Saturday, June 13, 2009

You can BEE a star

It's Saturday, June 13.

Kelly says he thinks he needs to check to see how much the bees have built out the honey super so he needs to get into the hive for a quick check. Actually, he got some new smoker fuel and I think he was just anxious to light it up. Anyway, although it has only been 3 days since he was last into the hive, he suited up again today.

Coincidentally-- or not -- the video camera was charged and I had explored the movie-maker program on the computer a little.


The video displays really horrible hive technique--this is NOT a how to.  However, the man in the suit had no interest in my commentary on the subject.

Kelly informs that the frames did not contain honey but that the bees were building out comb, a prelude to making honey in the frames.

Tuesday June 9

From his foray into the hive on Saturday, Kelly discovered that the bees have built out comb and have filled quite a few of the frames in the 2nd brood box with honey. From talking to other bee people at the NEOBA meeting, Kelly decided the bees needed more room to play. And he decided to remove a frame from the 2nd deep box so there will be better air circulation for the summer weather. And, last Saturday Kelly didn't get a chance to open up the brood box and get a look-see there, so he planned to do all of that on Tuesday.

The portable picnic table was in place, the tools all assembled, the smoker lit and billowing, a cooler was put near the hive to hold removed frames, Kelly taped his pant legs closed and suited up . . . all was made ready.

Kelly approached the hive with confidence as I watched from the window. He expertly removed the lid from the hive, and then the shallow honey super-- all went well. Then he examined a few frames from the 2nd brood box and removed several to the cooler -- bees were still calm. YEA!!! This is what we both envisioned that working the bees would be like. Interesting, pleasurable even.

Kelly hefts the deep box full of honey off the lower box and staggers to place the heavy box on the ground. STILL, hardly any bees in the air. This is . . . great.

He pries the first of the brood frames away from the box . . . it is thick with bees, all seemingly content . . . still great. Kelly brushes a glob of bees away from the bottom of the second frame--everyone is still happy. THEN, he drops one of the frames on the ground.

and, there ensues

The bees boil up and begin madly buzzing about seriously focused on Kelly . . . still he continues his inspection. THEN, he drops another frame on the ground. Our son Alex joins me at the window to watch the spectacle and to offer sage commentary. We observe much waving of arms (Kelly's) and grabbing of the less protected backside (also Kelly's). . . but Kelly is a man on a mission, he continues to inspect and unbelievably DROPS ANOTHER FRAME.

At this juncture between rear end grabs, which Alex and I correctly interpret as stings, Kelly walks away trailing his cloud of bees and begins fumbling for the zipper on his suit. Alex, only partly kidding, says: "don't do it Dad, that's suicide." I'm saying other things not suitable for print. Apparently, the zipper had become undone and several bees had come inside the suit for a better view of the proceedings and Kelly was trying to alleviate that situation.

Eventually, Kelly closed up the hive and came inside to pick stingers out of his nose and eyebrows, to have a Benedryl cocktail, and to receive unsolicited and unappreciated advice from Alex and me.

As it turns out, Kelly has decided not to drop any more frames, or not more than one or two--three is just too many to drop.

Monday, June 8, 2009


So, late Saturday afternoon (June 6), I got home from a bike ride. As I made my way into the house, I noticed Kelly’s car was in the driveway and his bike was in the garage. I hollered to Kelly that I was home, but got no answer–hmmmmm, that’s strange, modes of transportation present and the dogs met me at the door, so he wasn’t walking them. I wondered where he was.
Then out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a white blur in the backyard. I stopped to look out the sliding glass door and Kelly, clad in bee suit and with a cloud of bees about his head went jogging by. He stopped on the patio and reached for the door like he was going to come in. Oh no you don’t, I thought. You are NOT going to bring a cloud of mad bees in the house. So, I reached to lock the door when he changed directions and headed for the gate.

I opened the garage door and there was Kelly, surprised to see me. "Oh," he said, "you’re home. I got into the bees."

No kidding!

As it turns out, he opened the hive to find the entire 10 frames in the second brood box completely built out in comb and FULL OF HONEY, most of which was capped cells. As exciting as that is, it is a little scary because we only have one little ol’ shallow super to add to the hive. He did that, but it won’t come close to solving what we think is our overcrowding problem.

Anyway, after being chased around the yard by bees. Kelly immediately did three things:
No 1 , he called to order a bee suit for me. There is no reason why I should miss out on all the fun because I don’t have the proper clothing.
No. 2, he called my brother, who has some hive materials built up , but not bees to see if we could use some of his stuff.
No. 3, ordered an additional brood box, frames and foundation, cause if the critters are gonna keep breeding, we gotta give 'em a place to stay.

Note to self: The bees stopped taking sugar water about 6/3/2009.