp nest. NOT FUN.

July 12, 2010 at 7:43 PM

Great story!

November 3, 2010 at 1:26 PM

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