I donned my gear, turning myself into 'Geeky looking Beeboy' - according to my GF (some loving support that is - even if she smiles sweetly and hugs me as she says it - CHICKS!), fired up my smoker, put a spare hive box under one arm, hive tool in the other, and wandered in.
I had shown up to this guy's house, who had called me yesterday (October 17, 2002), he had said there was a hive in his 'bins' out back.. boyo! was there ever!
'So I started into the backyard. I won't lie to you boys, I was terrified. But I pressed on, and as I made my way towards those compost bins a strange calm came over me. I don't know if it was divine intervention or the kinship of all living things, but I tell you Jerry, at that moment I was a true BeeKeeper.'
- Or maybe I'm just channelling George, in "The Marine Biologist" Sienfeld episode..
I smoked around the small opening the bees were going in and out of, gave them a sec, then carefully lifted the lid, just a crack and gave a decent amount of smoke under there. I let the lid close again and prepared my hivebox.
I had taken along an 8 frame box, with only 2 of the frames having comb in them, so I opened this up, and took out a couple of the empty frames, ready. I figured that by this stage the bees would have had enough smoke.
Lifting the lid fully I was struck by the amazing structures these guys (girls actually) had built. Running three quarters around the base of the lid were 4 amazing combs. They hung about 30cm (that'd be a foot to all you non-standard un-metricized people ;) and were full of brood (eggs and larvae) and honey.
I had a quick check for disease found none, and the proceeded to cut these combs into segments, and fitting them into empty frames. It was about now that the 1st bee stung me. I walked away slowly cussing. Not very professional.
Dropping my gear and taking off the arm long gloves I had had on, I got the sting out of my calf, flicked all the other bees off me, and then tucked my pants into my socks. Hopefully this would prevent them from crawling up my leg again...
Heading back to the compost bin, I thoroughly smoked again, keeping the bees' little heads down. This worked for a bit, and I got 8 frames of comb into the hivebox, and a fair few bees. Darkness had set in at this point, and the ground was covered in crawly bees (they don't do a lot of flying round at night). I hadn't worried about this, as I knew my pants were happily tucked in... WRONGO! here, I got stung on both the left and the right ankle, as a bee got stuck between my shoe and me. Owwwwwie!
I left the lid off the compost bin, hefted the hivebox up onto the (now open) bin (which still had a LARGE amount of bees swarming around in it) and walked away. I hope that enough bees will filter up into the hivebox, and that they change home into this box. That's the plan anyway. Then in a week or so I can come along, grab the box and walk off with it.. simple! some how I doubt that it will work out this way - "the best laid plans of men and bees...' yeah..
So this morning I have ; left hand - swollen, sore (don't actually remember this sting :) ; left ankle - slightly swollen, sore; right ankle - slightly swollen, sore; right calf - swollen and SORE; right elbow - sore.
I guess I should be thankful that my body and head didn't cop it. This time ;)